links for 2011-01-28

  • Meanwhile, politicians fiddle at the edges of the tax system. Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, for instance, has re-introduced legislation to tax Internet sales, seeking a way around the federal rule that Internet sellers without a physical presence in a state cannot be compelled to collect sales taxes.

    However, it may be unconstitutional – New York has a similar law that's now being tested in the courts – and even if implemented would generate only a relatively tiny amount of money.

    If California is to truly tame its budget beast, its politicians and voters must bite the bullet and realign its tax system with the 21st century economy.

    Increasing tax rates or trying to tax Internet sales are at best short-term, feel-good remedies for California's endemic fiscal crisis, and such tinkering won't suffice in the long run.


    The State of California needs to cut social welfare and university spending.

  • Instead, the signs are that the Egyptian authorities have taken a very careful and well-planned method to screen off Internet addresses at every level, from users inside the country trying to get out and from the rest of the world trying to get in.

    “It looks like they’re taking action at two levels,” Rik Ferguson of Trend Micro told me. “First at the DNS level, so any attempt to resolve any address in .eg will fail — but also, in case you’re trying to get directly to an address, they are also using the Border Gateway Protocol, the system through which ISPs advertise their Internet protocol addresses to the network. Many ISPs have basically stopped advertising any internet addresses at all.”

    Essentially, we’re talking about a system that no longer knows where anything is. Outsiders can’t find Egyptian websites, and insiders can’t find anything at all.


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    (tags: Egypt internet)