The Switch PSA: Our Timothy B. Lee is not the same as Timothy Berners-Lee

October 6, 2013

(Tor)

Hello, dearest Switch readers. It was a busy week, full of government shutdowns, NSA revelations and online drug market busts, but you managed to make sure our comments section remained lively throughout. Here are some of our favorites.

When Timothy B. Lee posted about charts that showed Comcast acting more and more like a monopolist, a number of commenters gave less than stellar reviews of their experiences with the company. For instance, lmtexasranger said:

 I found my Comcast internet bill to be extremely expensive for only decent connection speed and reliability. I downgraded to the least expensive option, and it is a nightmare. I'm disconnected multiple times in each session or my session completely freezes and I give up. It's worse than dial up. And I'm convinced it's because Comcast has no major competitors in my area. NPR ran a story earlier this year about telecom companies in South Korea, and it's ridiculous when you compare their amazing quality, pricing, customer service, and speed of connection to the US, mostly because of competition built into the market.

Some of my writing drew some impassioned responses too. On Tuesday, I reported on a bipartisan effort to introduce a "Constitutional Advocate" into the secret court that rules on NSA spying practices. But reader cushlomockree wasn't convinced, arguing "As long as the public is not privy to FISA activities, the proposal is just another rubber-stamp with the label ."

But perhaps my personal favorite out of the comments this week came from Amy Summers. Posting on Tim's FAQ about Tor and the NSA, Amy asked "[d]oes anyone else find it ironic that this guy reporting on internet security is named Timothy B. Lee?"

Tim happens to have a very similar name to Internet pioneer Timothy Berners-Lee . Our Tim gets comments about it often enough that he includes a disclaimer about the closeness of their names on the bio page of his personal Web site. As Amy says, he was "born for this job, dude!"

Andrea Peterson covers technology policy for The Washington Post, with an emphasis on cybersecurity, consumer privacy, transparency, surveillance and open government.
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Andrea Peterson · October 5, 2013