Market Recovers, but for How Long

Yesterday’s huge rally in tech stocks was good news for people who were seeing their investments dry up and options go under water (interesting pair of metaphors, eh?). But as the Mercury News’ Matt Marshall points out, big numbers of insider “lockups” will expire soon, and that could be a major drag on the market.

Noo Yawk, Noo Yawk, Journalism and Privacy

I’m heading out to the East Coast today for the national conference of Investigative Reporters and Editors, an annual event where reporters gather to share ideas, break bread and offer mutual support. Many of my personal heroes in this business attend the IRE conference, and I’m glad to be paticipating on a panel where several of us will discuss some of the Web’s reporting tools.

One of the ironies I constantly confront in journalism is the tension between my professional wish to be able to discover information about people and my worries that privacy is increasingly threatened — often by some of the same tools reporters use. If it comes down to a test of journalists’ wishes and people’s fundamental privacy, my colleagues and I will lose, however.

But some public officials are using the public angst over privacy to shield data that should be public — real estate transaction records, for example. If these records are kept under wraps, several things will happen. Doing comparison shopping for homes will become impossible. And you won’t know if your assessment is too high, because you won’t know what your neighbor’s house cost. That’s a relatively small example, actually, and I’m working on a column about other kinds of data that should remain public.

More on the Patent Problem

Dale Dougherty makes some excellent points. The issue is greater than reforming the patent system, however. It’s protecting what is most valuable about the Internet—almost in the same way the environmental movement has had to fight commercial developers.

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