[LINK] Censorship Issues..

Greg Taylor gtaylor@efa.org.au
Mon, 17 Feb 2003 19:41:43 +1000


At 08:23 AM 17/02/03 +1100, Bob Bain wrote:
>  ...
>  Is there a privacy advocate who can answer the questions posed in an
>intelligent and hopefully constructive and meaningful manner ?
>
>  Roger Clarke ?  Greg Taylor ?
>
>  EFA board members ?
>
>  Kimberley Heitman ?

Bob,

If I could figure out what the question was I'd be glad to give it a 
go.  But link has become such a shambles of late that I have inadvertently 
deleted your original post along with the rest.

I think you may be asking if there can be a conflict between free speech 
and privacy.  If that is the question, my answer is a definite yes.  Free 
speech cannot be an absolute right.  It is always tempered by the need to 
recognise other rights.  Which rights should hold sway in any particular 
case is a matter of personal opinion.   For one particular view (US First 
Amendment biased) on this question see:
Freedom of Speech and Information Privacy: The Troubling Implications of a 
Right to Stop People From Speaking About You.
Eugene Volokh, 52 Stanford Law Rev. 1049 (2000)
http://www1.law.ucla.edu/~volokh/privacy.htm

Bob, I'd like to make a friendly suggestion.  Your style of posting is 
extremely annoying, even to free speech advocates like me.  We all know by 
now that there is material for sale on the streets of Sydney etc. 
etc.  There is no need to keep repeating it over and over ad infinitum, 
especially when it is not at all clear what point you are trying to make, 
or even which side of the censorship debate you are currently on.

Today alone you have posted 14 times out of about 60 messages to 
link.  That's not to say the other 46 messages were any more sensible or 
welcome, but is it possible you are abusing the privilege of being on this 
list?

While I'm on the topic, I might as well say something that's concerned me 
of late about the link list generally.  I've been on link since about 
1995.  At one time it was a highly regarded list, with many members (albeit 
lurkers) occupying influential positions in government, politics and the 
media.  It was a good medium for conveying views and opinions that could 
sometimes educate and influence government thinking on Internet issues.  In 
those days also there was an unwritten rule called netiquette.  Every 
message posted to link goes to about 300 people (if they're all still 
here), yet at least 90% of recent postings are just a massive waste of 
bandwidth, with nothing new to say, no new insight to add.

Sadly, I fear link's halycon days may be over.  It has degenerated of late 
into a free-for-all dialogue on any topic under the sun, despite the 
courageous attempts by some to demonstrate relevance.  We've gotten used to 
link being used to promote religion (of the O/S kind), and now it's 
degenerated into politics, with a little sex thrown in to complete the 
trifecta.  All it needs now is for someone to invoke Godwin's law and the 
cycle of list degeneration is complete.

Greg