[LINK] Fwd: [PRIVACY] [apfma] Why Offline Privacy Values Must Live On In The Digital Age
jwhit at janwhitaker.com
Tue Nov 13 14:26:06 AEDT 2012
Worth repeating. It is so simple when you see it put this way.
>November 4, 2012
>Whenever pirates demand the right to send
>anything to anybody without being tracked, we
>are somehow accused of wanting things for free.
>Thats not true. What we demand is simpler: we
>demand the laws to apply equally online and
>offline; we demand our children inherit the
>civil liberties that our parents fought, bled
>and often died to give to us. Its an entirely reasonable demand.
>Lets look at the classic letter to illustrate
>this. The physical letter, consisting of an
>envelope, a folded paper with writing on it inside the envelope, and a stamp.
>This was what personal communication looked like
>in our parents offline world, and it was
>enshrined with certain civil liberties. Im going to focus on four of them.
>First, the letter was anonymous. You, and you
>alone, determined whether you identified
>yourself as sender on the outside of the
>envelope for the world to know, on the inside of
>the letter for only the recipient to know, or
>didnt identify yourself at all when sending a
>letter. This was your prerogative.
>Second, the letter was secret in transit. Nobody
>had the right to open all letters just to make
>sure they didnt contain something illegal or
>immoral or something copied, for that matter.
>If you were under prior suspicion of a very
>serious crime, your mail could be secretly
>opened to find evidence of that crime but no
>letter would ever be opened routinely to check for new crimes.
>Third, the letter was untracked. Nobody had the
>right nor, indeed, the capability to record
>who was communicating with whom. Nobody was able
>to monitor all mailboxes to see when somebody
>dropped a letter in it, much less the ability to
>identify that person and connect them to the
>address on the letter dropped in the mailbox. It
>was a fundamental right to keep your connections to yourself.
>Fourth, the mailman was never responsible for
>the contents in the sealed letter. How could
>they? They were not aware of its contents, nor
>were they allowed to make themselves aware of
>its contents. Their responsibility and
>accountability started and ended with delivery
>of the packages to the address on the envelope.
>This is a set of civil liberties that our
>parents and grandparents literally fought, bled,
>and sometimes even died to give us. It is
>entirely reasonable that they carry over to our
>children in the environment they communicate in,
>just as the rights applied to the offline world of our parents.
>But when you point this out, some will protest
>loudly. The copyright industry, in particular.
>If you allow anybody to send anything to
>anybody else, even anonymously, we cant make any money!
>To this, I respond, so what?
>It is the job of every entrepreneur to make
>money given the current constraints of society
>and technology. Nobody gets to dismantle civil
>liberties just because they cant make money
>otherwise and perhaps especially if they cant make money otherwise.
>If a particular industry cant continue to make
>money the same way in the face of sustained
>civil liberties, they get to go out of business
>or start selling something else. We dont
>determine what civil liberties our children get
>based on who can make money and who cant; we
>base them on what our parents fought and bled for.
>This is the heart of the file-sharing debate. I
>dont care a millisecond if an obsolete
>distribution industry goes out of business, but
>I do care about the civil liberties that our children deserve to inherit.
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
jwhit at janwhitaker.com
Our truest response to the irrationality of the
world is to paint or sing or write, for only in such response do we find truth.
~Madeline L'Engle, writer
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