[LINK] Fwd: [PRIVACY] [apfma] Why Offline Privacy Values Must Live On In The Digital Age

Jan Whitaker 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.

>Rick Falkvinge
>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. 
>That’s 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. It’s an entirely reasonable demand.
>Let’s 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. I’m 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 
>didn’t 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 didn’t 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 can’t 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 can’t make money 
>otherwise – and perhaps especially if they can’t make money otherwise.
>If a particular industry can’t 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 don’t 
>determine what civil liberties our children get 
>based on who can make money and who can’t; we 
>base them on what our parents fought and bled for.
>This is the heart of the file-sharing debate. I 
>don’t 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
blog: http://janwhitaker.com/jansblog/
business: http://www.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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