Freedom of technology

Black Unicorn unicorn at
Wed Oct 5 00:41:06 PDT 1994

Lewis McCarthy scripsit


> Choosing the place to draw the line is indeed the crux of the matter IMHO.
> I try to draw it at the point where one person's misuse of technology 
> starts to hurt another person (which often begs the question, I know !).

We're basically on the same wavelength after all.

> Considering some of your examples:

> OTOH I can see that ABS could stop a lot of slow/non-alert people from
> slamming their cars into me & mine; I trust the technology more than the
> people who would be replacing it. I'm happy that it's a fairly standard 
> feature, although this seems to be more a result of market demand than 
> regulation.

My point (poorly expressed) was that making these mandatory would annoy me.
I'm actually pleased with ABS as a market function.

> Your mention of outlawing sugar calls to mind some debates about smoking bans.
> Here IMHO the line is clear. When you eat sugar next to me, you're not 
> doing me any harm unless I'm forced to pay your dental bills. In sharp 
> contrast, I consider smoking in company to be assault with a deadly 
> weapon. My choice of self-defense in this case is legislation preventing
> anyone from smoking in my airspace. I have no problem with people smoking
> in private where the smoke's never going to harm me.

You make the massive leap in logic here that eludes the legislators.
It's the impact on others in the SPECIFIC and not the aggregate that 
should be used to determine limitations on technology.

I tend to preach absolutism in deregulation (or near to it) because 
allowing distinction threatens to put legislators in the position of 
deciding where the line is.  You think I want to be forced to buy an ABS 
car because the average driver is an idiot and because Driving School is 
a joke?  Of course not.  I refuse to be bound by the national average.

> Of course, the explosive success of bullshit litigation (strongly aided
> IMHO by our lowest-common-denominator jury selection system) has played
> a major role in inducing companies & the govt. to go overboard protecting
> people from their own idiocy.  I just want to be protected from other
> people's idiocy :)

I don't see the connection here.  How does the jury system contribute to 
government intervention?  Whatever the jury verdict in a civil suit, the 
government still has to say "We can't allow all these law suits, let's 
ban X so there wont be any more."  You can have 40 billion in judgements 
against KY jelly, that doesn't mean government needs to be involved.  The 
judgements, the publicity, and the civil system have SOLVED the problem.  
Those who might have had problems with KY have been compensated, those 
who are smart consumers will avoid KY, and KY will either go out of 
business, make massive efforts to correct the problem and get the 
information out there that that problem has been corrected, or it can 
afford the suits.  I'd prefer to see a consumer monitoring program, 
listing complaints, lawsuits and quality ratings on products available 
via net/1-800 number and etc.  A "good housekeeping" rating of A to F for 
example.  If this information system is handled properly and given enough 
detail and depth there are no such problems.  The market will regulate 
and the incentives will be to provide the best product, at the lowest 

Information is the key, and if the consumer cannot bother him or herself 
to check out the product they buy I'm not sympathetic.

Of course one cypherpunk is sure to say: "Nice, but not about cryptography."

Part of the problem with cryptography and technology today is that 
consumers have little if any information about the field.  What a shame 
it would be if the market were killed by government "we know what's best 
for you before you've even seen it" before it ever got big.

> I won't touch on the question of required backdoor installation....
> -L. McCarthy
> Send me mail using "Subject: remailer-help" for an autoreply about Underdog

-uni- (Dark)

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