Laws, Feds, & the Internet
Richard F. Dutcher
rfdutcher at igc.apc.org
Fri Feb 10 20:02:39 PST 1995
> Date: Fri, 10 Feb 1995 18:17:55 -0500 (EST)
> From: Dave Harvey <warrior at infinet.com>
> Subject: Re: Laws, Feds, & the Internet
> To: "Richard F. Dutcher" <rfdutcher at igc.apc.org>
> Cc: cypherpunks at toad.com
> On Fri, 10 Feb 1995, Richard F. Dutcher wrote:
> > The following was in today's San Francisco Chronicle. BTW, quoting
> > the entire article as I have done is probably a violation of "fair
> > use" - but de minimis ...
> > All under *current* law, folks.
> > [hmmm -- encryption doesn't do much for exhibitionists and
> > braggarts, does it? ;-]
> > ==============================
> [Article Deleted for the sake of Brevity]
And David Harvey wrote:
> Now mind you, this kind of writing is demented, however, what ever
> happened to fiction, free speech and such. At this rate, Steven Spielberg
> should be in jail as well. I thought you had to prove intent, the saying
> something or writing it is not bad as long as you didn't have the intent
> or present capability to carry out such. BTW, I like all of Steven
> Spielberg's writings and movies, and now HB830 from Oregon rears its head
> and fangs. Did this guy intend to threaten or was it fiction? How would
> they even know?
> Next thing you know they will limit all free speech.
They *do* have to prove intent -- as to how, that's what juries are
for. BTW, he used her real name in the post, with no disclaimers
about fiction. From what I have heard, if he had said the same thing
in her presence, he could have been arrested for assault.
So is saying something that would be actionable in a public space
also actionable in a public cyberspace? I dunno, and neither does
anyone else. But it's a well-established principle that a threat is
a shout of "Fire!" in a crowded theater.
The "Law" is very conservative. Not like Newt the Grinch, but like
the Catholic Church -- make the least change necessary to accomodate
the pressures. If you've got laws to cover telephones and cybercomm
looks like telephones, get out the shoehorn.
"Free" speech has always been a balancing act. The founders
certainly didn't intend to provide "free" speech for blacks and
women. Our current case law structure is, in large part, the results
of the ACLU's 80-year struggle to prevent a repetition of the
wholesale imprisonment of dissidents during WWI. Previously, people
were *commonly* tossed in local hoosegows [sp?] at the whim of the
local authorities for speaking out on anything [Quakers, Methodists,
Baptists, temperance, free love, abolition, suffrage, pacifists,
Romanists, Masons, anti-masons, anarchists, populists, free silver,
etc. ad nauseum].
"They" have never liked "free" speech ... :-(
Wei Dai has the right idea -- be a specialist, support other
specialists. [But keep those cards and letters coming ... ;-]
Rich Dutcher, San Francisco Greens
P.O. Box 77005, San Francisco, California 94107 USA
"That's libertarians for you - anarchists who want police protection from their slaves."
Kim Stanley Robinson, "Green Mars"
Greens, of course, only enslave plants - so weed-whackers work better than cops ...
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