mad anthony

Rants, politics, and thoughts on politics, technology, life,
and stuff from a generally politically conservative Baltimoron.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Will this post get me locked up?

Charles Cooper at C|Net's has an article entitled When blogging can get you locked up?

The first part of the article is actually pretty interesting - it talks of the jailed bloggers in Iran, the so-called "Great FireWall of China" that blocks access to views that the commies don't like, and similar efforts by Kazakastan.

It's the kind of article that makes you realize how much freedom we have in the U.S. - until Cooper starts drawing parallels to the U.S.

in the good ol' United States, things haven't gotten that out of hand--at least not yet. But who knows? In this post-Patriot Act age, we're all walking on terra incognita.

The Patriot Act is always a popular whipping boy, but it's aimed more at gathering info that people want to keep hidden (wiretaps, library records, search warrants) rather than not letting people see things that bloggers want to post. And Cooper offers no analysis of what the Patriot Act has to do with blogging or information exchange.

Cooper does come up with one example of horrible blogger opression - the recent lawsuit by Apple against ThinkSecret, a Mac rumor site that published rumors that Apple would make a piece of hardware to connect MIDI equiptment to Macs (I think). Of course, this isn't government oppression, but a lawsuit between a corporation and a private individual. And the lawsuit isn't being enabled by the PATRIOT act, but rather by the Digital Millenium Copyright Act. There are legitimate complaints about the DMCA's effect on speech - it's resulted in things such as a deal site having to take down info on Black Friday sales - but Cooper doesn't raise these, or even mention the DMCA. And DMCA nusiance suits, while bad, probably shouldn't be mentioned in the same article as being thrown in jail for engaging in political dissent.

Cooper also has unsubstatiated complaints about Yahoo and Cisco doing buisness with the Chinese, but I don't really feel like discussing that. Let me just say that when Cooper promises not to buy anything that's been made in China, I'll start feeling bad about Cisco selling routers to the Chinese.

And when Democratic Underground posters and Baltimore City Paper editors start getting rounded up for Bush-bashing, I'll agree that there is something in common with the US and Iran. Until then, I'm going to keep things in their proper perspective.


Post a Comment

<< Home