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The Internet Blueprint Wants You To Crowdsource Digital Laws

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the if-we-outlaw-memes-only-outlaws-will-have-memes dept.

Government 114

will_edit_for_food writes "Are you fed up with anti-piracy acts that use scorched-earth tactics, like SOPA and PIPA — or secretly negotiated agreements like ACTA? Do you wonder why we the people don't propose our own laws, rather than just react whenever these bills slouch toward Congress to be born? Wouldn't you like a place where you and a few like-minded amateur lawmakers could get together and do it right? Public Knowledge has debuted the Internet Blueprint, a site for those technologically and politically inclined to gather ideas...and eventually submit them to sympathetic politicians."

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Because more laws (-1, Troll)

Dyinobal (1427207) | more than 2 years ago | (#39194649)

Because more laws are just what the internet needs. /sarcasm

Well... (1)

mykos (1627575) | more than 2 years ago | (#39194663)

Really, I think we'd be happy with better laws. Even if they were more.

I have a feeling that the folks at InternetBlueprint.org have better intentions than Lamar Smith, too.

Re:Well... (4, Insightful)

scdeimos (632778) | more than 2 years ago | (#39194735)

If ever it were to get any traction, the minute that happens it'll be pwned by shills.

Re:Well... (2)

sixtyeight (844265) | more than 2 years ago | (#39194849)

What makes you think they wouldn't cook something like this up from the start?

When trying to dumb down the majority, you have to find something to keep the intelligentsia busy. And we're immune to Counterstrike.

Re:Well... (1)

justforgetme (1814588) | more than 2 years ago | (#39195303)

Plausible enough.

The problem I see with the site is that it only promotes counter legislature. How would somebody contribute?

If it's just about a closed pool of contributors it's nothing better if not even more corruptible than the already
elected lawmakers.

Remember ICANN ? (5, Informative)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | more than 2 years ago | (#39194911)

Whenever some entity says that they are the authority of the Net and wants to represent the users of the Net, I can't help but think of ICANN

Decades ago when ICANN was first organized they had a "crowdsource" campaign - they actually let the public at large to "register as members" and yes, I still keep the "ICANN membership card" that they sent me

But what is ICANN today? Do they care about the millions of "registered members"?

I don't think so

Re:Because more laws (4, Insightful)

Marillion (33728) | more than 2 years ago | (#39194703)

If you don't demand laws that protect digital freedom, someone else will demand laws that says the bytes you buy aren't yours.

Re:Because more laws (4, Insightful)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 2 years ago | (#39195011)

How about this for a law. All persons seeking election to public office should be independently tested and the test results audited and presented to the public. tests to check knowledge, intelligence, health and psychological fitness (also to include checks for psychopathy and narcissism).

In many instance people have to undergo the tests for employment including government employment, why shouldn't politicians be subject to these tests prior to running for office.

Re:Because more laws (4, Interesting)

greg1104 (461138) | more than 2 years ago | (#39195163)

If we start testing candidates for those qualities, then we'll have smart, physically fit politicians who are still corporate shills. Frankly, I'd rather have the feebleminded, old and infirm ones we have now. I'd hate to think how much trouble energetic versions of them could cause.

Re:Because more laws (2, Interesting)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 2 years ago | (#39195229)

Perhaps you have never heard of psychopathy testing which can not be cheated on. It measures emotional response and control with in the brain, so no, zero, zilch corporate shills (the ones left would be terrible liars hence honest politicians).

Re:Because more laws (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39195699)

So in order to avoid lying they'll just have to avoid learning what they're talking about.

Re:Because more laws (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39195781)

So in order to avoid lying they'll just have to avoid learning what they're talking about.

Pretty much.

Of course, the SOPA committee proved that the current morons have already raised that skill to a fine art. Perhaps if that was the only tool in their toolbox then it would at least reduce outright deceit.

Re:Because more laws (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 2 years ago | (#39195877)

I won't support that idea. At least not until we can trust everyone not to cheat. FFS, we can't even do an honest election without any cheating, how are we going to administer the testing?

Re:Because more laws (3)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 2 years ago | (#39195925)

OMG, let's ban doctors, pilots, dentists plus every other profession requiring testing. It's done already, cheats are caught and when required you can bet better qualified and skilled people who gain competitive advantage will drive honest testing.

One of the dumbest thing I have ever seen your comment is tops "At least not until we can trust everyone not to cheat" cheats all over the place, that is why people go to so much trouble to catch them, we can fully trust the most incompetent to cheat the most.

The mind boggles that you think no testing is better than testing.

Re:Because more laws (1)

LateArthurDent (1403947) | more than 2 years ago | (#39198901)

OMG, let's ban doctors, pilots, dentists plus every other profession requiring testing. It's done already, cheats are caught and when required you can bet better qualified and skilled people who gain competitive advantage will drive honest testing.

One of the dumbest thing I have ever seen your comment is tops "At least not until we can trust everyone not to cheat" cheats all over the place, that is why people go to so much trouble to catch them, we can fully trust the most incompetent to cheat the most.

The mind boggles that you think no testing is better than testing.

Welcome to politics.

A lot of people think it's easy, and the politicians should just do the obvious thing to fix all the problems. And then they get in a room with 10 other people and there are seven different people who think your "obvious" solution is stupid and they have the obvious answer. In fact, you'll have five different obvious answers between those seven people. You think they're nuts, and their solutions are clearly wrong.

Why can't everyone see it my way??

Re:Because more laws (2)

Nithron (661003) | more than 2 years ago | (#39196277)

I don't think we have psychometric testing that is accurate enough for this to work, unfortunately. You'd get too many false positives and false negatives. Also, whoever controlled the testing criteria would have a little too much power.

Re:Because more laws (1)

Maximum Prophet (716608) | more than 2 years ago | (#39196283)

Neither has anyone else. Such a test doesn't exist. Any competent Psychologist can game any psychological test. Even fMRI has to be "interpreted", so it's validity has been questioned.

Re:Because more laws (1)

Muad'Dave (255648) | more than 2 years ago | (#39196829)

Yeah, it's called the Voight Kampff test [wikipedia.org] . They'll just make a Nexus 7 shill that can beat the test.

Re:Because more laws (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39195865)

Or, force them all to wear a camera that streams video to a server that can be viewed by the public at all times.

"Don't worry mr. senator; if you're not doing anything wrong, you've got nothing to hide."

Re:Because more laws (1)

the_xaqster (877576) | more than 2 years ago | (#39196229)

Oh, come on, we are supposed to be Geeks here!

Implant the camera and have it take a feed direct off the optic nerve. Implant the wireless in the head too with some local storage to cover when there is no signal. Active monitoring so if the signal drops for any length of time agents are dispatched to the last known location.

Much Geekier now!

How about that for your SAR limits?

Re:Because more laws (1)

Shavano (2541114) | more than 2 years ago | (#39196693)

They are ... in the press ...

You can't make the public pay attention.

Re:Because more laws (1)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 2 years ago | (#39197155)

And who will test the testers?

Re:Because more laws (1)

Alwin Henseler (640539) | more than 2 years ago | (#39195095)

Exactly! That's why I stacked up on a heap of freely usable (and re-usable) bytes. Billions of them! Just to be safe in case lawmakers change their mind...

(cue the "I've got more bytes than you" yokes...)

Re:Because more laws (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39194899)

And why not kill existing laws and bills?

Re:Because more laws (1)

stms (1132653) | more than 2 years ago | (#39195189)

The internet is going to get laws whether or not most people who actually use it want them or not. It's better we try to get our word in while we can.

Re:Because more laws (1)

Corwn of Amber (802933) | more than 2 years ago | (#39196051)

And the Internet is goig to ignore every law that forbid it to do anything it simply can. And route around the enforcements.

There are no laws on the Internet. If there were, it would not be the Internet any longer.

Re:Because more laws (1)

flyneye (84093) | more than 2 years ago | (#39195971)

Reduce it to this and you have everything you need for internet and real world laws. We can dispense with most legislation, government office and need for lawyers.

1. Do what thou wilt and harm none.
2. Love others as yourself.

          Note* when forced to choose between harming either one or the other, don't harm the underdog. For instance the evil music industry and others claim harm from copyright infractions; solution; copyright is known to be evil and prevent mankind from progress in the name of supporting evil enterprise universally( someone is always robbed one way or another when a copyright is accepted) free musicians, engineers, technicians and others who are beneficial to mankind and remove the power of those who hold back progress, innovation and vocation from the individual that makes up the whole.
Go ahead and take all the information you want or need and utilize it in good health. You've harmed none, but enabled the evil to feel the feedback of their own folly.

Re:Because more laws (1)

Shotgun (30919) | more than 2 years ago | (#39198469)

But if you don't support that "evil enterprise" you will never have heard of most of the performers that you seem to believe are beneficial to mankind. The "evil enterprise" is what has made recorded music so ubiquitous. So, not supporting the "evil enterprise" would hold back progress. At this point, laws start getting made, because there is a legitimate disagreement about who is harmed and who is the underdog.

Why is this not an astroturfing project? (1)

G3ckoG33k (647276) | more than 2 years ago | (#39194665)

It sounds soo good. So... Why is this not an astroturfing project?

What About the Money? (4, Insightful)

CodeBuster (516420) | more than 2 years ago | (#39194707)

Why would the politicians bother to submit their bills without millions of dollars in donations to their re-election campaigns? I thought Washington was pay-to-play.

Re:What About the Money? (1)

SystemicPlural (1405625) | more than 2 years ago | (#39194891)

True, but the stronger the material behind claims for reform the closer we will get to that.

Unless you have already given up and you are just waiting for the day it completely falls apart.

Re:What About the Money? (1)

CodeBuster (516420) | more than 2 years ago | (#39194959)

Unless you have already given up and you are just waiting for the day it completely falls apart.

I've taken steps to prepare for that eventuality, it may still come to that sooner or later.

Dollars aren't the only thing they worry about (1)

Quila (201335) | more than 2 years ago | (#39199851)

Money is used to try to convince the constituency to do something, mainly vote for the politician. But if the constituency already believes some way, then it's wise for the politician to do what they want for risk of losing office. The problems are getting a chunk of the people to believe one way, and then convincing the politician that this like-mindedness exists. And that usually takes money.

uhm... (5, Insightful)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 2 years ago | (#39194713)

Those bills aren't slouching through Congress to be born. They're being bought by one-percenters who think buying congresscritters is cheaper, easier, and more profitable than coming up with a business model that works in the Internet Age.

(Heh, my .sig is actually relevant to the post.)

Re:uhm... (2)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 2 years ago | (#39194719)

Or I should have said, "congresscritters or other public officials", since AIUI ACTA is being pushed by the executive branch in the USA.

Re:uhm... (2)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 2 years ago | (#39194831)

Those bills [are] being bought by one-percenters who think buying congresscritters is cheaper, easier, and more profitable than coming up with a business model that works in the Internet Age.

You say that like they're wrong. With voters so distracted by bigger concerns, it's definitely a buyers' market when it comes to copyright law.

Re:uhm... (3, Informative)

greg1104 (461138) | more than 2 years ago | (#39195169)

Investments in lobbyists and campaign donations have the highest return rate of anything companies can buy. Check out How Much Would It Cost To Buy Congress Back From Special Interests? [zerohedge.com] for some numbers to consider. I also like their suggestion that the required uniform for all lobbyists should be a clown suit.

Re:uhm... (1)

Maximum Prophet (716608) | more than 2 years ago | (#39196319)

Investments in lobbyists and campaign donations have the highest return rate of anything companies can buy. Check out How Much Would It Cost To Buy Congress Back From Special Interests? [zerohedge.com] for some numbers to consider. I also like their suggestion that the required uniform for all lobbyists should be a clown suit.

I like the clown suit idea, but I question the cost effectiveness of lobbying. During the Jack Abramof (sp?) hearings, it was disclosed that he took millions from some Indian tribes, and they got squat. Mostly people just look at the bribery "successes", because that's what gets politicians caught. How many times does a congressperson take some money and delivery nothing of any importance, or "deliver" a vote that would have gone that way anyway?
Can the ROI of lobbying really be measured.

Hahahaha! That's cute :) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39194715)

So the common person still believes they have any say in government?
Nice delusion, keep 'em coming!

pfffff (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39194721)

Sympathetic politicians? Wake me when you find one.

So close. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39194727)

>a site for those technologically and politically inclined to gather ideas...
Aaaaand....
>and eventually submit them to sympathetic politicians.
Swing and a miss.

As one who has tried hyperdemocracy, I like likes (4, Interesting)

GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) | more than 2 years ago | (#39194755)

When I tried to do hyper democracy, I wanted to be like Digg/Reddit, but I wanted factional voting. Factional voting is allowing republicans to view only republican upvotes and democrats to only see democrat upvotes. We had a ton of other features too. This is why we failed. We didn't embrace KISS. By just going with facebook likes, this saves you from writing an entire voting system! This is an eloquent approach. The only problem is a lot of people don't like Facebook. I guess these are tradeoffs.

Another challenge we faced when writing a hyper democracy website was: How do you validate they're a US voter? It could be someone from the Ukraine trying to change politics. Worse yet, it can be a million computer botnet from Nigeria trying to petition congress on something. We couldn't solve this problem in an eloquent fashion. We were going to have people physically sign up at booths across the nation to be validated, but even that doesn't solve stuff. My biggest worry is that if Facebook gets ingrained with politics and identification of people, is that Facebook will be mandatory for those getting political and that lying on Facebook about a fake ID would be a felony down the road.

My hats off to the eloquent interface: Just use Facebook likes instead of your own database. But that can come back to bite you in the long run.

Grammar Nazi break (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 2 years ago | (#39195311)

I'm sorry, but I just have to point out that your use of eloquent is wrong (thrice):

Eloquent: 1. able to express oneself clearly and well. 2. clearly conveying a special meaning. 3. very dignified in form, tone, or style.

Re:Grammar Nazi break (1)

Muad'Dave (255648) | more than 2 years ago | (#39196869)

My guess is that he meant 'elegant'.

This is rather disturbing. (5, Insightful)

sixtyeight (844265) | more than 2 years ago | (#39194765)

So the solution to political corruption is a slew of undifferentiated amateur lawmakers churning out legislation even faster than the public can keep up with?

This smells hideously false flag.

We had a functional system. We need to restore it by reasserting it and enforcing it, not by Monsanto-ing up more bizarre legislation faster than we can track it. One of the underlying problems has always been a decreasing public understanding of the legal models in play. Without resolving that, this approach will only exacerbate it. What publisher solicits books from writers who are illiterate?

Re:This is rather disturbing. (1)

stjobe (78285) | more than 2 years ago | (#39194879)

Undoing bad moderation, disregard.

Re:This is rather disturbing. (1)

Corwn of Amber (802933) | more than 2 years ago | (#39196123)

Exactly.

140 million idiots can't be wrong. THAT is REAL democracy. Direct and total. Oh, and strictly transparent.

NO system is functional until the last and least citizen is allowed to vote and edit the laws they want, and count the votes themselves, and read the source that counts the votes.

Re:This is rather disturbing. (1)

sixtyeight (844265) | more than 2 years ago | (#39199325)

The Union is not a democracy. It was established as a representative republic.

Under a republic, rights are considered given to us by our Maker and intrinsic to us. The government's role, as delegated by us, is to safeguard those rights. To the extent to which it doesn't do that, and certainly to which it violates them itself, it's no longer serving its purpose.

Under a democracy, as you propose, the majority can and do vote themselves the rights out from under the minority. Mob rule. Moreover, there are no major prequalifications to voting - any trainee fry cook, no matter how clueless, can throw in his or her vote. The result is an easily-led crowd, and the media have become highly sophisticated in doing just that. At that point, you have a plutocracy.

Re:This is rather disturbing. (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#39197221)

If we had a functioning system, explain to me the war on drug users. The only way to explain the legal situation around Cannabis is corruption, and it's the same kind of corruption that we're rife with today. Law enforcement (Anslinger) teaming up with industry and media (Hearst) to fear monger the public into supporting policies that don't benefit anyone except the powerful.

No, if we ever had a functioning system Cannabis prohibition would have been recognized as the atrocity it is decades ago.

Re:This is rather disturbing. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39198837)

The only way to explain the legal situation around Cannabis is corruption.

I don't believe in legalizing Cannabis, and I am not corrupt! In fact, I am just another citizen like you probably are. I would guess that the majority - at least outside of California, are against legalization of Cannabis.

However, looking at the broader perspective, I will now contradict myself here to the extent of saying that I am seriously considering legalization of all drugs.

We could bankrupt criminal organizations funded by drug trafficking almost overnight. Of course they would try to turn to other sources of revenue, from kidnapping and extortion down to petty crimes, but it would very disruptive for them, and take them time to adapt. Especially, if we were better prepared than they, we could break their backs.

Once we have broken the backs of the drug traffickers, we could once more criminalize drugs, repeating this cycle as required.

Re:This is rather disturbing. (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#39198993)

Sure you're corrupt. You've been subjected to decades of baseless anti-drug propaganda. There are no arguments for cannabis prohibition that are both well meaning and well informed. None. They simply don't exist. I note that you fail to make one here.

If things like reason and science had any weight in our society, Cannabis would have been decriminalized on the recommendation of the LaGuardia committee almost 70 years ago. This is proof that what's wrong with the US isn't just restricted to the decade since 9/11. It's a deep systemic problem that will require deep systemic solutions.

Re:This is rather disturbing. (1)

sixtyeight (844265) | more than 2 years ago | (#39199431)

If we had a functioning system, explain to me the war on drug users.

Alright.

We had a functioning system. That system has been systematically hacked for the last 200 years. By now, citizens are trained to conflate legislation - that which comes out of a bureaucrat's pen - and law - which must have a proper derivation of authority in order to be valid. In the Union, the People delegate authorities specifically to their political representatives. What had not been delegated to them, they never had.

Instead, we now have politicians purporting to draft any old piece of legislation - such as anti-drug legislation - and the People have been parrot-trained to call it law. It's not. So for instance when Obama signed the NDAA in December, he purported to give himself authorities he didn't already have. The legislation was authorized by him signing it, and he supposedly received authority from that legislation - a closed loop of authority. See what I mean?

Typically, in order for me to give something to myself or anyone else, I must first have it to give already. I suppose I could take it from someone else, but that would just make me a criminal. When politicians do this, the term is usurpation.

The People are supposed to have a basic comprehension of these things. It's only because they don't that politicians have been getting away with it.

Re:This is rather disturbing. (1)

WhyNotAskMe (2571885) | more than 2 years ago | (#39197951)

This is just the sort of thing we have been vigorously advocating at WhyNotAskMe.org [whynotaskme.org]

To quote from our manifesto, "Given the opportunity, people are quite capable of working things out among themselves and coming to consensus. Crowd source the question, then leverage the wisdom of the crowd. Politicians are skilled at discerning the will of the people when their attention is properly focused and they are encouraged to do so. We must give them that encouragement and focus, by whatever means we have at our disposal."

Dare we believe this was inspired by our manifesto?

I heard nothing of this organization until now. Apparently Harold Feld is the inspiration behind Internet Blueprint, and this site [ssrc.org] says...

Harold Feld is legal director of Public Knowledge. Until 2009, he was Senior Vice President of the Media Access Project (MAP), a non-profit, public interest telecommunications law firm that promotes the public's First Amendment right to hear and be heard on the electronic media of today and tomorrow. An activist lawyer, he received his B.A. from Princeton University his J.D. from Boston University Law School. Haroldjoined MAP in August 1999 after practicing communications, Internet, and energy law at Covington & Burling. He also served as co-chair of the Federal Communications Bar Association's Online Committee and has written numerous articles on Internet law and communications policy for trade publications and legal journals. Harold has clerked for the Hon. John M. Ferren of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals.

We know nothing of any substance about his organization beyond a superficial glance. It can take quite some times for a person's motives and connections to become clear, but in the meantime mere discussion can do no harm.

The difficulty with the campaigns against SOPA and PIPA was that they attacked provisions in these proposals, rather than the entire process. Then proponents of those bills were able to parry and thrust with slogans such as "If you are against SOPA, then you are in favour of piracy!". Our manifesto was constructed in such a way as to be invulnerable to attack, because it takes no stand on what shape copyright reforms should take beyond the most obvious need. Instead, it merely advocates for democratization of copyright laws. At first it was thought there is no way to attack it. We could say to the critics, If you are against it, you are against democracy.

However, there is a way to attack it. We must be on eternal guard for some group that would attempt to co-opt it and pre-empt it.

Until we find reason not to, we applaud the efforts of Internet Blueprint. It is exactly the kind of thing we hope to inspire. However, just because this group is out there, it doesn't mean there isn't room for more. We would like to see groups like this spring up all over the internet, and vigorous discussions taking place everywhere.

In the end, our political representative have time-tested methods of discerning the will of the people, by employing a broad range of tools from Gallop poles, town hall meetings, down to feedback from the constituencies. There is no need to invent new unproven mechanisms if there is goodwill on the part of our elected representatives.

The Director,

WhyNotAskMe.org

Amendmant (1)

WhyNotAskMe (2571885) | more than 2 years ago | (#39198383)

I said "We must be on eternal guard for some group that would attempt to co-opt it and pre-empt it.", but I should have added for nefarious purpose. I thought my intent would be obvious at the time of writing, then later realized in horror that it could have been misconstrued.

Crowdsourced = Majority rule (4, Insightful)

jbov (2202938) | more than 2 years ago | (#39194799)

Crowdsourcing proposed laws will not work. The laws that reach congress will not respect the rights of minorities.

I'll provide gay marriage as a non-digital example. Majority rule would determine gay marriage to be illegal, based on the most recent surveys. That does not protect the rights of the minority of people prefer to enter into a same-sex marriage.

Here is an easier example: Joe from Juniper bought and owns 100 acres of land. The other 9 residents of Juniper have only 1/2 acre of land each. A crowdsourced bill may be introduced requiring Joe to divide his land evenly among the other residents. It is likely everyone except Joe will vote up the up. While the bill may accurately express the desires of the majority of Juniper residents, a law requiring Joe to surrender his land would be wrong.

Re:Crowdsourced = Majority rule (3, Insightful)

Tastecicles (1153671) | more than 2 years ago | (#39194833)

it's a better system than one we currently have, where the vast minority rule.

Re:Crowdsourced = Majority rule (0)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 2 years ago | (#39194859)

First of all, I don't think the bill to take Joe's land would actually pass. People generally aren't that greedy. Somewhat ironically, greedy 1%-ers will claim that the rest of us just want to unjustly take their money, but I doubt you'll find many non-straw-based people who actually want such a thing. A lot of people think that they should pay at least as high a percentage as a middle class person, but very few people seriously argue for a return to the 80+% top marginal tax rates of the mid-20th century.

At any rate, crowdsourcing proposed laws doesn't mean that you don't still have a legislature. Many states have initiative and referendum systems, but they all still have traditional representative democracy alongside such systems. Why not crowdsource the drafting of a law and them submit it by initiative?

Re:Crowdsourced = Majority rule (2)

jbov (2202938) | more than 2 years ago | (#39194933)

First of all, I don't think the bill to take Joe's land would actually pass.

That depends on how hard times got in the small farming village. Maybe it wasn't the best example, but the point was there. The same-sex marriage example requires no speculation. The majority of people polled in the USA consistently stated that same-sex marriage should be illegal. It doesn't make such a law fair.

At any rate, crowdsourcing proposed laws doesn't mean that you don't still have a legislature.

I realized this when I made the post. That's why I said "The laws that reach congress" in the first paragraph. So, even if the laws wouldn't pass. It would be a tremendous waste of time.

The fact is, that those possessing high intelligence, problem solving skills, and fairness are a minority. Outside of this little slashdot bubble, the majority of people are not capable of understanding problems, let alone solving them. They are incapable of making good decisions for themselves, let alone making decisions for everyone.

Re:Crowdsourced = Majority rule (1)

hedpe2003 (1735078) | more than 2 years ago | (#39197915)

The fact is, that those possessing high intelligence, problem solving skills, and fairness are a minority. Outside of this little slashdot bubble, the majority of people are not capable of understanding problems, let alone solving them. They are incapable of making good decisions for themselves, let alone making decisions for everyone

"And thats why you should vote ME for president"

Ah bullocks. The 'most people are dumb besides the ones I agree with' argument is nonsense. When concerning same sex marriage, when you combine those in favor of full marriage and those in favor of civil unions, it is definately the majority. So your issue is that you want a no-compromise approach, and you're not getting the support you desire? I'm for same sex marriage, but I wouldn't want to pass it now, in a divided country where we can barely even get a "our government will pay its debts" legislation passed (which is caused by a MINORITY opinion influence). The entire focus of the conversation would shift to gay marriage, instead of the most pressing issues we have today - and I'm not willing to sacrifice that. Make some progress - and then move on. That's what majority opinion says - and that is FAR from suppressing rights.

Re:Crowdsourced = Majority rule (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39197847)

"...high a percentage as a middle class person, but very few people seriously argue for a return to the 80+% top marginal tax rates of the mid-20th century."

(but very few people) I submit that the vast majority of citizens would want a return to the time when taxes were more proportionate - when there truly was a large middle-class, small lower-class and small elite-class, this I submit would be much more preferable to the current large lower-class, (almost non-existant) middle-class, and small ultra-elite class. This was a much more workable society, and fairer, when rish and corporations actually paid their share and what they could afford. "But, I have no money..." is the cry of the rich man from the beginning of time... if the rich have so little money, let them experience what we the poor consider "no money"

Re:Crowdsourced = Majority rule (1)

Shotgun (30919) | more than 2 years ago | (#39198633)

You're joking right? Have you not listened to ANY of the speeches coming from the President of these various united states? Have you not seen the statistics where fully half of the people don't pay any income tax, or the polls that show that 2/3rds of the people think that the "rich" should be responsible for paying off our national debt? Have you ignored all the Slashdot conversations where apologists for the moochers jumps to the fore to defend them whenever an intimation that everyone should pay their fair share of taxes?

Given half a chance, the 9 would not only take Joe's land, they'd require him to till it for him first!

Re:Crowdsourced = Majority rule (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39194957)

Crowd sourcing is irrelevant. What happened to joe is called progressive taxation, and we have that right now.
Oppression of minorities is a fundamental problem with democracy. The courts are supposed to counterbalance the masses and prevent the worst of it. They have a mixed record on that. They've stood up for gays and (sometimes) blacks, but progressive taxation still stands, and 70% rates stood for 50 years before reagan.

Re:Crowdsourced = Majority rule (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39195001)

If the majority of people want gay marriage to be illegal, shouldn't that be the case then?

Surely a democracy SHOULD be based on the will of the PEOPLE, not of a few.

Maybe dividing Joes property will be the best, for the community. (although, I reckon that such decisions might happen early on but will change once people realize that they are being stupid)

Re:Crowdsourced = Majority rule (1)

MysteriousPreacher (702266) | more than 2 years ago | (#39195741)

This is why we have constitutions and similar documents that provide protections against the mob. We also separate government in to various branches that should, at least in the US, prevent a populist movement in any one branch from doing something batshit crazy, such as banning fat people from wearing tight clothing. Unfortunately progress can be a little slow - such as with the shameful persistence of racial segregation well in to the 60s and 70s.

Re:Crowdsourced = Majority rule (1)

Shotgun (30919) | more than 2 years ago | (#39198683)

That is also why we have a federal system. So that people of like mind can live separately if they so choose.

Re:Crowdsourced = Majority rule (1)

alienzed (732782) | more than 2 years ago | (#39195007)

Would that law really be wrong though? What makes Joe so special that he should have more than everyone else? The fact that he had more money? I thought that was exactly the sort of problem we were trying to solve these days...

Re:Crowdsourced = Majority rule (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39196043)

The fact that he did something that a lot of other people wanted (and couldn't or wouldn't do themselves) and so he got a lot of money from them and of course gets to keep it (in this case in the form of land). Why would Joe do anything if the others could just come and take it away in any case? Rationally he'd just stop providing anything to anyone and spare himself the ordeal (or more likely, relocate to a better place).

Re:Crowdsourced = Majority rule (1)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#39195355)

This is not direct democracy but a platform where everyone can propose bills. You can't vote on the Internet as there is no way to verify identity.

Re:Crowdsourced = Majority rule (1)

sohmc (595388) | more than 2 years ago | (#39196207)

I was thinking about this and I think parts of your argument are true, but some not so.

In your example, Juniper residents had a direct democracy. This is not the case. The fault of The Internet Blueprint (and the folks that code it) is that their mechanism for churning out the bills is a "direct democracy" (quotes since it's not a form of government). Minorities still have recourse (as minimial as it may be) through their congressman and senators.

I think the Internet Blueprint is a novel idea. But it really won't get much traction until politicians stop worrying about re-election.

Re:Crowdsourced = Majority rule (1)

brit74 (831798) | more than 2 years ago | (#39199237)

I disagree with the outcomes of both of your examples.

Regarding gay marriage: it would be legalized in some states and not legal in other states. The polls I've seen has approval of gay marriage somewhere around 50% in the US. Obviously, more liberal states would be higher than 50% and more conservative states would drop below 50%. In the longer term, more and more states would approval gay marriage because there's been a clear trend towards accepting gay marriage over time. Older Americans remain the most opposed and younger Americans are the most in favor - so you can see where this trend is going and what happens as new generations enter voting age and older voters die off. If I remember correctly, approval was something like 10% around 1980. That's a 40% increase in the past 30 years, which is another indicator of which way the trend is heading. (This is also why Republicans will eventually have to stop fighting gay marriage: they're losing the battle a little more each year.)

Article: For First Time, Majority of Americans Favor Legal Gay Marriage; Republicans and older Americans remain opposed (May 20, 2011)
http://www.gallup.com/poll/147662/first-time-majority-americans-favor-legal-gay-marriage.aspx [gallup.com]

Regarding Joe from Juniper: the only reason Joe would be forced to surrender his land is if the other residents are voting purely from a position of selfish greed. I think most people would be a little more generous to their fellow residents. If Joe is seen as having unfairly acquired the land or is some kind of horrible Ebenezer Scrooge type person, then maybe I could see things going the other way.

Sigh.... (1)

Jakester2K (612607) | more than 2 years ago | (#39194855)

Oh fer cryin' out loud. Would someone please find a link to Tim Stryker's Superdemocracy and forward it to PK before someone tries to patent this idea? I'm too tired right now.

Website's font is terrible. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39194857)

The font used on that website is terrible on the eyes.

My Platform Would Never Fly (4, Interesting)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 2 years ago | (#39194877)

Putting copyright back to its original length and carefully wording patent law to disallow software and business process patents or anything else that isn't an actual physical single-purpose machine. Explicitly stating that corporations are not people and may be regulated as the government sees fits. Explicitly stating that corruption and fraud are not protected free speech. Explicitly stating that corruption and subversion of our democratic process by plutocrats is not free speech and will not be tolerated. Explicitly stating that no man or entity is above the law (Looking at you, insider-trading Congressmen and Geneva-convention violating executives.)

After that some attention would need to be turned to carefully dismantling the mechanisms the two political parties have put in place to insure that no other party rises to power, and the mechanisms the very rich have managed to get written into law to insure that they remain very rich at the expense of everyone else. If we have to go back to banking and moneylending being sinful, that's fine with me. Lets start actually creating actual things again as the main value driver of our economy.

I don't suppose any of that would be very popular in Washington. And if I ever managed to run and get elected on such a platform I'm sure that Washington would corrupt me just like it's corrupted every other fresh-faced freshman ever to set foot in the place. Must be something in the water.

Re:My Platform Would Never Fly (1)

Corbets (169101) | more than 2 years ago | (#39195035)

Explicitly stating that corporations are not people and may be regulated as the government sees fits.

So you'd replace one evil with another? That sounds like a system hideously open to abuse.... you definitely need more controls on government to make that work.

Re:My Platform Would Never Fly (2)

KiloByte (825081) | more than 2 years ago | (#39195087)

Putting copyright back to its original length

ie, 0. I like that!

Re:My Platform Would Never Fly (1)

brit74 (831798) | more than 2 years ago | (#39199385)

As much as I would fear that voting would be won by short-sighted idiots who want a zero-year copyright, I am heartened by the fact that the large majority of Americans are in opposition to that kind of nonsense.

"A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 67% of Likely U.S. Voters agree that someone who downloads a movie online without paying for it is stealing from the company that made the film. Eighteen percent (18%) do not view this free downloading as theft. Fifteen percent (15%) are not sure."
http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/general_politics/january_2012/ [rasmussenreports.com] 71_see_government_censorship_of_internet_as_ bigger_threat_than_illegal_downloading
(I had to put two spaces in the URL because Slashdot wouldn't allow long URLs like that.)

Re:My Platform Would Never Fly (1)

mdenham (747985) | more than 2 years ago | (#39195099)

...and carefully wording patent law to disallow ... anything ... that isn't an actual physical single-purpose machine.

In other words, if someone develops multiple new concepts all in a single machine - as a massively out-there example without the intent of conveying any sort of stereotype, a faster-than-light propulsion system that also provides radiation shielding - they shouldn't be able to patent it unless they can separate it into its individual components to operate on their own.

While I have no problem with the portion I skipped over in that first sentence (processes shouldn't be patentable, and I consider software patents to be a subcase of process patents), the idea that something with multiple uses shouldn't be patentable unless each of its individual uses can be made to stand on its own just rubs me the wrong way a bit.

I'd settle for reducing that last bit to "...that isn't an actual physical machine that has at least one unpatented purpose." And then improving the checks for prior art, because that's where the other weak point in the patent system is.

Re:My Platform Would Never Fly (2)

Amouth (879122) | more than 2 years ago | (#39196107)

I'd settle for reducing that last bit to "...that isn't an actual physical machine that has at least one unpatented purpose." And then improving the checks for prior art, because that's where the other weak point in the patent system is.

in that case the patent should only be for the "one un-patented purpose" else you will end up with the same things being patented over and over and over just in different context.. think back to the shear number of patents that exist now that have prior art outside the net but where re-patented by adding "on the web" or "in a network" things that are a natural progression of an idea.. Patents where meant for things that are non obvious. by allowing you to just tack a new way of using an existing invention and patenting it is allowing people to patent and lock others out of the natural evolution of ideas.

Re:My Platform Would Never Fly (1)

Requiem18th (742389) | more than 2 years ago | (#39195377)

I'd vote for you if that helps you...

Re:My Platform Would Never Fly (2)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 2 years ago | (#39196993)

The ideal would be a constitutional amendment. We'd have to word it very carefully and smartly and then make it good enough so that a whole bunch of people can rally around it.

The second method prescribed is for a Constitutional Convention to be called by two-thirds of the legislatures of the States, and for that Convention to propose one or more amendments. These amendments are then sent to the states to be approved by three-fourths of the legislatures or conventions. This route has never been taken, and there is discussion in political science circles about just how such a convention would be convened, and what kind of changes it would bring about.

http://www.usconstitution.net/constam.html [usconstitution.net]

We'd need to ball up all of the major issues in how we've been screwed over into one megaamendment and get it ratified so as not to give politicians the opportunity to tear it apart.

Do note that the above process - the one that has never been used - can completely bypass the federal government in its entirety.

I'd also throw in something about how interstate commerce shouldn't let the Fed reach over state lines like they've been doing, and how about some laws repealing the whole "drugs r bad mmkay" thing we got going here?

Re:My Platform Would Never Fly (1)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 2 years ago | (#39198541)

Funnily enough I don't think the forcibly repealing prohibition thing would fly. We got some medical marijuana laws here in Colorado and since then various towns have been banning dispensaries left and right. Seems that at least 51% of the people were fine with medical marijuana, just not in their back yard.

Crowdsource all not only digital (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39194889)

Why deal with digital laws only? Time and technology are ripe for the citizens to compose their own laws. Enough with represantative bs.

LOL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39194895)

This is the funniest thing i've read this month. By far.

You are a completely deluded fool if you think any 'crowdsourced' laws will ever even be considered... We're not all lobbyists throwing money at politicians..
THAT'S how laws get passed. Not common sense and good ideas.

Now if you perhaps wanted to start a fund we could donate to so we can bribe (lobby) politicians ourselves... That might actually work. If we could give them enough.
But even then you're competing aginst very wealthy businesses who can come up with far more money and perks than we can.

Thanks for the laugh. Blueprint for laughter. And an excellent example of how clueless people really are. Hilarious. In a pretty depressing way.

Easy (1)

Grindalf (1089511) | more than 2 years ago | (#39194915)

Easy, here's your tort: "Copying stuff is allowed - sell boxes in the supermarket with no licence agreement, copy protect or number. Anyone who forces online registration will be written off!" :0)

Major thinking flaw (3, Insightful)

vikingpower (768921) | more than 2 years ago | (#39194963)

There is a major flaw in the thought framework underlying the entire initiative - which is, BTW, excellent and a nice illustration of the principle "if you can't beat 'em, embrace 'em" - IMHO: the idea is totally US-centric, In the minds of the initiators, law-making = US law.making = US Congress. As a European I vehemently protest. So would most Asians, who form by far the most numerous subset of internet users.

QFD.

Create a large number of thoughtful advocates (2)

beachdog (690633) | more than 2 years ago | (#39195119)

What the Internet Blueprint project needs to do is create single draft law with supporting documentation. The draft needs hundreds of qualified voting advocates in all 50 of the United States.

The question put to people seeking elective office needs to be "Are you for it or against it?" In every race, the advocates for a sane reform of copyright and patent law need to educate each candidate and get each candidate to answer "Yes or no" whether they will vote for the measure in Congress. The hundreds of advocates need to use the answers they hear to affect who is elected in their district.

Representatives serve for 2 years and Senators serve in three staggered groups for 6 years. November 2012 is the deadline date to have a draft law that can be used as an election litmus test. In 2012, only 1/3 of the Senate will have faced the "For it or against it?" question. By 2014, 2/3 of Senate. By 2016 all of the Senate.

The "For it or Against it" approach requires the draft law and the supporting documentation to meet a high standard of fairness. The balance struck needs a quality economic analysis.

The law may be inspired by thinking from distinct ideological backgrounds (like Linux open source was) but the proposal should not be of a distinct political tone. But there is nothing wrong in giving it a distinct name like: "The American intellectual freedom advancement and copyright and patent revenue balancing Act."

I think we should look for some kind of folding motion to create a relationship where the rights holders and users both benefit, (like automatic, cheap, easy, non-cumulative, distributive and time limited patent licenses.) The present system of building cartels and charging all the market will bear and stealing designs and secrets is a sleazy combative mess. A change in the licensing system will definitely need a quality economic analysis.

This does not leave room for freedom (1)

Memroid (898199) | more than 2 years ago | (#39195247)

Unless these laws only specify rights, and not restrictions, then creating laws will only create further restrictions on freedom.

Let freedom be access to all values in a set. Let a law define a subset of freedom. Laws do not define additional freedom, but rather restrict it. If laws are added continuously, without removing laws, you are left with the intersection of all of these laws, which will get narrower and narrower (smaller subset). Advocating the creation of laws should be frowned upon. We should advocate the removal of laws and addition of rights.

Iceland (5, Informative)

Orphis (1356561) | more than 2 years ago | (#39195273)

That's exactly what's happening in Iceland ! After the 2008 crisis, the people didn't want to pay for the banks to be saved. Then they forced the government to leave and ditch the current consittution. Now, they are not just writing laws, they are writing a whole new crowdsourced constitution !

They selected a few people who are in charge of making the new constitution, and then everybody can comment on what they propose on FB, Twitter, on their website... When it makes sense, they merge the suggestions into the draft and iterate again.

And in the end, the new constitution will have to be accepted in a referendum and the "government" won't be able to change it. This is really "for the people, by the people" !
And it's not a surprise that our leaders (in any country you could live in) don't talk about it...
 

I don't wonder. (2, Insightful)

Ramin_HAL9001 (1677134) | more than 2 years ago | (#39195511)

Do you wonder why we the people don't propose our own laws, rather than just react whenever these bills slouch toward Congress to be born?

No, I DO NOT wonder why people don't do this. How can you ensure a democracy if everyone participating is anonymous? How can you ensure that one person has exactly one vote? How do you prevent criminals from influencing policy by voting hundreds of times for their own laws?

As it is now, wealthy people can make any laws they want, but it still requires the complicated process of bribing elected law makers with high-paying consulting jobs. If you take money out of the equation, anyone who figures out how to game your voting system will easily pass any laws they want by simply creating a huge number of sock-puppet voters.

I hate how money, rather than common sense and compromise, has more influence over law, but a digital democracy simply won't work unless you can uniquely identify voters with sensitive personal data which no one wants (nor should they have to) provide to anyone anyway.

Fails to address the problem. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39195763)

The real problem is that democracy as currently practiced in the West simply does not work.

Elections are not free as you need massive amounts of cash to participate and have to be selected by a party. Combined together this has effectively captured representation to a narrow band of individuals from a particular social class who are wholly subject to unseen paymasters.

A far better system would be that individuals that wish to volunteer to represent their county/state/fiefdom would register their interest. A random lottery style draw would then take place to pick several representatives from each county/state/fiefdom.

This would hopefully produce a legislature free from entrenched vested interests and produce a broad enough spectrum of views that it would produce an actual representative legislature.

Yes such a legislature would contain fruitloops.

Yes it would be messy.

But it would be *infinitely preferable* to the utterly failed, unrepresentative system(s) we have now.

And finally everyone has a chance of having their voice heard.

How Cute (1)

n30na (1525807) | more than 2 years ago | (#39196019)

People thinking they can affect the government.

In all seriousness though, as good as an idea as something like this is, I don't really see it getting too much done.

Knowledge is nothing (1)

jirikivaari (2468926) | more than 2 years ago | (#39196095)

Without accountability.

When we dont endorse a law we like the way things (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39197015)

are now better than what is being preposed.
We might need one new law per century not law writing 24 hrs a day 365 days a year for hundreds of years we been at it over 200 years its coll we got enough.
If you keep at it much longer even computers wont be able to figure out what they all are or mean. even the supreme court cant agree now what they mean.
Its a bit foolish.

this could never be abused (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39197103)

No, online crowd sourcing for bills could never be taken advantage of. Never have unintended consequences.
Golly

Is it Chrome? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39197497)

Maybe it's Chrome, but that website is very visually unappealing.

That's congress job (1)

gr8_phk (621180) | more than 2 years ago | (#39197861)

How about if the elected folks actually try writing some laws instead of "introducing legislation" written up by industry. That's what they're supposed to be doing right? Take input from everyone, figure out (not be told) how to tweak things to make the country better, write up a bill, build consensus and get it passed. They're currently introducing some 200 bills per month because it's industry writing them, not the "law makers". It's no longer just lobbying but "here get this passed for me".

They should have revision control with public read-access. That way we could see who's making the edits.

Re:That's congress job (1)

Shotgun (30919) | more than 2 years ago | (#39198831)

How about (at least at the Federal level) the bills are required to state which part of the Constitution gives Congress the power to pass the bill? That would get rid of most of them.

You can't do it right (1)

jdavidb (449077) | more than 2 years ago | (#39198411)

Wouldn't you like a place where you and a few like-minded amateur lawmakers could get together and do it right?

We already tried that. The result was Congress.

The problem is that one group thinks they know how to "do it right" and wants to impose their vision of right on others. That will always be the problem with this idea. That was the problem in 1789, and that is going to be a problem with this proposal today.

For some stimulating thinking about law, read Whatever Happened to Justice? by Richard Mayberry.

Re:You can't do it right (1)

TankSpanker04 (1266400) | more than 2 years ago | (#39199343)

Wouldn't you like a place where you and a few like-minded amateur lawmakers could get together and do it right?

We already tried that. The result was Congress.

Yes, our federal Congress. But there are other legislative bodies that have taken the career income incentive out of the equation, such as New Hampshire. Their state senators make $100/yr (not a typo -- one hundred dollars per year) and it has been that way for nearly a century. Compare to California where the average salary was over $113k (as of 2007).

If we take the pay incentive away from career politicians you're left with those who actually care about their constituency -- otherwise they have no other reason to be there.

Sources:
http://ballotpedia.org/wiki/index.php/New_Hampshire_State_Senate#Salaries [ballotpedia.org]
http://www.empirecenter.org/html/legislative_salaries.cfm [empirecenter.org]
http://freestateproject.org/ [freestateproject.org]

really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39199911)

most sane well adjusted rational human beings would never have the sociopathic narcissism required to want to make laws that have drastic and negative impacts on millions of people they have never met.. making laws is just creating new reasons to point guns at people, steal their property or put them in cages

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