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Bill of Rights for the Digital Age

Soulskill posted more than 6 years ago | from the how-about-a-declaration-of-independence dept.

Privacy 164

diewlasing writes "Since we are living in a world where the need is growing for privacy measures and rights to use emerging technology, it seems to me that state governments should adopt a bill of rights regarding internet privacy, use of technology and speech on the internet. For example: make it illegal to allow ISPs to release personal information to anyone who wants it. Now, obviously, that's not the only issue. If you were asked by your state government to come up with a bill of rights for internet privacy, technology use, and free speech regarding the internet and emerging technologies, what would you include? Many things are covered (here in the US) under the Bill of Rights in the Constitution, but it seems to me that, these days, people with enough money can disregard this. Perhaps the states might find it a good idea to enshrine rights into law."

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So? (5, Insightful)

dazedNconfuzed (154242) | more than 6 years ago | (#22679332)

The Constitution's Bill of Rights doesn't stop legislators from infringing on rights, so what's to think a new one would do any better?

Re:So? (5, Insightful)

flaming error (1041742) | more than 6 years ago | (#22679676)

Doesn't stop legislators? The current Executive branch uses the Bill of Rights to wipe its collective arse. And if the legislature passes something it doesn't like, bothersome parts are flagrantly disregarded by "signing statements."

Laws only work if there's someone to enforce them. The inherent checks and balances of the three governmental branches are supposed to do that. But we've replaced the framers' three branches with just two: republicans and democrats. And they both blow smoke up our butts while doing whatever the hell they want.

Re:So? (4, Insightful)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 6 years ago | (#22680060)

This is a public service announcement
With guitar
Know your rights all three of them

Number 1
You have the right not to be killed
Murder is a CRIME!
Unless it was done by a
Policeman or aristocrat
Know your rights

And Number 2
You have the right to food money
Providing of course you
Don't mind a little
Investigation, humiliation
And if you cross your fingers
Rehabilitation

Know your rights
These are your rights
Wang

Know these rights

Number 3
You have the right to free
Speech as long as you're not
Dumb enough to actually try it.

Know your rights
These are your rights
All three of 'em
It has been suggested
In some quarters that this is not enough!
Well...

Get off the streets
Get off the streets
Run
You don't have a home to go to
Smush

Finally then I will read you your rights

You have the right to remain silent
You are warned that anything you say
Can and will be taken down
And used as evidence against you

Listen to this
Run

Re:So? (3, Insightful)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22680664)

The Legislative branch passed the Bono act, despite the fact that the Constitution says "for limited times". The President (Clinton IIRC) signed it, despite the fact that the Constitution says "for limited times". The Supreme Court ruled that "limited" means whatever the other two branches want it to mean.

Since this is the case, it logically follows that your car can be searched without a warrant. I said more about it here [kuro5hin.org] a few years ago, and again here [slashdot.org] a couple of months ago.

Not that anybody ever listens to me...

Re:So? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22681074)

Wow. I just read your slashdot journal entry. Sounds like you have interesting friends and an adventurous life.

I think we're tending towards a police state, too. But I'm not sure if your examples are the best way to prove it. I can see how your driving crack whores to a house in the ghetto might make cops suspicious. And if the neighbors called the cops on a woman you took into your house, I think it was reasonable for the cops to go to your house. Whether they're allowed to look in your garage while they are there, IANAL and I don't know, but it doesn't seem that outrageous to me.

What does seem outrageous to me is the gov't doing blanket surveillance on the entire citizenry, and snooping into every packet on the internet.

Re:So? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22681118)

...as did the Clinton Administration... as did the Bush Sr., Reagan, Carter, Ford, Nixon, LBJ, JFK... well, you get the point.

Power corrupts. Full Stop. Creating another "Bill of Rights" would do nothing to change it.

And to the OP, seriously, you really think the government is going to GIVE us more rights? The Bill of Rights, the real one, tells us what we can expect from our Government. Every law since then has been created to restrict what we can do, not expand it. This new "Internet Bill Of Rights" would end up a) being impossible to enforce since State's laws don't cross state lines, b) Be a waste of time, and c) Be restrictive and limiting, not expanding.

How about we get around to repealing a lot of the "Think of the Children" and other nanny-state crap our legislatures have come up. THAT would be a better movement I would get behind.

Re:So? (5, Informative)

Hatta (162192) | more than 6 years ago | (#22681156)

The inherent checks and balances of the three governmental branches are supposed to do that. But we've replaced the framers' three branches with just two: republicans and democrats.

Don't you mean one branch?

Re:So? (1)

servognome (738846) | more than 6 years ago | (#22681890)

Laws only work if there's someone to enforce them. The inherent checks and balances of the three governmental branches are supposed to do that. But we've replaced the framers' three branches with just two: republicans and democrats. And they both blow smoke up our butts while doing whatever the hell they want.
This arguement has been made for 200+ years, nothing new to see...

Re:So? (2, Insightful)

WK2 (1072560) | more than 6 years ago | (#22679682)

My thoughts exactly. This post reminds me of the congressmen who say, "I'm going to do something about identity theft by making more laws!" We're having enough trouble keeping our current Bill of Rights. What good would another Bill of Rights do that basically says the same thing?

Re:So? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22679912)

Yes it does. How many laws have been reversed because they were found to be unconstitutional?

Is it perfect, no. But it is effective. It also takes time to work. Law is far more deliberative than the legislative process.

The things that do slip buy the system must be corrected by the people via elections. (Prohibition comes to mind.)

Re:So? (5, Insightful)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 6 years ago | (#22681230)

How many laws have been reversed because they were found to be unconstitutional?

More to the point, how many have not, and how many people have been harmed by this?

How long has it been since the meaning of the commerce clause was inverted? How long since they began passing ex post facto laws? How long since the right to keep and carry arms has been infringed? How long have they been carrying on a war against people's personal, consensual choices? When we start talking about periods of fifty years, you've lost me on that whole "it takes time to work." Unacceptable.

My feeling is that if the system can't correct itself over a matter of decades, then the potential for harm by rogue laws (and rogue lawmakers, and rogue enforcers) is far too great. From this, I conclude that the system itself is thoroughly broken. It is not acceptable for people to be harmed by congress, the executive, and the courts exerting powers they have no authority to exert.

Also - in a system where the government is allowed to hide who is harmed by their various out of bounds, unauthorized infliction of rogue legislation, it is not acceptable to have to demonstrate harm to one's self. If that is to be the standard, then the law in question MUST be completely transparent in its application. This whole "You can't challenge phone / wire / network taps because you can't show you've been tapped because the government won't say" is a complete and utter line of nonsense.

The US legal system is being managed by criminals. Who says so? The constitution says so.

Simple Amendment (2, Interesting)

maz2331 (1104901) | more than 6 years ago | (#22680656)

Maybe an amendment specifying that infringing on rights is treason?

Re: Bill of Rights (1)

jchart (689915) | more than 6 years ago | (#22681948)

individuals should be vested with a property right in information about themselves. A properly motivated judge could probably find this in the penumbras of the present Bill of Rights, but nobody has deep enough pockets to pursue it in the courts against all the vested interests. Better for a legislator to introduce a bill affirming it.

NO! (4, Insightful)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 6 years ago | (#22679348)

Perhaps the states might find it a good idea to enshrine rights into law."

Bullshit! The minute they do that, it opens the door for some scumbag politician's power play denying that people possess a right because it's not explicitly enumerated. That's why the bill of rights wasn't written that way in the first fucking place!

Re:NO! (4, Insightful)

Chandon Seldon (43083) | more than 6 years ago | (#22679512)

Bullshit! The minute they do that, it opens the door for some scumbag politician's power play denying that people possess a right because it's not explicitly enumerated. That's why the bill of rights wasn't written that way in the first fucking place!

Whereas without such a document the politician would deny people *any* rights because there's no reason to think people have rights.

Consider the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Most of the world blatantly ignores it, but it serves an important purpose - it gives us something to point at as a reference point for which rights are basic and universal.

Getting back to the US Bill of Rights, it's not that we would have a right to Privacy if no rights were enumerated, it's that we would have no right to Bear Arms is they weren't.

Re:NO! (2, Informative)

jZnat (793348) | more than 6 years ago | (#22679624)

No, the issue with the ability to bear arms is that if it wasn't enumerated in the US Constitution as such, the ability to bear arms could be made illegal and could only be changed by more legislation repealing said acts. As such, the courts wouldn't be able to knock down the law as unconstitutional, and the executive should have to enforce the law as part of their duty.

Re:NO! (1)

Chandon Seldon (43083) | more than 6 years ago | (#22679804)

I'm not seeing how your post is a negative response to my post.

Re:NO! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22680062)

I think that it's really odd that people can claim to be strict constructionists and still pretend like we have a right to bear firearms which is an inalienable right.

That's because the purpose of the 2nd amendment wasn't to guarantee firearms, but to guarantee that the people had the right to form militias and appropriate weapons to arm the militias.

Re:NO! (3, Insightful)

radarjd (931774) | more than 6 years ago | (#22680230)

That's because the purpose of the 2nd amendment wasn't to guarantee firearms, but to guarantee that the people had the right to form militias and appropriate weapons to arm the militias.

The 2nd amendment states: A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

It's a statement that's somewhat difficult to parse in modern English, but I don't think it says precisely what you're implying. The basis for the amendment is the US was a colony of Great Britain born of an armed rebellion. The authors of the Bill of Rights recognized that a tyrannical government will do what it can to ensure it remains in power. One of those means is to ensure people cannot defend themselves by strength of arms. The second amendment was meant to prevent the government from removing that ability from the people. People might say in the US that no firearms possessed by citizens could defeat the US army, which I agree with. However, armed insurgencies with little in the way of technology or firepower have done very well destabilizing and toppling governments even in the face of the technological might of the US.

Basically, I think the amendment, even to a strict constructionist, doesn't allow the federal government to prevent people from owning firearms. I think it's a better question as to whether states may do so.

Re:NO! (3, Interesting)

radarjd (931774) | more than 6 years ago | (#22680276)

Bah, I hit submit too fast. Anyhow, I wanted to add that I'd like to see an updated "Bill of Rights" include encryption as a sort of firearm. It's protection against a corrupt and tyrannical regime, much like a firearm.

Re:NO! (2, Insightful)

Cajun Hell (725246) | more than 6 years ago | (#22681868)

Well, RSA was considered a munition, after all.

Re:NO! (1)

ZiakII (829432) | more than 6 years ago | (#22682022)

The second amendment was meant to prevent the government from removing that ability from the people. People might say in the US that no firearms possessed by citizens could defeat the US army, which I agree with. However, armed insurgencies with little in the way of technology or firepower have done very well destabilizing and toppling governments even in the face of the technological might of the US.

Yes, but if things ever got that bad I would think the troops would not turn a blind eye and shoot their fellow countrymen. The US Army is not some robotic army that does the biddings of its masters, and would join the other side if things came down to it. Then again maybe I'm being optimistic...

Re:NO! (2, Insightful)

computational super (740265) | more than 6 years ago | (#22682170)

I'm pretty sure that was the final (mistaken) belief of every failed revolutionary throughout all of history.

Re:NO! (1)

The Aethereal (1160051) | more than 6 years ago | (#22680274)

it gives us something to point at as a reference point for which rights are basic and universal.
Like "periodic holidays with pay" and to "enjoy the arts"? WTF were they thinking?

Unenumerated rights. (1)

Lilith's Heart-shape (1224784) | more than 6 years ago | (#22679536)

Bullshit! The minute they do that, it opens the door for some scumbag politician's power play denying that people possess a right because it's not explicitly enumerated. That's why the bill of rights wasn't written that way in the first fucking place!
You're right, but let's be honest: the Ninth Amendment doesn't stop authoritarian politicians from pulling that "it's not in the Constitution so you don't have that right" bullshit. As evidence, I offer a quote from former Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA): "It all comes from, I would argue, this right to privacy that doesn't exist in my opinion in the United States Constitution, this right that was created, it was created in Griswold -- Griswold was the contraceptive case -- and abortion."

Re:Unenumerated rights. (1)

Gospodin (547743) | more than 6 years ago | (#22681236)

The Ninth Amendment doesn't say that all rights not mentioned in the Constitution are retained by the people; it just says that this list isn't exhaustive. Furthermore, Santorum didn't say people don't have a right to privacy; he said that it isn't in the Constitution.

Re:NO! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22679780)

The article author is ignorant of basic American civics.

The constitution is law. The supreme law of the land, in fact. The constitution is the standard by which all other laws are measured. The bill of rights is the enshrinement of the ideals.

Article VI, Clause 2:
This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.

[Emphasis mine]

Re:NO! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22680296)

How about instead I keep all rights, except the rights I specifically give up, such as those in the list below:

Enshrine Rights? Why? (1)

Wandering Wombat (531833) | more than 6 years ago | (#22679358)

By enshrining the rights of EVERYONE, you're inherently protecting the people who are trying to destroy your country and your freedom. If you prevent ISPs from handing out information about their clients, then how are these vicious lawbreakers ever going to be brought to justice?

No, I think this is a case where the good people have nothing to fear, because if you're not doing anything wrong, then you have no reason to worry about your electronic rights.

NOTE: This argument is copyrighted, so when (not if) it's raised by the government, they have to ask my permission.

Re:Enshrine Rights? Why? (1)

KublaiKhan (522918) | more than 6 years ago | (#22679452)

Yes, but keep in mind that wiretapping and suchlike is actually anti-business: by eavesdropping, you leave open an avenue for proprietary business secrets to be exposed to the world--entirely legitimate business secrets, such as manufacturing processes, projects in development, etc.

Why do you hate businesses? Why are you trying to kill capitalism? Are you some kind of communist mutant?

Friend Computer has a few questions for you.... ;-P

Re:Enshrine Rights? Why? (0, Troll)

Wandering Wombat (531833) | more than 6 years ago | (#22679492)

Wire-tapping is only anti-business if the wire-tappers let the information get out. It just makes sense to wire-tap everyone, and then keep the information someplace secure, where their legitimate business secrets can be safe.

Re:Enshrine Rights? Why? (1)

KublaiKhan (522918) | more than 6 years ago | (#22679556)

But there's no such thing as a 'secure' place--now, *how* many times did the Chinese break into the Pentagon's systems last year again?

Re:Enshrine Rights? Why? (1)

Wandering Wombat (531833) | more than 6 years ago | (#22679688)

According to the Pentagon, none. And they would know, they're very secure.

Re:Enshrine Rights? Why? (1)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 6 years ago | (#22679562)

Wire-tapping is only anti-business if the wire-tappers let the information get out.

Unless the underpaid FBI agent who spent the wiretap money on ale and whores and desperately needs to pay the bill before his boss gets a nastygram from AT&T decides that he can turn a quick buck selling the information to a corporation, in which case it's pro-(that)-business.

Re:Enshrine Rights? Why? (2, Interesting)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#22679570)

No, I think this is a case where the good people have nothing to fear, because if you're not doing anything wrong, then you have no reason to worry about your electronic rights.
I hate this argument. I really do hope you're being facetious. Anyway, it's quite easy to refute: 'anything wrong' is a relative term. Whether you're doing anything wrong or not depends on who's watching. What if I'm an ardent follower of His Noodliness? I might believe that your use of a cable tie eliminates Spaghettiness and is therefore morally reprehensible. Hence, wrong.

Re:Enshrine Rights? Why? (1)

Wandering Wombat (531833) | more than 6 years ago | (#22679732)

Yes... my tongue is so far into my cheek, I think I just dislodged a saliva gland. Even so, you KNOW that's going to be the basis for making said Bill Of Rights as advantageous to the writers as possible.

Re:Enshrine Rights? Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22679596)

I can only hope this is sarcasm. How can you enshrine the rights of some people and not others? Who's to decide? Government? Then no one will have rights.
It's all or nothing.

1st Amendment (1)

KublaiKhan (522918) | more than 6 years ago | (#22679368)

Going to need a 1st Amendment right, obviously, to freedom of speech in all cases that do not cause tangible harm to others--e.g. libel and slander, producing kiddie porn, etc.

Re:1st Amendment (1)

UncleTogie (1004853) | more than 6 years ago | (#22679510)

Going to need a 1st Amendment right, obviously, to freedom of speech in all cases that do not cause tangible harm to others--e.g. libel and slander, producing kiddie porn, etc.

...with the qualifier that "tangible harm" won't mean "they piqued my sense of moral outrage", or you'll have all SORTS of fruit loops abusing this...

Just 'cause someone has a booger hanging is no reason not to point it out to 'em.

Re:1st Amendment (3, Insightful)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 6 years ago | (#22679580)

I tend to agree with your sentiment but I thought Libel and Slander were what we called politics in non-election years?

As for kiddie-porn etc. I don't think that such broad labeling actually defines 'tangible harm to others' as you imply that it must?

I'm not sticking up for people that do harm to others, just saying that I'm still waiting for proof that all forms of kiddie porn cause tangible harm. As for etc. that you mentioned, I have some questions about that too. There were a number of powerful people that thought Larry Flint was doing tangible harm. Whether you like his products or not did not stop him from protecting your 1st amendment rights.

As for a new 'bill of rights' - absofuckinglutely not. The reason is simple. The current constitutional ammendments are written pretty well. What is wrong is how they are interpreted by lawmakers and courts. Any new set will be just as poorly interpreted. What we NEED is clear understanding of how they apply to new technologies. But then we have the problem of politicians being in charge of that sort of thing. That whole lobbyist thing is a large part of why the bill of rights is being abused now.

Re:1st Amendment (1)

KublaiKhan (522918) | more than 6 years ago | (#22679708)

I'm merely going by the current standards that it appears the majority of people accept today as being tangibly harmful in my examples; my apologies if the examples aren't optimal.

Re:1st Amendment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22680268)

the majority

The courts don't go out and take polls. Someone will show up and claim that somebody's nipple poisoned their precious little (28-year-old) Timmy with erototoxins [drjudithreisman.com] . That person will round up highly paid liars (aka "expert witnesses") that will claim that these things exist, and the judge will order the jury to accept that explanation no matter how absurd they find it because the courtroom has become more about process than the actual finding of fact, not that it will be that hard to convince them because the prosecution lawyer will have already removed every juror who didn't believe pornography was evil from the jury pool.

Let's do it right. (0, Offtopic)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 6 years ago | (#22680312)

Producing kiddie porn is illegal because the act of pedophilia is statutory rape. That is enough -- distributing kiddie porn which has already been produced should be legal, so long as you were not involved, in any way, with producing it.

Now, libel and slander -- what we really need here is a system whereby it is easier to determine the veracity of a statement, rather than a system where it is possible to sue someone after the damage is done.

So, that said, I propose this:

  1. Freedom of speech, period. Through channels which you are legally allowed to control, you can say anything you want, as yourself or anonymously. This includes spam.
  2. Neutrality of the network. When providing Internet service to anyone, it is the customer's choice what is blocked, filtered, degraded, or given any special treatment with respect to other traffic.
  3. Transparency of filtering. That is: If you run a spam filter, you must provide source code upon request. This right may be waived by the user, but it must be made clear and explicit.
  4. Readability of contracts. The gist of any contract or agreement (for service or software -- EULAs, Terms of Service, etc) must be presented to both parties in a short, human-readable summary. (Less than a page, less than N words -- not sure how many words, but it should be a hard limit.) You may have as much legalese as you like, as long as said legalese is linked to from the human-readable summary, and said summary adequately describes it to a non-lawyer.
  5. Stability of contracts. Contracts may never be changed without notice. In the case where a party cannot be given proper notice, the contract may be terminated, but contracts may only be altered by both parties. This right may not be waived.
  6. Gating of contracts. Each kind of service naturally has certain built-in assumptions -- for example, it is assumed that I am allowed to read a website, send links to friends, print it out, and distribute it, so long as it is represented as close as possible to its original form. It is also assumed that scripts are allowed to visit this website, unless explicitly forbidden in a robots.txt. Any variation from common conventions like these must be gated by an agreement compliant with #4. Any gating for robots must be specified in a standard format -- if unsure, ban them in robots.txt until potential users have a chance to read the agreement.
  7. Commitment to standards. If you are going to pretend to follow a standard, you follow it. If you're going to have a website, it should be accessable via any reasonably standard web browser, unless gated by a warning similar to #6. (This means no 100% Flash sites.) For something to be considered an open standard, it must have at least one public domain reference implementation. It is far worse to half-implement a standard than not at all -- no claiming XHTML if your document is not well-formed, for example.
  8. The owner of a system controls that system. If any legal action must be taken against a given system, it should go to the actual owner. It may be deflected by a proxy, if possible (get the motion dismissed), but it may not be settled by a proxy. (For example: If I own a webserver, and a subscription to some ISP, no one may take down my content except me.)
  9. The owner of content controls that content. In the case where this conflicts with #8, content may be taken down by the owner of the system -- but a notice must be left that content was removed, and, if reasonable, who removed it. (If you leave a username of "v14gr4 at spamme.com", that username may be deleted or altered, obviously.) Also, if possible, the owner must be contacted about the removal, and, if it is the result of a takedown demand, the owner must be given an opportunity to respond to that demand. (In other words, the owner of a system should not take sides in a dispute between a content creator and a takedown notice.) In cases where this conflicts with #6, #6 wins -- that is, if you released something as a public document, it may be mirrored, in full, and the mirror may not be taken down.
  10. All re-uses of content must always, at the very least, be acknowledged. Changes must also be acknowledged, and this must be done clearly. This, and #9, are the qualifiers for #1: You may say anything you want, but if you are going to quote someone else, you must do so accurately. Spread whatever lies and rumors that you wish, as long as it is in your own name (or anonymously), and not someone else's.

I think that covers everything. This is a first draft, and obviously other people have other things they'd want included -- and I figured I'd stop at 10. Still... reply to me, tear it apart! I hope the result ends up being simpler and less open to (mis)interpretation.

Re:Let's do it right. (1)

oyenstikker (536040) | more than 6 years ago | (#22680814)

1. Freedom of speech, period.

4. . . .Less than a page, less than N words -- not sure how many words, but it should be a hard limit. . .

You didn't get very far before breaking your own rule.

some problems there... (1)

aleph42 (1082389) | more than 6 years ago | (#22680890)

about #4 : You can't hope to make a law that defines "human readable" as opposed to legalese; but I agree stronger legislation on what is allowed or not to put in a contract should exist. Moreover, putting abusive clause (which is the case on alsmost all EULAs) should be motive to sue the company. Anyone should be able to do it (ie, competitors, not just users), justa as false advertising (maybe it's already the case?).

about #5 : IANAL, but I think this is already illegal (I received an email when ebay changed some of their EULA; then again, I'm in europe.)

about #6 : Again to vague to transcribe in legalese. Adding specific customer protection laws should do the trick, that way you can explicit those "assumptions"

about #10 : To much of a hassle to everyone to be enforced. When I'm quoting a slashdot post, or showing a picture in a video mashup, I don't have the time to contact or acknowledge every owner. That's actually the current state of IP, and it means everybody is breaching the law a little (modulo fair use, but it's pretty hard to prove it without paying lawers), so everyone is open to takedown letters.

I do agree with the idea; but laws are tricky things, and you have to make them legalese-compatible

 

Define tangible (1)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 6 years ago | (#22681832)

Define tangible. Take the recent case of that women who pretended to be a boy to a young a girl who ended up commiting suicide. Is that tangible harm?

It was discussed end people really didn't come to any single conclusion, so was the woman safe because of free speech yes or no? Either way, you are going to have to deal a lot of shit. Yes, then you obviously can say anything even if it causes death, no and you put an end to anyone ever pretending to be someone they are not.

I think you should see the constitution as the bible, a intresting write up, some bits are worth keeping in mind, but ultimately it was written by people who lived in a different age who even back then hardly were part of the 'real' world. it is a nice idea to come up with simple rules, but that stuff really belongs on Oprah, real life is to simple to capture in a simple set of rules other then perhaps "don't panic".

Pointless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22679402)


What the people want means nothing. Lobbyists and special interests with money are who really count.

Re:Pointless (2, Insightful)

The End Of Days (1243248) | more than 6 years ago | (#22679468)

The basic problem with statements like that are that "the people" are always defined by the speaker to mean "people who agree with me" and are generally exclusive to the point of simply defining another special interest. No one person's opinion can reasonably claim to represent everyone. Just a fact of human nature.

Not gonna happen or it'll make things worse (3, Insightful)

Reality Master 201 (578873) | more than 6 years ago | (#22679434)

There's just too many people in America these days who are willing to give the government any powers it claims it needs, so long as there's the promise of them being kept safe.

And that's not even getting into the fact that our congress doesn't seem particularly interested in asserting it's power (and duty) to keep the executive branch in check.

The free and the brave are in short supply in the US, having been replaced by the cowardly and the cynically opportunistic.

Re:Not gonna happen or it'll make things worse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22679636)

And that's not even getting into the fact that our congress doesn't seem particularly interested in asserting it's power (and duty) to keep the executive branch in check.

Of course not. If party A tries to lean too hard on the President, who happens to be from party B, then when party A gets their candidate in office, party B will do everything it can to throw wrenches into the machinery just to retaliate. And beyond simply not passing legislation that the President wants passed, without a large enough majority to override a veto, there's little Congress can do to stop a sitting President from doing pretty much whatever he wants.

Re:Not gonna happen or it'll make things worse (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 6 years ago | (#22680058)

The solution then, is either NO party (bad), or many parties (better).

Hell, even three even-powered parties would be a much better scene. Two is just asking for trouble, for the very reason you state above.

why are people scared of Islamic Jihad? pusses (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22680110)

we must kill them first before they swim 7,000 miles and come get us!

on and did i mention TSA still fails after billions spent on the homeland insecurity department?

Re:Not gonna happen or it'll make things worse (1)

krotkruton (967718) | more than 6 years ago | (#22680676)

fair point... if only the question was, "Will we ever have a Bill of Rights for the electronic age"?

One statement: (0, Redundant)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | more than 6 years ago | (#22679520)

Information wants to be free.

Politician's rebuttal (4, Funny)

tmosley (996283) | more than 6 years ago | (#22679696)

So do criminals.

Re:One statement: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22680002)

Slashdot wants to be free of your bullshit.

Re:One statement: (2, Funny)

n3tcat (664243) | more than 6 years ago | (#22680704)

So do squirrels with paper stapled to them.

Re:One statement: (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22680784)

Information wants to be free.

No it doesn't. It doesn't want anything. It is incapable of want.

However, I want information to be free.

Re:One statement: (1)

servognome (738846) | more than 6 years ago | (#22681932)

Information wants to be free.
And people want some information private, hence the need for laws (things like restrictions on searches, attorney-client privledge, HIPAA, etc)

How about every person gets a free connection (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22679568)

It would be nice if every physical address (eg: 123 Main Street) automatically came with a virtual address. It could be a low speed line with an email address (123MainStreet@Chicago.il.us)
We're nearing the point where if you aren't connected, you're a second-class citizen.

TDz.

Digital age rights (5, Funny)

Wowsers (1151731) | more than 6 years ago | (#22679584)

The digital age bill of rights: "We'll send you the bill, and you have no rights!"

the right to lack of retribution (1, Interesting)

themushroom (197365) | more than 6 years ago | (#22679678)

Make it illegal to harass, discriminate, terminate, or disqualify for hire someone due to what comes up in Google searches if the things found are NOT illegal or in violation to workplace rules.

So what if you have a blog where you gripe but never mention your employer's name? So what if you've shown some sexy shots somewhere? So what if you were at a party back in college, acting like a college student, ten years ago? How are any of these things relevant to your ability to perform a job you are already doing or have applied to do? We seem to have gone from 'did you inhale?' in government procedings to 'did you have a life before you came to us?' for the average person.

What goes on on the Internet -- and has nothing to do with "you" as the employer -- needs to stay on the Internet.

Re:the right to lack of retribution (3, Insightful)

goldspider (445116) | more than 6 years ago | (#22680162)

How are any of these things relevant to your ability to perform a job you are already doing or have applied to do?

I'd say one's (in)ability to positively represent themself and demonstrate good judgement are very relevant to a company's hiring practices.

Re:the right to lack of retribution (1)

krotkruton (967718) | more than 6 years ago | (#22680770)

I agree with you, but for a different reason. There needs to be an understanding that what you find on the internet is NOT evidence of an action, and I think there should be something in the books to prevent companies/universities/governments/institutions from using such information in that manner. Should a picture on Facebook of an underage kid with a red plastic cup in his hand be viable evidence that the kid was drinking alcohol and therefore grounds for punishment at his school? Should companies be able to use blog information against an employee or potential employee even though they have no evidence, besides the claims made in the blog, that the blog was written by the person? Information on the internet is not always accurate information and usually has no references to prove its accuracy, so it shouldn't be treated as if it is irrefutable proof.

Re:the right to lack of retribution (1)

Just Another Poster (894286) | more than 6 years ago | (#22681114)

Make it illegal to harass, discriminate, terminate, or disqualify for hire someone due to what comes up in Google searches if the things found are NOT illegal or in violation to workplace rules.

There's this thing called 'freedom of association', as per the Bill of Rights. Everyone has the right to hire, or not hire people for whatever reason they choose.

At what level? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22679690)

Are you talking about passing laws at the top level of government (e.g., the U.S. Congress or Constitution) or are you thinking of affirming rights at the provincial level (e.g., the Nebraska legislature or constitution)? If you're going for laws to protect digital rights within small areas like U.S. states, what's to stop infringement of those rights across the border (which is where most traffic will end up)?

The Bill of Rights is Outdated (4, Insightful)

DigitalisAkujin (846133) | more than 6 years ago | (#22679714)

If the founding fathers made it a right to own firearms, would they have done the same for the right to own and drive a car? These days our government preaches "privileges" instead of "rights". To what end?

This country is going down the tubes and here's why: No one cares enough. People are down right happy with their lives as they are and unless there's a large enough percentage of the population willing to openly revolt nothing is going to change.

We have hypocrisies after hypocrisies: Taxation without representation, suspension of habeas corpus, need I go on?

The people in power realize that the people won't stand for oppression so they allow a standard of living that's just good enough for 95% of the population and they are willing to throw away the other 5% because again, they realize it lets them maintain the status quo. 1984? Nah.... just a nanny, security state propped up by the same assholes who can't take responsibility for their own actions so they let the government move in and regulate everything.

So how does this tie into an "Internet Bill of Rights"? You have to make enough CARE to create a movement for anything. As for some rules.... lets start with just one for now..... Network Neutrality.

Re:The Bill of Rights is Outdated (2, Insightful)

bconway (63464) | more than 6 years ago | (#22679992)

Did you ever consider that maybe the reason people think they are happy with their lives is because they are and there actually isn't anything wrong with them? There's a whole lot of people on Slashdot who are happy to debate issues any day of the week that when it comes right down to it, don't really matter to a lot of people because they really aren't important. Time for a bigger world view, I think.

Re:The Bill of Rights is Outdated (2, Insightful)

DigitalisAkujin (846133) | more than 6 years ago | (#22680154)

That's what they all say until you get smacked in the head with injustice. Who you gonna cry to then?

Re:The Bill of Rights is Outdated (1)

servognome (738846) | more than 6 years ago | (#22682000)

Who you gonna cry to then?
The ballot box, the people still have the ability to remove those in power through the current structure.

Try this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22680272)

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.


Just because a right is not in the Constitution, does not mean that it does not exist.

Re:The Bill of Rights is Outdated (1)

mightybaldking (907279) | more than 6 years ago | (#22681518)

"If the founding fathers made it a right to own firearms, would they have done the same for the right to own and drive a car?" No, they wouldn't. They wouldn't have seen a reason why a future government would want to restrict the use of cars in order to support tyrannical rule. However, they could see a strong likelihood of a government wanting to restrict firearms. So they wrote it in. and you forgot to add "RON PAUL" to the end of your post.

Re:The Bill of Rights is Outdated (1)

DigitalisAkujin (846133) | more than 6 years ago | (#22681780)

Actually I'm an Obama supported. It's way too late to run a none regulated government. It just has to be transparent which is why I support Obama. A wikified government is a government that can't be used against the people. "Employing technologies, including blogs, wikis and social networking tools, to modernize internal, cross-agency, and public communication and information sharing to improve government decision-making." See: http://www.barackobama.com/issues/technology/ [barackobama.com]

EULA does not a contract make (2, Interesting)

Nkwe (604125) | more than 6 years ago | (#22679720)

Clarify that one-sided EULA "contracts" where the purchaser has no opportunity to negotiate (or even access the text of) the agreement prior to purchase is not a legal contract.

Re:EULA does not a contract make (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22681436)

It's not... at least in Manitoba. Standard form contracts which can't be negotiated are pretty essential though (imagine having to negotiate for every purchase, anytime you want a warranty on anything, any time you park your car down town or in a lot) provided you are made aware of any terms upfront (big sign in the lot, having the printed contents of the EULA inside the box with the CD further shrink wrapped). If you don't agree to those terms you can just return the software provided you haven't actually opened the wrapping on the CD (that would constitute an act of accepting the contract I do believe).

Re:EULA does not a contract make (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 6 years ago | (#22681930)

First of all, I don't think in general you have the right to negotiate, at least not in the popular meaning of the word. I can make you a fully informed offer, take it or leave it and I don't see a problem with that. Conditions after the fact are in general now allowed, so it's a matter of how much you can cram through the "additional terms and conditions apply". The thing is that even if you did all that, and there was a booklet stitched to the outside of every box, it wouldn't really change anything. Most people will never ever read a 10-page legal document in their life, maybe once when they buy a house but not for a 50$ software package.

If you do a little soul-searching, you'll find that it's not terribly hard to find a copy of most EULAs. The problem isn't whether it's inside or outside the box, the problem is that people sign legal agreements without knowing what's in them. It sounds to me like most people complaining about the EULA know exactly what's in it and they don't really care about the "after the fact" bit, they care that 99% accept it (most not having a clue what it says) and the 1% that know they sell their soul don't want to. It's the thought that "if only I forced people to read this, they wouldn't stand for it" but it's false hope because they wouldn't read it under any circumstance.

In general, if you have to have every condition listed to you over the medium you choose to order it, I dare you to buy a plane ticket. Once you're done with the flight conditions, luggage conditions, rights in case of delays, rights in case of lost luggage, ticket change and cancellation policy and probably five more I forget you'll probably have spent several hours. What's wrong wtih "additional terms and conditions apply" if they're reasonably sane and expected for a plane ticket? Equally, what's wrong with "additional terms and conditions apply" on a boxed software if it reasonably conforms to what you expect from an EULA?

Apart from the mouth diarrhea, most don't say anything more omnious than "all rights reserved". Our software, we sold you a license to use it, apart from that you have the minimum permitted by law. How many private citizens are seriously in conflict with a software company over their private use of the software? I hang out with quite a few technical people, people who're likely to use it in ways not intended by the EULA. But I can't think of a single one that's ever been bothered by that or brought it up as an issue. Locks and DRM maybe, but I doubt it matters much if page 8 (that's page 32 in that minibooklet on the box) says "This product is protected by Digital Rights Management (DRM) and requires a Trusted Computing compliant system." is on the outside of the box or not.

REPEAT AFTER ME (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22679768)

You have NO rights. You are in the United Gulags of America [whitehouse.org] .

Contemptfully yours ( patRIOTically),
George W. Bush

Rights (5, Insightful)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 6 years ago | (#22679796)

True rights don't require or aren't about anything technological. Rights exist apart from technology, so that if you're stranded on an deserted island, your rights still exist.

This is one of those things that people on the left have no concept of. They think rights are things you're entitled to by government decree, which is completely contrary to the founding document of the USofA. Government ought to be extremely limited, not an all powerful monolithic demigod that it has become. And rights don't require forcing others into situations they don't want to be in (eg Universal Health Care).

While it is NICE to want Universal Health Care, it isn't a "right" because it requires something from others. It requires technology and the work of others. The biggest problem we have today is that people don't have a clear concept of what a "right" is, because they lack a foundation for describing what rights are.

From the article "state governments should adopt a bill of rights regarding internet privacy, use of technology and speech on the internet. "

Why? It is the responisibility of each of the users to protect themselves, and government shouldn't get involved except in cases for prosecution of whatever contractual breaches occurred. When you willingly give your info to others without a contract in place, and it escapes in the wild, that is the risk you take doing so.

"For example: make it illegal to allow ISPs to release personal information to anyone who wants it."

Wrong approach. Either accept that personal info is going to be released or find an ISP that offers a guaranteed level of privacy you desire. Can't find one? Tough, go without. Or find an open access point, internet cafe or whatever, that doesn't require personal info.

"If you were asked by your state government to come up with a bill of rights for internet privacy, technology use, and free speech regarding the internet and emerging technologies, what would you include?"

I don't want a Nanny state, babysitting people. I want a state that protects the LIBERTY of all men, and not pass stupid laws because someone said "there ought to be a law". How about this instead. Be Responsible for yourself, protect yourself at all times. If you took care of yourself, then you don't need the laws you're proposing. Personally, I don't want to give up Liberty for Security, because you end up with neither.

"people with enough money can disregard this."

That is the result of government power abuses. That is a result of a government that cannot even rule itself. That is a result of power grab by the government because someone said ... "there ought to be a law" and ceded Liberty for Security.

"Perhaps the states might find it a good idea to enshrine rights into law."

Perhaps you don't know that rights exist apart from law. Laws are only there to secure rights and Liberties of men. Government doesn't grant rights, and your basic premise clearly shows that you don't understand what a right or liberty really is, or the government's purpose is.

Re:Rights (1)

Bobb9000 (796960) | more than 6 years ago | (#22680806)

I'm troubled by the confidence with which you "correct" people on the nature of rights. It's fine to go around saying that "rights exist apart from law", but last time I checked that was a position, not a fact. Maybe you're right, and maybe you're wrong. Personally, I don't keep my rights stored in the linen closet in case they're needed, and I have yet to run into one on street, or hell, see any evidence for their existence at all. As far as I can see, people are people, and they have to decide how to deal with each other. We can either all just do whatever we feel like, to the extent that we can force or convince others to go along with it, or we can lay down some ground rules regarding what we can and cannot do to one another. By that understanding, rights are what we make of them. To so confidently assert that you magically know what people's rights are closes down the democratic process, because you're not the only one out there who thinks he knows what his "natural" rights are, and those others aren't necessarily going to agree with you. Setting down certain rights as inviolate (i.e., in constitutions) is an excellent idea, because it curbs the sudden impulses of society away from actions they'll later regret. But to assert so confidently that you know the nature of things merely blinds people - he's trying to take away my RIGHTS! Burn him! - and makes them unable to rationally assess the situation.

Hell, maybe it's better as a rule that people think they have natural rights, as a kind of super-constitution. However, I'd hoped for a little more complex of a dialog here, or at least some reasons why I should believe what you say.

Re:Rights (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 6 years ago | (#22681686)

Do you have a right to live, even when there is no government? Government is law. No government = no law. If there is no right apart from government, then it is government that grants rights. Do you want to believe that rights come from and are defined by laws of governments?

If governments can grant rights, they can also nullify them.

"or hell, see any evidence for their existence at all"

Interesting. If you cant see them, then they don't exist right? How shallow are you?

"As far as I can see, people are people, and they have to decide how to deal with each other."

Really, so if society thinks that people with blue eyes are better than people with brown eyes, you're okay with that? How about skin color? How about even defining what a person is or isn't?

"By that understanding, rights are what we make of them."

How you feel about slavery? Can I make you my personal slave? Because my "we" is bigger and stronger than your "we", and we made/changed the laws?

"To so confidently assert that you magically know what people's rights are closes down the democratic process,"

Right, because there can be no universal truths. We should vote on slavery then. I'd like to have you as my personal slavery and as long as I get more people to vote with me, its okay, by your own standards.

"because you're not the only one out there who thinks he knows what his "natural" rights are, and those others aren't necessarily going to agree with you."

Actually Natural rights are quite easy to define, if you have the intelligence and education. It is clear that you posses neither. Your poorly constructed reasoning is so full of holes (as shown above) that it amazes me. Your version of Majority rule democracy is scary. If 50.0001% of the people believe in slavery you'd have to accept it by your own standards.

"But to assert so confidently that you know the nature of things merely blinds people - he's trying to take away my RIGHTS! Burn him! - and makes them unable to rationally assess the situation. "

You err. My confidence comes from understanding, education and reasoning. It isn't subject to the whims of democratic change. The founding fathers of the US had the same level of understanding.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights ...

You see where rights are among the truths that are self evident? By your own standards you're saying majority rules, establishing that they have MORE rights. Incredible.

"However, I'd hoped for a little more complex of a dialog here, or at least some reasons why I should believe what you say."

How can we have a more complex dialog when you're incapable of understanding what your own views truly mean. Your suppositions are without merit on the face of them, because even YOU probably don't even agree with the results they must (and will) bring.

It is at this point you'll start to add additional conditions to statements you said, trying to qualify them. Don't bother, it is all still arbitrary in nature and will end up being continually revised and extended to cover all sorts of questions, and will end up looking exactly like "Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness". Please not, happiness isn't a guarantee, only the right to pursue it.

This is the cornerstone of natural rights philosophy that eventually it becomes self evident, with understanding and education. Ever wonder why education was always valued in the States, this is the reason. To bring people to an understanding of their natural rights.

Re:Rights (1)

Bobb9000 (796960) | more than 6 years ago | (#22681982)

I understand full well what I mean, and I don't intend to qualify it. You're the one who's confusing a descriptive argument with a normative one. Do I want to be your slave? No. But if all of society rose up and made me your slave, there's not much I could do to prevent it. Just because I don't like a state of affairs doesn't mean it isn't factual. And just because I don't like a state of affairs doesn't mean that there is some cosmic law forbidding it.

I'm also not saying that "majority rules" is some kind of natural state. People have to agree to abide by majority decisions. In the absence of such an agreement, people will do whatever they can force or convince others into allowing them to do.

I know that what you're saying is the cornerstone of natural rights philosophy. I disagree with natural rights philosophy. It's easy to say that with intelligence and education the nature of our objective rights becomes clear, but it's much harder to demonstrate in practice how or why this is the case.

And no, I don't have to see something to have reason to think it exists. I'm not that extreme of a verificationist. But I don't see any evidence, other than a long-standing belief among many people to that effect, that there are such things as objective rights out in the world. If you have such evidence, I'd love to see it. And no, quoting the Declaration of Independence won't do. I recognize that the founding fathers were believers in natural rights philosophy, but I also think that it's ok to disagree with the founding fathers. If reasoning self-evidently points any rational observer to the belief that there are natural rights, then show me the reasoning? Tell me what book to read, what philosopher to learn about, that will tell me why I should agree with you. That's all I'm asking.

Rights (1)

ManConley (1085415) | more than 6 years ago | (#22681938)

While it is NICE to want Universal Health Care, it isn't a "right" because it requires something from others.

All rights require something from others. The question is whether that something is negative (my right to freedom of expression requires you not to silence me) or positive (my right to equal treatment under the law requires you, as a restaurant owner, to serve me in the same manner that you serve other customers).

It's harder to state where rights end. My right to life requires that you do not shoot me. Does it require you to offer me basic first aid if someone else shoots me? Does it require you to allow me onto your property to escape someone trying to shoot me? Does it require you to sell me services that will save my life? Can you charge whatever you like, or does the cost have to be "reasonable"?

"For example: make it illegal to allow ISPs to release personal information to anyone who wants it."

Wrong approach. Either accept that personal info is going to be released or find an ISP that offers a guaranteed level of privacy you desire. Can't find one? Tough, go without. Or find an open access point, internet cafe or whatever, that doesn't require personal info.

And what happens when you have absolutely no way of knowing your ISP's policies in terms of releasing information, or whether it complies with those policies that you do know? You have absolutely no bargaining leverage at all as an individual, and "go without" isn't much of an alternative.

Wouldn't it be better for government to step in and provide people with the tools they need to actually take care of themselves? I agree that there's no need to make the transfer of personal information illegal per se - but what about requiring that ISPs allow customers to observe, or even determine, the parties to whom their information is transferred?

If, as you say, "Laws are only there to secure the rights and Liberties of men," then doesn't a law that prevents a gross imbalance of information about personal data sharing achieve exactly this end? Is there any party other than government that is adequately positioned to even out the balance of power between an ISP and an end user?

I can think of a few good ones (1)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 6 years ago | (#22679946)

1) An extension to the Bill of Rights: "it shall be incumbent upon the legislature to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that any new grant of authority to government agencies, or restrictions on any right, secured by any article of any constitution, law or policy, shall be not only necessary, but be the only effective solution. The courts may strike down any grant of authority or restriction on a liberty covered by this statute, if anyone may prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the legislature was in error, and that a more effective, less invasive approach could have been implemented instead."

2) No intellectual property law shall circumvent state laws governing property, or common law property precedent or tradition.

Redefine what "is" is. (2, Interesting)

anwyn (266338) | more than 6 years ago | (#22679988)

We had a perfectly good constitution, with a bill of rights and that restricted to power of government.

The pesky thing, according to its original meaning, would have stopped many social programs such a social security. It would have allowed ordinary people to be armed. Rather than go to the trouble of amending the thing, they decided to turn it into a "living document" that could be redefined on the spot, by redefining what the meaning of "is" is.

Another great step in social progress.

So now the problem is: how do we write a new constitution that will allow "the people" to vote themselves free bread and circuses and free health care, and not take away anyone's rights.

Everyone is refusing to admit it to themselves. Government big enough to take care of everyone, will inevitably "take care" of every one's rights as well.

The power of self deception is such that the people of America are now selling the most precious thing they have, freedom, for the pot of pourage of the promise of free services. No one can tell them that that is what they are doing.

It will take rivers of blood, to get that freedom back!

Re:Redefine what "is" is. (1)

mike nathan (972696) | more than 6 years ago | (#22680198)

Funny, Enoch Powell talked about "rivers of blood", too. Age old cry of the paranoid.

The 1st and 4th Amendment Flaws (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22680142)

I have thought about this for a while and think the following is the problem. The founding fathers didn't conceive of a time when information would be controlled by a small group of companies. Take into account that at the time they developed a postal system it was felt that this was a reasonable way to communicate without government interference (see 1st amendment). Now fast forward to today where all communications systems barring the postal service are corporate controlled. Now it means that corporations are allowed to ignore free speech for there own reasons. This also becomes a large problem in that our effects and papers now include electronic data which is far more available for collection by corporations again because the 4th amendment does not bar them from looking at anything you have. We need a very slight modification to the 1st and 4th amendments that also bars businesses from stopping free speech or secure in effects (privacy). The largest problem with this solution is that it is far to easy to modify these amendments in the wrong direction by changing them at all.

Digital doesn't change anything (1)

JurassicPizza (972175) | more than 6 years ago | (#22680144)

Technology makes it easier to do certain things, but those things could always have been done in the past. The U.S. Constitution has never had an explicit right to privacy, and has always had freedom of speech (at least since it was ratified). There might be lots more data moving through your ISP, but plenty of your data still moves through the U.S. postal service, FedEx, UPS, etc., in plain old non-technology ways.

privacy (1)

durdur (252098) | more than 6 years ago | (#22680236)

Well, some of the things I'd like to see: tightening of requirements for communication providers (ISPs & telcos) to keep your communications private. Fix FISA so it is very narrowly allowing surveillance of foreign targets, after court review (I personally don't see why this couldn't be prior review only - no retroactive approvals). Make the "national security letter" and other noxious provisions of the Patriot act clearly illegal (they may be unconstitutional even under current law). Tighten requirements on banks and other financial institutions to secure and prevent disclosure of sensitive information such as SSNs and credit cards. Require in most cases an "opt-in" for disclosure of even non-sensitive personal information such as name & address. None of this by a long shot completely prevents the erosion of privacy and possible leakage of your personal data that comes from your using a global communications net, but it would help.

Waste of time (1)

SirGarlon (845873) | more than 6 years ago | (#22680420)

The Federal government will just assert authority under the "commerce clause,"* and all the state's efforts will be for naught.

*Assuming they even try to justify their power-grab according to constitutional principles. Though in this case they would actually have a leg to stand on.

Just old fashioned Unreasonable Search and Seizure (1)

fuzzy12345 (745891) | more than 6 years ago | (#22680448)

Whenever ANYONE says "We need a new law to cover this new technology", question them.

Most of the time, it's just that nobody wants to apply the old law. English common law is a wonderfully broad and malleable thing. Besides, a new law doesn't have a hope in hell of being passed, anyway; attitudes have changed drastically since the last time Americans had any fundamental, broadly respected rights. If this weren't the case, protections that (used to) apply to telephone conversations would also apply to Internet communications. You're either entitled to be free from unreasonable search and seizure, or you're now. It's not "OMG, they invented the typewriter/telegraph/radio/telephone/intertubes, EVERYTHING'S CHANGED!!!" time. It's "Think of the children/terrorists/illegal aliens/liberals!!!" time.

The start of America (3, Insightful)

n3tcat (664243) | more than 6 years ago | (#22680882)

I have a sneaking suspicion that this is exactly the sort of thing that was asked back in England. They had the opportunity to setup shop in the new world though, far from the reaches of their government. They probably felt their system was broken and that there was no way to change the system from within, so they left to the fringe, and there is where they severed their ties and became their own entity.

Our new world is entirely different. Where they had water separating the air their governments controlled from the air the colonists breathed, we are occupying the same meat space, talking over a series of tubes controlled and taxed by those same people we disagree with. For us to live in a fringe society seems almost barbaric. Funny that, though, as I'm sure that's exactly how the colonists felt about their lives.

So here's where I suggest you start. You start by saying fuck the internet. A digital bill of rights is useless in this current incarnation of the web. It would be subverted by anyone who had any leverage at all, and often even by those who don't (the bank vs wikileaks for example). It may seem barbaric, but work on alternatives to the internet routing system as it currently is. TOR seems like a good underground metaphor, but mesh networks seem like a potential "new world" so to speak.

And even still, after you think about all of that, you have the problem of infrastructure. The colonists left the English infrastructure entirely. They just had to fight to own what was state-side, and that was that. We, however, would be running our own internet on the infrastructure (housing, power, water, govt services, etc) that is already in place, meaning once again, there is leverage.

So where do we go from here?

I've got an idea (1)

oyenstikker (536040) | more than 6 years ago | (#22680892)

How about a right to make sure we can get together and defend the other rights. Something like this:

"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed."

give key tech terms a legal equivalent (1)

aleph42 (1082389) | more than 6 years ago | (#22681266)

First, we would need legal recognitions for some key tech related concepts:

a) Open Source.
Open source (and CC) licences sould not have to rely on copyright to protect them; the fact that someone donates it's work to the community should be acknowledged, and given a special status (so that you can give it *more* protection than public domain). (This does realte to a "bill of right" because free speech issues).

b) Personnal informations.
There needs to be a list of datas known as "personnal informations". Then you can enforce special laws about them. For example, that no organization except the government can force you to give them if they can provide the service without it (no "required field" with your name and address on a forum, for example). Maybe instaure a national service whitch lets you generate identifying numbers that the government can read (for tracability of payments, etc), but the company (the online store) has no right to read.

c) Cryptography.
Crypto changes everything on the internet; the very nature of crypted or unencrypted data is different, and this must be acknowledged. For example, it must be stated somewhere that making a crypted file public does not mean you are making the file itself public. The definition of encrypted content should include a reference to the "current knowledge of the scientific community".
A good idea could also be to give everyone a public key on some government hosted server.

All of these concept can be used with the law as it is, but they are left to the appreciation of judges, who do not always know the subject.

   

Here's my list (1)

abelenky17 (548645) | more than 6 years ago | (#22681416)

Obviously based on the "Real" Bill of Rights... I think it makes a lot of sense:

Amendment 1
No ISP shall make no rule or policy prohibiting the free expression of content.

Amendment 2
A well regulated set of services, being necessary to the stability and availability of information, the right to run applications, including servers, shall not be infringed.

Amendment 3
No provider shall be granted access to content or physical components without the consent of the owner, or in a manner prescribed by law.

Amendment 4
The right of people to be secure in their persons, equipment, content, and software against unreasonable searches, seizures and restrictions of use, shall not be violated, and no Warrents shall issue, but upon probably cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the items to be searched and the things to be seized as precisely as practical.

Amendment 5
No person shall be held to answer for any violation of terms of service unless on a presentment reviewed by a local court. Nor shall any persons' identifying data be disclosed, nor shall any person be deprived of service or access, without due process of law.

Amendment 6
In all actions by a service provider against a user, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public hearing by an impartial jury of peers, and shall be informed of the nature and evidence of the accusation, and shall enjoy the right to confront the people and evidence supporting the claims.

Amendment 7
Excessive penalties shall not be levied, nor excessive restrictions imposed, nor shall anyone be denied rights to author and publish content.

Amendment 8
The enumeration of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or restrict any other right or technology available.

Make an attempt (1)

pawn63295 (964760) | more than 6 years ago | (#22681446)

just a question. Have any of you made an attempt to speak your mind to our Govt. or are we just bitching on /.

heh

Like previous posts unless we rally together and revolt to actually make a change this place will continually degrade at an exponential rate. kinda like technology

Cem Kaner's suggested Bill Of Rights (2, Informative)

PatMcGee (710105) | more than 6 years ago | (#22681654)

Cem Kaner wrote a Bill Of Rights for Software Customers: http://www.satisfice.com/kaner/?p=8 [satisfice.com]

He introduces it with this:
"As the software infrastructure has been going through chaos, reporters (and others) have been called me several times to ask what our legal rights are now and whether we should all be able to sue Microsoft (or other vendors who ship defective software or software that fails in normal use).

"I'd rather stand back from the current crisis, consider the legal debates over the last 10 years, and make some modest suggestions that could go a long way toward restoring integrity and trust -- and consumer confidence, consumer excitement, and sales -- in this stalled marketplace."

1. Let the customer see the contract before the sale

2. Disclose known defects

3. The product (or information service) must live up to the manufacturer's and seller's claims.

See Cem's post for 4 through 10

A few rights (1)

j1m+5n0w (749199) | more than 6 years ago | (#22681676)

1) Right to communicate and store data using any kind of cryptography.

2) Right to communicate anonymously.

Both of these would be subject to the usual exceptions; slander, libel, copyright law, patents, search warrants, using cryptography or anonymous communication to commit a crime is still a crime, etc..

3) Government data made available to the public shall be accessible in a documented, royalty-free format.

4) Installing private communication cable between adjacent properties shall not be forbidden by local regulations (though it may be regulated to conform to reasonable best practices).

5) Municipalities may provide Internet access to private citizens or businesses, regardless of whether they are competing with local businesses.

Hey let's make more laws (1)

lawn.ninja (1125909) | more than 6 years ago | (#22681904)

That is the problem with the world. They think making a silly law will change anything. How about we leave the laws alone for a while... Just a suggestion.

My Bill of Rights & Obligations (1)

RecycledElectrons (695206) | more than 6 years ago | (#22681906)

1. Everyone has the right to say anything they want to. No information is illegal to distribute.
1.A. Everyone has the obligation to sign their name to everything they sign.

2. Everyone has the right to read anything they want to. No information is illegal to obtain, possess, or use.
2.A. Everyone has the obligation not to impersonate another person.

3. Everyone has the right to filter-free Internet. If a person decides they want filtered access, the contract must specify exactly what is filtered, in technical and non-technical detail. It will be easy for the person receiving filtered access to turn off the filtering to see what is being filtered out.

4. Everyone has the right not to have their machine accessed against their will.
4.A Anyone accessing a machine without the owner's permission will be executed...slowly.

5. Everyone has the right to understand the laws. Every law will be published, and will be understandable by the average 8th grader.

6. Whereas Ex-Post-Facto laws are illegal under the bill of rights, and whereas US IP laws have been changed Ex-Post-Facto 11 times since 1959, the following are necessary to the survival of a free state: (1) All persons who served in the Us Congress who voted for Ex-Post-Facto laws will be executed...slowly. (2) All IP which was the subject of Ex-Post-Facto changes to US IP Laws is now in the Public Domain. (3) All current and former employees and owners of member companies of the BSA, RIAA, and MPAA will be executed...slowly.

7. Any person who discovers, invents, or authors something truly new, unique, and non-obvious will be able to record their discovery on a government web site. If this discovery is found to be truly new, unique, and non-obvious, that person will be granted a royalty of 10% of the selling price of any product that employs that thing for a period of 10 years after the date of registration. If the discoverer, inventor, or author used another's machines to develop the thing, then the owner of the machines will receive a 5% royalty, and the discoverer, inventor, or author will receive a 5% royalty.

8. Any person found to be making a deliberately false IP claim will be executed...slowly.
8.A Any person who takes negative action against another due to claims made about that person shall provide the victim of the negative action with copies of the claims.

9. (right against poor faith, and the right to a speedy trial.) In all civil cases, the plaintiff shall show proof to the defendant and to the court in a single document. If the defendant refuses to agree to damages in 30 days, the case shall be tried in the 7 days immediately after the 30 days. If the plaintiff only presents his/her document at trial, and the case is decided for the plaintiff the actual damages will be tripled.

10. Any recording of a permanent place must be registered on a government web site. The longitude/latitude coordinates of the recording (to an accuracy of 10 meters or better,) and example frames of the recording shall be uploaded to the govt web site, where they will enter the public domain. The must be kept for 1 year by the govt. After this has been in effect for 10 years, all recordings of public places must be echoed live to the govt web site, and kept for 10 years.
The govt is prohibited from recording any public place unless the govt meets the requirement set for private citizens above.

11. Whereas the DMCA is the worst law since Hitler's "Final Solution" all persons who enforced the DMCA, or made claims under it shall be executed...slowly.

Andy Out!

Tagging "goodluckwiththat" (1)

SeaFox (739806) | more than 6 years ago | (#22682060)

Right now the government has no interest in giving people more rights, especially when it comes to issues involving commerce or speech. In fact, they haven't been interesting in doing that in quite awhile. So I'm not holding my breath for a digital "Bill of Rights". Why don't we ask for truth in advertising for ISPs while we're at it?
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