Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Interviews: Jennifer Granick Answers Your Questions

samzenpus posted about 5 months ago | from the read-all-about-it dept.

Your Rights Online 35

samzenpus (5) writes "Recently you had a chance to ask Jennifer Granick, the Director of Civil Liberties for the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School, about surveillance, data protection, copyright, and number of other internet privacy issues. Below you'll find her answers to those questions."What can be done to fix the DMCA?
by Anonymous Coward

As pretty much anyone who has ever used YouTube (or any similar service) knows, the DMCA has a lot of issues. For one, there's the fact that individuals or companies who file false DMCA claims, which are supposedly punishable under the law, are never punished. Another would be the unfair application of the DMCA - partners and other monetized channels on YouTube will (almost) never have their videos taken down from a single DMCA claim, even if a video made under the same circumstances and containing similar content would be taken down on a non-partner channel if a DMCA notice was ever filed. Is the EFF planning to do anything lobbying-wise to fix the DMCA? If so, what in your opinion would be the way to go about fixing it?

Granick: I don’t work for EFF anymore, so I can’t speak for their plans or thoughts.

The DMCA has two main parts, the notice and take down provisions, and the anti-circumvention provisions. By and large I think the notice and take down provisions are livable. the burden for specifically identifying infringing content is and should remain on rights holders. In making those identifications, there is the problem of unpunished abuse, and even just plain mistakes. Sometimes, legitimate content is improperly taken down and not restored. But overall, that system is allowing non-infringing content to flourish, and even enabling alternative business models for licensing and monetizing.

The anti-circumvention provisions, also called section 1201, are fundamentally broken. They interfere with people’s freedom to explore and modify software and devices that they themselves own. I support currently stalled efforts to reform section 1201 by protecting cell phone unlocking. If want to just address phone unlocking, there’s a right and a wrong way to do it. https://cyberlaw.stanford.edu/blog/2013/03/heres-how-legalize-phone-unlocking Still, these efforts fall short. Section 1201 could be and should be modified to regulate tools designed for infringement and leave mere access and tools that enable access alone.



Role of DMCA and free markets
by JohnnyComeLately

Do you see free market innovation thriving with DMCA despite the apparent lack of innovation? Articulation of my question: When I buy a car, I can modify it. If people like my modification they can view it at my leisure and tinker themselves. GM doesn't sue me, and if I open a business to work on other GM cars to do similar GM vehicle modifications, then I have little legal exposure. However, with DMCA, GM can shut down a video if it's "suspected" I've infringed on a digital asset, and I can't legally sell modifications of their digital asset. This is why we see every new technology for digital streaming of data run a gauntlet of legal hurdles, which in turn stifles new innovation in the area of digital property.

Granick: The anti-circumvention provisions of the DMCA haven’t totally killed innovation even as they hamper it in a number of ways. The EFF has been documenting those ways.



Re:European "right to be forgotten"
by AmiMoJo

Could you explain the "right to be forgotten" concisely and effectively so that people don't assume it grants "freedom not to be talked about"? Every story on Slashdot and every other news site with comments gets hundreds of angry responses from people who have completely the wrong idea about it.

Granick: The new case from the European Court of Justice says that people can compel search engines to remove certain reputation-harming search results that are generated by searching on the individual’s name. The ruling does not establish a “freedom not to be talked about” generally. But it is too broad. It interferes with the sanctity of search, which should be about getting people the most relevant results. Instead, it allows individuals to try to hide information about themselves, even if true. And the standard to be applied is horribly vague — search results are to be excluded if they are “inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant”. Companies will likely err on the side of caution and remove links upon request, regardless of the public interest in the information.



ECJ Google Spain v AEPD: privacy vs expression?
by xavdeman

You must deal with the clash between freedom of information (and expression), like in the Schwartz-case, and the right to privacy (and to be forgotten, even by agencies such as the NSA), every day.

What is your opinion on the Court of Justice of the European Union's Grand Chamber judgement in C-131/12 (Google Spain v AEPD and Mario Costeja Gonzalez)? The court ruled that the fundamental rights to privacy and data protection should, ‘as a rule’ override ‘not only the economic interest of the operator but also the interest of the general public in finding that information’. However, in certain circumstances, there may be a preponderant interest of the general public (for instance, if the individual concerned was a public figure) [97].[...], this is an assessment which must be made by the national court [98]. One commentator (Guy Vassall-Adams) noted that: "It appears that the court never asked itself if these large corporations can be relied on to protect the public interest in freedom of expression, taking a principled stance in response to unmeritorious complaints, as opposed to simply following the easy (and cheap) course of erasing information on request. Across the Atlantic and around the world other countries will look on us with bemusement as they read information which we are denied. This judgment is profoundly harmful to the operation of the internet and a betrayal of Europe’s great legacy in protecting freedom of expression."

Do you think the Court struck a good balance between the rights to privacy and freedom of expression? Can we expect a similar ruling by the US Supreme Court?...


Granick: For the reasons above, I think the ruling is a big mistake. I don’t believe this rule would be possible in the United States, as it almost certainly violates the First Amendment.

...What is your opinion on the Streisand effect of such cases (everybody knows that Mario Costeja Gonzalez was at one time involved in bankruptcy proceedings, because this is in ECJ case).

Granick: This individual will go down in history for both bankruptcy proceedings and for engendering one of the more confounding privacy rulings of the decade.



How to fight harder and win
by globaljustin

Ms. Granick, thanks so much for taking the time, your expertise on this issue is very valuable! I was an intern on Capitol Hill and was able to sneak into the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on updates to the DCMA where Metallica and Shaun Fanning testified. My question: On issues of digital technology and freedom how can we, the people of the US, fight harder & win?

What represents a "win" against the RIAA/MPAA or a "win" for net neutrality? If all we need is Congress to pass Common Carriage why is it so difficult to get done? Ever since I attend that Senate Judiciary hearing, and I learned the issues, I realized it's always the same groups opposing digital freedom. What do we have to do to fix these issues forever so we can move on to better problems?


Granick: I’ve become even more disillusioned with Congress than I already was. I think money in politics is a huge problem. Its polarizing the politicians such that they do not do what the public wants even when there is a general consensus. Lawmakers can’t agree so they propose laws that do nothing and please no one, and then those bills do not pass. I remain optimistic, but we need to get all the pieces of democracy healthy again—free press, level playing field, educated populace—before Congress is going to be a fruitful avenue for the public interest to win. This is why I support the Rootstrikers and Larry Lessig’s MayDayPAC.



Re:Can Privacy ever actually be Maintained?
by Noah Haders

a follow on to this that is more personal. Without a doubt EFF has been owned 20 times over by NSA, not to mention anybody who works as a director of internet civil civil liberties. Personal stuff too. emails, bank records. Email accounts of your family, friends, and friends of friends (3 hops)! And unlike most NSA snooping which seems to be captured for the glee of capturing, your stuff is probably pretty closely monitored.

Do you think about this or worry about this? does it change your online behavior, or relationships with friends and family?


Granick: This has changed my behavior. I use encryption now far more than I did, for emails, texts and for phone calls. The people I communicate with are not that tech savvy though, and so that limits my ability to encrypt all the time. I use cookie blockers now, when I didn’t before. I don’t want Facebook tracking what I read. If I had more privacy friendly options, I’d use them. People often preface things they say to me with, “If the NSA is listening, they may not understand this, but” I find that terrifying, that people are afraid to be honest with their friends, and eventually maybe with themselves, for fear of government overreaction.

But I haven’t given up and you shouldn’t either. The idea isn’t complete secrecy, but to make opportunistic mass surveillance and bulk data collection impossible, and to make investigating people expensive again. That is one way we can ensure that such investigations happen for good reason, i.e. when they are worth the trouble. A great essay on the inevitability of privacy is by @neilmrichards: Privacy is Not Dead—Its Inevitable There’s also a great essay by Eben Moglen on why privacy is not hopeless. He says Snowden distinguished “between those forms of network communication that are hopelessly corrupted and no longer usable, those that are endangered by a continuing assault on the part of an agency gone rogue, and those that, even with their vast power, all their wealth, and all their misplaced ambition, conscientiousness and effort, they still cannot break.”



Where is personal privacy going?
by Spyder

Ms Granick, I'd really appreciate your perspective of where you think the personal privacy equilibrium will be. What personal privacy protections do you believe will survive the next 20 years in the US?

Do you believe that there will be individual control of personal information that will have suffice force of law to be functional meaningful in the US? Do you believe those protections will be useful if the information is stored outside the US?


Granick: I believe the Fourth Amendment is going to evolve in constructive ways such that it will still be relevant to privacy in 20 years. I think we’re going to reform statutes to provide location privacy. There’s a lot of support for that. And I think we’re going to have a single rule for law enforcement access to communications content from public providers. Beyond that, I think we’ve got work to do.

My opinion is that the location of data is not going to be a major factor in whether our government accesses it, except to the extent that it can do more mass surveillance of unencrypted data overseas at this point in time. I think that’s going to (slowly) change for technological and political reasons.



Campaign Finance Reform
by RR

It seems that no matter which party we vote for, we get either corporate-funded stooges or patronizing paternalists, like Dianne Feinstein of California. The media are complicit in this miscarriage of justice with their anointed "serious" candidates and "wasted" votes, for various reasons probably including the high amounts of money that they receive during campaigns.

So, what do you think about Larry Lessig and his change of focus from free culture to Congressional corruption?


Granick: I admire Larry immensely for the work he’s doing now on money in politics and for his innovation and commitment to the cause. I support the MayOne PAC wholeheartedly, and hope you will too.



Reconcile wisdom vs. technological savviness
by OSULugan

Slashdot has had a lot of discussion recently with regard to the (perception of the) Supreme Court justices (apparent) lack of technological savviness due to their age. This is pervasive throughout all of our government, from federal to local and throughout all three branches. Classically, this was desirable for the wisdom that comes with age, the prevention of coercion for the independent Supreme Court and/or the perks that could come from having a representative with seniority.

How do you see evolution of our government in a future where technological advances come at an ever increasing pace?

I.e., how does our government reconcile the need for wisdom in governance with the need for an understanding of the technology in the modern world, and the application of laws against it?


Granick: There are lots of informal ways to address this. For example, Supreme Court clerks are from a different generation, and understand cell phones. There are tech trainings for judges. I’ve attended them. Overall, I think the older judges are getting the point that technology matters, and they are trying to do better. The recent Fourth Circuit opinion in Lavabit got the tech, for example. Of course, you start with awareness that there’s a problem, and solving it is another matter. But its solvable.



Re:ECJ Google Spain v AEPD: privacy vs expression?
by xavdeman

Hey Jennifer, I just thought of another question. What is your opinion on cyber bullying and litigation?

E.g. a bully posts sensitive personal data about someone, and he or she wants that data to be "forgotten" by search engines, web hosts etc. (data processors). To obtain this result, he or she would have to go to a court, and because of the fact that most court proceedings are public and published (in the EU, at least, and let's assume this is concerning an adult, because in most countries, court cases involving minors are closed), this information would be even more widely broadcast, through the public records of the courts.

Is this a legal catch 22, do you see any solutions for these kinds of victims?


Granick: Courts deal with confidential information all the time, like in trade secret cases. And I think those tools can be used to hide sensitive personal data like addresses, credit card numbers and the like during litigation. But there is a bigger problem you are touching on here which includes “revenge porn”, upskirt photos, pictures of college kids passed out from drinking too much, and the like. Our society hasn’t developed a good way of dealing with these privacy violations yet. I do not think the law should change to make Internet search engines or platforms legally responsible for policing this content. Such changes may threaten public access to embarrassing information about politicians, for example. But while we figure out how we should respond, some people are suffering. So far this is a Catch-22, and I look to markets, technology and norms to develop into the main drivers for mitigating this serious problem.

Thanks to everyone who submitted questions for me!

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

What??? (1)

click2005 (921437) | about 5 months ago | (#47147311)

"It interferes with the sanctity of search, which should be about getting people the most relevant results. Instead, it allows individuals to try to hide information about themselves, even if true. "

So only Google, governments & the MPAA/RIAA should be allowed to manipulate search results? Search results are already contaminated so how is giving everyone the chance to do it worse than a select few?

Re:What??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47147483)

So because some bad things are going on, new bad things are just fine?
No, we should roll back the existing bad stuff, not add to it.

Re:What??? (1)

Obfuscant (592200) | about 5 months ago | (#47147531)

"It interferes with the sanctity of search,

When I read that, I almost fell off my chair. Sanctity?

And then I read the part where she says she doesn't want Facebook tracking what she reads so she uses a cookie blocker. What about "so I don't use Facebook"?

The Emperor has no clothes.

Re:What??? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47147673)

And then I read the part where she says she doesn't want Facebook tracking what she reads so she uses a cookie blocker. What about "so I don't use Facebook"?

The Emperor has no clothes.

Facebook (and a lot of other entities) have trackers on a lot of websites that will happily track you even if they can't direct connect you to a Facebook account. Disconnect/Ghostery will block those trackers. If you don't use Facebook at all, you can also blacklist their domains in your hosts file. But simply not having an account is not enough to avoid tracking.

Re:What??? (1)

Давид Чапел (3032005) | about 5 months ago | (#47154593)

"It interferes with the sanctity of search,

When I read that, I almost fell off my chair. Sanctity?

Sanctity here means freedom from intrusion, inviolability. Think of "the sanctity of the home". Or think of a "sanctum", a space where someone can go when he wants to be alone to think or study. Applied to search engines it is the idea that nobody should intrude upon you while you are using it. Examples of intrusion would be paid ranking, spam, and the hiding of the results you seek because someone does not want you to see them. (We could also argue that the search company intrudes on the sanctity of search if it spies on your queries.)

Note that not all manipulations of search results are intrusions. For example, the search companies frequently tweak their algorithms to better identify and lower the rank of intrusive results (spam). The search engines which did this poorly are gone now because they showed pages and pages of noise as their results. They let the sanctum became a market place filled with shouting hawkers.

Re:What??? (1)

Obfuscant (592200) | about 5 months ago | (#47165151)

Sanctity here means

I know what "sanctity" means, thank you. I'm pointing out that the word doesn't apply at all. You are using someone else's computer system (for free) who has used someone else's computer systems (for free) to gather and index someone else's data (for free), and you think there is some "sanctity" to your ability to search for it? Sorry. If Google indexes something I didn't want them to and I tell them to remove the index, that's my right, and your "sanctity" is irrelevant.

Examples of intrusion would be paid ranking,

You've lost that battle a long time ago. I just did a Google search for something, and the first three hits on the left column are ads, as are all eight of the links on the right column.

and the hiding of the results you seek because someone does not want you to see them.

If some idiot posts some student's personally identifiable information to the website I run at a school, then you can bet your life I'm going to tell Google to "hide" that result, and you can complain about how I'm interfering with your "sanctity of search" all you want, I don't care. Common sense and the law say I have to do it. And even if the reason is just "I don't want that indexed", your "sanctity" is moot. I've already had that discussion with the web crawlers and the short story is that I index my data for the visitors better than they do (because it is an in-context index and not just "these words appear here" thing) and they don't get to do it anymore.

If you don't believe the latter, then I'd love to tell you the story about the web indexing service that was indexing an Xtide server I run. It was making hits every five seconds (nicely throttled, hm?) to pages that took 30 seconds to generate. It was getting very nicely formatted tide predictions for today, tomorrow, the next day ... yesterday, the day before, the day before that ... ad infinitum. The server was shut down for real users because it simply couldn't keep up with the indexer requests.

Re:What??? (1)

Давид Чапел (3032005) | about 5 months ago | (#47179789)

Sanctity here means

I know what "sanctity" means, thank you. I'm pointing out that the word doesn't apply at all. You are using someone else's computer system (for free) who has used someone else's computer systems (for free) to gather and index someone else's data (for free), and you think there is some "sanctity" to your ability to search for it? Sorry. If Google indexes something I didn't want them to and I tell them to remove the index, that's my right, and your "sanctity" is irrelevant.

I agree that you have a right to keep search engines from indexing what is on your web servers if you want to. You as the publisher have some right to decide what to make available for public consumption. This does not violate "sanctity" of search.

But the facts in the court decision which she claims "interferes with the santity of search" are very different. They are something like this:

  • A man filed for bankrupcy
  • An article about his bankrupcy was posted on a website
  • Google indexed this website
  • People searched for his name years later and found this article
  • This caused problems for him.
  • He could not get the publisher to take the article down
  • He asked Google to exclude it from search results
  • Google refused
  • He took Google to court and got an order requiring Google to do it

So this case has nothing to do with keeping search bots off your site. It is about whether a 4th party (after the reader, the publisher, and the search engine) can elbow in and interfere with the search process. By calling this a "volation of sanctity" she is using charged language, but I can't really say she is misusing the word.

I am somewhat sympathetic to the man who brought the case. The Internet tends to prevent unflattering information from fading with time. Finding a general solution will be difficult.

We had a problem like this where I work. For several years some students published an online magazine. The old issues were archived and remain online even though the magazine is no longer published. Years later we started getting regular requests to delete articles from the archive. Often these were from the authors who did not want to be known for their youthful writings. Because web magazine has some historical significance, we were reluctant to start chopping articles out. The solution we came up with was to create robot exclusion rules which allow them to index the top page and nothing else. Now those who search for the magazine by name can still find it and read it, but it doesn't come up when the names of people mentioned in it are searched for.

It would be nice if there were a way to mark certain words in HTML as unsuitable for indexing. Maybe then he could have reached a compromise with the publisher to so mark his name. That way people who searched for information about bankrupcies in his town could still find it, but his name alone would not bring it up.

Re:What??? (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 5 months ago | (#47147653)

"It interferes with the sanctity of search, which should be about getting people the most relevant results. Instead, it allows individuals to try to hide information about themselves, even if true. "

So only Google, governments & the MPAA/RIAA should be allowed to manipulate search results? Search results are already contaminated so how is giving everyone the chance to do it worse than a select few?

You're assuming she's ok with Current manipulation of search results, and I think that's an incorrect assumption.

Money isn't the problem (1, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | about 5 months ago | (#47147363)

with congress. In fact, it's practically a red herring.
The voters are. Do you think if no money was in congress then voters would magically pay attention and vote on rationality?

Educate the voters.

Re:Money isn't the problem (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 5 months ago | (#47147425)

In fact, it's practically a red herring.

It's completely a red herring. It is used to distract attention away from the corruption that permeates all legislative institutions. The voters are looking for a piece of that pie. I don't believe education is of any value either. We are dealing with conditioning. This is a fatal flaw of majority rule. Corruption isn't limited to congress. It is part of everybody that votes for it. Introspection is key.

Re:Money isn't the problem (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 5 months ago | (#47147563)

"... the corruption that permeates all legislative institutions."
which isn't nearly what you seem o imply it is.

" The voters are looking for a piece of that pie."
no they aren't. Are you saying voter want lobbyists?

" I don't believe education is of any value either."
WEll, you're wrong. Look at highly educated countries. Voters need to know the facts, and base descions on that.

"We are dealing with conditioning. "
and like all conditioning, it's broken with education.

" This is a fatal flaw of majority rule. "
it's irrelevant of government type.

"It is part of everybody that votes for it."
people vote for it because they are lied to and have no basis other then their 'gut feeling' to evaluate any statements.

Re:Money isn't the problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47147713)

"WEll, you're wrong. Look at highly educated countries. Voters need to know the facts, and base descions on that."

You might want to read up on France before you make a statement like that.

Re:Money isn't the problem (3)

Curunir_wolf (588405) | about 5 months ago | (#47148051)

" The voters are looking for a piece of that pie." no they aren't. Are you saying voter want lobbyists?

Pft! Of course they are. Many voters go to the polls to vote for Democrats because they want subsidized health care because of their health situation, even though they don't like the system as a whole, they feel like it's going to help them personally. Ditto with other benefits, as well. It's why Democrats bought ads with Paul Ryan throwing grandma off a cliff (older people are very reliable voters), and it's also why many on the left get frustrated with the view that there are voters not "voting in their own self-interest". That is, "We promised them a piece of the treasury, stocked with other peoples' money but they won't vote for that."

It's a real shame that the entire debate seems to be over higher vs. lower taxes and who should pay more. The tax system needs some massive reform and simplification, but nobody will even talk about that (unless it's someone the media portrays as "fringe").

Back to propaganda, sound bites, and low information voters, again.

Re:Money isn't the problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47152139)

The tax system needs some massive reform and simplification, nobody will even talk about that

Who cares if this guy wants to fix the tax system, I need to be sure he'll vote the right way on abortion!

Re:Money isn't the problem (1)

Vitriol+Angst (458300) | about 5 months ago | (#47155985)

Well, for a time, most College educated people voted more for Democratic party -- Republicans are more represented by the lower middle of the Bell Curve. Now that corporations have "informed" a lot of the business schools with supply side nonsense, it's a bit more even. Though I recognize all kinds of intelligence and ways people view what is "compassion" so I won't broad brush this any more. I think a BETTER model of the way people in the US are driven is Modernists and Romantics. Modernists think we can fix things, and Romantics believe in heroes and things done by the heart -- and ironically, describe more modern Conservatives than bleeding heart liberals.

There is NOTHING wrong with voting in your own best interest -- businesses and rich people do it all the time. IN theory, competing interests allow for a compromise system that works for the most people. Owning the media isn't very profitable unless you can use it to rent public opinion -- and that is what is informing voters and why people who watch Fox News could actually say CNN represents liberalism. We now have LESS unionization and LESS public supports and the income gap is higher -- so yes, the tax system needs an overhaul, but when Microsoft and GM PAY NOT TAXES -- it is obviously, intrinsically, demonstrably NOT an "Atlas Shrugged Situation". It's an Atlas stepping on everyone situation. The only thing more "liberal" is gay marriage and maybe pot legalization (though that seems to also be a libertarian ideal as well -- which doesn't fit a straight left-right world view).

In the 1940's we had the most dynamic and powerful economy in the world, and it was done with lots of Socialism. Now we have the income disparity not seen since the last Great Depression and America is behind on a lot of metrics. So while I don't think Democrats are different from what Republicans were 30 years ago -- I don't think the problem is "people voting to get a free handout."

By any measure, there are more handouts going to Oil Companies and Internet Service Providers. And I count our military invasion of Iraq as a hand out to oil companies because I understand how things work in this world. Others have made this point better than I, but it seems really obvious and I can't let someone pass with the "der, things suck because Democrats are stupid voting for handouts!" We vote more for fairness, and opportunity -- but failing having a job, we vote because kids shouldn't have to suffer and starve. The war in Iraq and Afghanistan could have paid for everyone who wanted to to go to college in the USA -- doesn't it seem like we would have had more benefit for that kind of socialism than we got out of making military contractors wealthier?

Re:Money isn't the problem (1)

Curunir_wolf (588405) | about 5 months ago | (#47156467)

Don't misunderstand. I was only responding to the GP's assertion that voters don't vote based on wanting a "piece of the pie". It really DOES happen, but you're right that eliminating that practice isn't going to solve much. It's offset by all the people pulling the lever for the "R" on the ticket because they promise to stop abortion and gay marriage.

I won't get into the false memes about oil company handouts (it's not actually happening), but there is certainly a huge issue with crony capitalism and phony wars that benefit only the military industrial complex while make the US look like the biggest global bully the world has ever seen.

Our representatives in Washington are wholly unresponsive to the needs and desires of the people, and they game the system to remain in power, using whatever rhetoric will work for their district or state at the time. Making the single available opposition look like a worse evil seems to be pretty effective in getting voters to select the lesser evil. People are completely disenfranchised, and they know it. The problem is getting people to realize that their own representative is also part of the problem. That should be easy considering the guy has been there for 30 or 40 years (because you keep voting for him), and he clearly hasn't done anything to improve the situation. People pay too much attention to what these guys say and don't even do the research that would reveal what they do is completely different.

removing money will help, some (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47147699)

I think the basic premise behind campaign finance reform is this: We The People Suck, in that we simply don't care enough to make informed decisions, and so we want someone else to tell us what to do. One of the most popular ways of getting told what to do, is through getting ourselves exposed to lots of expensive advertisements. The expense of these ads corrupts Congress and makes them not care about us.

The proposed solution to this problem, is to limit these expensive ads. If you do that, you'd see two benefits: 1) people might make better decisions (they'd be denied one of the eastists paths to getting told what to do) and 2) Congresscritters would have less incentive to beg for re-election ad money, so they'd have less incentive to sell us out.

IMHO this is not totally unreasonable. I would want to severely under-stress the idea that people will start voting better, because I think that if you take away one of our ways to get told what to do, we will find others. (We very much want to not be responsible for our government and I think we'll do whatever it takes to avoid it.) Yet I have to agree with the corruption aspect of all this. Sure, our representatives will still do horrible things, but they really would have less to lose, in situations where they could work for the people. If you're in the House and you have a choice between being Evil and Good, and suddenly doing something Good doesn't have such an incredible financial penalty, you might pick Good more often. Why not, if there's no downside?

That said, campaign finance reform addresses a symptom, not the underlying problem of us not caring. If people thought about the kind of government they want, found (or became) candidates for that platform, and then actually voted (and 99% of the time that means writing in, rather than picking the party members who were on the ballots) and sometimes WON (currently, everyone who does make the effort of caring, whether they're right-wing or left-wing or anywhere in the middle, almost always loses, every single race in every part of government, because the Democrats and Republicans win instead), then all the ad money wouldn't matter. The Congresscritters would still have the Good/Evil choice where Evil will pay the campaign bills, but getting the campaign bill paid wouldn't be a high priority, because it wouldn't make much difference in whether or not they got re-elected.

Thus, We The People could probably achieve the same results of campaign finance reform, by caring instead. Or, you call it, "education."

Thing is, I think that's a vastly more ambitious project and we're much further from being able to get there. Campaign finance reform, on the other hand, is achievable without altering human nature or American culture. People-giving-a-fuck isn't as achievable. And tell me: how can you possibly educate someone who doesn't care? The education solution has as its premise, that people want to be better, rather than have better things given to them. I can't find any evidence of that. What do you know about people, geekoid, that I don't?

Re:removing money will help, some (1)

Curunir_wolf (588405) | about 5 months ago | (#47148075)

The expense of these ads corrupts Congress and makes them not care about us.

It's worse than that. It also corrupts the mainstream media, which needs that campaign ad money to survive. They won't even talk about populist candidates because it distracts from the conflict-based rhetorical battles between the highly financed candidates.

Re:Money isn't the problem (1)

Jawnn (445279) | about 5 months ago | (#47147743)

with congress. In fact, it's practically a red herring. The voters are. Do you think if no money was in congress then voters would magically pay attention and vote on rationality?

Educate the voters.

Rubbish. Money and other forms of manipulation have been used to get voters to elect representatives who have clearly not acted in the interests of their electorate. It's going on right now here in TX. Big money is making major races all about guns, abortion, and illegal aliens. None of those issues truly have any appreciable effect on the electorate, and yet they have been made to believe that those are the central issues of the campaign. Nothing, not a single damned thing, of actual substance is discussed in any of the "paid for by..." campaign spots being paid for by those large monied interests. The result, cynical Congressmen/women who don't give a shit about those "central issues" and are free to vote however those who paid to get them elected tell them to.

Re:Money isn't the problem (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 5 months ago | (#47147777)

All of which wouldn't matter if the electorate had accurate facts and education on those matters.

Re:Money isn't the problem (1)

Curunir_wolf (588405) | about 5 months ago | (#47147975)

with congress. In fact, it's practically a red herring. The voters are.

Correct.

Educate the voters.

That has been tried and shown to be an abysmal failure. Propaganda and sound bites are far more effective. That's why federal bureaucracies fund NGOs (people trust what NGOs say, for some reason), it's why so much news and entertainment in the media is so agenda-driven, and, if you look closely, you can see it's why people mistrust and condemn congress, yet are entirely okay with their own representative there.

In fact, manipulating the vote, in our 2-party system, is so deterministic it practically pointless. Obama's 2008 election is one of the few examples in recent history where voting up-ended the status quo. Those examples are very rare. Too bad Obama turned out to be such a useless puppet of the entrenched Washington interests.

Granick Stallman (2)

globaljustin (574257) | about 5 months ago | (#47147383)

thanks again to Ms. Granick...these are real, value added answers...

i think this interview Q/A was much more enlightening than the Stallman Q/A

i'd take Jennifer Granicks advice over Stallman's on these issues any day

Re:Granick Stallman (1)

vux984 (928602) | about 5 months ago | (#47149729)

thanks again to Ms. Granick...these are real, value added answers...

Agreed. Excellent read.

i think this interview Q/A was much more enlightening than the Stallman Q/A

I disagree. There were no surprises or new insights for me from Stallman's Q/A, but that's not because he isn't thought provoking or insightful. We've just all heard his views before.

i'd take Jennifer Granicks advice over Stallman's on these issues any day

Advice on what exactly?

controversial opinion... (1)

globaljustin (574257) | about 5 months ago | (#47150005)

right...

first of all, Ms. Granick didn't start all answers by making an extremely esoteric distinction in terminology that caused more questions and confusion...like Stallman did

2nd, Stallman thinks anyone who uses a cell phone is a dupe

see for yourself here: http://slashdot.org/story/13/0... [slashdot.org]

I use a cell phone, even though I'm as aware as anyone on earth the technical telecommunications capabilities it has....I know and I still choose to use a cell phone

Stallman's contextualization of the problem guides his opinions of "how things should be" and what solutions are best for our current problems

on the issue of privacy, Ms. Granick's advice on a cell phone privacy issue or her thoughts on what can be done to increase privacy are going to be an order of magnitude more useful, because she's actively working inside the system to change it, not lobbing potshots from outside

Re:controversial opinion... (1)

vux984 (928602) | about 5 months ago | (#47150195)

first of all, Ms. Granick didn't start all answers by making an extremely esoteric distinction in terminology that caused more questions and confusion...like Stallman did

Except his distinctions were generally warranted and cleared up things people usually argue over simply because they mean one thing but say something else.

2nd, Stallman thinks anyone who uses a cell phone is a dupe

I choose to use one too. But I think stallman is right. We're dupes. Modern phones are horrific on nearly every front.

Stallman's an idealist who puts his ideals ahead of convenience. You and I put convenience ahead of ideals. I don't see an actual argument here.

Stallman's contextualization of the problem guides his opinions of "how things should be" and what solutions are best for our current problems

Stallman's solutions actually would be solutions if they were implemented.

on the issue of privacy, Ms. Granick's advice on a cell phone privacy issue or her thoughts on what can be done to increase privacy are going to be an order of magnitude more useful,

Sorry, what privacy advice did she actually give that was useful? "I use cookie blockers and if I had more privacy friendly options I'd use them?" is neither advice nor a solution, merely a helpless surrender that privacy right now is hard to do.

So... everything's going to work out in the end, and the 4th amendment is going to evolve in constructive ways; we're going to reform statutes for location privacy... how exactly? And we'll have some assurance big brother isn't behind the scenes slurping up the data anyway because: optimism?

From the same response where she writes " Iâ(TM)ve become even more disillusioned with Congress than I already was. [...] they do not do what the public wants even when there is a general consensus."

Yeah, that sounds like an incubator for constructive policy.

for comparison (1)

globaljustin (574257) | about 5 months ago | (#47150035)

if I needed to know the difference between GNU and Linux, I can't envision a better person than Stallman to ask...

Tour Nha Trang 2014 (-1, Offtopic)

putatravels (3678853) | about 5 months ago | (#47147395)

I liked
http://www.putatravels.com/du-lich-nha-trang.html

A lot of internet privacy issues are etiquette (2)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | about 5 months ago | (#47147467)

And, etiquette hasn't caught up with technology. Filming people getting drunk at your party and posting the pics on Facebook is bad etiquette, but people haven't figured that out yet because the technology is cool and new. People down to their core haven't figured out that what you post on Facebook isn't just shared with your trusted friends, but is now indexed and associated with you forever. That's OK for older guys like me who have some understanding of the repercussions, but what about kids who haven't figured it out yet? I was on Yahoo answers trying to talk a teenage girl out of sexting her BF because she assumed that he had no way to rebroadcast the pics from his phone!

Once people figure out the importance of internet privacy via the outlets they control, they'll start to associate the effects of privacy on other sources holding their personal information. Once that happens, I think we'll start to see improvement all around as public pressure still does affect change.

Re:A lot of internet privacy issues are etiquette (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 5 months ago | (#47147577)

" Filming people getting drunk at your party and posting the pics on Facebook is bad etiquette, "
"Beg's the question" fallacy.

Re:A lot of internet privacy issues are etiquette (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47147941)

There is no fallacy here. It may be difficult to define etiquette or common courtesy, sure, but that doesn't mean it doesn't exist. I think the GPs post is right on, and we will see a more "polite" internet as the wild west becomes more civilized. I'm sure many of us will miss the frontier, but there will be new frontiers, and there will always be impolite/inappropriate behavior.

Re:A lot of internet privacy issues are etiquette (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47185727)

There is no fallacy here. It may be difficult to define etiquette or common courtesy, sure, but that doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

It's not just difficult to define it; it's completely subjective. It's just a bunch of people putting forth opinions about subjective matters.

A woman (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47147481)

who is interested in this and why?

2 mentions of Congress, zero of the FCC or Obama? (1)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | about 5 months ago | (#47147915)

I noticed that she called out some crappy PAC in questions about Congress, but I didn't see her note how Obama or his FCC plays into these issues. Don't you think having the president out in front rooting for net neutrality would be the best possible thing right now? (Or will "net neutrality" just fade into a "wedge issue" that will be used to drum up funds but never really get solved to anyone's satisfaction.)

Right to be forgotten is bullshit (1)

gelfling (6534) | about 5 months ago | (#47149509)

All it does is make a first pass at scrubbing you from search results. But let's face facts here - on day one someone is going to sue 'the internet' for not erasing their existence from everywhere and everything online since the dawn of time and when someone points out them that governments can't successfully fine 'the internet' they will no longer care about any of this. The problem is that people are idiots and they're too dull to understand what this law is and is not. Meanwhile if you have an iPhone and Apple collects your location data and keeps your Apple store history, there's no provision to wipe that because it's not commonly publicly available. It's still there you don't see it.

Check for New Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?