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Cognitive Dissident: Interview with John Perry Barlow

timothy posted more than 11 years ago | from the always-good-to-listen-to dept.

Privacy 140

Bob Hellbringer writes "Mother Jones Magazine has an online interview with John Perry Barlow of the EFF, on the things that all slashdotters love: 'the Total Information Awareness project, online activism, file sharing, and the prospect of a digital counterculture.'"

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FP? (-1, Offtopic)

digitalcowboy (142658) | more than 11 years ago | (#5221201)

Is this coincidence or is /. this dead at 2:00 am?

Re:FP? (2, Funny)

digitalcowboy (142658) | more than 11 years ago | (#5221222)

I suspect it's both as it's been a few minutes now and still nearly nothing, even in troll land.

I can spare the Karma and only posted FP because I couldn't believe it was staring me in the face.

Wow. Maybe I'll become a troll. It is somehow, perversely gratifying to get first post.

Re:FP? (-1)

-1bynextweek (642604) | more than 11 years ago | (#5221247)

You'll never regret it. Just as bored entitled WASPs leave vanilla sex behind and find liberation in the straits of BDSM, you too can abandon your karma and achieve cultural enlightenment on two posts per day (or less). I've never felt more alive!

Strike your karma down, and you will become more powerful than they can possibly imagine.

Re:FP? (1)

trmj (579410) | more than 11 years ago | (#5221224)

Not really dead, just asleep. Hence why I forgot the closing italics on my post below. "at 2:00 am" Because, you know, all the important people in the world live on the east coast of the US.

Re:FP? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5221248)

Because, you know, all the important people in the world live on the east coast of the US.

You know, with the exceptions of maybe Steve Jobs and Jiang Zemin, I think you're right. I can't think of a single important person who doesn't live on the east coast of the U.S.

Slashdot is Dying! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5221249)

It is official; Netcraft now confirms: Slashdot is dying One more crippling bombshell hit the already beleaguered Slashdot community when IDC confirmed that Slashdot market share has dropped yet again, now down to less than a fraction of 1 percent of all geeks. Coming on the heels of a recent Netcraft survey which plainly states that Slashdot has lost more market share, this news serves to reinforce what we've known all along. Slashdot is collapsing in complete disarray, as fittingly exemplified by falling dead last in the recent "News for Nerds" female repulsiveness test. You don't need to be a Kreskin [amazingkreskin.com] to predict Slashdot's future. The hand writing is on the wall: Slashdot faces a bleak future. In fact there won't be any future at all for Slashdot because Slashdot is dying. Things are looking very bad for Slashdot. As many of us are already aware, Slashdot continues to lose market share. Red ink flows like a river of blood. SourceForge is the most endangered of them all, having lost 93% of its core dicklovers. The sudden and unpleasant departures of long time Slashdot dicklovers digitalcowboy and PetWolverine only serve to underscore the point more clearly. There can no longer be any doubt: Slashdot is dying. Let's keep to the facts and look at the numbers. Slashdot leader CowboyNeal states that there are 7,000,000,000 users of Slashdot. How many users of NewsForge are there? Let's see. The number of NewsForge versus Slashdot trolls is roughly in the ratio of 5 to 1. Therefore if you multiply that by the number of times digitalcowboy has enjoyed having his shit pushed in, then divde by 4 (the length of his dick in inches) there are about 8y-C/4 = 13 NewsForge users. SourceForge trolls are about half of the volume of NewsForge trolls. Therefore there are about 3 users of SourceForge. A recent article put Slashdot at about 80 percent of the "virgin geeks" market. Therefore there are (13+6+3)*4E82/y = 66,000 Slashdot loners. This is consistent with the number of Slashdot trolls. Due to the troubles of CmdrTaco, limp dick and so on, Slashdot went out of business and was taken over by OSDN who offer webpages to the homeless. Now OSDN is also dead, its corpse turned over to yet another house of prostitution. All major surveys show that Slashdot has steadily declined in market share. Slashdot is very sick and its long term survival prospects are very dim. If Slashdot is to survive at all it will be among old trolls and flaming hot taco eaters. Slashdot continues to decay. Nothing short of a miracle could save it at this point in time. For all practical purposes, Slashdot is dead. Fact: Slashdot is dying

FP! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5221202)

Fuck Pussy!

Wh o is this fell o? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5221206)

Bob Hellbringer writes "Mother Jones Magazine has an online interview with John Perry Barlow of the EFF, on the things that all slashdotters love: 'the Total Information Awareness project, online activism, file sharing, and the prospect of a digital counterculture.'

Re:Wh o is this fell o? (2, Informative)

djupedal (584558) | more than 11 years ago | (#5221647)

JPB is formerly of Grateful Dead fame...he knows of what he speaks. From the article, for those w/o time to read...

A self-described "classic boomer," Barlow is still best known for his first career, songsmithing for the Grateful Dead, with classics like "Cassidy," "Estimated Prophet," and "A Little Light" to his credit. After a go as a back-to-the-land cattle rancher, Barlow, 55, is now starring in a digital third act, one that may well fulfill his ultimate aspiration: "To be a good ancestor."

seems so (-1, Offtopic)

KDE (100369) | more than 11 years ago | (#5221207)

Slashdot dead @ 2 am

Worst piece of digital legislation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5221208)

The DMCA is bad, but the No Electronic Theft Act makes every netizen a felon.

http://www.usdoj.gov/criminal/cybercrime/17-18re d. htm

*BSD is dying (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5221210)

It is official; Netcraft now confirms: *BSD is dying

One more crippling bombshell hit the already beleaguered *BSD community when IDC confirmed that *BSD market share has dropped yet again, now down to less than a fraction of 1 percent of all servers. Coming on the heels of a recent Netcraft survey which plainly states that *BSD has lost more market share, this news serves to reinforce what we've known all along. *BSD is collapsing in complete disarray, as fittingly exemplified by failing dead last [samag.com] in the recent Sys Admin comprehensive networking test.

You don't need to be a Kreskin [amazingkreskin.com] to predict *BSD's future. The hand writing is on the wall: *BSD faces a bleak future. In fact there won't be any future at all for *BSD because *BSD is dying. Things are looking very bad for *BSD. As many of us are already aware, *BSD continues to lose market share. Red ink flows like a river of blood.

FreeBSD is the most endangered of them all, having lost 93% of its core developers. The sudden and unpleasant departures of long time FreeBSD developers Jordan Hubbard and Mike Smith only serve to underscore the point more clearly. There can no longer be any doubt: FreeBSD is dying.

Let's keep to the facts and look at the numbers.

OpenBSD leader Theo states that there are 7000 users of OpenBSD. How many users of NetBSD are there? Let's see. The number of OpenBSD versus NetBSD posts on Usenet is roughly in ratio of 5 to 1. Therefore there are about 7000/5 = 1400 NetBSD users. BSD/OS posts on Usenet are about half of the volume of NetBSD posts. Therefore there are about 700 users of BSD/OS. A recent article put FreeBSD at about 80 percent of the *BSD market. Therefore there are (7000+1400+700)*4 = 36400 FreeBSD users. This is consistent with the number of FreeBSD Usenet posts.

Due to the troubles of Walnut Creek, abysmal sales and so on, FreeBSD went out of business and was taken over by BSDI who sell another troubled OS. Now BSDI is also dead, its corpse turned over to yet another charnel house.

All major surveys show that *BSD has steadily declined in market share. *BSD is very sick and its long term survival prospects are very dim. If *BSD is to survive at all it will be among OS dilettante dabblers. *BSD continues to decay. Nothing short of a miracle could save it at this point in time. For all practical purposes, *BSD is dead.

Fact: *BSD is dying

Mother Jones Magazine? (0, Redundant)

aeiz (627513) | more than 11 years ago | (#5221211)

I have never heard of such a magazine.

Re:Mother Jones Magazine? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5221228)

Really - I know there are a lot of people named Jones in North America, and a lot of them are probably mothers, but this sort of specificity in magazines is becoming ridiculous. It was bad enough with Spy magazine. And I can only assume The Onion has a sentient readership of zero.

More reason for the RIAA to be angry (4, Funny)

trmj (579410) | more than 11 years ago | (#5221214)

the prospect of a digital counterculture.

Last time I checked, all coutercultures were mandated by the RIAA. Perhaps this is the real reason they are so uppity about computers?

so in other words... (0)

intermodal (534361) | more than 11 years ago | (#5221217)

"on the things that all slashdotters love: 'the Total Information Awareness project, online activism, file sharing, and the prospect of a digital counterculture.'"

a slashback with only one article attatched to it. how novel.

Better news stories (-1)

DrMrLordX (559371) | more than 11 years ago | (#5221229)

We need some news better than this. Somebody blow up another space shuttle or something. That's it, I can feel the negative karma rolling in now! Bring it on! The lower my karma on Slashdot, the higher my karma in real life.

Re:Better news stories (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5221452)

Think of it as a lobster, it sticks to magnet.

speak for yourself (1, Insightful)

Twirlip of the Mists (615030) | more than 11 years ago | (#5221241)

on the things that all slashdotters love: 'the Total Information Awareness project, online activism, file sharing, and the prospect of a digital counterculture.'

Speak for yourself. I for one am utterly bored with the political direction Slashdot has taken in the past couple of years. And it's not even good politics! When the issues of the day are domestic and international terrorism, the war in Afghanistan, the prospect of war in Iraq and elsewhere, the economy, or even the space shuttle, the prevailing topics of discussion on Slashdot still center around that same list of drivel: the RIAA, Microsoft, and stories about "chilling effects" that are just barely more than "we hate the government but we don't know why" flamefests.

If Slashdot wants to get political, at least get political in ways that people give a damn about. Otherwise, let's stick to the stuff that made Slashdot a fun place to hang out in the beginning: news for nerds.

Re:speak for yourself (5, Insightful)

kscd (414074) | more than 11 years ago | (#5221287)

"the prevailing topics of discussion on Slashdot still center around that same list of drivel: the RIAA, Microsoft, and stories about "chilling effects" that are just barely more than "we hate the government but we don't know why" flamefests.""

Probably gonna get flamed for this, but:
The chilling effects people on /. are talking about are not drivel. They are rights that are in the process of being taken away. Sure right now it centers on the **AA's, but they are setting dangerous precedents. And on the whole hate the government thing, I don't think anyone is saying they hate the government. More like, they love the democratic government we have/had in the US, and don't want to see it stripped away for some short term gains.

Re:speak for yourself (0)

Twirlip of the Mists (615030) | more than 11 years ago | (#5221334)

The chilling effects people on /. are talking about are not drivel. They are rights that are in the process of being taken away.

No, they're drivel. The two best examples I can think of both came up recently. They are the fake CNN story story (er, you know what I mean) posted earlier today, and the fake Dow Chemical web site and press release story, posted some weeks ago. In both of those cases, Slashdotters were quick to cry "chilling effect!" and "takedown!" and to decry the DMCA. It seems like in each case most people failed to take a minute and realize that the cases in question were more about trademark infringement than anything else, and that the actions taken by the offended parties were basically right. The same basic scenario arose around the whole Elcomsoft matter. Everybody cried "chilling effect!" without stopping to think that maybe what Elcomsoft did was actually wrong, and that both Adobe and, later, the government were doing the right thing in response.

Basically, the Slashdot community has zero credibility when it comes to copyright and other IP matters. This is the same core community that made Napster a household name, and everything that goes up on Slashdot is colored by that fact. No matter what any one individual-- including I, myself-- may think or say, the prevailing opinion on and of Slashdot is that kids just want to download free music and movies. Because of that fact-- or perhaps perception is a better word-- it's impossible to take any of the Slashdot uproar seriously.

But my original point, I think, still stands. If you want to argue about politics, let's argue about something that actually matters, instead of having yet another flame war about the Bono Copyright Extension Act, or whatever the hell the unbelievably trivial Slashdot issue of the day is.

MOD DOWN (1)

Linux Torvalds (647197) | more than 11 years ago | (#5221352)

Score:-1,Idiot

Re:speak for yourself (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5221361)

No, you're wrong. The Dow Chemical case involved political parody NOT trademark infringement. Political parody is supposed to be protected speech. So it was most definitely a case of a chilling effect and a way out of proportion reaction, taking out the entire ISP where the website was hosted. They don't get much chillier than that.

Re:speak for yourself (0, Troll)

Twirlip of the Mists (615030) | more than 11 years ago | (#5221391)

1. Political? What the fuck, dude? There's absolutely nothing political about Union Carbide or Dow Chemical. They're commercial concerns, not political.

2. The Dow Chemical case involved the unauthorized use of the "Dow Chemcial" trademark and the associated logo. If the offending party hadn't used the name (if they'd called it "Cow Chemical" or some other similar but noninfringing name) and logo, they'd have been in the clear.

3. The reason the issue was escalated to the Verio level was because Thing.net didn't have any sort of AUP against this kind of illegal activity. Verio, fortunately, does. So Dow went to Verio and said, "Hey, Verio, your client is violating your AUP." And Verio said, "You're absolutely right. Bad boys!" And that's that.

4. Before you cry "chilling effect" again, you might want to see the big point that's staring you right in the face, here. The creators of the so-called parody site were breaking the law. Their unauthorized use of the Dow Chemical name and logo were not protected speech. If they had said, "Dow Chemical is bad," that would have been fine. If they had said, "We're Cow Chemical, and we're bad," that would have been fine. But because they said, "We're Dow Chemical, and we're bad," they got their pee pees smacked. See?

5. This is exactly what I'm talking about. Thanks for providing an example of my point.

Re:speak for yourself (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5221424)

OK so I know I'm being trolled here but what the hell, I'll bite.

The actions of commercial concerns do not take place in a vacuum, they are very much political. Frankly, I think you must have a definition of the political which is so truncated as to encompass what takes place in a voting booth once a year and no more.
The use of the Dow Chemical logo was in a parody. THis is accepted and legitimate fair-use of said trademarks and is recognized as such by law.

So just shut down the ISP huh? THat sounds OK to you?

You're simply so far wrong on the facts that it really isn't funny. Parody is protected BY LAW, they certainly weren't breaking the law.

Anyway I'm tired of being trolled so that's it.

Re:speak for yourself (1)

Twirlip of the Mists (615030) | more than 11 years ago | (#5221437)

Frankly, I think you must have a definition of the political which is so truncated as to encompass what takes place in a voting booth once a year and no more.

Okay, so your definition of "political" is so broad that it encompasses everything. The phrase "political parody," therefore, is meaningless. Everything is political, so every parody is political parody. Same net result. Calling it "political parody" amounts to nothing at all.

The use of the Dow Chemical logo was in a parody. THis is accepted and legitimate fair-use of said trademarks and is recognized as such by law.

Wrong. Sorry, but wrong. Posing as another individual or corporation and making false statements with the intention of harming the reputation of that individual or corporation is not protected by law. It is, in fact, illegal. It's called fraud and defamation.

So just shut down the ISP huh? THat sounds OK to you?

Yup. If the ISP won't act responsibly, the upstream provider will.

Anyway I'm tired of being trolled so that's it.

The irony of this statement is not lost on me. I'm the one being called troll, while you're the one who's too cowardly to put your own name on your posts. Read my posting history. You'll see I'm no troll. I have opinions that differ-- evidently wildly-- from yours. That's not what "troll" means.

You, on the other hand, have no posting history to which to refer. You're anonymous.

Which of us deserves to be taken more seriously?

Re:speak for yourself (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5221466)

You deserve to be taken seriously because you have a nickname and email address and get to set preferences and abuse your +1 Karma bonus for bullshit no one wants to read??

I think you take your /. life too seriously dude.

Why do you alway apologize when you tell someone that they're wrong?? Are you a pussy or something?

Re:speak for yourself (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5221467)

Your opinions are those of a troll and your posting history testifies thereto. I will be trolled no more.

Re:speak for yourself (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5221363)

Not everyone is a muslim-fearing nincompoop.

It's amusing that you expect /. to recognize what you think actually matters actually matters.

I see you got the knee-jerk twirlip +1 insightful mod for your original thread. Too bad since it's fucking off-topic.

I wish I had your crapflooding skills so I could write a short triste on how mods are insane.

Re:speak for yourself (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5221389)

Mod parent up. Now there's an insightful post.

Re:speak for yourself (2, Flamebait)

Jus ad Bellum (592236) | more than 11 years ago | (#5221400)

Ok, This is a slightly off topic but I find it keeps coming up in these posts and I would like to clarify.

The USA holds 5% of the worlds population. 95% of the world are not citizens of the USA.

The assumption that bothers many people I know is that they are labeled with an Anti-Americian title whenever they disagree with what the leaders of the USA have to say right now about gov't, economic, and moral issues. A lot of people in the outside USA world have a democratic form of gov't, and when the USA leaders and some very right wing people from the USA try to enforce issues as above it is seen as a direct insult. How are the people supposed to react when the leader of a small minority of people in the world directly insult them? Roll over and say "Sure thing boss"?

This is a larger problem then is given address. If the USA wants to implement a system of total observation on it own people -fine-, an issue for that 5% of the worlds population to deal with. But when it comes to a technology that contains the information that is not limited to the USA and contains the secure information of people of another soverein nations then it is a larger issue and one of global concern.

Re:speak for yourself (1)

ThaReetLad (538112) | more than 11 years ago | (#5222156)

I agree. I think that gathering information on foreign citizens, foreign companies and foreign goverments is called espionage, and TIA will inevitably involve spying on allies.

Re:speak for yourself (3, Insightful)

lacheur (588045) | more than 11 years ago | (#5221288)

When the issues of the day are domestic and international terrorism, the war in Afghanistan, the prospect of war in Iraq and elsewhere

I think this is one of the points he's trying to make. The "war on terror" is being used to distract people from the constitution-trampling our fearless leader is currently engaging in. When I see that 3/4 of the "issues of the day" revolve around the OssamaTerrorSaddamIraqWar, it just shows me that it's working. Personally, I'm far more worried about Bush taking away my freedom than Saddam Hussein throwing some empty chemical warheads at me.

Re:speak for yourself (1, Insightful)

Twirlip of the Mists (615030) | more than 11 years ago | (#5221362)

The "war on terror" is being used to distract people from the constitution-trampling our fearless leader is currently engaging in.

Oh, please. "Constitution-trampling?" Get a sense of perspective. The simple fact that you can climb on your computer and post a message about "Constitution-trampling" is a sign that the Constitution is alive and well.

This is basically my problem, in a nutshell. Slashdotters-- not all of us, just a vocal and strident minority-- get on here and post sarcastic remarks about the government and about their freedoms without (1) any facts to back them up, and (2) any sense of perspective that allows them to interpret their perceived offenses in context. If I were to get my news only from Slashdot, I would think that copyright term extensions is the biggest issue facing our country today. Slashdotters don't talk about the war because they typically don't understand it, or even know that it's going on. Slashdotters don't talk about deficit spending because they typically don't know what the term means.

Personally, I think Slashdot is a textbook example of a culture of affluence. Your average Slashdotter has never wanted for anything in his life, so he can't really internalize concepts like living in fear of a terrorist attack, or being unable to feed his family. So instead we get incredibly passionate screeds on the importance of source code and the long-term dangers of copyright extension, issues that even the most cursory examination reveals to be trivial in the extreme.

Okay, way, way off-topic now. Oh, well. I guess I'm as guilty of being vocal and strident as anybody.

Re:speak for yourself (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5221379)

Wrong again. Slashdotters don't talk about the war (much) because the site is primarily concerned with issues of technology and "news for nerds," not politics, geo or local, per se. Slashdotters do talk about copyright and such because the various legal and socio-political aspects of copyright directly effect technology and how we use/may use it.

Re:speak for yourself (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5221411)

When people can be held incommunicado, with no legal representation allowed, and not even hear the charges they are accused of nor be allowed to confront their accusers in a court of law--all of which are rights enshrined in the Constitution--I'd say there was a fair bit of "Constitution trampling" going on. Open your eyes a bit and take a look around before engaging in discourse, you'll find it most enlightening.

Re:speak for yourself (1)

Twirlip of the Mists (615030) | more than 11 years ago | (#5221426)

When people can be held incommunicado, with no legal representation allowed, and not even hear the charges they are accused of nor be allowed to confront their accusers in a court of law--all of which are rights enshrined in the Constitution--I'd say there was a fair bit of "Constitution trampling" going on.

These rights are only extended to citizens of the United States. Non-citizens are basically at the government's pleasure. There are no guarantees in the Constitution that apply to non-citizens.

So yes, basically the government can take any non-citizen and throw them in a bottomless pit forever. It's legal. It's distasteful, but sometimes it's necessary.

Open your eyes a bit and take a look around before engaging in discourse, you'll find it most enlightening.

Right back atcha, AC.

Re:speak for yourself (2, Interesting)

doom (14564) | more than 11 years ago | (#5221764)

Twirlip of the Mists wrote:
These rights are only extended to citizens of the United States. Non-citizens are basically at the government's pleasure. There are no guarantees in the Constitution that apply to non-citizens. So yes, basically the government can take any non-citizen and throw them in a bottomless pit forever. It's legal. It's distasteful,
The constitution, in fact, guarantees due process to "all persons", there's nothing in it about restricting it to citizens.
but sometimes it's necessary.
Right. Whatever Ashcroft says is necessary is necessary.

You might want to stop and consider how you would feel if another country grabbed some US citizens and gave them the bottomless pit treatment.

Re:speak for yourself (4, Insightful)

pridkett (2666) | more than 11 years ago | (#5222992)


These rights are only extended to citizens of the United States. Non-citizens are basically at the government's pleasure. There are no guarantees in the Constitution that apply to non-citizens.


Maybe you should explain that to Jose Padilla and why he is being held in violation of the 5th amendment. I'm not saying that's he's not a traitor or a terrorist, but he still is US citizen. For those of you who don't know who Jose Padilla is, you should see this blurb at the BBC [bbc.co.uk] or chargepadilla.org [chargepadilla.org] for more information.


Open your eyes a bit and take a look around before engaging in discourse, you'll find it most enlightening.


Oh the sweet irony...

Re:speak for yourself (4, Insightful)

davesag (140186) | more than 11 years ago | (#5221672)

The simple fact that you can climb on your computer and post a message about "Constitution-trampling" is a sign that the Constitution is alive and well.

or the poster is in another country. sure you seppos have 'freedom', but you can't buy fresh milk in the shops can ya now? that's the freedom you want to impose on the rest of the world? the freedom to work for minimum wage for some mega-corp? the freedom to join the army or die in a ghetto? heck a huge proportion of amerikans don't even have the right to vote! freedom? don't make me laugh. contrast to europe. there you are free. free to say what you like, free to smoke pot in public, free to move from one country to another without restriction (you yanks can't even go visit cuba without repercussions -still think you are free?).

the great shame of america is that you just can't see the bars of your iron cage. travel the world a bit and you'll see what real freedom is about. what you have is non-fattening-dairy-free artificial freedom substitute.

Re:speak for yourself (4, Insightful)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 11 years ago | (#5222759)

but you can't buy fresh milk in the shops can ya now?
Fresh milk? You mean like the radiation enhanced crap that can sit on a room temperature shelf for weeks on end? Or the non pasteurized stuff straight from the cow? I've had it. Doesn't sound too fresh to me.

the freedom to work for minimum wage for some mega-corp?
No one I know has a minumum wage job. Or are you speaking of the 'freedom' to be unemployed? Check the unemployment figures.

the freedom to join the army
I'd rather have the freedom to choose whether I join the military (and I did), rather than be forced to, as is the case in a lot of countries.

a huge proportion of amerikans don't even have the right to vote!
And you know why? They voluntarily gave up their right to vote. Being convicted of a felony can strip you of your right to vote. Want to vote? Don't commit a felony. Simple as that.
Until a few short years ago (1971), 1/2 the population of Switzerland could not vote.

free to say what you like
Really...how is Europe so different from the US in this regard? Specifics please.

free to smoke pot in public
Just as not ALL countries in Europe turn a blind eye on smoking pot, not all States in the US toss you in jail for it either. Learn a little before you make such sweeping statements.

free to move from one country to another without restriction
How soon they forget. Just a few short years ago, people were being shot on sight just trying to go from one part of Germany to another. Freedom? Just a few short years ago, at every border crossing, you had to stop and show your 'papers'.

Freedom to travel to Cuba? Try going from Greece to Turkey. Drive around Albania at night. See how long you last.
Whose country has posted border guards in another country, ostensibly to stop illegal immigrants?
Freedom to travel, as it is in the states, is contingent upon certain rights and responsibilities. it's not quite as 'free' as you imply.

How about the 'freedom' to pay crushing taxes to give the slackers of society a free house. Or the 'freedom' to give to every family a monthly child benefit, regardless of need. I'd rather the money go to those who actually need it, not a government handout to a banker in London.
How about the 'freedom' to be forced to give your employees several weeks of vacation, regardless of merit? Yes, it is nice to have significant vacation time, but should I as an employer be forced to do that?

Should we have kept our military home during WWII? (and no, we did NOT win the war singlehandedly) You'd all be speaking German. The ones left alive, that is. Why did you beg for us to help out in Kosovo? Because you lacked the collective political will to do it yourselves.

I have traveled the world a bit. I dare say, more than you. Grow up a little, and get some time perspective. Stop watching the horrowshow on the TV. Learn what actually happens.

It's easy to say America sucks. When you're the big dog, everyone wants to take a shot at you. And no, it is not perfect.

Show me a place that is, though.

Re:speak for yourself (2, Interesting)

doom (14564) | more than 11 years ago | (#5221318)

Timothy wrote:
on the things that all slashdotters love: 'the Total Information Awareness project, online activism, file sharing, and the prospect of a digital counterculture.'
Twirlip of the Mists (615030) wrote:
Speak for yourself. I for one am utterly bored with the political direction Slashdot has taken in the past couple of years. And it's not even good politics! When the issues of the day are domestic and international terrorism, the war in Afghanistan, the prospect of war in Iraq and elsewhere, the economy, or even the space shuttle, the prevailing topics of discussion on Slashdot still center around that same list of drivel: the RIAA, Microsoft, and stories about "chilling effects" that are just barely more than "we hate the government but we don't know why" flamefests.

If Slashdot wants to get political, at least get political in ways that people give a damn about.
Yeah, why doesn't slashdot go into a feeding frenzy about the same hot button issues that the rest of the media is freaking out about? Why do they keep going on about irrelvent issues like intellectual freedom when we're all supposed to be focusing on hating the appointed national enemy?

Oh, and what's up with this Barlow guy? He sounds like he's not a patriot:

The Total Information Awareness project is truly diabolical -- mostly because of the legal changes which have made it possible in the first place. As a consequence of the Patriot Act, government now has access to all sorts of private and commercial databases that were previously off limits.

Re:speak for yourself (2, Insightful)

Latrommi (615673) | more than 11 years ago | (#5221329)

Terrorism, the war on Afghanistan (if you can call it that), and even the economy are all second to what makes the US the "land of the free". If we let organizations such as the RIAA destroy our freedom of speech and cripple our ability to learn, then there will be no point to trying to protecting this place from the "axis of evil". I say that the most devistating attack against the US, would be one that alters the fundamental ideals of US...Not rocket launchers mounted on camels.

Re:speak for yourself (1)

Twirlip of the Mists (615030) | more than 11 years ago | (#5221377)

If we let organizations such as the RIAA destroy our freedom of speech and cripple our ability to learn, then there will be no point to trying to protecting this place from the "axis of evil".

Oh sweet christ on a cracker. Are you even listening to what you're saying here? "If I can't have my free music downloads, we might as well just bomb ourselves back into the stone age."

No, I don't care whether or not that's what you meant. That's what you said. Maybe you need to think, for just a fraction of a second or so, before you say something so incredibly stupid, okay?

Re:speak for yourself (1)

Latrommi (615673) | more than 11 years ago | (#5221432)

Uh hello, thanks to the DMCA, if I write a program that copies a file from location A to location B and I don't respect the "copyright protection" of every known file type (such as DVD's, fonts, etc.) I could get sued!

No person shall circumvent a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected under this title.

In addition, it makes it illegal to distribute a program that breaks the copy protection on these new CD's that won't even play in computers.

I'm not concerned about free music downloads (and have no idea how you inferred that from my post). Obviously, you don't understand the direction the RIAA is taking the country.

Re:speak for yourself (1)

Twirlip of the Mists (615030) | more than 11 years ago | (#5221461)

Uh hello, thanks to the DMCA, if I write a program that copies a file from location A to location B and I don't respect the "copyright protection" of every known file type (such as DVD's, fonts, etc.) I could get sued!

Holy crap! Thanks to the law, if I do something that's against the law, I could get in trouble! Holy crap!

In addition, it makes it illegal to distribute a program that breaks the copy protection on these new CD's that won't even play in computers.

Yup. Sure does. Seeing as how actually copying the CD's is illegal anyway, this is not a problem.

Obviously, you don't understand the direction the RIAA is taking the country.

Of course I do. The RIAA produces music that is generally really crappy, and that generally sells really well. They want to protect their investment. Unscrupulous people want to copy CD's rather than paying for them. This is against the law, but because people haven't been prevented from doing it, they do it anyway. Some people undoubtedly don't even realize that it's wrong, but most of them realize it and don't care. So the RIAA is taking steps to protect their investment, just like you or I would if we were being victimized by thieves. They're making CD's that (in theory) can't be played on computers, and that (in theory) can't be digitally copied.

Oh, you say, but this is infringing on my fair use rights! Guess what? You have no fair use rights. None. If you make certain uses of a work, those uses are defined by the law as being non-infringing. But that's an exception, not a right. If the copyright holder wants to use technological means to prevent you from exercising that exception, they're free to do so. And the law says you have to respect their wishes on that matter.

But here's the deal. The RIAA only cares about preventing digital copying. They only care if you try to make a digital copy of a CD, or to generate digital MP3's from that CD. They don't give a damn about analog copies. If you want to listen to a copy of a CD in your car, make an analog copy! Run RCA cables from your CD player to your CD recorder. Works like a charm. Sounds just fine, too, although it's not mathematically perfect. If you want to listen to the CD on your iPod, run an RCA cable to the sound-input jack on your computer and rip away. That works just fine, too, and the RIAA doesn't care, and it's permitted by law. Your fair use "rights?" Completely intact.

The culture of entitlement isn't satisfied with this arrangement, though. The culture of entitlement says that it's every American's God-given right to play CD's on his computer, and that it's every American's God-given right to make MP3's. The culture of entitlement can get stuffed.

Your arguments about chilling effects add up to a big fat zero. Sorry.

Re:speak for yourself (4, Insightful)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 11 years ago | (#5222622)

Yup. Sure does. Seeing as how actually copying the CD's is illegal anyway, this is not a problem.

Copying CDs is not necessarily illegal. It depends on the circumstances. Your blanket statement is wrong.

Oh, you say, but this is infringing on my fair use rights! Guess what? You have no fair use rights. None. If you make certain uses of a work, those uses are defined by the law as being non-infringing. But that's an exception, not a right. If the copyright holder wants to use technological means to prevent you from exercising that exception, they're free to do so. And the law says you have to respect their wishes on that matter.

This is arguably a violation of the Copyright Clause, however since the DRM will effect public domain works. At the very least it is inappropriate for government to grant copyrights to such works, if not simply unconstitutional.

(and of course, the exercise of fair use, and use of public domain works is protected by the First Amendment -- again making government-endorsed as it were interference impermissible)

They don't give a damn about analog copies

Well, first, they used to. Second, it's likely, considering the analog hole and the possibility of a shift towards analog again, that they will eventually attack it again.

The culture of entitlement isn't satisfied with this arrangement, though. The culture of entitlement says that it's every American's God-given right to play CD's on his computer, and that it's every American's God-given right to make MP3's. The culture of entitlement can get stuffed.

Given that copyright is intended to promote public aims and goals, if there is a culture of entitlement, then it has a lot going for it, and its wishes should be seriously taken into consideration in crafting copyright law, if not followed wholeheartedly. Copyright is supposed to work for people, not artists. Thus 'get stuffed' is wrong. A better answer would be 'we'll change things so that you are entitled as much as you want and practically can be.'

Re:speak for yourself (4, Informative)

LarsG (31008) | more than 11 years ago | (#5223046)

Holy crap! Thanks to the law, if I do something that's against the law, I could get in trouble! Holy crap!

By the devine digested foodstuff! If that law makes no sense, is it wrong of us to say that it is bad?

Seeing as how actually copying the CD's is illegal anyway, this is not a problem.

Huh? No, it isn't. Making copies might be legal or illegal. Redistributing copies is in most cases illegal.

Unscrupulous people want to copy CD's rather than paying for them. This is against the law

True so far.

Oh, you say, but this is infringing on my fair use rights! Guess what? You have no fair use rights. None.

This is where we disagree.

First of all, you should read about the legislative history of "fair use". The current fair use portion of US copyright law was defined and carved out by the courts because they were presented with cases where copyright law and other rights (such as the right to free speech, critisism, science, etc) collided, and they had to make a compromise. This was later codified as a set of "fair use" rules (the four step test) in the 1976 revision of the copyright law.

Some highlights to help your googling:
1841: Folsom v. Marsh
1973: Williams and Wilkins Co. v. United States
1976: Fair use and first sale codified in US copyright law.

If you make certain uses of a work, those uses are defined by the law as being non-infringing. But that's an exception, not a right.

Actually, without fair use and other safety valves, copyright law would be unconstitutional. Even the copyright clause itself limit the scope of copyright law:

"The Congress shall have power [...] To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries;"

If the copyright holder wants to use technological means to prevent you from exercising that exception, they're free to do so. And the law says you have to respect their wishes on that matter.

The law, prior to the DMCA, said nothing of the sort. And in the analog world, courts have ruled against copyright holders that have unfairly tried to limit other peoples' legal use of their creations.

And I violently reject the notion that private interests should be free to rewrite copyright law to suit their own business plans - that is not, and never was, the purpose of copyright law.

But here's the deal. The RIAA only cares about preventing digital copying. They only care if you try to make a digital copy of a CD, or to generate digital MP3's from that CD

Ah, young Skywalker. Let me tell you about the olde times and "Home Taping Kills Music". In the ancient times of the cassette recorder, the RIAA entered a similar panic mode to prevent analog copying. The difference is that RIAA was not powerful enough then to buy laws and dictate technology. Today is seems like the movie/music industry is.

Your arguments about chilling effects add up to a big fat zero. Sorry.

Crypto research and computer security? The right to preserve something I've bought? Those "fair use" rights and all the explicit exemptions in copyright law? The media industry controlling the tech industry? The DMCA giving the creator of a protected media format patent-like monopoly protection?

A few large economic interests are using copyright law to shape the digital world in their own picture, ignoring lots of other rights that are equally important.

Re:speak for yourself (1)

MoThugz (560556) | more than 11 years ago | (#5221336)

Well, it isn't that politically selective... You overlook the fact that most of /. readers are...
  • Users of P2P apps, and no matter how ardent they deny it, use it mainly for downloading MP3s and the occasional pr0n (or vice-versa, to each his/her own)
  • Hardcore politicians themselves... Just look at the many ongoing campaigns... Linux is more stable than Windows... Desktop Linux are the OS of the future... FreeBSD is Dead... and so on.
  • True believers of make -f makefile not war. Let the army geeks worry about nuclear holocausts and whatnot... as if Saddam has nukes in the first place, he can't even secure his own email!

"News for Nerds. Stuff that matters." (1)

Captain Beefheart (628365) | more than 11 years ago | (#5221387)

Could you provide some examples for those of us who've always known /. as you described? Respectfully, I don't get the same flamefest impression you do, but maybe that's because I came from Usenet and IRC.

Also, I can understand why these same topics (MS & the RIAA) would be repeatedly covered. Although you maye be understandably tired of hearing about their latest shenanigans, /. also seems to act as a vocal focal point to educate people. These two topics, IMHO, should be continually returned to, as a way of keeping peoples' eyes open.

For every dozen posters, I'll bet there's fifty important, influential people monitoring these boards or assigning people to monitor them. These people may have good or bad intentions. There's astroturfing, sure. But (maybe I'm being idealistic here) I'd like to think that, every once in a while, an influential person with good intentions finds an illuminating discussion that causes them to act in a way that makes life a little bit better for Some People, Somewhere.

Anyway, whatever, nevermind.

What are your expectations? (5, Insightful)

donscarletti (569232) | more than 11 years ago | (#5221474)

I for one are much more sick and tired by posters doing slashdot bashing on slashdot itself! To me, Slashdot is a site for the discussion of all things electronic, online and virtual (if you will excuse the buzzwords, they are sickening I know)

For now, the threat on peoples lives comes from both terrorists and the reckless United States Governement with their wars against defensless countries like Iraq, like you said. But these days the theme of slashdot is quite detached from real world suffering and distruction. Slashdot is news for nerds, a suppliment to the regular news to bring us things of particualar importance for net-dwellers. And for this special esoteric news the villins are not terrorists, not uncle sam, not faulty heat sheilds but those who want to change our environment (the net and our own computers) forever. People like Microsoft, the RIAA and legislators that want to turn information into something that is tightly monitored and unacessable even on ones own computers are what the slashdot community (the bulk of them) are most threatened by.

People come to slashdot. They insult it on the forums they created. They insult the bulk of the community by calling them repetitive. They use words like karma-burn to discribe their posts to make moderators feel guilty to give them the -1s they deserve and they dare to try and change it to fit them!

Slashdot is getting political in a way people give a damn about. It gets political in a way as its readers and community gives a damn about with the exception of those who consider it some matter of their vain pride that they attend it to mock their opinions in a medium created for them. If you want to see war, turn on the TV, there is death, poverty, flaming astronaughts, germ bombs, guncrazy preasidents threatening to use nukes. Then you can discuss them, with friends and family over dinner. You could join a political party, join some demonstration, write a letter to the newspaper or member of parlement, write an alegorical novel, take up sculpture and express yourself that way, become a vidgilante and linch someone, join a terrorist organisation, or you could even go as far as posting your conserns at a different website... there are plenty out there that would love to hear you opinions about "real" political issues. Even post to slashdot when they post their numorous stories about your beloved reality (the space shuttle was mentioned twice). Get political about something that people give a damn about, but don't stop us from getting political about things that people don't.

Re:speak for yourself (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5221802)

Yeah, let's get down to the nitty-gritty of who /really/ coined the term cyberspace..
Nerds if we do, nerds if we don't.

Re:speak for yourself (1)

cp99 (559733) | more than 11 years ago | (#5222474)

Speak for yourself. I for one am utterly bored with the political direction Slashdot has taken in the past couple of years. And it's not even good politics! When the issues of the day are domestic and international terrorism, the war in Afghanistan, the prospect of war in Iraq and elsewhere, the economy, or even the space shuttle, the prevailing topics of discussion on Slashdot still center around that same list of drivel: the RIAA, Microsoft, and stories about "chilling effects" that are just barely more than "we hate the government but we don't know why" flamefests.

What? Geeks talk about things that effect and interest them! Who ever would have thought...

And what about.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5221242)

my privacy? Does the government want to track and record all communications sent by me?

BTW, the bill has a act to enhance Cyber Security under which "malicious" hackers can be sent to prison for life.

John terms it "ridiculous, dangerous, grossly unconstitutional," - Hats off, pal!

Re:And what about.. (4, Informative)

Twirlip of the Mists (615030) | more than 11 years ago | (#5221308)

Does the government want to track and record all communications sent by me?

Short answer: yes, with a but.

The government does want to track and record all communications sent by you. This is called, in military parlance, SIGINT, for "signals intelligence," and it's a doctrine that's as old as the hills. Basically SIGINT means to keep your ear to the ground and listen for signs that the bad guys are doing something that you'll wish you could have prevented. But nobody really cares about you, personally, so as long as you're not planning to hide weapons of mass destruction in your garage or anything, you're fine.

Re:And what about.. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5221326)

Oh, so that's OK then?

Re:And what about.. (1)

Twirlip of the Mists (615030) | more than 11 years ago | (#5221370)

Yes. That's okay. Big secret now: we've been living with domestic and international signals intelligence gathering since the 1940's. Exactly how much has it abridged your freedom of speech, movement, or assembly? The correct answer here is zero.

Re:And what about.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5221453)

OK Troll, I've got your number now go away and troll no more.

Re:And what about.. (1)

Master of Transhuman (597628) | more than 11 years ago | (#5221625)

You have to be the biggest idiot on /...

It's pathetic "my government right or wrong" morons like you that allowed the state to control the human race and will eventually destroy the species...

And as a Transhuman I can't wait to see you get wasted by "your" state...

You're going to die for your stupid belief system - I won't. Have a nice day, asshole...

Re:And what about.. (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5221383)

Are you a troll or what?

Sure, intelligence about the enemy in any situation gives you power over them. In this case, you (any random citizen) are in the position of enemy.

"But nobody really cares about you, personally, so as long as you're not planning to hide weapons of mass destruction in your garage or anything, you're fine."

Sure, we all know that nobody like J. Edgar Hoover ever really existed, right? And people in power deserve all the power we can give them, because, after all, they're only in power to help us. Right? [/sarcasm]

The problem with your perspective is that, even if people are doing nothing wrong, they are not "fine." Not if someone with access to the information has a reason -- political, financial, or personal -- to use that information against the surveilled.

Re:And what about.. (1)

Twirlip of the Mists (615030) | more than 11 years ago | (#5221418)

In this case, you (any random citizen) are in the position of enemy.

Only if you put yourself there.

The problem with your perspective is that, even if people are doing nothing wrong, they are not "fine." Not if someone with access to the information has a reason -- political, financial, or personal -- to use that information against the surveilled.

That's why we have laws and unbelievably strong security systems in place to prevent the inappropriate use of intelligence data. First, even to get access to the data in the abstract sense, you have to be a trusted individual. Then, in order to get access to any particular piece of data, you have to convince a bunch of highly trusted individuals that you have a compelling need for that access. And then, if you make illegal use of that data, you can be found guilty of treason and sent to prison for the rest of your life, or even executed.

If somebody had a personal bone to pick with you, there would be a lot of safer and easier ways to get to you than by subverting our government's intelligence networks. You should be more afraid of giving the gas station attendant your credit card number than of somebody getting access to the NSA's database.

But you're really missing the larger point here. We have been living with signals intelligence, foreign and domestic, since the late 1940's. Were you even aware of the fact? Initiatives like TIA are more about analysis and synthesis, and getting the right data to the right agencies in a timely manner, than about new information gathering methods. If we'd had a TIA-like system in 2000, there's a reasonable chance the various government agencies might have been able to stop the 9/11 hijackers. See, we had the data, but we didn't have systems in place for getting that data into the right hands at the right time and in the right context. The data just kind of fell onto the floor. TIA is about being able to make appropriate use of the data we're already gathering.

If you feel threatened by this... well, I think that just might say more about you than it does about the government.

Re:And what about.. (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5221489)

"First, even to get access to the data in the abstract sense, you have to be a trusted individual. Then, in order to get access to any particular piece of data, you have to convince a bunch of highly trusted individuals that you have a compelling need for that access."

You have to be a trusted individual. Trusted by whom?

"Initiatives like TIA are more about analysis and synthesis, and getting the right data to the right agencies in a timely manner, than about new information gathering methods."

I agree, they are more about analysis and synthesis. These initiatives strive to identify patterns that may indicate dangerous activity. The only problem is: before a crime has been committed, no crime has been committed. It's a problem that is firmly rooted in the nature of the universe.

These initiatives attempt to bypass the problem. They will try to do so by creating a large, steady stream of suspects, many of whom will spend long periods of time in detention for no real reason. If you doubt that this will happen, I suggest you look around. It is already happening, primarily to people of Middle Eastern descent.

"See, we had the data, but we didn't have systems in place for getting that data into the right hands at the right time and in the right context."

You say, "We had the data." Who exactly had the data? Some people in government may have had suspicions or scattered facts, but there is a large leap between these and the knowledge of a plot. A system like TIA would not have connected those facts.

TIA was not proposed to assemble pre-determined government agency suspicions into a final, central bundle of crime knowledge. If it were, and if such a thing were possible (which I doubt without the aid of artificial intelligence), then it might have helped. But this is not the case. TIA was proposed to gather together all available commercial data on all people in order to perform blanket filtering and pattern-matching queries.

Re:And what about.. (1)

AstroDrabb (534369) | more than 11 years ago | (#5223963)

Basically what you are saying is that it is ok to make the powerful more powerful and make the weak, weaker. The USA was founded on a system of checks-and-balances. Without those, we have nothing to prevent the government from getting out of control. IMHO, the government is already out of control. Laws are made by politicians that are allowed to receive "Funding" from "Interested Parties". Basically it means they can legally take a bribe for a vote. Do you REALLY think a law like the DMCA would fly with a panel of average Americans? No way. The DMCA only benefits the RIAA by making the average American a criminal before a crime has been committed. Last I checked, entrapment was against the law.

Re:And what about.. (1)

Aine (647301) | more than 11 years ago | (#5221824)

my privacy? Does the government want to track and record all communications sent by me? Yep, and they probably already are doing so (Echelon/Carnivore/etc.), they're just trying to make it look all legal-like and proper on paper right now. If the government can know everything about our communications, why shouldn't we have the same right to know everything about the government's communications? ;) See, they only like it when they make all the rules but don't have to play by them.

i eat pussy (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5221244)

i eat pussy all night long! i eat pussy all night long! i eat pussy all night long!

Re:i eat pussy (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5221253)

Then how did you type that? Nobody's that coordinated.

Re:i eat pussy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5221319)

LOL!

Much love. Sea cucumbaz in tha house.

Re:i eat pussy (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5221353)

yum [capital.net]

Re:i eat pussy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5221384)

Kittens are a stupid currency.

Re:i eat pussy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5221686)

I love the way this was modded as Redundant. I, for one, did not know this information.

I liked this comment... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5221271)

"The right to know, I think, though it may not be explicit in the Constitution is every bit as important as the right to speak."

Is there ne parallel here? (0)

vingufta (548409) | more than 11 years ago | (#5221276)

He says:

You vent online and then you dust your hands off in satisfaction and that's the last you do..

If its that easy to just vent off your opinions then wouldn't the same apply to music:

The best thing that ever happened to the Grateful Dead, from an economic standpoint, was giving away our music.

ie people would just listen to music online and then be totally sated so as to not buy anymore..

Amazing Coincidence? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5221290)

Two months ago I was buying a Radeon 9700 at Circuit City. The manager wanted $211.99 it. I informed him that I had just bought just such a card the previous week at a competing store for $111.59. I also told him that some day I would be able to buy a ATI card over the Internet for $399. He turned with a twinkle in his eye that caught me off my usual gaurd, laughed and said, "LOL, Mother Jones interviews John Perry Barlow"

And The Smart People.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5221301)

Will learn to simplify their lives, ridding themselves of excess technological garbage that serves only to drive yet another wedge between them and humanity. The mechanical Borg tentacles are growing faster (chip this and chip that technology) how long will it be before we all wake up one day and are so integrated with machines that we cannot tell the difference? Look how we accept TV as something which is the "norm". It's not too far fetched to see chip implants and "Neuromancer" type gadgets imbedded within our flesh, sucking our conciousness away and taking away our individuality.

Today the television is accepted, anyone who has grown up without one is considered strange. The chip is coming. Beware the mark.

Re:And The Smart People.... (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 11 years ago | (#5222420)

>>...technological garbage that serves only to
>>drive yet another wedge between them and humanity

I'd be interested to know about this humanity you talk of, care to elucidate?
As far as I was aware, the overriding theme of humanity throughout the development of society has been of increasing and ever more complex technology, which has aided us in our everyday lives, and tended to reduce the amount of labour we have to do to acheive a similar level of fulfillment. Clearly it's debateable quite how fulfilling modern life is, but that's an argument for another time. But It still seems to stand that humanity is almost defined by a technological and communicative drive. 'tis what seperates man from beast etc etc

>> It's not too far fetched to see chip implants
>> and "Neuromancer" type gadgets imbedded within
>>our flesh

Possibly not that far off [rdg.ac.uk] .
There's no need for these to suck our conciousness or individuality away either. The point of the things was an enhanced conciousness so you could do more/access more data. Clearly of course the potential for monitoring technology and other such abuse is enormous (care to have the Total Information Awareness guys data mining america's thought patterns anyone?) but this sort of thing does not have to happen. Just had a bizarre thought....some sort of Seti@home variant that takes up people's spare brain capaccity whilst they sleep :)

>> The chip is coming. Beware the mark.

Always thought that mark was the credit card? Or the .Net passport? or any of a myriad of other things that doomsayers seem to get off on making into "The Mark of The Beast"

Speaking of getting political (3, Insightful)

mabu (178417) | more than 11 years ago | (#5221313)

I can think of no organization that is more active in protecting the base rights that most people in the tech community relish than the EFF [eff.org] , of which Barlow is a founder. Every member of Slashdot should also be a member of this organization. Among other things, the EFF is defending Fair Use Doctrine [eff.org] especially as it applies to digital content (an area where there seems to be lots of double standards), Internet Censorship [eff.org] , Government/Corporate surveillance [eff.org] and a lot more.

Re:Speaking of getting political (1)

pwiebe (645436) | more than 11 years ago | (#5221456)

I started taking the EFF less seriously when they started taking the position that spam was an example of free speech.

It's not that they haven't done a lot of great things, and continue to do them, but I have to wonder what other positions they will take that clearly go against the majority of the people they are trying to represent.

Re:Speaking of getting political (4, Interesting)

Zoop (59907) | more than 11 years ago | (#5222459)

And such an effective political institution it is.

Oh, wait:

<sarcasm>And such an effective political institution it is.</sarcasm>

When, oh when, is the EFF going to get a DC office? A friend of mine called about volunteering. Neither of us had great sums of money, but we had time. Their response?

"Oh, we only accept local volunteer help."

"That's OK, we're in DC."

"Um, we only have an office in SF."

"???"

Helloooooo--the political capital of the U.S. is in Washington, DC, not Berkeley, CA. You don't even have to rent space in the District to be effective. The NRA has a massive complex in Fairfax, VA. So why, oh why, is the EFF only in SF? Do they think that Ashcroft is going to come to them to ask them what they think? Are they going to get videoconferences with congresscritters? Do they think the'll have any political influence without playing the political game? Not with all the more money they bring to the table.

I like the ideals of the EFF, I just find it to be a fairly lackluster effort. I'd give time and what little money I can spare to an effective organization, but at the moment, my charitable money is better given to the Institute for Justice [ij.org] (politically unpopular with Slashdotters, I know) and the ACLU [aclu.org] .

It's not as if there are no successful models to follow, people.

Another perspective of the TIA (3, Interesting)

updog (608318) | more than 11 years ago | (#5221339)

Another interesting persepective of TIA can be found here [sfgate.com] . It basically says that for every 250 people correctly identified as terrorists, there will be 250,000 people incorrectly labeled as terrorists. And, if 0.1% of these people are sufficiently traumatized, they could potentially become terrorists, and you now have 250 new terrorists, just as many as you found in the first place!

Not to mention the violation of privacy and civil liberties of those 250,000 innocent individuals...

one funny way Barlow is right. (2, Insightful)

twitter (104583) | more than 11 years ago | (#5222889)

Asked if TIA would actually spot terroists Barlow says:

If you have the Total Information Awareness project working, it might be relatively easy to find everyone who had bought more than a ton of fertilizer and 500 gallons of diesel in the last year, which would be a great way of spotting potential Tim McVeighs -- but it would also spot half the farmers and ranchers in America. But having spotted them, it couldn't toss them out until it'd exposed them to the next layer of search. .... which includes what I consider to be cultural crimes, like say marijuana smoking.

And there, in a nutshell, you have failure to predict and prevent. Who said Tim McVeigh smoked dope? Each "layer" of search is based on someone's idea of what a terroist is, not what one actually will be. What you end up with is a shit list, which may or may not contain a suspect. Before the event you don't know what to look for. Before September 11th, the purchase of a dozen box cutters had no predictive value.

God, things are screwed up. I'm reading Mother Jones and it makes sense while traditional media is clueless or conspiratory.

This is surprising to you? (1)

Gerry Gleason (609985) | more than 11 years ago | (#5223870)

God, things are screwed up. I'm reading Mother Jones and it makes sense while traditional media is clueless or conspiratory.

When have you ever know the "traditional media" to have a clue? Whether or not any specific counter-cultural source of news is in line with your politics and philosophy, they are much more likely to expose a kernel of the truth. The talking heads of the networks and cable news vendors pretend to be unbiased and neutral, all the while they are spouting the corporate angle of their owners and sponsors.

In many cases, knowledge is a primary source of bias, and if the knowledge is valid, then the bias is a good thing. Yes, there are times when the only way to find the answer is to empty your head of preconceptions, but more often they claim to be "unbiased" is just a cover for willful ignorance.

Popularized the term "Cyberspace"? (4, Informative)

Captain Beefheart (628365) | more than 11 years ago | (#5221344)

I don't mean to niggle, but I was under the impression that it was William Gibson who popularized this phrase. Do I just need to cut down on my crack habit or something?

Re:Popularized the term "Cyberspace"? (2, Informative)

Frederick Paepke (6705) | more than 11 years ago | (#5223758)

I wondered the same thing, but then did some homework. To quote from Barlow's own page (http://www.eff.org/~barlow/):

"In 1990, he first applied William Gibson's science fiction term Cyberspace to the already-existing global electronic social space now generally referred to by that name. Until his naming it, it had not been considered any sort of place."

Origin of term "Cyberspace"? (1)

Gerry Gleason (609985) | more than 11 years ago | (#5223927)

AFAIK, Gibson is the originator of this term. His use of it in his books and stories is probably not the first example. Anyone know of earlier citations?

Only in our time (5, Interesting)

squared99 (466315) | more than 11 years ago | (#5221359)

could the songwriter for the Grateful Dead become the voice of reason. And a good one at that. Meanwhile "elected" officals are trigger happy, right wing, christian capitalists zeolots.

JPB:
There are a million virtual streetcorners with a million lonely pamphleteers on them, all of them decrying the war and not actually coming together in any organized fashion to oppose it. It strikes me that existing political institutions -- whether it's the administration or Congress or large corporations -- only respond to other institutions.

I hear a lot of complaints about slashdot being too political lately, not enough cool techy stuff. I disagree, if we have the resource of a forum like this one, we need to keep it going. We need to share this infomration, it affects a lot of us and it affects a lot of things to come. The information shared on this site has led to a lot of individual's political awakening, and those that awaken are starting to realize that they can make a difference, either by writing to an elected official, or making a donation to an organization like the EFF.

Keep it up slashdot. Cool toys and gadgets are great, but I like freedom more.

Re:Only in our time (1)

Voytek (15888) | more than 11 years ago | (#5222227)

I never thought I'd see the day that "capitalists" is used in a derogatory fashion. Especially by someone who goes on to say "I like freedom more".

You are a truly confused and conflicted individual.

Re:Only in our time (4, Insightful)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 11 years ago | (#5222544)

Really? The Communists did for over a hundred years. Are you a kid?

And besides which, there have been plenty of fervent capitalists who were opposed to personal freedoms -- the ones that they couldn't make money off of, and other people's that interfered with their own profits. See for example the attacks on unions in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Capitalism is not any good at protecting liberty, and that's not what it's for. It's a decently good economic system, but that doesn't make it the best possible or anything. Swearing allegience to capitalism is like swearing allegience to your car. It's just a tool, not an end all by itself.

Capitalist used to be a perjorative (1)

Gerry Gleason (609985) | more than 11 years ago | (#5224254)

You're right on here, it is only much later that the capitalists themselves start to use the term and attempt to remove the negative associations.

If you look at the last century, I think it is pretty clear that market capitalism is very effective at efficiently allocating scarce resources. It can break down in the limits (monopolies are only effiecient for the monopoly, and bad policies can cause things to break down as in the '30s), but for most mainstream economic activities, it is hard to beat. I would even go so far as to claim that it is an essential part of any fair and efficient economic system, as long as there is regulation from abuse, and it is only applied where it makes sense.

On the other hand, it can be terribly innefficient when applied to some situations. Can anyone point to a situation where "information markets" are a good thing? To the extent that companies are able to commercially exploit an idea through exclusive ownership, they have also set up the situation where both the customer and the competition are thinking about how to re-create the technology as their own. Everyone decries the NIH syndrom, but it is inevitable where information is traded as property.

Without doing a research paper on the subject, I can point to several examples of the ineffectiveness of "information markets" as a concept. Why do you thing RAMBUS failed and is now resorting to legal tactics for profitability? You just can't sell and idea without revealing it, and once it is out, it is really difficult to keep others from exploiting it. Note that you don't (can't) patent or copyright an idea itself, just particular expressions of it. In general, I don't see many companies with a workable business model selling the intellectual property rights to system components or technologies. They can and do sell complete products and services, but the idea that you could build a SOC (system on chip) composed from sub-chip units bought from different vendors has never developed.

Take a look at the system software market as well. Either you build an OS to support the hardware systems you want to sell, or you attempt to build a monopoly. Nothing else seems to work very well. One other thing works, Open/Free source development is the one workable model because it allows a community to develop around shared IP, and customers and system designers benefit. You no longer have to have a huge organization that is vertically integrated so they can control everything.

Re:Only in our time (1)

jslag (21657) | more than 11 years ago | (#5223960)

I never thought I'd see the day that "capitalists" is used in a derogatory fashion. Especially by someone who goes on to say "I like freedom more".

You are a truly confused and conflicted individual.


The essence of democracy: one person, one vote.

The essence of capitalism: one dollar, one vote.

See any conflicts?

Good interview (4, Insightful)

Diabolical (2110) | more than 11 years ago | (#5221450)

Really. Quite entertaining. Wish /.'s interviews were like this.

Anyhow. His view on the current laws on cyberterrorism is exactly my view (i'm contributing to BoF [www.bof.nl] (Bits of Freedom) a dutch "EFF" if you want).

It frightens me that the US government is taking these steps and stands. The country which used to be known for his freedom is slowly turning into a country like Irak itself. Controlling it's own people. It would not surprise me if even the American press is being controlled. I used to dream of leavin my own country and live in the USA. That dream has been destroyed over the last couple of years when it became clear that what constitutes freedom in my mind did not have the same meaning in the USA.

I'm so disappointed in my countrymen.

This is a pretty harsh remark but i guess it's right on the mark for most of the people i know who live in the US. They all share the feeling that their countrymen look deliberately the other way because they are afraid that if they speak up they would be branded anti-patriotic. The worst part of it is that they too look the other way. They refuse too admit it but whenever i want to discuss the TIA they just response with the phrase "It's for the protection of us all" and that's it.

I hope that the EFF can create enough momentum to turn the tide. Otherwise we are facing a grim future.

Re:Good interview (1)

VirtualWolf (159946) | more than 11 years ago | (#5221974)

<blockquote>Otherwise we are facing a grim future.
</blockquote>

<a href="http://onastick.net/sitz/images/">I'll say!</a>

TIA scares the shit out of me (2, Insightful)

RestiffBard (110729) | more than 11 years ago | (#5221485)

The only thing that gives me much hope for our private futures is that all of this can change iin a few years with a new administration. It might not, but it could. The only law in the United States that lets me sleep at night is the 22nd Ammendment (no more than two four year presidential terms). When someone tries to change that I'll get my gun.

Speaking of A Brave New World. . . (4, Funny)

D+iz+a+n+k+Meister (609493) | more than 11 years ago | (#5221488)

If the government would just legalize weed, I'd put up with a lot more TIA type stuff.

Re:Speaking of A Brave New World. . . (1)

slimordium (613217) | more than 11 years ago | (#5221576)

I have to agree (oh wait, what am I saying!?)

Re:Speaking of A Brave New World. . . (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5222677)

If the government would just legalize weed, I'd put up with a lot more TIA type stuff.

I think it goes a little deeper than that but you raise a good point.
The big problem with the government tracking people is that we don't have a benevolent government.
Right now they prosecute peaceful people with insane drug laws, and in some areas persecute people based on private sexual behavior.

I'd be a lot less worried about government invasions of privacy if I didn't have to fear they'd do something insane to hurt good people with the info.

Vent Rinse Repeat (0)

gelfling (6534) | more than 11 years ago | (#5221965)

Barlow is comitting the same sin he is complaining about everyone including himself, of comitting anyway. Basically a lightweight rant, dust off, continue on.

I didn't see anything concrete or useful in that piece. I guess I'm looking for activism in old Libertarians who are little more than Republicans who smoke pot. c'est la guerre.

Bless the phamphleteers (4, Interesting)

seven89 (303868) | more than 11 years ago | (#5222153)

JPB said:
There are a million virtual streetcorners with a million lonely pamphleteers on them, all of them decrying the war and not actually coming together in any organized fashion to oppose it.
On a purly practical level, this remark is off base. There was a long build-up to American-Iraqi War I, but there were no serious mass protests (that I can recall) until the bombing began. Then the bombing campaign and the subsequent mop-up ground action was over before the opposition could make much of a difference. Things are very different these days -- the opposition continues to build and the fighting has not even started. I suspect the war will proceed as planned, but at every escalation point the anti-war structures now in place will facilitate a great escalation of opposition from the general public.

Meanwhile, sites such as www.antiwar.com [antiwar.com] provide hundreds of thousands of people with information about what the Bush administration is doing, what's happening in Europe and in the Arab world. That kind of easy access to relevant news and excellent commentary simply didn't exist during any other war or buildup to war. True, today the guy who checks out antiwar.com every morning might not be doing anything else. But next month maybe he will be marching in streets in protest, and he will have absorbed a great deal of background information that will make a difference in subsequent "yeah, I was there" conversations.

That kind of talk directly adresses a fundamental weakness of the Bush people -- the mass consent, such as it is, they have engineered is based primarily on the shallow propaganda technique of constant repetition. Saying "Saddam has got to disarm!" and "weapons of mass destruction!" over and over again creates in the minds of many people the notion that Iraq is just as dangerous as, say, North Korea. BUT, quite often, really, conversation with more knowledgable fellow citizens can disabuse people from such impressions.

As to the "phamphleteers," if there really are a million of them, that's wonderful! Getting intellectualy involved with issues, formulating one's thoughts, putting them in words, putting them up, almost literally, before the whole world -- those things are often precursors to more active forms of involvement. And I bet some of them have some worthy ideas, too.

Hey! (1)

Cognitive Dissident (206740) | more than 11 years ago | (#5223155)

They stole my name! Can I sue?

Danger of internet political rants (1)

MarkWatson (189759) | more than 11 years ago | (#5223432)

I thought that one of his best comments was how many individuals ranting about politics on the internet could be a bad thing:

He said that institutions like the government, corporations, etc. only tend to react to other institutions - I think that I agree with that.

As a new years resolution, I started doing my political rants on my blog, and I am cooling it a bit with my family and friends. I find that just expressing my discomfort with things like the oil war, etc. has a mellowing effect on me - but, as JPB implied, does it do any good?

I know that the best thing that can be done is to support organizations like EFF, etc. that can get the attention (hopefully!) of congress.

-Mark

Information Awareness Office (1)

RatBastard (949) | more than 11 years ago | (#5224151)

I think this [shackspace.com] says all you need to know about the Information Awarenss Office. Or at least my opinion of it.

(Other files in that directory might not be safe to look at while at work. So browse with care.)

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