Law in the Internet Society

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TWikiGuestSecondEssay 7 - 06 Mar 2018 - Main.TravisMcMillian
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Maya Uchima

TWikiGuestSecondEssay 6 - 23 Dec 2017 - Main.MayaUchima
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Introduction

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Maya Uchima
 
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It is easy to be misled by the FCC’s recent announcement that is will be restoring internet freedom. Apparently, this new policy direction will lead to rapid Internet growth, openness, and freedom. In class, one thing I learned was how the proposed destruction of network neutrality should really be better understood as allowing discriminatory routing because it more accurately describes the problem with a non-neutral internet.
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Bitcoin: The Illusion of Anonymity

 
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Our class discussion on carriage regulation of the FCC’s announcement also prompted me to reconsider the reasons why I believe in non-discriminatory routing. This essay will consider three of the most common arguments made in favor of the FCC’s position, and attempt a rebuttal and defense of non-discriminatory routing.
 
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Incentivizing Network Investment

The main slated benefit arising out of the FCC’s decision is “restoring a favorable climate for network investment”. This argument is premised on the idea that the prior structure with its ‘utility–like’ rules did not sufficiently encourage investment into upgrading the network infrastructure. Now, buoyed by the potential to monetize the pipes and switches in ways broadband providers could never do before, as the argument goes, they have every incentive to invest in the network: to improve bandwidth, reach and speed.

Better Access

A further ancillary benefit to this anticipated investment is “closing the digital divide”. This argument is based on the logic that further investment into network architecture will improve access to the internet, particularly in rural areas. In such areas, broadband providers cannot improve its service offering because of limited growth in demand for internet connectivity, as compared to urban areas where more investment has landed. The access argument had particular persuasiveness in India, during the time Free Basic Internet was proposed, because of the talk of some 800 million people potentially getting connected to some form of the internet.

More innovation online

A third anticipated positive outcome from the FCC’s decision is “spurring competition and innovation that benefits consumers”. The logic underpinning this argument is that having more freedom with respect to pricing and service provision terms will lead broadband providers to develop innovative solutions: for example, a more efficient way to move 4K video data packets, if they can charge more for such provision. Hence, the end result might leave consumers with greater optionality. Like many, I too can see the potential for broad-based positive change when the FCC frames its decision in such rosy terms. In reality, however, there are many problems related to discriminatory routing practices that will now be considered.

Rebutting the attracting investment argument

Addressing the inducement of investment, I think fact that the FCC needed to essentially lay down a red carpet to the ISPs to make network investment speaks volumes about the existing market structure and condition of regulatory capture. Firstly, it is surprising that given the essential nature of internet services in today’s world, investment to improve its provision or quality is so hard to come by. When firms lack incentives to invest, often it is a sign of lack of competition in the market. The broadband provision market is in exactly that predicament – with last mile provision being essentially a collection of local monopolies. Secondly, the fact that the FCC commissioners are essentially promoting the ISPs interests with this decision suggests regulatory capture, where the regulators are functionally in bed with the companies they are obligated to regulate. The real problem, a lack of sufficient network investment, therefore shouldn’t be solved by essentially paying the ISPs to invest; perhaps the cost of investment in network architecture should be subsidized by the government, or entirely funded by them, similar to funding for road or transport infrastructure investment.

Rebutting the access argument

Regarding access, again while the slated network investments could theoretically improve access in poorly connected areas, in reality, improving access is far from the real aim of discriminatory routing. If anything, the access gains are incidental to the real motive: monetizing the browsing patterns of internet users. It is interesting that major platform companies are also against the FCC’s decision because it seems a potential challenger to the current dominance by Google and Facebook of the online advertising industry.

Rebutting the innovation argument

The underlying motive of monetizing browsing patterns also explains why ditching network neutrality will crush innovation. We usually perceive innovators or disruptors to an industry to be new market entrants, who have figured out radically new ways to perform a task or provide a service. Under these new rules, companies in this mold will face an almighty task of breaking into the platform company market or any ‘e-commerce’ sector which has an incumbent already. They will be forced to pay for play under paid prioritization schemes; preferential arrangements between huge market incumbents and ISPs will effectively price out competitors who cannot afford these premiums. As the CEO of Reddit said, “If we don’t have net neutrality protections that enforce tenets of fairness online, you give internet service providers the ability to choose winners and losers” in every sector of the market online.

A 'principled' approach to 'network neuttrality'

Having rebutted the clearly misrepresented benefits of discriminatory routing, it is important to provide an alternative. The fact remains that, as the reason for abandoning the term of net neutrality demonstrates, there is already non-neutral service provision, because ISPs already do traffic management. In order to ensure Quality of Service, ISPs frequently alter the route of packets. The phttp://...https://www.eff.org/issues/net-neutrality][“discrimination in favor of particular apps, sites or services”]].
 
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In other words, what we really need is certain principles to guide ISPs routing practices. For example, I think ISPs should be prohibited from conducting behavioral advertising based on users browsing patterns. This is because unlike Google or Facebook, it is incredibly hard to work around the ISP and avoid that data collection. Whatever you do online, your gateway to internet access is still based on access to a nhttp://...s.lse.ac.uk/67362/7/Murray_Principled%20approach_2016.pdf][Murray and Audiebert]] describe a ‘principled approach’ to network neutrality, whereby ideas like respecting privacy and freedom of expression are the guiding principles of traffic management, not maximizing profit through fast lanes.
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How the Illusion Started

 
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Another important principle that should guide ISPs routing practices is transparency. In this regard, the FCC seems absolutely right to focus on that principle. But transparency should supplement not replace rules banning discriminatory routing. We should know how traffic management is being done so that for example there are no chilling effects to freedom of expression based on people’s right to consume certain content being affected by paid prioritization.
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Bitcoin, whose market cap surpassed a quarter of a million dollars this year, has long given its users a sense of security that their transactions are “anonymous” because of its elimination of a centralized bank, or any trusted third party. Users of Bitcoin seek anonymity, not because they want to deal in illegal activity (although there are plenty of criminals turning to digital currencies to hide transactions) but because they desire privacy and security in knowing that they control the release of personal data and their spending history. In the Bitcoin network, instead of having a general overseer who holds all the information, people can check a “public ledger” that records every exchange made and is available for the public to see. With this lack in monitoring and regulation traditionally done by banks, people have assumed that their activity is untraceable to them and completely anonymous. This isn’t so great a stretch of the imagination, as, although every transaction is recorded in the “public ledger,” the only immediately identifiable characteristic of the exchange is the pseudonym attached to the wallets transacting. No personal information is attached to these wallets and none is needed to set one up.
 
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In a way, this process of reflection for me re-iterates the class discussions about how network neutrality debates are about allocating power, and it is clear the deck has been stacked against internet users. My conclusion of this short reflection reaches the same sense I left that class with, that somehow the FCC made a huge mistake in prioritizing who it protects, a mistake other regulators like TRAI in India, did not make. And while they may clothe the wolf in sheep’s clothing, the dangers of the FCC’s action are no longer lost on me.
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Breaking the Trance

Any user of Bitcoin who has had to buy Bitcoin would know that one must use an online exchange, such as Coinbase. When creating an account on this site, a user must enter all government standard KYC and AML information including social name, security number, government issued identification, address, and phone number. This would immediately call into question the “anonymity” of a currency if this kind of data must be input to buy it. Even with more complex strategies, wherein a user could buy Bitcoin (providing all the above information) and place it into a wallet (which does not contain any personal information) and then transfer those funds to a second wallet, adding a buffer between the online exchange transaction and the second wallet, the impediment is slight. If one wished to trace a single bitcoin back to the online exchange, it is easy to do so by looking through the public ledger. Every transaction in the history of Bitcoin is logged in and searchable. The second wallet’s Bitcoin would be traced back to the initial wallet and then to the online exchange. This sounds eerily like the trusted third party system that Bitcoin, and other cryptocurrencies today, sought to avoid and banish in the past. It is now up to the online exchange to securely protect its users’ personal data. Just because there is no easily identifiable information attached to these transactions once the Bitcoin has entered the wallet, there are still ways to figure out who does what on the Bitcoin network. There have been major busts by law enforcement cracking down on individuals using Bitcoin to engage in criminal activity. Companies such as Chainalysis use analytical tools to measure activity on the network and flag suspicious exchanges. Once they have located a shady transaction, they can log all of its actions and can correlate this activity with real world actions an individual has taken. For example, by watching the timing of the transactions of a particular wallet, investigators can match those times with periods where a suspected individual is online or can find emails that provide evidence pointing to the completion of a transaction (“just sent you the money”). Although seemingly circumstantial, the analysis can cover enough details that the evidence can pinpoint a single person. In the takedown of the Silk Road, investigators used a combination of server insecurities as well as old-school investigative techniques to link the founder of the Silk Road, Ross Ulbricht, to the TOR server handling the activities on the site. They searched Ulbricht’s emails and facebook account for clues and used PEN registers to collect routing data to correlate Ulbricht’s online activity.

Is Anonymity Even Possible?

Bitcoin may not have concurred the issue of anonymity, and may have even replicated the bank system that its users sought to skirt. What of other currencies? Is anonymity in the digital realm even attainable? Two digital currencies, ZCash and Monero, seem to be the leaders of the pack in achieving anonymity on a blockchain currency. “Zero knowledge proofs” separate the transactions from the people who make them so no one can reverse engineer where the funds come from by reviewing the blockchain. The public ledger reveals different information and no longer discloses which wallet sends or receives what. All that is shown is whether or not the funds were transferred in a positive or negative fashion- not even how much was transferred. Although there are benefits to being able to trace a fund back to its roots, if the higher priority for a user is in its anonymity, Bitcoin may not be the answer.


TWikiGuestSecondEssay 5 - 22 Dec 2017 - Main.RohanGeorge1
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Introduction

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When we talk about technological innovation and the value a new piece of technology adds to society, the most common concept brought to the table is efficiency. Students learning their first programming language are immediately taught that the run-time of algorithms and the space utilized are the two defining factors of optimal code for any given situation. We want to expend minimal time and minimal effort for the sake of maximum results. In today’s neoliberal society, the business landscape is not defined by multiple values. Rather, it holds only one value paramount – efficiency. With technology’s rapid advancements, we are achieving gains in efficiency too quickly. The pleasure centers in our brains are addicted to progress, and our appetites have been rewarded again and again with tangible gains in efficiency through the advancement of technology. Our obsession with efficiency and convenience has pushed us to focus blindly on advancing efficiency at the expense of all other values.
>
>
It is easy to be misled by the FCC’s recent announcement that is will be restoring internet freedom. Apparently, this new policy direction will lead to rapid Internet growth, openness, and freedom. In class, one thing I learned was how the proposed destruction of network neutrality should really be better understood as allowing discriminatory routing because it more accurately describes the problem with a non-neutral internet.
 
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Eschewing Human Connection

>
>
Our class discussion on carriage regulation of the FCC’s announcement also prompted me to reconsider the reasons why I believe in non-discriminatory routing. This essay will consider three of the most common arguments made in favor of the FCC’s position, and attempt a rebuttal and defense of non-discriminatory routing.
 
Changed:
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Once upon a time, kids ran around yards and biked around the block with their friends after school. Time spent playing with kids was gradually replaced with hours talking on the phone with friends, which still facilitated some level of human connection. By 1999, phone calls were replaced with email, games, and surfing the internet in other ways. Email emphasizes the convenience of getting to respond to things on your own time. The kid is not forced into interaction in the same way that phone calls and in-person interactions demand. Instant gratification in the form of web games, too, is too convenient – we can click a few buttons and the thing we want is right there. Other activities such as physical exercise, enjoying real snow, playing with friends seem to require too much effort by comparison. The crazy convenience of technology taps into our laziest urges and makes other options seem far less appealing, even if these other options would eventually bring far more long-term gratification.
>
>

Incentivizing Network Investment

The main slated benefit arising out of the FCC’s decision is “restoring a favorable climate for network investment”. This argument is premised on the idea that the prior structure with its ‘utility–like’ rules did not sufficiently encourage investment into upgrading the network infrastructure. Now, buoyed by the potential to monetize the pipes and switches in ways broadband providers could never do before, as the argument goes, they have every incentive to invest in the network: to improve bandwidth, reach and speed.

Better Access

A further ancillary benefit to this anticipated investment is “closing the digital divide”. This argument is based on the logic that further investment into network architecture will improve access to the internet, particularly in rural areas. In such areas, broadband providers cannot improve its service offering because of limited growth in demand for internet connectivity, as compared to urban areas where more investment has landed. The access argument had particular persuasiveness in India, during the time Free Basic Internet was proposed, because of the talk of some 800 million people potentially getting connected to some form of the internet.

More innovation online

A third anticipated positive outcome from the FCC’s decision is “spurring competition and innovation that benefits consumers”. The logic underpinning this argument is that having more freedom with respect to pricing and service provision terms will lead broadband providers to develop innovative solutions: for example, a more efficient way to move 4K video data packets, if they can charge more for such provision. Hence, the end result might leave consumers with greater optionality. Like many, I too can see the potential for broad-based positive change when the FCC frames its decision in such rosy terms. In reality, however, there are many problems related to discriminatory routing practices that will now be considered.

Rebutting the attracting investment argument

Addressing the inducement of investment, I think fact that the FCC needed to essentially lay down a red carpet to the ISPs to make network investment speaks volumes about the existing market structure and condition of regulatory capture. Firstly, it is surprising that given the essential nature of internet services in today’s world, investment to improve its provision or quality is so hard to come by. When firms lack incentives to invest, often it is a sign of lack of competition in the market. The broadband provision market is in exactly that predicament – with last mile provision being essentially a collection of local monopolies. Secondly, the fact that the FCC commissioners are essentially promoting the ISPs interests with this decision suggests regulatory capture, where the regulators are functionally in bed with the companies they are obligated to regulate. The real problem, a lack of sufficient network investment, therefore shouldn’t be solved by essentially paying the ISPs to invest; perhaps the cost of investment in network architecture should be subsidized by the government, or entirely funded by them, similar to funding for road or transport infrastructure investment.

Rebutting the access argument

Regarding access, again while the slated network investments could theoretically improve access in poorly connected areas, in reality, improving access is far from the real aim of discriminatory routing. If anything, the access gains are incidental to the real motive: monetizing the browsing patterns of internet users. It is interesting that major platform companies are also against the FCC’s decision because it seems a potential challenger to the current dominance by Google and Facebook of the online advertising industry.

Rebutting the innovation argument

The underlying motive of monetizing browsing patterns also explains why ditching network neutrality will crush innovation. We usually perceive innovators or disruptors to an industry to be new market entrants, who have figured out radically new ways to perform a task or provide a service. Under these new rules, companies in this mold will face an almighty task of breaking into the platform company market or any ‘e-commerce’ sector which has an incumbent already. They will be forced to pay for play under paid prioritization schemes; preferential arrangements between huge market incumbents and ISPs will effectively price out competitors who cannot afford these premiums. As the CEO of Reddit said, “If we don’t have net neutrality protections that enforce tenets of fairness online, you give internet service providers the ability to choose winners and losers” in every sector of the market online.

A 'principled' approach to 'network neuttrality'

Having rebutted the clearly misrepresented benefits of discriminatory routing, it is important to provide an alternative. The fact remains that, as the reason for abandoning the term of net neutrality demonstrates, there is already non-neutral service provision, because ISPs already do traffic management. In order to ensure Quality of Service, ISPs frequently alter the route of packets. The phttp://...https://www.eff.org/issues/net-neutrality][“discrimination in favor of particular apps, sites or services”]].
 
Changed:
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Information Overload

>
>
In other words, what we really need is certain principles to guide ISPs routing practices. For example, I think ISPs should be prohibited from conducting behavioral advertising based on users browsing patterns. This is because unlike Google or Facebook, it is incredibly hard to work around the ISP and avoid that data collection. Whatever you do online, your gateway to internet access is still based on access to a nhttp://...s.lse.ac.uk/67362/7/Murray_Principled%20approach_2016.pdf][Murray and Audiebert]] describe a ‘principled approach’ to network neutrality, whereby ideas like respecting privacy and freedom of expression are the guiding principles of traffic management, not maximizing profit through fast lanes.
 
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In 2002, Angela Lewis in a First Monday article observed “I also find that there is a tendency for some people - and children in particular - to view any information coming from the computer as having an intrinsic worth above other sources (e.g. books) specifically because it is online, and therefore somehow more current or valuable.” The information that comes to us from the mediums of greatest efficiency (internet sources) is now prioritized as carrying the most accuracy and importance. Never mind the reputation of the sources or the thoroughness of the fact-checking – we want our information now, and we hold the fastest, most current sources to be the best.
>
>
Another important principle that should guide ISPs routing practices is transparency. In this regard, the FCC seems absolutely right to focus on that principle. But transparency should supplement not replace rules banning discriminatory routing. We should know how traffic management is being done so that for example there are no chilling effects to freedom of expression based on people’s right to consume certain content being affected by paid prioritization.
 
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The problem with this is not the individual pieces of information themselves. The internet is home to a vast amount of truth, and it is incredible that these truths are now available to us at our fingertips. The difficulty at hand is now our lack of ability and motivation to separate truth from falsehood. Lewis speaks of cyber-overload – the phenomenon of having an over-supply of information. The human attention span cannot handle sifting through the expanse of information in front of us. It is more appealing and immediately gratifying to consume new information rather than to go through the pains of fact-checking the old. The internet offers an unprecedented opportunity for people to publish whatever bits of information they desire, and they may choose from any number of sites from which to publish that do not bother to check the accuracy of such information.

The convenience of the internet has also lead people to forget that the world contains a vast amount of information still inaccessible through the web. They have deemed this information too inconvenient to access, and therefore they will not bother learning from these sources. With these mediums of immense convenience and efficiency, it is no wonder that our baseline expectations of efficiency have drastically increased. When it comes to retrieving and analyzing information, we have no patience for taking extra steps to ensure we are learning truths.

Fake News and Facebook

Lewis’s article was written in 2002, more than a decade before the 2016 election. She had not been exposed to the news divide that happens on facebook today, nor did she see the massive influx of Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton-related “fake news” articles. Even so, as early as 2002, she cautioned “We cannot assume that just because we found some information on the Internet, that it somehow makes it automatically real, right or a sound source of knowledge. Web sites are designed to sell a message to us as potential consumers of a point of view, a product or a concept - it is more a marketing than an information age in that respect.” Facebook’s newsfeed algorithms have honed in on what news we agree with and show us only that. Macedonian teenagers have discovered that if they write articles with incendiary headlines and completely false events, they can earn a ridiculous amount of money through foot traffic on their webpages because their articles are shared on facebook. The “fake news” phenomenon highlights the fact that many people encountering quite shocking news don’t even bother to do a cursory google search anymore – they will simply take the information as true.

Conclusion

Our society’s increasing obsession with efficiency, spurred on by the conveniences of the internet, has led us to ignore other aspects of our lives that carry importance. We think this increasing efficiency has lead us to have more control over our time. After all, if more tasks can be done in less time, doesn’t that mean we have more time for leisure and more freedom to do what we want? Ironically, that is the opposite of what has happened. We have become addicts of and slaves to the maximization of efficiency. Our lives revolve around answering text messages as soon as possible and running programs as soon as they have loaded.

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In a way, this process of reflection for me re-iterates the class discussions about how network neutrality debates are about allocating power, and it is clear the deck has been stacked against internet users. My conclusion of this short reflection reaches the same sense I left that class with, that somehow the FCC made a huge mistake in prioritizing who it protects, a mistake other regulators like TRAI in India, did not make. And while they may clothe the wolf in sheep’s clothing, the dangers of the FCC’s action are no longer lost on me.

TWikiGuestSecondEssay 4 - 11 Dec 2016 - Main.LauraZhang
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Intro
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Introduction

 
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It was not a long time ago when we thought of the internet as a place to remain anonymous. Our social media accounts offered ways of masking our identities with weird nicknames. We could fill the gaps with false information and yet nobody could say anything, because we thought nobody could find out who we were, where we lived, which school we were going to or what was the next thing we would more likely to buy online. Today net is the place where anonymity is dead. In contrast, people work on finding ways to hide their profiles, preferences, likes an dislikes while browsing in the internet. Social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter paved the way for this "de-anonymization" and it seems like there is no turning back.
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When we talk about technological innovation and the value a new piece of technology adds to society, the most common concept brought to the table is efficiency. Students learning their first programming language are immediately taught that the run-time of algorithms and the space utilized are the two defining factors of optimal code for any given situation. We want to expend minimal time and minimal effort for the sake of maximum results. In today’s neoliberal society, the business landscape is not defined by multiple values. Rather, it holds only one value paramount – efficiency. With technology’s rapid advancements, we are achieving gains in efficiency too quickly. The pleasure centers in our brains are addicted to progress, and our appetites have been rewarded again and again with tangible gains in efficiency through the advancement of technology. Our obsession with efficiency and convenience has pushed us to focus blindly on advancing efficiency at the expense of all other values.
 
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When the net knows your pregnancy before you do
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Eschewing Human Connection

 
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In 2014, Princeton sociologist, Janet Vertesi run a test to see whether it was possible to hide her pregnancy from the internet. She told every family member not to contact her about it through any technological means. Maybe shutting down her social media accounts would have made it easier, but she wanted to see the possibility to remain anonymous while she was actually online. Despite the warnings, one of her relatives sent her a private Facebook message, assuming it could not be traced down by the data-mining technology. She immediately deleted the message and "unfriended" that relative as she was aware that Facebook could also collect data through private messages.
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Once upon a time, kids ran around yards and biked around the block with their friends after school. Time spent playing with kids was gradually replaced with hours talking on the phone with friends, which still facilitated some level of human connection. By 1999, phone calls were replaced with email, games, and surfing the internet in other ways. Email emphasizes the convenience of getting to respond to things on your own time. The kid is not forced into interaction in the same way that phone calls and in-person interactions demand. Instant gratification in the form of web games, too, is too convenient – we can click a few buttons and the thing we want is right there. Other activities such as physical exercise, enjoying real snow, playing with friends seem to require too much effort by comparison. The crazy convenience of technology taps into our laziest urges and makes other options seem far less appealing, even if these other options would eventually bring far more long-term gratification.
 
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She made her purchases with cash and also did not buy anything with her credit card online. Instead, she created an alternative mail account, did the shopping with pre-paid gift cards and sent it to a shared locker of Amazon. She even bought prenatal vitamins in cash, so as to make sure that no one could even relate the idea of her getting pregnant sooner or later. However, her efforts to remain anonymous made her look like a criminal. When she wanted to continue shopping with a pre-paid card she was warned by Rite Aid that if the transaction excessed a certain amount, they would report it to the authorities.
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Information Overload

 
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Vertesi's ultimate aim in this project is to show that our personal lives are monetized and monitored, yet we often take it for granted. On to that account, in an age of constant surveillance, how is privacy structured? Is it possible to hide from big data or is it possible to fool it? These questions are too broad to answer and concerns a wide range of disciplines, but proposing the idea of living in a digital panopticon where anonymity is disappeared, would be one way to start thinking about them. Given the broad analysis on surveillance regimes by scholars like Foucault and recent findings on "de-anonymization"; I will try to show that opting-out is not possible.
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In 2002, Angela Lewis in a First Monday article observed “I also find that there is a tendency for some people - and children in particular - to view any information coming from the computer as having an intrinsic worth above other sources (e.g. books) specifically because it is online, and therefore somehow more current or valuable.” The information that comes to us from the mediums of greatest efficiency (internet sources) is now prioritized as carrying the most accuracy and importance. Never mind the reputation of the sources or the thoroughness of the fact-checking – we want our information now, and we hold the fastest, most current sources to be the best.
 
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Digital Panopticon and Anonymity
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The problem with this is not the individual pieces of information themselves. The internet is home to a vast amount of truth, and it is incredible that these truths are now available to us at our fingertips. The difficulty at hand is now our lack of ability and motivation to separate truth from falsehood. Lewis speaks of cyber-overload – the phenomenon of having an over-supply of information. The human attention span cannot handle sifting through the expanse of information in front of us. It is more appealing and immediately gratifying to consume new information rather than to go through the pains of fact-checking the old. The internet offers an unprecedented opportunity for people to publish whatever bits of information they desire, and they may choose from any number of sites from which to publish that do not bother to check the accuracy of such information.
 
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Weber's iron cage proposes the idea that in modern times rationalization and bureaucratization create institutions that seek maximum efficiency. Foucault advocates a parallel theory with panopticon that dehumanization is a result of advance forms of technologies and disciplines. Rationalization, for Foucault, is the pursuit of controlling human life with constant surveillance and calculation. Therefore, as rationalization occupies every aspect of human life, technology becomes capable of producing more pervasive means of control.
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The convenience of the internet has also lead people to forget that the world contains a vast amount of information still inaccessible through the web. They have deemed this information too inconvenient to access, and therefore they will not bother learning from these sources. With these mediums of immense convenience and efficiency, it is no wonder that our baseline expectations of efficiency have drastically increased. When it comes to retrieving and analyzing information, we have no patience for taking extra steps to ensure we are learning truths.
 
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The panopticon of today is the internet, as it constantly observes behavior, exerts its power over it and commodifies human attention. The net violates the boundaries of private sphere and through conscious or unconscious participation it collects tremendous amounts of data to ensure market efficiency. However, assuring efficacy and privacy simultaneously are at odds with each other. One of them should take over the other if one wants to survive. As in the case of Vertesi, the internet had to find out about her pregnancy, since a pregnant women is worth three times more than an ordinary individual. The reason is, a future mother is highly valuable if she needs to buy diapers, because it will affect her long-term consumption patterns. Vertesi could only hide her secret for 7 months until Target and American Baby Life managed to find out about her situation, but realized that isolation efforts were time consuming and could even be risky.
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Fake News and Facebook

 
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The Illusion of Privacy
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Lewis’s article was written in 2002, more than a decade before the 2016 election. She had not been exposed to the news divide that happens on facebook today, nor did she see the massive influx of Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton-related “fake news” articles. Even so, as early as 2002, she cautioned “We cannot assume that just because we found some information on the Internet, that it somehow makes it automatically real, right or a sound source of knowledge. Web sites are designed to sell a message to us as potential consumers of a point of view, a product or a concept - it is more a marketing than an information age in that respect.” Facebook’s newsfeed algorithms have honed in on what news we agree with and show us only that. Macedonian teenagers have discovered that if they write articles with incendiary headlines and completely false events, they can earn a ridiculous amount of money through foot traffic on their webpages because their articles are shared on facebook. The “fake news” phenomenon highlights the fact that many people encountering quite shocking news don’t even bother to do a cursory google search anymore – they will simply take the information as true.
 
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The participant in the net continuously leaves his digital footprints behind and the net makes sure that every photo, mail, video is attributed to its source whether the source wants it or not. Even though users try to mask their information somehow, technologies often find new ways to "de-anonymize" every single data. As the law professor Ohm states; "...the re-identification science makes the claims of privacy an illusion as by mixing and matching several sources of data, it is possible to reach the private...almost all information can be personal when combined with enough numbers of relevant data...". Therefore, the net has conquered our personal sphere and it is not possible to guarantee privacy for its users as merging various data sources can destroy the barriers of privacy.
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Conclusion

 
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Conclusion

The internet overall repurposes the understanding of privacy and redistributes it in order to capitalize and modify behaviour for profit. Digital platforms that are connecting us electronically provide several spaces for all sorts of transactions in order to know who says what and where. It is alarming in the sense that it challenges notions of privacy, freedom and trust. We should be aware that anything we do on the net will never cease to exist. The technology of today is worrisome and regulators need to implement more efficient policies that weight harm against benefit and privacy against efficacy.

References

https://www.technologyreview.com/s/428150/what-facebook-knows

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aUDwyBYbWjM

http://www.shoshanazuboff.com/books/in-the-age-of-the-smart-machine/

http://www.forbes.com/sites/kashmirhill/2014/04/29/you-can-hide-your-pregnancy-online-but-youll-feel-like-a-criminal/#1de3a74a36c4

http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2009/09/your-secrets-live-online-in-databases-of-ruin/

http://www.forbes.com/sites/kashmirhill/2012/06/15/data-mining-ceo-says-he-pays-for-burgers-in-cash-to-avoid-junk-food-purchases-being-tracked/#6d7599ad36a0

http://www.nytimes.com/library/cyber/under/110597under-wayner.html

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Our society’s increasing obsession with efficiency, spurred on by the conveniences of the internet, has led us to ignore other aspects of our lives that carry importance. We think this increasing efficiency has lead us to have more control over our time. After all, if more tasks can be done in less time, doesn’t that mean we have more time for leisure and more freedom to do what we want? Ironically, that is the opposite of what has happened. We have become addicts of and slaves to the maximization of efficiency. Our lives revolve around answering text messages as soon as possible and running programs as soon as they have loaded.

TWikiGuestSecondEssay 3 - 08 Dec 2016 - Main.MerveKirmaci
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*Everything That Can Be Shared for Free, Should be Shared For Free*
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Intro
 
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Technology is blurring the line of property laws. A teenager can easily send a copy of the song of her favorite artist to her friends; college students can download copies of textbooks for free; anyone can distribute the newest Hollywood movies on the internet. Publishers and movie distributors do not seem to be able defend their property rights in books, music and movies, despite their efforts in lobbying the authorities in China, Korea and United States to enforce the laws.
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It was not a long time ago when we thought of the internet as a place to remain anonymous. Our social media accounts offered ways of masking our identities with weird nicknames. We could fill the gaps with false information and yet nobody could say anything, because we thought nobody could find out who we were, where we lived, which school we were going to or what was the next thing we would more likely to buy online. Today net is the place where anonymity is dead. In contrast, people work on finding ways to hide their profiles, preferences, likes an dislikes while browsing in the internet. Social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter paved the way for this "de-anonymization" and it seems like there is no turning back.
 
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As the technology makes book, music and movies extremely accessible, copyright and the patent laws turn into hurdles on the road to the democratization of access to knowledge. Knowledge sharing on the internet, for the first time in the human history, reduces the costs of learning to zero.
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When the net knows your pregnancy before you do
 
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Before the Sui Dynasty in ancient China, the selection of officers were done through Chaju (recommendations for offices). A prerequisite of office appointments is to be knowledgeable of the Confucius Classics (Liujing). Even though there were only six books to be mastered, the books were written on bamboos, which makes books expensive to maintain and to reproduce. Only a handful of prestigious families had the resources to teach their children about the classics, which, in return, ensure all important positions were taken by these families. These families arranged marriages among themselves, established the monopoly of power for over a thousand years. To give an example of how powerful these families were, Emperor Tangwenzong once asked his chancellor to marry his granddaughter to the crown prince. The chancellor rejected and married his granddaughter to a man of the Cui family. The Emperor sighed “my family has possessed the crown for 200 years, and still cannot not match the families of Cui and Lu.”
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In 2014, Princeton sociologist, Janet Vertesi run a test to see whether it was possible to hide her pregnancy from the internet. She told every family member not to contact her about it through any technological means. Maybe shutting down her social media accounts would have made it easier, but she wanted to see the possibility to remain anonymous while she was actually online. Despite the warnings, one of her relatives sent her a private Facebook message, assuming it could not be traced down by the data-mining technology. She immediately deleted the message and "unfriended" that relative as she was aware that Facebook could also collect data through private messages.
 
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What came to destroy the monopoly was the invention of paper. Full rooms of bamboo books were replaced by paper copies that could be easily transported and transferred. Papers were also cheap to produce. Any landowners who were able to feed their families, could afford to educate their children. Offices started to be filled by people of poor upbringing. The few families that had dictated the politics for over a thousand years were forgotten.
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She made her purchases with cash and also did not buy anything with her credit card online. Instead, she created an alternative mail account, did the shopping with pre-paid gift cards and sent it to a shared locker of Amazon. She even bought prenatal vitamins in cash, so as to make sure that no one could even relate the idea of her getting pregnant sooner or later. However, her efforts to remain anonymous made her look like a criminal. When she wanted to continue shopping with a pre-paid card she was warned by Rite Aid that if the transaction excessed a certain amount, they would report it to the authorities.
 
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Now comes the age that knowledge costs zero. So close we are to free sharing of knowledge through digital copies and online lectures, yet we let copyrights stand in the way. Property is the sole and despotic dominion over a thing. Personal property rules were developed over a long period of time for legitimate reasons. Land was the most important form of property. Property rights solve the problem of common property. When a community owns a forest, individuals have incentives to take as must as he can from the land. By doing so, he externalize most of the costs, and obtain all the benefits. If everyone does that in the community, the resources will be depleted quickly, and the future generations’ interest will be harm. This concern does not apply to knowledge. Sharing knowledge does not diminish the knowledge or deprive the future generations’ ability to access knowledge. Sharing knowledge actually creates more knowledge and makes knowledge more accessible to future generations.
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Vertesi's ultimate aim in this project is to show that our personal lives are monetized and monitored, yet we often take it for granted. On to that account, in an age of constant surveillance, how is privacy structured? Is it possible to hide from big data or is it possible to fool it? These questions are too broad to answer and concerns a wide range of disciplines, but proposing the idea of living in a digital panopticon where anonymity is disappeared, would be one way to start thinking about them. Given the broad analysis on surveillance regimes by scholars like Foucault and recent findings on "de-anonymization"; I will try to show that opting-out is not possible.
 
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Property rights give the owner the sole discretion to price his property. The presumption is that people are rational, and the market will function to ensure efficient distribution of resources. This theory only works if resources are scarce, so that resource can be possessed by the people who value it the most. Knowledge lacks the nature of scarcity. When knowledge can be distributed at cost at zero, any distribution will be efficient. The owner of intellectual property should not have the right to price knowledge however he wants.
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Digital Panopticon and Anonymity
 
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Property rights are in rem rights. For example, when a property has an owner, you only need to contract with the owner in order to receive the permission to build a dam. Otherwise, you have to contract with everyone on this land to build the dam. In contrast, one’s use of knowledge does not affect another’s ability to use the knowledge. You do not need to contract with everyone in the world to use some knowledge in exclusion of other users. Hence, there should be no in rem rights in intellectual property.
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Weber's iron cage proposes the idea that in modern times rationalization and bureaucratization create institutions that seek maximum efficiency. Foucault advocates a parallel theory with panopticon that dehumanization is a result of advance forms of technologies and disciplines. Rationalization, for Foucault, is the pursuit of controlling human life with constant surveillance and calculation. Therefore, as rationalization occupies every aspect of human life, technology becomes capable of producing more pervasive means of control.
 
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In order for anything to constitute property, it must be scarce. Intellectual property lacks the nature of scarcity, and property rights should not apply. The argument that absence of protection of intellectual property will discourage people from creating can be addressed in two parts. First, there is no evidence that people lacked the incentive to create when there was no intellectual property laws. Second, even if we want to encourage people to create by making such creation profitable, the court is perfectly capable of using liability rule to price any creation. If the Delaware court is capable of determining what price is fair for a stock, courts are capable of deciding what price is fair for a book.
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The panopticon of today is the internet, as it constantly observes behavior, exerts its power over it and commodifies human attention. The net violates the boundaries of private sphere and through conscious or unconscious participation it collects tremendous amounts of data to ensure market efficiency. However, assuring efficacy and privacy simultaneously are at odds with each other. One of them should take over the other if one wants to survive. As in the case of Vertesi, the internet had to find out about her pregnancy, since a pregnant women is worth three times more than an ordinary individual. The reason is, a future mother is highly valuable if she needs to buy diapers, because it will affect her long-term consumption patterns. Vertesi could only hide her secret for 7 months until Target and American Baby Life managed to find out about her situation, but realized that isolation efforts were time consuming and could even be risky.
 
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The history of China showed that the power was dispersed after the access of knowledge became dispersed. First time in human history, the powerful and the privileged are losing control of who should be educated and how. As the cost of knowledge sharing approximates zero, intellectual property laws become the only way to artificially inflate the price of education to prevent access to knowledge for free, for all, and forever. Everything that can be shared for free, should be shared for free.
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The Illusion of Privacy

The participant in the net continuously leaves his digital footprints behind and the net makes sure that every photo, mail, video is attributed to its source whether the source wants it or not. Even though users try to mask their information somehow, technologies often find new ways to "de-anonymize" every single data. As the law professor Ohm states; "...the re-identification science makes the claims of privacy an illusion as by mixing and matching several sources of data, it is possible to reach the private...almost all information can be personal when combined with enough numbers of relevant data...". Therefore, the net has conquered our personal sphere and it is not possible to guarantee privacy for its users as merging various data sources can destroy the barriers of privacy.

Conclusion

The internet overall repurposes the understanding of privacy and redistributes it in order to capitalize and modify behaviour for profit. Digital platforms that are connecting us electronically provide several spaces for all sorts of transactions in order to know who says what and where. It is alarming in the sense that it challenges notions of privacy, freedom and trust. We should be aware that anything we do on the net will never cease to exist. The technology of today is worrisome and regulators need to implement more efficient policies that weight harm against benefit and privacy against efficacy.

References

https://www.technologyreview.com/s/428150/what-facebook-knows

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aUDwyBYbWjM

http://www.shoshanazuboff.com/books/in-the-age-of-the-smart-machine/

http://www.forbes.com/sites/kashmirhill/2014/04/29/you-can-hide-your-pregnancy-online-but-youll-feel-like-a-criminal/#1de3a74a36c4

http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2009/09/your-secrets-live-online-in-databases-of-ruin/

http://www.forbes.com/sites/kashmirhill/2012/06/15/data-mining-ceo-says-he-pays-for-burgers-in-cash-to-avoid-junk-food-purchases-being-tracked/#6d7599ad36a0

http://www.nytimes.com/library/cyber/under/110597under-wayner.html


TWikiGuestSecondEssay 2 - 16 Dec 2015 - Main.LianchenLiu
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-- StephenHorton - 29 Dec 2014
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Technology is blurring the line of property laws. A teenager can easily send a copy of the song of her favorite artist to her friends; college students can download copies of textbooks for free; anyone can distribute the newest Hollywood movies on the internet. Publishers and movie distributors do not seem to be able defend their property rights in books, music and movies, despite their efforts in lobbying the authorities in China, Korea and United States to enforce the laws.
 
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The Supreme Court heard oral arguments for Elonis v. United States on December 1, 2014, which has opened up a debate about the issue of free speech on the Internet. In that case, defendant Anthony Elonis posted violent rap lyrics about murdering his wife on Facebook. He was prosecuted under 18 U.S.C. 875(c), which states that “[w]hoever transmits in interstate or foreign commerce any communication containing any threat to kidnap any person or any threat to injure the person of another, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.” In this essay, I review Supreme Court First Amendment jurisprudence and evaluate the merits of Elonis’s argument.
>
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As the technology makes book, music and movies extremely accessible, copyright and the patent laws turn into hurdles on the road to the democratization of access to knowledge. Knowledge sharing on the internet, for the first time in the human history, reduces the costs of learning to zero.
 
Added:
>
>
Before the Sui Dynasty in ancient China, the selection of officers were done through Chaju (recommendations for offices). A prerequisite of office appointments is to be knowledgeable of the Confucius Classics (Liujing). Even though there were only six books to be mastered, the books were written on bamboos, which makes books expensive to maintain and to reproduce. Only a handful of prestigious families had the resources to teach their children about the classics, which, in return, ensure all important positions were taken by these families. These families arranged marriages among themselves, established the monopoly of power for over a thousand years. To give an example of how powerful these families were, Emperor Tangwenzong once asked his chancellor to marry his granddaughter to the crown prince. The chancellor rejected and married his granddaughter to a man of the Cui family. The Emperor sighed “my family has possessed the crown for 200 years, and still cannot not match the families of Cui and Lu.”
 
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Supreme Court First Amendment Jurisprudence

>
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What came to destroy the monopoly was the invention of paper. Full rooms of bamboo books were replaced by paper copies that could be easily transported and transferred. Papers were also cheap to produce. Any landowners who were able to feed their families, could afford to educate their children. Offices started to be filled by people of poor upbringing. The few families that had dictated the politics for over a thousand years were forgotten.
 
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It is clear that the First Amendment does not provide unlimited protection for all things spoken, written, or otherwise expressed. For instance, in Schenck v. United States, 249 U.S. 47 (1919), Justice Holmes, writing for the majority, famously wrote, “[t]he most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man falsely shouting fire in a theater and causing a panic… The question in every case is whether the words used are used in such circumstances and are of such a nature as to create a clear and present danger that they will bring about the substantive evils that Congress has a right to prevent.” Schenck remains a driving principle behind free speech jurisprudence, but was limited in Brandenburg v. Ohio, 395 U.S. 444 (1969). That case held that it is an infringement of First Amendment speech rights to punish speech unless the speech “is directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action.” Id. at 447.
>
>
Now comes the age that knowledge costs zero. So close we are to free sharing of knowledge through digital copies and online lectures, yet we let copyrights stand in the way. Property is the sole and despotic dominion over a thing. Personal property rules were developed over a long period of time for legitimate reasons. Land was the most important form of property. Property rights solve the problem of common property. When a community owns a forest, individuals have incentives to take as must as he can from the land. By doing so, he externalize most of the costs, and obtain all the benefits. If everyone does that in the community, the resources will be depleted quickly, and the future generations’ interest will be harm. This concern does not apply to knowledge. Sharing knowledge does not diminish the knowledge or deprive the future generations’ ability to access knowledge. Sharing knowledge actually creates more knowledge and makes knowledge more accessible to future generations.
 
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However, the Supreme Court has said that, along with incitement speech, government may impinge on speech that constitutes a “true threat.” In Virginia v. Black, 538 U.S. 343 (2003), the majority held that “[t]rue threats encompass those statements where the speaker means to communicate a serious expression of an intent to commit an act of unlawful violence to a particular individual or group of individuals.” Id. at 359 (internal quotation marks omitted).
>
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Property rights give the owner the sole discretion to price his property. The presumption is that people are rational, and the market will function to ensure efficient distribution of resources. This theory only works if resources are scarce, so that resource can be possessed by the people who value it the most. Knowledge lacks the nature of scarcity. When knowledge can be distributed at cost at zero, any distribution will be efficient. The owner of intellectual property should not have the right to price knowledge however he wants.
 
Added:
>
>
Property rights are in rem rights. For example, when a property has an owner, you only need to contract with the owner in order to receive the permission to build a dam. Otherwise, you have to contract with everyone on this land to build the dam. In contrast, one’s use of knowledge does not affect another’s ability to use the knowledge. You do not need to contract with everyone in the world to use some knowledge in exclusion of other users. Hence, there should be no in rem rights in intellectual property.
 
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Elonis’s Case

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In order for anything to constitute property, it must be scarce. Intellectual property lacks the nature of scarcity, and property rights should not apply. The argument that absence of protection of intellectual property will discourage people from creating can be addressed in two parts. First, there is no evidence that people lacked the incentive to create when there was no intellectual property laws. Second, even if we want to encourage people to create by making such creation profitable, the court is perfectly capable of using liability rule to price any creation. If the Delaware court is capable of determining what price is fair for a stock, courts are capable of deciding what price is fair for a book.
 
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Elonis’s case turns on the application of the true threat doctrine. As is apparent, the definition from Virginia v. Black leaves something to be desired in terms of clarity. Elonis is arguing that the federal statute he was prosecuted under requires the government to prove his subjective intent to threaten. The government, on the other hand, maintains that proof of subjective intent is next to impossible to prove and would swallow the true threat exception altogether. Rather, they argue that they only must prove that a reasonable person would regard Elonis’s speech as threatening.

The former position is the correct one. Our legal system has required substantive intent for criminal liability since the beginning of our common law tradition, rather than simple negligence. See e.g., Holmes, The Common Law (1881). Moreover, when a criminal statute implicates a constitutional right, we must allow for a certain margin of error, if you will, in order to avoid a chilling effect on protected speech. People may choose to forgo making protected speech because they are concerned that they may find themselves on the other side of the contours of protection. Democracy thrives on differences of opinion and public discourse, so allowing for an adequate margin of error is preferable as an imprecise means to a desired end.

Substantively, Elonis’s statements were abhorrent and no one is defending the statements themselves. But, it is when we disagree with a speaker’s viewpoint that the civil liberties that this country was founded on are most crucial. Moreover, while it may seem like violent language like Elonis’s has no value whatsoever, as was suggested by Justice Scalia in oral arguments, infringing on Elonis’s right to express himself in this case will have far-reaching consequences on art speech (even if reasonable people disagree about whether statements like the ones in this case could ever be considered art) and political speech. As was pointed out by the Supreme Court itself, “[t]he language of the political arena,” in particular, “is often vituperative, abusive, and inexact,” and “may well include vehement, caustic, and sometimes unpleasantly sharp attacks on government and public officials.” Watts v. United States, 394 U.S. 705, 708 (1969).

Furthermore, speech on the Internet should be particularly threatening in order t justify government censorship. The Internet was founded on the idea of dissemination of information and is inherently the primary vehicle of democracy in this country: “[t]hrough the use of chat rooms, any person with a phone line can become a town crier with a voice that resonates farther than it could from any soapbox. Through the use of web pages, mail exploders, and newsgroups, the same individual can become a pamphleteer.” Reno v. ACLU, 521 U.S. 844, 870 (1997). The Supreme Court has had trouble adapting to 21st Century technology, but even without understanding the architecture of the Net, it is easy to see the value in allowing speech to remain largely unfettered in a context where anyone in the world can communicate with anyone else.

A subjective intent requirement, as argued for by Elonis, is necessary to protect First Amendment rights in general, and Internet speech in particular.

 
<--/commentPlugin-->
>
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The history of China showed that the power was dispersed after the access of knowledge became dispersed. First time in human history, the powerful and the privileged are losing control of who should be educated and how. As the cost of knowledge sharing approximates zero, intellectual property laws become the only way to artificially inflate the price of education to prevent access to knowledge for free, for all, and forever. Everything that can be shared for free, should be shared for free.
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TWikiGuestSecondEssay 1 - 29 Dec 2014 - Main.StephenHorton
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-- StephenHorton - 29 Dec 2014

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments for Elonis v. United States on December 1, 2014, which has opened up a debate about the issue of free speech on the Internet. In that case, defendant Anthony Elonis posted violent rap lyrics about murdering his wife on Facebook. He was prosecuted under 18 U.S.C. 875(c), which states that “[w]hoever transmits in interstate or foreign commerce any communication containing any threat to kidnap any person or any threat to injure the person of another, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.” In this essay, I review Supreme Court First Amendment jurisprudence and evaluate the merits of Elonis’s argument.

Supreme Court First Amendment Jurisprudence

It is clear that the First Amendment does not provide unlimited protection for all things spoken, written, or otherwise expressed. For instance, in Schenck v. United States, 249 U.S. 47 (1919), Justice Holmes, writing for the majority, famously wrote, “[t]he most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man falsely shouting fire in a theater and causing a panic… The question in every case is whether the words used are used in such circumstances and are of such a nature as to create a clear and present danger that they will bring about the substantive evils that Congress has a right to prevent.” Schenck remains a driving principle behind free speech jurisprudence, but was limited in Brandenburg v. Ohio, 395 U.S. 444 (1969). That case held that it is an infringement of First Amendment speech rights to punish speech unless the speech “is directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action.” Id. at 447.

However, the Supreme Court has said that, along with incitement speech, government may impinge on speech that constitutes a “true threat.” In Virginia v. Black, 538 U.S. 343 (2003), the majority held that “[t]rue threats encompass those statements where the speaker means to communicate a serious expression of an intent to commit an act of unlawful violence to a particular individual or group of individuals.” Id. at 359 (internal quotation marks omitted).

Elonis’s Case

Elonis’s case turns on the application of the true threat doctrine. As is apparent, the definition from Virginia v. Black leaves something to be desired in terms of clarity. Elonis is arguing that the federal statute he was prosecuted under requires the government to prove his subjective intent to threaten. The government, on the other hand, maintains that proof of subjective intent is next to impossible to prove and would swallow the true threat exception altogether. Rather, they argue that they only must prove that a reasonable person would regard Elonis’s speech as threatening.

The former position is the correct one. Our legal system has required substantive intent for criminal liability since the beginning of our common law tradition, rather than simple negligence. See e.g., Holmes, The Common Law (1881). Moreover, when a criminal statute implicates a constitutional right, we must allow for a certain margin of error, if you will, in order to avoid a chilling effect on protected speech. People may choose to forgo making protected speech because they are concerned that they may find themselves on the other side of the contours of protection. Democracy thrives on differences of opinion and public discourse, so allowing for an adequate margin of error is preferable as an imprecise means to a desired end.

Substantively, Elonis’s statements were abhorrent and no one is defending the statements themselves. But, it is when we disagree with a speaker’s viewpoint that the civil liberties that this country was founded on are most crucial. Moreover, while it may seem like violent language like Elonis’s has no value whatsoever, as was suggested by Justice Scalia in oral arguments, infringing on Elonis’s right to express himself in this case will have far-reaching consequences on art speech (even if reasonable people disagree about whether statements like the ones in this case could ever be considered art) and political speech. As was pointed out by the Supreme Court itself, “[t]he language of the political arena,” in particular, “is often vituperative, abusive, and inexact,” and “may well include vehement, caustic, and sometimes unpleasantly sharp attacks on government and public officials.” Watts v. United States, 394 U.S. 705, 708 (1969).

Furthermore, speech on the Internet should be particularly threatening in order t justify government censorship. The Internet was founded on the idea of dissemination of information and is inherently the primary vehicle of democracy in this country: “[t]hrough the use of chat rooms, any person with a phone line can become a town crier with a voice that resonates farther than it could from any soapbox. Through the use of web pages, mail exploders, and newsgroups, the same individual can become a pamphleteer.” Reno v. ACLU, 521 U.S. 844, 870 (1997). The Supreme Court has had trouble adapting to 21st Century technology, but even without understanding the architecture of the Net, it is easy to see the value in allowing speech to remain largely unfettered in a context where anyone in the world can communicate with anyone else.

A subjective intent requirement, as argued for by Elonis, is necessary to protect First Amendment rights in general, and Internet speech in particular.

 
<--/commentPlugin-->

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