Computers, Privacy & the Constitution

second part of the 'of the press' argument

  • summarizes last week as arguing that 'the press' is about publication as a mechanism of speech, rather than of a distinct noun known as the 'press'
  • notes the wikileaks ruling as an example of 'everyone being the press'
  • saw example of traditional 'or of the press' becoming less special in the press rights case from last week (inability to protect sources)

so Q: if we are now in a world where 'or of the press' means publication by individuals, hence protecting press differently..

  • (1) does this imply an equality principle?
  • (2) if we have a principle of equal treatment, how far does it extend? Murdoch has permissions to do a great deal of things Eben and I don't have; to what extent should that be equalized? is it positive or purely negative? i.e., if gov't gives him extra privileges, is it obligated to extend those privileges to me as well? Or is it sufficient merely to not restrain both of us? To some extent restraint made sense in the 20s, but not anymore if we had a modern spectrum allocation structure.
  • (3) (missed this)

If 'publication' is at the micro-watt layer in a wifi mesh, then no spectrum allocation problems so fewer excuses for control.

(Extended discussion of cell phone architecture and WNYC elided.)

Note that we're now post-Red Lion, do any of these mechanisms of control make sense? They'd clearly not justify restrictions on books.

If you get web video, you get a foothold with which to challenge the publication regulation regime; much less justification for differential regulation of video when literally everyone can publish. (Ed.: though of course few do of yet and they have flash/Youtube defacto globally-accessible already.)

Security/safety justifications for the regulations don't seem to hold up any longer; the technical solutions would be more robust if they weren't constrained to particular bandwidth regimes.

End result could be a system where everyone has a guarantee to equal outbound bandwidth; regulation would focus on ensuring equality of outbound bandwidth rather than regulating who can speak.

Leaping back to muniwifi: if 'or of the press' means 'of the ability of the people to publish' then (theoretically) the state of PA has no ability to prevent the city of Philadelphia from setting up muniwifi. (Note that home rule limitations have never previously been entwined in 1st amendment cases.)

Goes on to argue that the government (the FCC) could be obligated to provide the specs for such a network, as they currently publish specs for TV. (Government-sourced Meraki, basically.) (Ed.: the technical feasibility of this presumes that the wireless mesh networking protocols actually works. Eben notes that one might still want to have a nationalized 'highway' system, aka backbone.

Q: how to create this positive right from 'shall make no law'? A: if you have an FCC at all, then this interpretation suggests that the only permissible FCC is one that equalizes press publication.

"If you think civil society is producing a lot of money for Obama, think how much telecoms it could produce." (by motivation of replacing their telephone bills if there were an open mesh network)

-- LuisVilla - 21 Feb 2008 (with large parts dropped; more than happy to have others fill in the blanks.)



Webs Webs

r2 - 17 Jan 2012 - 17:49:18 - IanSullivan
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