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Re: How far is to far?
Re. Fen's proposal to utilise "broadcatch." We still have the problems of
slander/libel and breaches of legitimate secrecy.
At risk of sounding naive/idealistic, it would seem that since there is no
way to block information passing through the net (aside from screening at
source, impractical at least!), the solution rests with education of the
net-using population. Power carries responsibility in equal measure. We
are giving ourselves the power which comes with privacy; we can begin to
take responsibility for promoting a sense of ethics in the use of the net.
One possible place to start would be at highschool-level computer courses;
perhaps with accomplished hackers coming in and giving guest lectures or
something... the culture of computer-literate youth can begin to include
strong ethical positions regarding respect for the privacy of others,
respect for truthfulness, and a position of personal conscience regarding
law and authority. Re the latter, this isn't the same thing as blind
obedience, but rather the idea that if there is to be disobedience it needs
to be grounded in deeply held personal ethics, as for example in the case of
civil disobedience. A strong set of cultural values in these areas might
set a tone which discourages mindless negativity and wrecking. Now there
will always be those who wreck for thrills.... I don't know how to address
that problem except to note that such individuals are hardly stopped today
by the threat of prosecution.