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Re: "Matchcode" technology sparks privacy flames.....




On Mon, 22 Sep 1997, Will Rodger wrote, quoting me:

> >I spent the weekend in West Virginia, where folks are more than 
> happy to
> >gossip with (and about) their neighbors. Nobody would try to shut 
> them up
> >through force of law. This principle does not disappear when the
> >information being shared is digital.

> That's a bold assertion, but not one that squares easily with the 
> half-dozen or so privacy laws already on the books at the federal 
> level.

Which law, specifically, would gossiping with (or about) your neighbors
violate?

And yes, some of the "half-dozen or so privacy laws already on the books"
are misguided. Just as many argue laws against drugs, gambling, or
FCC rules prohibiting the broadcast of "indecent" material are also
unconstitutional -- and a waste of our police's time.

> I would like to go to those small-town folk of whom urban 
> intellectuals write so eloquently and ask them what they would think 
> of their neighbors posting all their gossip to a place where millions 
> can read it. Something tells me they wouldn't see those two actions 
> as one in the same. There is a qualitiative difference between the 
> two.

The problem is, I suspect, in drawing that line. Want to try your hand in
drawing a line outlining the scope of "obscenity" laws? Remember they
cover textual material in some states and comics in others. No? I didn't
think so. 

> That's about as far as I'm going on that one.
> 
> I'm sure Bernstein, DeFalco et al. will have clear reasons for why 
> none of us should care less.

I don't think the issue is whether or not individuals should "care" about
others talking about them behind their back. I think the question is how
to address it: through the force of law or not. I may not want to shut up
the Net-Nazis through the force of law (I would argue against it), but I
would certainly "care" what they say and speak out against it myself. 

Not all wrongs can be solved through the law.

-Declan