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(political) Privacy, Regulatory Arbitrage, Free Speech

I just read your paper and had a couple quick comments, I used to think that
the Internet would be an ultimate promoter of liberal democratic values,
however given recent events in asian countries (which you mention)
particularly actions of China (which you didn't) I am not at all sure that
this will be the case -- of course, one can't prove these things, but I tend
to believe that China could actually clamp down on the freedom of speech
with respect to the following:

"Like it or not, we live now in an age of completely free speech..." I think
it would be very worthwhile to examine what is meant by "free speech." I
don't think free speech means, if I want, I could say what I want and no one
could stop me at that time. This could be done in under nearly any regime
that fell short of sewing its citizens' mouths shut -- even if afterwards it
gets out the rubber hose. What it should mean from a civil right issue is
that the government "should make no law" that hinders the execution of this
right. Given this, one can almost make a distinction:
   practical free speech -- where if one has the proper (technical/subversive)
         know how one can communicate ones ideas relatively freely.
   political free speech -- where the govt. can make no (or few) restrictions 
        on what one has the right to say anywhere, anytime.

So perhaps the Internet shall provide a mechanism for practical free speech
(allowing some to speak their minds, and the others that get trapped will
get crushed) but it shouldn't be considered a subsitute for political free
speech (in which no one gets crushed). In the case of countries like China,
the hope is that the practical free speech will enable political free
speech, but based on news reports I am seeing this is less likely than I
used to think, and as you mention in the section  of "Mobility of Personal
Data" the capability of this technology to abuse the citizens' and
customers' rights are also increasing, but their isn't an open mailing list
on which everyone can examine the conversation between the organizations
which wish to accomplish this.

Regards,            The best way to have a good 
                    idea is to have lots of ideas. - Linus Pauling
Joseph  Reagle      http://farnsworth.mit.edu/~reagle/home.html
[email protected]      E0 D5 B2 05 B6 12 DA 65  BE 4D E3 C1 6A 66 25 4E