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The Courts Government News

The Worst Coders In Washington 427

spooky writes "The American Open Technology Consortium, 'a nonprofit organization of technologists who have joined together to educate lawmakers and regulators about technology -- especially in regards to The Internet' has compiled a list of the lawmakers responsible for eight bad internet laws. They say, 'These bad coders and their backers have done more damage to computing, the Internet and freedom than all the virus authors, spammers and crackers combined', Do you agree? Did they miss anyone?"
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The Worst Coders In Washington

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  • Just remember tomorrow all you techies. When you're at the poll, Just Say No to the conservative right. They are the true enemy. All of these bad laws have been under their watch in Congress. Throw the bums out!

    apply flames here:

    • by EvanED ( 569694 ) <evaned@gmail. c o m> on Monday November 04, 2002 @06:24PM (#4595661)
      Regardless of this being flamebait, he's right, at least if this site is to be believed: only 18 of the 93 people on the list (assuming I counted right; in any case it's a very small portion) are democrats. Furthermore, only two of the 25 worst offenders are democrats. The rest are republicans.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 04, 2002 @06:58PM (#4595903)
        I hate stupidity.

        Whenever someone just selectively grab bills and laws then THEN tries to apply correlations to party, you're going to get a skewed outcome. (It's selective by the shear nature they they picked the "worse" bills, which is still subjective.) And then someone, like you or the parent poster, will come along and, without a thought, say "See!" Look, if they had added prominant copyright bills, the democrat margin would be higher than the current 20% margin. And if Clinton hadn't signed the DCMA or Sonny Bono Copyright Extension Act, this would be a voided question.

        And you don't even pretend to take into consideration that the overall current representation count is Republican, due to the dominance in the house, which OF COURSE is going to more Republicans being mentioned.

        And OF COURSE if campaign donations from special interests continue to be legal, the media companies are going to shower those representatives in a position of getting bills passed, which in the Senate are Democrats, and in the House are Republicans, which is going to FURTHER push it to the Republicans (as they controlled the Senate until the flip of the one rep, control the House, and are in control at the last lawmaking step, the Presidency). Rest assured, if Dems were in power in the House, the special interests would be showering them with money, and more so if Gore had won.

        These bad laws have NO POLITICAL ALIGNMENT because neither party has a strict or well-founded policy or issue guidance on them.

        The reality is, the parent post is flamebait because voting should not be strict party lines, not even based on money the person receives, but on the issues and past voting record of the House or Senate rep that you have in front of you. And don't even pretend a web page analysis is going to be really all-encompassing or relevant to what occurs in your local races. Hell, this is just the federal level (we've already seen state laws creating an effect).

        Finally, the fact is, both parties screw you. You have to look at WHO in the party does what. If you vote on party lines, all you do is push party alignment on the issue. I don't want another NRA/Republican alignment. If "techies" (what the fuq is a techie really, and when did they all suddenly vote liberal?) were one and did all vote liberal, all the special interests will simply fund Republicans, and vice versa. Don't help them align. Vote on the issues and the voting record, and look at campaign donations to then add relevance to your decision.

        • by electroniceric ( 468976 ) on Monday November 04, 2002 @10:15PM (#4596987)
          This is a really interesting post, both content-wise as a benchmark (to use a relevant term of art) of Slashdot.

          Content-wise it's interesting not just becaue the poster knows his/her sh*t, but also because it highlights an approaching conundrum - lawmakers all over the US of A love to tout the technology sector as this great engine of economic growth, but clearly have very little understanding of how their actions affect the climate for the tech sector. It's not as simple as tax or don't tax, regulate or don't regulate in tech, and that confounds the parties' standard platitudes. So as the parent eloquently points out, there is not yet alignment of the parties with a particular stance on technology legislation, a state which begs techies to step into politics.

          As for this:

          Finally, the fact is, both parties screw you. You have to look at WHO in the party does what. If you vote on party lines, all you do is push party alignment on the issue. I don't want another NRA/Republican alignment. If "techies" (what the fuq is a techie really, and when did they all suddenly vote liberal?) were one and did all vote liberal, all the special interests will simply fund Republicans, and vice versa.

          Your cynical attitude towards politics in general prompts me to think that you're American (as am I), and it makes me sad. Of course both parties screw you, at the same time as their handing you manna. That's how power and politics have worked since the dawn of time. The military-industrial complex (definitely bipartisan, everyone wants a a lab or a military base in their district) begat DARPA and university network research begat the internet. At the same time, the military-industrial complex strengthed corporate hegemony which begat absurdly restrictive views of ideas as physical property begat DMCA. All brought to you by the same two parties, and quite likely the same cohort of politicians, or at least their proteges.

          Don't help them align. Vote on the issues and the voting record, and look at campaign donations to then add relevance to your decision.

          Interesting idea that well informed voters will help depolarize politics. I hope it's true, and I certainly support your claim that one should vote on issues, not a party line. I think a few more parties, a few new estates, like the "mythical" techies (who have a reputation for peppering their speech with slogans like "I hate stupidity", and fancying themselves independent thinkers), and perhaps some refined approaches to things like regulation will also help reduce some of this polarization.

          To finish my other point... as a cultural milestone, these posts also interesting - just glancing through the responses shows that the site has succeeded in attracting politically knowledgeable people who have learned about tech, or vice-versa. I only hope that this crossover continues, and carries into other kinds of issues, like poverty, equality, and the environment.
        • if campaign donations from special interests continue to be legal

          Personally, I believe that any politician that recieves these bribes should be made to wear a badge for each of the companies/groups that made a donation. Then you will always know where they are coming from.

          "Senator Smith was brought to you this evening by AOL, suppliers of Internet access & pop music, and Shell Oil, screwing the Arabs so you can drive SUVs" ;-)

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Evidence that moderation really works. Parent had a +1 score.

      Like you're one to vote on the issues with that party line.

      Not all "techies" are Democrats. Sheesh. And the reality is, this is not a partisan issue, no matter how much you want to make it be. That was, after all, part of the point of the AOTC listing. There are reps from both sides of the fence; they're all getting paid off.

      But, partisans be partisan. Oooo, ooo, economy--some say, "see, Bush's fault!" Reality is, Bushie ain't doing much now (I think he should deregulate markets more, but noooo) for future improvement and present perception, but the current economic climate is not his "fault" in a cause-effect relationship. Heck, given most bubbles were from the Clinton era with a Republican congress, both didn't incite much help or further development. Economists have said again and again that what the present adminitration does in the current term has little effect on the current term.

      Then again, the right wing conspiracists are probably all saying the media is run by liberals and the economy is tanking because all the rich leftists pulled their money out of the markets causing the current climate (and hence forcing the political climate change). And someone's probably saying that he'd bet those lousy liberals colluded with the west coast dock workers too!!!

      Meanwhile, the left wingers are probably saying that the lower interest rates favor businesses, although it probably favors the housing market even more such that more folks are buying homes (and conversely argued, getting screwed because of generally rising property taxes which they shell out in full whether they have a loan or buy outright).

      Lovely this world of politics. I'll vote on the races, not the party line. The party line is what causes alignments to occur between politicans and groups (i.e. special interests), so I'll vote on the issues, hoping that in the chaos of a mixed political body, it'll be more difficult for such "legal limits over free market competition alignments" to occur.
    • by Bartab ( 233395 ) on Monday November 04, 2002 @06:46PM (#4595821)
      Oh really? Who signed DMCA into law again? CDA? NET?

      All Clinton.
      • by StevenMaurer ( 115071 ) on Monday November 04, 2002 @07:18PM (#4596088) Homepage
        The real question is: do you think G.W. Bush would have been less supportive of these anti-free speech laws? Or would he have been more so? Would there have been even more draconian measures stuck into them?

        And which party was pushing the most for these corporate welfare bills? Do you think it was the Democrats? Seriously?

        Just because Clinton didn't have a perfect 100% voting record doesn't mean we shouldn't give him credit for the 90% record he did have. Compared to our current President, who seems willing to destroy America's freedoms in order to "save" it, he was a strongly positive influence.

        I'm just sorry so many Americans are so inattentive to the issues, they allow their precious liberties to be whittled away.

      • by yerricde ( 125198 ) on Monday November 04, 2002 @11:00PM (#4597158) Homepage Journal

        Who signed DMCA into law again?

        President Clinton could not have prevented the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act [] or the Digital Millennium Copyright Act [] from becoming federal law in the United States. Both bills passed the House and Senate by "unanimous consent", which means that there wasn't even enough opposition to force a roll call vote (at least 20 percent), and each house voted on the bills by voice (AYE, NO, the ayes have it). Such a voice vote implies at least 81 percent support in each house.

        If the President vetoes a bill, it goes back to the House and Senate for a roll-call vote, and if each house has 67 percent support for a bill, the bill passes over the President's veto. Thus, whether or not Clinton signed either of the bills has no bearing on anything important.

    • A week or so ago, Jesse Helms went up to bat for online rights. I guess he isn't a Republican in your book? But Howard Berman is a Republican. Oh wait, no he's not. Also, who was President when the DMCA was passed?

      Anyway, "all you techies", don't judge a person by his or her political party. See what they stand for.
    • Not so fast (Score:5, Informative)

      by nexex ( 256614 ) on Monday November 04, 2002 @06:55PM (#4595878) Homepage

      Representative Howard Berman's (D-Cal.) P2P Bill

      This virulent Trojan Horse, written by Senator Ernest "Fritz" Hollings (D-NC)

      President Clinton signed into law a new "sequel" to the unconstitutional Communications Decency Act.

      DMCA co-sponsored by Mr. CONYERS(D-IN), and Mr. FRANK (D-Mass)

      If anything, Democrats and liberals are just as much a part....

    • GOP is in bed with big business, the Dems are in bed with the labor unions. This is the way it's always been. This is more partisan politics than anything. Yeah, the GOP writes some pretty nasty bills, but the democrats write equally nasty ones (gun control legislation, etc) they just don't involve the internet.
    • Go ahead! (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Inoshiro ( 71693 )
      Throw your vote away on a first-party candidate.

      The only real change in the system will come about if people vote third party.
      • by k_187 ( 61692 ) on Monday November 04, 2002 @08:50PM (#4596635) Journal
        In a state with single member plurality districts (SMPDs), which is to say, one canidate is elected by simply having more votes than everybody else, not a majority, the total number of Effective political parties will equal two.

        Lets assume that in the first ever election in a district there are three parties, named A, B, and C, and A is liberal, B is moderate leaning liberal, and C is conservative. Results come in and A recieves 30%, B 30%, and C 40%. The canidate from C will then have won. Come next election, because A and B have similar intrests, they will comprimise so their common intrests can be expressed, and some of their individual ones can as well. Then, assuming that there are no major changes in the electorate between the two elections, the new proto-A & B party-D will have 60%, and will defeat C, with its 40%.

        A third party on either side of the political spectrum will only serve to marganalize the the larger party, as we saw in Flordia (which is the most prominent example I think) during the 2000 presidental election. If Nader had not been running, his votes would have presumable gone to Gore, as he is closest to Nader ideologically. Gore would have won, and we'd be in a marginally different situation today.

  • by mazarin5 ( 309432 ) on Monday November 04, 2002 @06:16PM (#4595605) Journal
    Unfortunately, it seems that most lawmakers know exactly what they are and have been doing, and that's why they've been so devastatingly effective. Keep in mind, they're policymakers and politicians, and campaign donations are alway welcomed.
    • It also seems that they might not know dick about what they are doing. Mind you, most of the lawmakers on Capital Hill are old fashion, and might be afriad of this new tech. They may not know how to handle it the right way, and will panic which will lead them to approve of a unfair law. How do you think the DMCA was able to pass?
  • stevens (Score:5, Informative)

    by Maskirovka ( 255712 ) on Monday November 04, 2002 @06:18PM (#4595615)
    For the record, senator Ted Stevens (who co-sponsored the CBDPA if up for re-election tomorrow. He doesn't have any serious opposition though...
    • Re:stevens (Score:3, Interesting)

      by pnatural ( 59329 )
      He doesn't have any serious opposition though...

      He never has, and he never will. In a small (population-wise) state like Alaska, it really pays to have as much seniority as the Alaskan congressional delegation does. We've had the same congressional delegation as long as I can remember... 20 years at least.

      Full disclosure: I'm an Alaskan, registered voter, and I vote Republican (I consider myself anarchist-come-libertarian-but-still -very-pragmatic :) I oppose DMCA and all that crap, but tomorrow, I'll vote for Stevens. Right, wrong, or indifferent, it's more important for me to have my state, a very small and often forgotten place, to wield some degree of power in Washington.
  • by JohnnyBigodes ( 609498 ) <> on Monday November 04, 2002 @06:18PM (#4595617)
    Well... how about a few thousand Windows programmers?
    (an obvious choice, I know, but still true :)
  • by Vaulter ( 15500 ) on Monday November 04, 2002 @06:19PM (#4595619)

    I always wonder about articles like this. Who is worse, the people who abuse privileges/freedoms, or the people who limit the privileges/freedoms to curb the abuse.

    Maybe if so many script kiddies/ warez'ers/ napsterites hadn't gone so fscking overboard downloading/spamming/sharing, the legislations wouldn't have any backing. It would be too much bother for so little.

    But, unfortunately, the masses found out, and spoiled for the rest of us.

    • by sweetooth ( 21075 ) on Monday November 04, 2002 @06:25PM (#4595677) Homepage
      That doesn't make the legislators any more right than the abusers. We can have a direct effect on the legislators while it is much harder to have a direct effect on the abusers you list. Beside, if you compare many of these representatives voting records with other bills you will find that they don't just push bad tech laws, many of them push bad laws in general.
    • by 4of12 ( 97621 ) on Monday November 04, 2002 @06:40PM (#4595776) Homepage Journal

      Who is worse, the people who abuse privileges/freedoms, or the people who limit the privileges/freedoms to curb the abuse?

      Answer: They're both bad.

      Yes, people who use their computer power to subvert copyright are bad. They ought to be punished accordingly, but certainly not punished for exercising fair use doctrines.

      But that obnoxious behavior by various individuals is no justification for bad blanket legislation that stomps on liberties in an attempt to curtail bad behavior.

      It is just as irresponsible for legislators to pass computer laws like these as it is for them to solve problems such as theft and burglary by mandating a police state and requiring everyone to present an internal passport on demand and to show signed receipts for all goods in their possession.

      Of course in the U.S., with the way things are going with the "Patriot" Act, perhaps there is some consistency there...

    • by GuruJ ( 604127 )

      Technology + legislation is a dangerous combination, because it allows automatic enforcement of laws against people.

      Compare the process of issuing a speeding fine in the 60s (policeman chases down the person, makes him stop, gives ticket) to today (camera: *click*, infringement notice arrives in the mail 5-10 working days later).

      Copyright laws were acceptable in 'the old days' because each abuse had to be discovered individually. Now, bots can send out infringement notices to thousands of websites without a single human interaction. Things get even scarier when you consider the TCPA/Palladium platform, with punishments (ie. infringing material deleted) being potentially handed out automatically.

      Online rights require a set of rules that are more flexible, not more rigid. We just haven't worked out what they should be yet.

    • by LoRider ( 16327 )
      Who is worse, the people who abuse privileges/freedoms, or the people who limit the privileges/freedoms to curb the abuse.

      That's easy, the ones that attempt to limit privileges/freedom. Less freedom is always bad. Freedom comes with a cost, people will abuse it. Just because someone abuses freedom doesn't mean I don't deserve the right charish my freedom and love every minute of it.

      I never understand people who wish to remove freedom under the guise of protecting it. If the freedom no longer exists, there's nothing to protect.

      No one ever said living in a free society would be perfection and trouble-free. Every once in a while some jackass will say something that pisses you off, you can either some something back or go home and cry about it - you can't take away their right to say it though.

      Freedom for everyone or freedom for no one.
    • by EvanED ( 569694 ) <evaned@gmail. c o m> on Monday November 04, 2002 @06:53PM (#4595867)
      Ah, but there's a difference. Laws that punish misbehavior rarely restrict freedom. For instance, few people (at least outside of /.) would argue that pure copyright laws are unjust. They serve a very valid and necessary purpose: protecting someone else from stealing your work and thereby depriving you of what you should be earning. So legislators limited our "freedoms" (if you want to call distributing someone else's work a freedom) by making it illegal to distribute someone else's work. it addressed the problem without overstepping it.

      Now look at the DMCA. This was again intended to curb distribution of pirated material, but it does so by making it illegal to carry out activities that often lead to illegal distribution. This again would be fine if the only reason to do what it makes illegal was to pirate things, but that's not the case. The DMCA was an *overreaction* to the problem of piracy, restricting rights that are not related to any wrong activity. For instance, I cannot use a clip from a DVD in a presentation I am doing--something that SHOULD be protected under fair use laws--without breaking the DVD's encryption, and thus violating the DMCA.

      Overreacting to the problem in this example was just as bad as the problem they were trying to stop. This is even more true in the case of the DMCA as it would have only taken one small clause to limit its coverage to further stopping piracy. Just add a "This act is by no means meant to limit fair use rights; such use should not result in the penalties set forth in this act." That should suffice.
    • Maybe if so many script kiddies/ warez'ers/ napsterites hadn't gone so fscking overboard downloading/spamming/sharing, the legislations wouldn't have any backing.

      But, unfortunately, the masses found out, and spoiled for the rest of us.

      It is debatable whether or not people have actually "stolen" anything by downloading/spamming/sharing, etc. Most peoples' intuition with respect to theft relies on a material object being taken. It is debatable whether or not copying a piece of information (in the most general of cases) and disseminating it (without the consent of it's author, and with/without payment in exchange) should be a crime in the first place. It so happens that theft in the physical world of objects and property works to the disadvatage of many people - and so it is rightfully considered "theft". However, it remains to be shown whether or not some civilization-wide practical disadvantage comes about through unauthorized, unpaid for, file copying and sharing.
      Before blaming "the masses", maybe one should look at whose interests are being served - who is ruining what? Is it the case that downloading this stuff creates a horrible problem for our society? Or is it the case that it does nothing, or possibly makes things better?
      What was ruined? If you are referring to your ability to download copyrighted material, then the blame lands squarely on the legislators who wrote the laws, the courts who upheld them, the police who enforced them, and the companies and individuals who lobbied/paid for this legislation.
    • Who is worse, the people who abuse privileges/freedoms, or the people who limit the privileges/freedoms to curb the abuse.

      Hmmm... interesting question and responses. Just out of curiosity, how many people support gun control? If, say, the US gov't were to propose a law banning semi-automatic rifles (like the one used by the DC/Maryland sniper), I wonder how many /.ers would support it?

  • by echucker ( 570962 ) on Monday November 04, 2002 @06:19PM (#4595621) Homepage
    Sorry to disappoint, but they're not talking about Redmond. ;-)
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Looking at the list of congress critters, one might believe republicans deserve full blame.

    Except, of course, that each bill needed a majority vote to pass, and each was signed into law by Bill Clinton, the only person that could have single-handledly stopped them.

    Those that voted for the bills (many of whom are democrats) deserve just as much blame as those that authored or introduced them.
  • by BabyDave ( 575083 ) on Monday November 04, 2002 @06:19PM (#4595627)
    Yet another anti-MS story on /.

    What? Washington DC? Where the heck's that?

  • I am so very glad that my Representative and Senators were not on the list. I am surprised to see that Fritz (Hollings) is not at the top of the list. I guess it doesn't count that he just proposes more crap than everybody else, eh?
  • by Anenga ( 529854 ) on Monday November 04, 2002 @06:20PM (#4595632)
    Found them []
  • too bad (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bilbobuggins ( 535860 ) <> on Monday November 04, 2002 @06:20PM (#4595636)
    AOTC doesn't have a press office. Some day we will. Meanhile you can contact our President, Doc Searls, at

    with a public presence like this, it's just one more well-intentioned group blowing a lot of air without making a sound...

  • Quick Summary (Score:3, Interesting)

    by fizban ( 58094 ) <> on Monday November 04, 2002 @06:20PM (#4595637) Homepage
    93 Worst offenders.

    74 - Republican
    19 - Democrat

    Consider yourself informed. We live with a two-party system (mostly). One of them is more consumer friendly than the other. Vote accordingly.
    • Re:Quick Summary (Score:5, Insightful)

      by dh003i ( 203189 ) <dh003i AT gmail DOT com> on Monday November 04, 2002 @06:26PM (#4595678) Homepage Journal
      Remember that Bill Clinton -- the gift of god to Democrats -- gave his blessings to the DMCA; he didn't oppose it, he didn't criticize it, he didn't veto it.

      Remember that the DMCA was passed almost unanimously by both Democrats and Republicans, as was the 1998 Copyright Extension Act; likewise with almost all other draconian anti-consumer intellectual property laws, and digital laws.
      • I remember something far worse: he signed an executive order stating encryption would aid terrorists and should be criminalized. Now look at how insecure our communications hardware is today due to that wisdom.
      • Re:Quick Summary (Score:4, Interesting)

        by fizban ( 58094 ) <> on Monday November 04, 2002 @06:42PM (#4595792) Homepage
        Very true, but I never said Democrats aren't evil. I'm just pointing out who's more evil.

        However, telling a democrat lawmaker that a law is anti-consumer garners much more of a concerned response than telling a republican lawmaker the same thing.

        But, in the end, it's all about the money. Which is why I'm planning to move to another country... :-)
        • What? You think that money doesn't play a role in politics in other countries? That's hilarious.

          Most of the people that I have seen complaining about U.S. politics are folks that never bother to vote. People that vote realize that there is a lot more to a successful campaign than spreading money around. Don't believe me, get involved in your local political scene.

      • Re:Quick Summary (Score:3, Interesting)

        by bcboy ( 4794 )
        > Remember that Bill Clinton -- the gift of god to Democrats

        *cough* *cough* *cough*

        Don't confuse rabid Clinton hating by Republicans with approval by Democrats. The fact that we don't hallucinate murders or hold him responsible for the criminal actions of conservative corporate CEO's -- as Republicans have -- doesn't mean we actually like him much.
      • Re:Quick Summary (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Most democrats consider bill clinton "The Best Republican President we ever had". The truth is, the political climate has shifted so far to the right that most of the mainstream liberals are somewhere in the center. But seriously, look at those numbers:
        rez@service01:~$ cat t | grep R- | wc -l
        rez@service01:~$ cat t | grep D- | wc -l
        (lazy mans way of counting)

        They don't lie. I'm so sick of everyone pissing and moaning about Gore's infamous "I invented the internet". Why? Because its not a direct quote, he's never said it and not a single republican whose ever quoted it infront of me could come up with proof its a direct quote. I even saw it used on slashdot today... How shameful.

        Yes, Micheal Moore has it right: Democrats and Republicans are essentially the same. They're two groups who control our government with the backing of big business. The difference is the extent they're willing to sell their souls to industry. And whilst near 80% of the republicans sold out on thw issue of internet rights (free speech, fair use etc) only 20% of the democrats did. So maybe I am a troll, maybe this is flamebait but still - the numbers don't lie!
      • Remember that Bill Clinton -- the gift of god to Democrats

        This Democrat didn't think he was the gift of god. I thought he was a dangerously immature jerk who sabotaged liberalism in general by smearing it with his outrageously stupid public behavior. His primary contribution to history was making Rush Limbaugh seem reasonable by comparison. Now we're stuck with a public that has swallowed the Prime Directive of the GOP: "Having lots of money makes people virtuous and trustworthy."
    • Re:Quick Summary (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I'm only counting 8 votes for the DMCA, and somehow I don't think thats enough for it to pass the house and senate. These numbers are pretty incomplete, so before jumping to such statistical conclusions, you might want to get the full data set
    • Re:Quick Summary (Score:5, Insightful)

      by dh003i ( 203189 ) <dh003i AT gmail DOT com> on Monday November 04, 2002 @06:43PM (#4595798) Homepage Journal
      I also find your party-line voting suggestion to be harmful.

      Voting along party lines is only for idiots, and will invariably produce undesireable results.

      You can only vote along party lines if you agree with *everything* that a party stands for; even then, its not safe, because many Republicans deviate from the Republian platform, likewise with many Democrats. I consider myself Libertarian, but that doesn't mean I can just vote for any Libertarian who runs...why? Because there's some thing in the Libertarian platform I disagree with, and I don't know which tenants of the Libertarian platform someone is going to stick to.

      The only way to vote intelligently is to research the candidates thoroughly and decide if you like what they stand for, or if you don't. You'll never find a candidate who you agree with completely; the idea is to vote for the one who's positions and actions are the closest to those you have or you'd take.

      Voting along party lines for Democrats might be good in one state, regarding digital freedoms and intellectual property. But in Utah, it might elect Orin Hatch -- a pro-Napster, pro-technology, anti-IP (in its current form) Senator (R) -- out of office.

      The best thing to do is to figure out what each candidates positions are on various issues. Attention should be paid to what they say they will do, but you should take that with a grain of salt. More important, is how did they vote on various bills. Firstly, look at their attendance record for voting on bills. If they're absent on half of them, they're not good Senators or Representatives. For those they did vote on, did they vote as you would have? Make a simple list like such. +1 is assigned for voting as you would voe, -1 for voting against your wishes. Add appropriate weights for things which you consider more important.

      It is the kind of party-lines thinking that the parent advocates which is a major problem in our system, and why the wrong people get elected; its also part of why third parties -- though usually being superior -- are kept off the voting ballot and rarely elected.

      I used to think like the parent, when I was a teenager. I thought of myself as a Republican. However, as I grew older (hence smarter), I realized that I disagreed with the Republican platform on many things which were important to me (i.e., abortion, prostitution, drugs, stripping, euthanasia, gay rights, and religion).

      Don't be locked into the "I'm a Dem/Repub" mentality. Determine what your position is on the issues, and vote for (s)he who's closer to that position by in what they say and what they've done.
      • >> Voting along party lines is only for idiots

        When a Republican, Teddy Roosevelt was once attempting to give a speech, but was repeatedly interrupted by a vociferous opponent shouting "I'm a Democrat." Roosevelt lost patience and deviated from his text to ask the heckler, "Why are you a Democrat?"

        "Because my father was a Democrat and his father was a Democrat."

        "If your father was a jackass and his father was a jackass, would you want to be a jackass?"

        "No, I'd be a Republican."

      • Yeah, yeah, yeah, but in reality whoever you vote has to work with Congress as a whole. When the balance is close, you may be better off voting for the less desirable local candidate so you have a more desirable national party.

        This is especially true this year. Control of the Senate may hinge on a single election, and you have to trade off the consequences of voting for the "good" candidate, but putting the "bad" party in control of the Senate, vs. the "bad" candidate and putting the "good" party in control.
        • Bull shit. Your attitude is exactly why NOTHING will change. Every election for that matter is a attempt to "control the senate". Try voting for the candidate that you actaully think is good (you'll feel better about it). If we all change we will finally be able to see how much better this country could actually be.
    • Re:Quick Summary (Score:5, Interesting)

      by GigsVT ( 208848 ) on Monday November 04, 2002 @06:46PM (#4595831) Journal

      Consider yourself informed.

      A Libertarian would never pass any law to stifle the Internet, and would never let the government pass protectionist laws for corporate lobbies.

      Just a note, John Warner is facing Libertarian Jacob Hornberger in Virginia in tomorrow's elections. John Warner is going to win, no Democrat is running.

      This is a good chance to show your support for Libertarians if you are a Democrat, or a Republican, but you agree with what the Libertarians are saying about a lot of things. Your vote will almost definitely not change the outcome of the election, but rather than not voting in the race, why not send the politicians a message that they need to wake up and start listening to the people, or they risk losing to Libertarians.

      A 10% Libertarian vote in this election will do just that. So hey, nothing to lose, just do it!
      • Re:Quick Summary (Score:3, Insightful)

        by drinkypoo ( 153816 )
        A Libertarian would never pass any law to stifle the Internet, and would never let the government pass protectionist laws for corporate lobbies.

        A Libertarian would never pass any law to promote the internet, and would never let the government spend funding on such a venture. As such, if the world were in the hands of the libertarians, we wouldn't have had one at all until it became so obvious and cheap that companies would have put one together themselves.

        Which means, it still might not be there.

    • Yup, Al Gore invented the term "Information Superhighway" in order to explain to his politicial peers the importance of the internet from a legislatures point of view. See, all congressmen love highway projects; take a whiff and smell the pork. This turn of phrase was very clever.

      However, I have to take issue this comment in the assumption that these bills are partisan and party driven. Not so. Since, in the eyes of washington, these are minor issues that registered voters don't care enough about to swing their vote, these bills and actions are up to the highest [] bidder. True, you will find certain types of people, committees and companies tend to have a favorite flavor of congress critter, but that doesn't really make this partisan.

      What I'm really saying is, don't vote with your party; vote with your mind. Do your research [] about what you care about. Look up who their legislative advisor is - get to know him/her. Drop a $1,000 donation to the ones you like, and I your voice with DEFINATELY get heard, and you WILL get to actually talk to the congressman or any memeber of their staff. Ya, I know it's all corrupt and wrong, but politicial donations can be a good insurance policy sometimes.

    • Appened is an ugly perl hack job that counts up who's responsible for what. I was interesed int he two types of bills, the "What About The Children?" (watc) type (CIPA,COPA and CDA), and "In The Pocket Of The Media" (itpotm) (P2P, DMCA and CBDTPA).

      Total: D:19 R:74

      Sponsored more than one:2 R:7

      Sponsored the DMCA D:3 R:7

      itpotm D:9 R:9

      watc D:11 R:69

      If I haven't made any mistakes, You can see that the republican party is mostly responsible for watc bills, while the Dems are more responsible for the itpotm bills, in fact, given a Republican majority in the House, the Dems have more than their fair share. I believe this is because the media centers are primarily democratic.

      OTOH, Republicans are more responsible for the DMCA, which is the most egregious of them all.

      Just cat the list of reps to the program to get a tally, if the program gets confused it will stop.

      #!/usr/bin/perl -n
      #Make sure you don't put in any extra space
      # or the program will quit
      1; /\(([DR])\-.* (\d) bill/||die;

      $party=$1; $b=$2 ;$foo{$1}++;$_=<>;
      ($2>1) && $morethan1{$party}++ ; /DMCA/&&$dmca{$party}++ ;
      (/P2P/||/DMCA/||/CBDTPA/)&&( $MPAA{$party}++ );
      (/CIPA/||/COPA/||/CDA/)&&($watc{$party}++) ;

      print "bad D:".$foo{D}." R:".$foo{R}."\n";
      print "very bad D:".$morethan1{D}." R:".$morethan1{R}."\n";
      print"dmca D:".$dmca{D}." R:".$dmca{R}."\n";
      print"itpotm D:".$MPAA{D}." R:".$MPAA{R}."\n";
      print"watc D:".$watc{D}." R:".$watc{R}."\n";


  • by sprprsnmn ( 619113 ) on Monday November 04, 2002 @06:20PM (#4595639) Homepage Journal
    With the election being just around the corner, this is the chance for we the people to show those we allow to run our country how we feel we should be ruled. Nothing will put a stop to these bills faster than votes in the other candidate's ballot box.

    No offense to those not US citizens. In fact, use my state (LA)'s motto (vote early, and vote often), and vote too, esp. if you are dead!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 04, 2002 @06:21PM (#4595644)
    It still strikes me as odd that politicians can create laws that govern so much of what goes on through the internet, when they have no knowledge of it themselves. I feel like they are trying to regulate it in a similar way as television. However, the internet isn't just in the United States. It's also throughout the whole world. How can we decree what other countries must follow? This is a conondrum that needs to be addressed in it's own arena, separate from the real world, because it is not the real world. If politicians are able to expand their powers through limiting action on the internet, then what's to stop them from gradually throwing out the constitution altogether?
    Besides that, I feel that there is too much trust when it comes to the internet. I don't trust media companies, why should they have the right to hack into anyone's computer? I really hope that people are able to keep ridiculus laws from being enacted that are only made by the politicians as ways of gathering support (and money) when they are so far reaching (As the article says). Well. I guess I agree with them.
    • It still strikes me as odd that politicians can create laws that govern so much of what goes on through the internet, when they have no knowledge of it themselves.

      It is the nature of politicians: they don't know a lot of stuff (granted, in the grand scheme of things neither do I, but I'm not empowered to pass legislation directly).

      That's why I love gridlock. Let the bastards argue all day and all night. The less laws they pass the better.
  • by smd4985 ( 203677 ) on Monday November 04, 2002 @06:21PM (#4595645) Homepage
    it is defn. important to have a list of the worst offenders, but even more useful would be the best of the bunch! knowing who to support is more effective than knowing who to trash - the truth is that this battle is going to need help from the inside, so lets recognize those lawmakers who can help.

    one that i can identify is Orrin Hatch. i hear he is very distrustful of the MPAA, RIAA, and others who want to use their lobby money to preserve their dinosaur business models.
    • You might want to change the people you listen to. Not only would the good senator turn the Internet into a fancy interactive Bible (with ads) given half a chance, he also backed most of the crap listed on the site, including the DMCA.
    • by schon ( 31600 ) on Monday November 04, 2002 @06:44PM (#4595806)
      knowing who to support is more effective than knowing who to trash

      This is a very salient point, that (happily) some people in power are beginning to understand, but people in the media appear to have a hard time grasping .. On a US TV station, I recently saw a debate between two politicians, and one of the questions posed was "why aren't you smearing your opponent" - the moderator repeatedly pushed this, and seemed not to be able to understand the answers the candidates gave (which boiled down to "I want to win - mud throwing detracts from the issues at hand.)

      That being said, can anyone come up with a list of "good guys", besides Rick Boucher and Zoe Lofgren?
    • Orrin Hatch is a published Christian musician. He actually understands the bottom rung of the recording industry because he's on it.

      He's a smart guy who seems to really understand the repercussions of the bills in question.

      He's also very conservative and very religious.

      Don't just vote for the guy because he doesn't like the RIAA. Vote for him because you agree with his views.

      IMO, one of the best guys in Congress, Paul Wellstone, died recently.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    These bad coders and their backers have done more damage to computing, the Internet and freedom than all the virus authors, spammers and crackers combined.

    Note that these are not all laws. Some are just stupid ideas that are perhaps a sign of things to come if we don't do put up a fight. Well actually they are all stupid ideas, but only a couple are stupid laws.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 04, 2002 @06:24PM (#4595667)
    Vote against these guys if they voted for DMCA or P2P bill or overzealous H1B expansions or whatever.
    Throw the bums out !!! They do not get it. They only understand bribes. They must be thrown out! Vote "no" on your local incumbent.
  • Missing laws... (Score:4, Informative)

    by Bartab ( 233395 ) on Monday November 04, 2002 @06:27PM (#4595692)
    Clinton signed NET (No Electronic Theft) into law December 1998. Also, while not directly net related, the CTEA (Copyright Term Extension Act) signed in October 1998 definitely "threaten to put the American technology juggernaut up on blocks."

    Of course, those two laws and those actually passed on the original list were all signed by which President?
  • Bill Paxon, Bob Franks, John Kasich, James Exon, Jon Christensen, Christopher Bond, Linda Smith , Michael Pappas, Thomas Manton, Gerald Solomon, Rick Lazio, Vince Snowbarger, Spencer Abraham, and especially Sonny Bono are no longer Congressmen -- and there's probably more, too.

    Considering the amount of entrenched incumbency for Congressmen and Senators, that's a pretty good amount that have been kicked out of office already.

    Remember this when you're at the polls, too: the remaining Congressmen are about 90% Republican.

    Vote Democrat this November -- if not for them, for the poor children who are starving in the streets, the racially discriminated, the handicapped, and the gun violence victims.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Screw both the Democrats and Republicans. Both of them listen only to their corporate masters.

      If you are left/liberal, concider voting Green. If you are right/conservative, concider voting Libertarian. If you aren't sure where you are, don't like those choices or there isn't an alternative candidate running in the race you are voting, vote against the incumbant.

      As for me, I'm voting Green where there's a Green candidate, Libertarian if there isn't a Green, and against the incumbant if neither a Green or Libertarian is running. If there's no Green, Libertarian, or incumbant to vote against, I'll vote for myself on a write in ballot.
    • by Zoop ( 59907 ) on Monday November 04, 2002 @07:09PM (#4596000)
      Vote Democrat this November -- if not for them, for the poor children who are starving in the streets, the racially discriminated, the handicapped, and the gun violence victims.

      Yes, I ran over a few on my way to Republican Party headquarters, just for sport. Because they're all over the place you know.

      Then I listened to an address by the white Secretary of State and white National Security Adviser.

      Then I went up a ramp for the handicapped from that hideos ADA signed into law by that well known Democrat, Bush. Curse him!

      Then I drove into Southeast DC and left my vehicle unlocked and jingled my change without fear because guns are outlawed there, so no outlaws have guns.

      But fortunately the Senator from Disney is a Republican, so I felt wonderfully secure in my allegience to the RIAA and MPAA.

      It must be nice to know that a vague collection of competing interests just happens to be morally pure as the wind driven snow. Wait, you were saying vote Libertarian, right?

    • Vote 3rd Party

      It is quite obvious that the democrats are too short sighted on fiscal issues and republicans are too controlling on social issues. Sadly both are influenced by whoever gives them the most money(Few exceptions...McCain,Feingold). Both parties tend to oversimplify the issues. Nothing short of the rise of different parties will rid this nation duopoly on government. How in the world is it possible that the population for the most part only have two strains of political thought?

      Do not vote Democrat just for the sake of voting Democrat. It would be too ridiculous.
    • by Alethes ( 533985 ) on Monday November 04, 2002 @08:10PM (#4596435)
      You had to know you were going to get flamed with this off-topic garbage.

      "If not for them, for the poor children who are starving in the streets [who would have more money if the Democrats weren't raping their parents and potential employers with taxes and the social security Ponzi scheme], the racially discriminated [such as those protestant, white males who, through no fault of their own, can't get into college thanks to racist Affirmative Action plans], the handicapped [like me (I'm hearing impaired) who want the satisfaction of doing things for themselves instead of having forced charity (aka "welfare") take care of them], and the gun violence victims [who died because the gun control lobby took the guns away from the victims and they were unable to defend themselves]."

      See? We can all play this stupid political rhetoric game. How about we vote for politicians based on the issues that are important to US, instead of to SexyKellyOsbourne?

      Me? I'm going to vote for the politicians that want government to adhere to the Constitution and are gravely concerned about the government ever taking any right away from me to live my life the way I see fit, however immoral or environmentally unconscious it might be:

      Is that politician going to vote to take away my right to use software the way I want? -- no vote

      Is that politician going to take my money and give it to you so you can feed your starving kids when I don't know you? -- no vote

      Is that politician going to make it illegal for me to light up a joint in the privacy of my own home? -- no vote

      Is that politician going to take away my second ammendment right to own an AR-15 to blow a burglar's head off if he comes into my house? -- no vote

      Is that politician going to prevent me from saying whatever I want on my website? -- no vote

      Is that politician going to prevent drilling for oil by environmentally-conscious, high-tech American companies so we can be forced to by oil from countries that use rickety ships and could care less about the environment? -- no vote

      Those are the issues that are important to me. Should you vote the way I do? Hell no! Vote for the politicians that represent your interests the best.
  • by edrugtrader ( 442064 ) on Monday November 04, 2002 @06:29PM (#4595709) Homepage
    i find this ironic as hell:

    Rep. Sonny Bono (R-CA 44th district) 1 bill $0.

    someone from the music industry is blamed for sponsoring legislation from beyond the grave, and received $0 in funding for his work. even more funny, there are people on the list BELOW him!! politicians get less done that dead people... proves the old saying, if pro is the opposite of con, what is congress the opposite of?
  • Bad law, bad! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MacAndrew ( 463832 ) on Monday November 04, 2002 @06:31PM (#4595727) Homepage
    It's kind of silly to criticize a law for being written and pushed by a small number of lawmakers -- most all laws, including some great ones, are like this. And while log-rolling is certainly important on the Hill, in the end a majority needs to vote for a law, and the President has to sign it. Often the real tragedy is the laws that don't get passed, that die in commitee and such.

    Some of these laws were passed for lobbyists (DCMA, P2P...) and other to please or pander to the public (CDA, COPA, CDA...). I think some of them are passed by lawmakers knowing full well they're unconstitutional; they take the credit and the courts take care of the bogus law (the flag burning statue, for example).

    But on all of them the accountability is clear, and voters should hold their representatives accountable. A list like this helps a lot; the problem is getting folks to look at it and the alphabet soup of statutes. An honest lawmaker will do that pn your behlaf, hence the idea of representation.

    Potent is the idea that special interest "buy" legislation through their contributions. Even when the contribution doesn't affect the lawmaker's judgment -- for example, and NRA donation to an avowedly pro-gun lawmaker -- the appearance of impropriety is terrible. And the more common abuse is the laws you don't see, that are quietly killed. Hence the need for even stricter campaign finance reform, within the limits of the 1st Amendment. Strangely Alericans have been quicker to embrace measures like term limits rather than the stream of money that pollutes the debate and most benefits those without compunction at taking it.
    • It is quite disingenuous to lump in the likes of the NRA in with more corporate lobbyists. Those that don't agree with their politics seem to quite conveniently forget that the NRA remains an organization of interested citzens. It is not exactly Enron you're talking about when you sneer at NRA campaign contributions.

      As much as I might despise the Family Research Council, I also acknowledge their right to directly influence the body politic. They certainly have a more legitimate role than any limited liability entity (corporation).

      Any grassroots organization made of up of individual kooks, is still composed of individual citizens. That should demand more respect than any corporate lobby.

      If anything, the NRA model is probably something to emulate rather than scorn.
  • AmeriNet? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by teetam ( 584150 ) on Monday November 04, 2002 @06:32PM (#4595730) Homepage
    The way we try and control the Internet using American laws, may be we should just call it AmeriNet or something like that.

    And don't try telling me that other countries try to control it too - for two reasons:

    1. Countries like China or even Australia don't shout 'Freedom' from the rooftops the way we do.
    2. Other countries are mostly interested only in controlling the internet usage in their country (not that that's a good thing...)

    We, on the other hand, want to control what everyone else in the world does with the Internet. We wait for them to come to our shores for some conference and arrest them. And all this, after feeding illegal porn into those other countries.

    Our politicians must realize that the Internet is what it is today only because it is globally accessible. Attempting to regulate it on our own is in very bad faith!

    • Thank goodness that with Dubya in office, we won't have to worry about what other countries think any more. After we take over and annex Iraq as the 51st state (which will carry approximately 45 electoral votes), we can start on the other Axis of Evil countries.

      My only real concern is what happens when Saudi Arabia, the 65th state, provides more in campaign contributions than the entertainment industry. Ho ho, we should see some interesting laws being offered up about the Internet then!

  • by pbalzac ( 463452 )
    How many did a double take after seeing "aotc" in the URL?
  • by cornjones ( 33009 ) on Monday November 04, 2002 @06:35PM (#4595745) Homepage
    The elections are tomorrow for us in the USA. We can at least vote for representatives that are "on our side" in these issues (Privacy, censorship, pick your favorite issue)

    Does anybody have any suggestions, I am looking for NYC/NY State. Any good pages that will give stances and voting histories?

    GO OUT AND VOTE TOMORROW!!! But please, do a little research first. 10 mins online will probably put you in the top half of informed voters.

  • by alizard ( 107678 ) <> on Monday November 04, 2002 @06:40PM (#4595782) Homepage
    If we don't like the idea of legislators making laws that threaten not only our right to do as we please with our computers and the Internet connections we pay for, our options are to keep bleating about it or:
    • Build an effective PAC with real money on behalf of the high-tech user community. Startup funding for that in the $500K-$1M range. Without the startup funding, you wind up with GeekPAC. Remember them? If nobody with the money thinks this is worth doing, kiss your freedom and the US economy good-bye, and if you want to participate in new technology, figure out which non-US country you want to relocate to.
    • Persuade the high-tech vendors to use their industry PACS to defend their right to exist and our jobs. Since they think they can still do business with the content providers and other enemies of high-tech industry, they can be expected to continue this non-strategy until their legal people tell them that new law and regulations (e.g. Broadcast Working Group-based FCC regs) mean that they can move R&D/production out of the USA or close their doors. By then, it'll be too late to do anything about this. Appeasement always seems more cost-effective than fighting.

    Personally, I expect that the US high-tech community strategy is going to be to keep on bleating while it's still possible to do so and watch the leading edge of technological innovation depart for locations all over the world. I include in the bleating community the entrepreneurs who made it big before the bottom fell out of . When they realize they can't do business here, they'll simply relocate to somewhere where they can. Or retire.

    If the US loses high technology, this will be simply due to the lack of leadership in the political wars. As I see it, we've got an army ready to march and no general staff and no reasonable prospect of finding one.

  • by RobPiano ( 471698 ) on Monday November 04, 2002 @06:47PM (#4595837)
    This came up in a conversation I had with a librarian today...

    I think that information is the most powerful weapon on earth. The internet is therefore extremly important, and anyone who would control the flow of information is extremely dangerous.

    If you really think about it, Sadam isn't likely to churn out a bunch of nuclear war heads. Its not practicle. He'll get nuked too. With that out of the way, you can consider most military moves these days to be more like chess. It is not so much about who will be destroyed, but rather who has the potential for an attack. The potential reality is much more powerful than an attacking reality.

    What we need to really fear are the forces that would control information. I think that the people who can ban internet in China, or regulate an ISP are more dangerous than all of your nuclear war heads and biowarefare combined.

    Unfortunatly, slashdotters like to call these people congressman, and politians, but the freedom of the internet burdens on its users, and the people who create it.

  • So there they are (Score:4, Informative)

    by loconet ( 415875 ) on Monday November 04, 2002 @06:49PM (#4595849) Homepage

    Oh, so these are the clowns who got payed $1,400,777 to cripple technology.

    1. Rep. Charles (Chip) Pickering (R-MS 3rd district) 3 bills $230,900
    4. Rep. Bill Paxon (R-NY 27th district) 2 bills $200,938
    5. Rep. Howard L. Berman (D-CA 26th district) 2 bills $212,991
    DMCA, P2P Piracy Prevention Bill
    7. Rep. Howard Coble (R-NC 6th district) 2 bills $114,747
    DMCA, P2P Piracy Prevention Bill
    16. Rep. Henry J. Hyde (R-IL 6th district) 1 bill $83,500
    31. Rep. Mary Bono (R-CA 44th district) 1 bill $76,604
    41. Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA 4th district) 1 bill $55,500
    65. Rep. John Jr. Conyers (D-MI 14th district) 1 bill $99,110
    75. Rep. Bill McCollum (R-FL 8th district) 1 bill $326,487
    91. Rep. Sonny Bono (R-CA 44th district) 1 bill $0
  • Just ask Al Gore to pull the plug.
    He did invent the internet, right?
  • Time to Vote (Score:3, Insightful)

    by FuzzyDaddy ( 584528 ) on Monday November 04, 2002 @06:54PM (#4595872) Journal
    Now is the time for everyone who complains about congress and laws like this to go out and vote.

    As a resident in D.C., I have no voting representation in either the house or the senate (our one delegate can vote in committee in the house - whoopie.)

    So vote one for the technies for me!

    Support Voting Rights for DC []

  • by Anonymous Coward
    <rant>Whenever you watch a movie in a theater you are committing a crime. You only paid for the right to view the movie once and yet you watch with TWO eyes. When my new bill passes you all will have to pay for each eye to view the movie or wear a mandatory eye patch. Keep in mind if you watched a pirated movie with both eyes open you will have committed the crime twice! In a "three strikes, you're out" state like california watching 2 pirated movies will count as 4 strikes and will require a life sentence. Seeing a pirated movie and also seeing its reflection will also count as four stikes. In the new empire the rule will be "don't make eye contact."</rant>
  • Out of date list (Score:3, Informative)

    by Skjellifetti ( 561341 ) on Monday November 04, 2002 @06:59PM (#4595909) Journal
    Rep. John R. Kasich (R-OH 12th district) left the House in 2000 after running for President. One of his former aides (Pat Tiberi IIRC) now holds the seat.
  • by mattsucks ( 541950 ) on Monday November 04, 2002 @07:00PM (#4595917) Homepage
    I read the article, as I'm sure everyone else did (ha!). An observation:

    Does anyone else think that the AOTC might have a better chance of getting their point across if the article didn't read like something straight out of Conspiracy Theory? I expected some insight, some indepth discussion about WHY each bill was bad and WHAT chilling effects on various technology areas it might have. Instead, I got FUD. And, no matter how well-intentioned, FUD == FUD.
  • ... which shows that democracy as it is (not just in the US, I would not be surprised if we Europeans would havce to endure the same things as well in a few years) has horribly failed due to human incompetence and greed. I hope for you Americans that every dumb law will be dropped for something fair to the people, the monopolies and the goverment itself.

    • by alizard ( 107678 ) <> on Monday November 04, 2002 @07:33PM (#4596198) Homepage
      ... which shows that democracy as it is (not just in the US, I would not be surprised if we Europeans would havce to endure the same things as well in a few years) has horribly failed due to human incompetence and greed. I hope for you Americans that every dumb law will be dropped for something fair to the people, the monopolies and the goverment itself.

      The UK RIP, Council of Europe Cybercrime Treaty, and EU support for American DMCA law demostrates that even with the removal of major corporations from the political campaign funding process, EU politicians are just as capable of stark idiocy as that which US politicians have been paid off to commit. The bad laws you fear are already on the way via pressure from the USA. The good news is that EU governments are heading towards Open Source, which means they aren't necessarily fanatically opposed to good ideas.

      The EU, among other places, has an opportunity to seize technological and incidentally, military leadership from the USA in the long run, by simply refusing to pass bad anti-technology laws because the US government and entertainment industry and Religious Right wants them passed.

      Getting politicians to do nothing shouldn't be all that difficult. If I were in the EU and trying to get politicians to refrain from passing bad laws on technology and the Internet, I'd be asking questions like:
      "Why does [insert your country's name here] need to pass a law which only gives advantage to the USA entertainment industry? Isn't it more important to protect our high-tech industries from them?"

      "If America is bent on giving up its high tech leadership with laws like [insert bad US law that your nation seems to be trying to copy] shouldn't you be supporting our high-tech industry by not imitating the worst ideas of Washington, DC? Do you want us to have to buy leading-edge high tech from China, Taiwan, and India in the future? Why should we level the playing field for America when its problems are of its own making?"

  • I'm of the opinion that Internet using families have the absolute right to be certain that it is impossible for their young children to view inappropriate material. Similarly I'm also of the opinion that it is more than reasonable for adults to view and use virtually any text or image they want. An effective way to separate the two kinds of material would be to use different Internet Protocol port numbers for the different content types. The creation or operation of a port swithching proxy would have to be a crime. Classification of material would be done in a similar way to the way film censorship is done now. Why is that too complicated for the legistrators of the world to implement?
    • by happyclam ( 564118 ) on Monday November 04, 2002 @07:57PM (#4596352)

      Because it is censorship and violates the first amendment. I am certain that Pat Robertson's definition of "inappropriate material" would be somewhat different from mine.

      Here's a novel idea for ensuring that it's impossible for your children to view inappropriate material: monitor what they do, watch, and participate in. Or simply turn off the computer and take the cord away if you can't monitor them. This does not need to be legislated.

      Americans have this strange notion that everything is the government's responsibility. The government must keep my children safe IN MY OWN HOME, the government must ensure that my home does not catch fire, the government must ensure that it's impossible for me to do something incredibly stupid with my money, the government must ensure that I am protected from spilling hot coffee on my lap while driving. This is really not true. What the government must do is provide basic services like utilities, emergency response, and protection from invasion. The government should also protect the freedom of the people, not by limiting what they are able to do or read or see or hear but by allowing them the ability to make their own choices about those things.

      Children will come across disturbing images all the time. I have had football games on when ads for very, very violent movies come on, and my 6-year-old has been both captivated and disturbed by them. As a parent, it's my duty to help my child grow up in this world and be prepared for the disturbing things, to help him parse and respond to things in a mature way.

      I don't lock my doors at night to keep burglars out--I lock them to keep Congress out.

  • by SupahVee ( 146778 ) <superv@mischievo ... minus herbivore> on Monday November 04, 2002 @07:57PM (#4596351) Journal
    There is one other heap of legislation that should get mentioned, and when we look back 10 years from now at the shell the internet has become, paying for every 0 and 1 by the cent, remembering when there were more ISP's than just Aol, Earthlink, and MSN, that we should thank that bastion of integrity, Bill Clinton, for signing into law the Telecommunications act of 1996. Remember, this is the law that allowed free reign of the Baby Bells to walk all over the competition, all the while claiming that they were opening up their networks to Covad, et. al. The same law that allowed the cable companies to lock anyone they chose out of the high speed market, while the phone companies were forced to let anyone who wanted to use their networks, not that they made it easy to do so. The same law that allowed for the beginning of the massive fiber rollouts from companies like WorldCom, Global Crossing. Which of course begat useless VC funding (remember due to anyone thinking that that internet thing was the answer to all their prayers for a new yacht, house, whatever. Hell, you can still see the glut of MBA's in the market for C level jobs. We all know what happened next, that famous bubble popped, and left thousands of tech workers out of jobs. And while we like to jab at MCSE's everywhere, they didnt deserve to be outright fired just because their CEO's had to choose between 10 good employees, or their own over-inflated salaries.

    I spent 8 MONTHS out of work, with a mortgage and an infant, because the CEO of my company couldnt stand the thought of not living in the lap of luxury at almost 300 grand a year. And while I know that wasnt the Telecommunications' act fault, the blame does lie there for planting that huge seed of outright GREED in the minds of the people like her.
    Yep, it was definitely such a prudent move on ol' Billy boy's part to let the companies in control of the most important technology of the next 20 years run amok. Wise move, Bonehead.

  • by stryc9 ( 604685 ) on Monday November 04, 2002 @08:10PM (#4596440) Homepage
    These laws really suck. But I think a lot of us are missing the real issue at hand here. It is not that the bad code mentioned in the article would stifle the growth of technology and the internet, it is not that they affect our daily internet/pr0n/piracy binges, nor is it the fact that people with no real knowledge of the technology are making/passing them. The real issue is that although the majority of the american population does not want these laws to be passed a few people with a lot of money are making it happen. Democracy my ass!! And what can we 'the people' do about it?? Nothing.
    I am glad I am presently living/working in Canada. Maybe I will stay here ;)
  • Contest? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Pseudonymus Bosch ( 3479 ) on Monday November 04, 2002 @08:38PM (#4596593) Homepage
    Do they have Obfuscated Lawmaking Contests?

When you make your mark in the world, watch out for guys with erasers. -- The Wall Street Journal