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Censorship Government The Internet United States News

After Columbine, Eric Holder Advocated Internet "Restrictions" 430

ErikTheRed writes "In an audio clip discovered by NewsBusters, then-Deputy Attorney General Eric Holder advocated federal censorship of the Internet. This was in the aftermath of the Columbine High School shootings. From the clip: 'The court has really struck down every government effort to try to regulate it. We tried with regard to pornography. It is gonna be a difficult thing, but it seems to me that if we can come up with reasonable restrictions, reasonable regulations in how people interact on the Internet, that is something that the Supreme Court and the courts ought to favorably look at.'" Holder is reported to be Barack Obama's choice for Attorney General of the United States.
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After Columbine, Eric Holder Advocated Internet "Restrictions"

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  • by Trepidity ( 597 ) <delirium-slashdot@NOsPam.hackish.org> on Friday November 21, 2008 @06:44PM (#25852367)

    "We have too long taken the view that what we would term to be minor crimes are not important," Holder said, referring to current attitudes toward marijuana use and other offenses such as panhandling.

    When he was a U.S. Attorney in D.C., he seemed to spend a lot of effort attempting to impose [washingtonpost.com] massive penalties for low-level marijuana possession. Because, you know, people possessing small quantities of marijuana are really a big problem, and overcrowded prisons aren't. I wonder if Holder thinks Obama, as an admitted drug user, ought to be a convicted felon instead of in the White House? Or is it only a crime if you get caught? Basically either Holder is wrong here, and possession of marijuana should not automatically ruin someone's life with felony charges, or Obama is unfit to be president. Either way, I don't see how the two can be reasonably paired.

  • by DRAGONWEEZEL ( 125809 ) on Friday November 21, 2008 @06:58PM (#25852557) Homepage

    Almost any thought is inappropriate in the context of something else. I agree that the burden of parenting falls to "the parent(s)." But I really feel like in "Man of the Year" [imdb.com] Whoops! Hopefully the new Prez will realize the devastation of censorship.

    The interwebs freedoms (freedom to speech, free viagra for 6 months, and free "entertainment") are the last freadoms we still have in the world. You will be shot if you try and stake a claim to new lands (unless your heading to antartica). You will be on the news (and in jail) if you open the throttle of just about any car out there. You just can't go out and tinker anymore: You can't make modifications to your house w/o an inspection, you can't build your own chemistry sets, you can't create your own fireworks, god forbid if you actually make the devices you use every day. You are labeled a terrorist if you do these once playtime activities.

    For god sakes, let me at least use the internet to help me and my kids imagine w/ graphic images, surround sound, and the like, what a real gun looks like, or the difference between real and fake tatas, the chemistry behind gunpowder, why the largest slaughters of humans have been in the names of religious deities.

    Curiosity is the mechanism by which we live, and the mechanism to which we grow. W/o curiosity we would not lose our innocence, discover new things, or taste new fruits. The internet gives us a medium to try before you buy. To see what really happens if you set yourself on fire. You can google you how to fix a sink, build nuclear weapons, refine uranium, put together a solar installation that won't pass inspection but will produce e-, start your own business, and more. The interenet is a great place to satisfy curiosity.

    With all sources of information, discretion (the better part of valor) belongs to the user, and in the case of a minor, the user is the one who pays the cable bills (parents & taxpayers (for library filtering only)).

    I say if there is any censorship (I'll vote no), that any act of censorship is forced also to remove anything that isn't true, real, or declared a work of fiction.

    that's my .02 not that anyone asked.

    Please moderate this guy Obama! Not into the ground, lest you lose your purpose in picking him, but not into the sky lest we lose one of the things we rely on, inaccurate wiki's! (and more.. that was just to illustrate that the net is not the source for all knowledge, just a means to access knowledge presented)

  • Re:This is sickening (Score:5, Interesting)

    by arth1 ( 260657 ) on Friday November 21, 2008 @06:58PM (#25852563) Homepage Journal

    He already appointed Ms. Clinton.
    Now he only needs Joseph Lieberman and Jack Thompson, and it's complete.

    Anyhow, you didn't really think there would be much change, when the choice was between an ultra-conservative corporation-owned reactionary and a republican?

    Why those who voted in the primaries didn't say "enough is enough" and voted in someone a bit further to the left (i.e. approaching the European center right) is beyond me. The only thing I can think of is that they thought that Obama was from the left. After 8 years of someone so far to the right that it makes brownshirts appear leftist, it's conceivable that people have lost all perspectives, and think Obama is actually moderate.

  • by hessian ( 467078 ) on Friday November 21, 2008 @06:59PM (#25852577) Homepage Journal

    Others have noticed, too:

    There'll be challenges on all fronts. Climate changes from global warming will lead to shortages of food and water in dozens of countries. That, coupled with a projected population spike of 1.2 billion people worldwide could lead to wars over increasingly scarce resources.

    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/11/20/world/main4622166.shtml [cbsnews.com]

    And from a commentator:

    There are other factors: aging baby boomers, changing demographics, weakened economy, massive debt and greater internal chaos.

    http://penetrate.blogspot.com/2008/11/us-power-fading-by-2025.html [blogspot.com]

    I'm sure I'll get called unpatriotic(tm) for this, but it's politics in that land disillusioned underachievers never see, called "reality."

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 21, 2008 @07:03PM (#25852657)

    You can always go over to change.gov [change.gov] and tell him what you think of this guy.

    But to be fair, it wouldn't hurt to see if this guy has changed his mind any time in the last decade or so. I mean, back in the 90s, they were clamoring to have encryption regulated as a munition and now you see them talking about requiring it...

  • by krou ( 1027572 ) on Friday November 21, 2008 @07:09PM (#25852731)

    All the individuals who became the mass movement behind Obama believing there would be real change should read a book called The True Believer [amazon.co.uk] by Eric Hoffer.

    One of the most potent attractions of a mass movement is its offering of a substitute for individual hope. This attraction is particularly effective in a society imbued with the idea of progress. For in the conception of progress, "tomorrow" looms large, and the frustration resulting from having nothing to look forward to is the more poignant. ... A rising mass movement preaches the immediate hope. It is intent on stirring its followers to action, and it is the around-the-corner brand of hope that prompts people to act. ... Later, as the movement comes to power, the emphasis is shifted to the distant hope - the dream and the vision."

  • by servognome ( 738846 ) on Friday November 21, 2008 @07:11PM (#25852749)

    I can't think of any feasible government restrictions that would also be reasonable.

    Restrictions of spam, net neutrality, protection of personally identifiable information...

  • Re:This is sickening (Score:3, Interesting)

    by zach_the_lizard ( 1317619 ) on Friday November 21, 2008 @07:15PM (#25852811)
    "Left" and "Right" make up only one axis of the political spectrum, that of the economy. But there also is a freedom axis. Hitler and Stalin would be the highest of this authoritarian axis, while Stalin would be to the left and Hitler near the center. So of course, Ron Paul would make Hitler look like a leftist, Bush less so. Ron Paul, however, is pro-freedom, Bush is much more authoritarian.
  • by truesaer ( 135079 ) on Friday November 21, 2008 @08:21PM (#25853593) Homepage

    I agree with you...seems to me that just after the internet caught on everyone was worried and trying to figure out how to regulate it. None of the regulations worked and now...well we're pretty used to the internet the way it is. I don't think Obama or Holder or the administration will really give a shit about censoring the internet.

    I would note that Russ Feingold is on the Senate Judiciary Committee so he will actually be questioning Holder for confirmation. I've seen people link to Obama's public input site, if you're really concerned about this issue you might want to send an email to Feingold as well and ask him to bring it up. I'm not sure it'll rate high enough with all the big-name issues like torture out there, but it's the best shot.

  • by vux984 ( 928602 ) on Friday November 21, 2008 @08:45PM (#25853827)
    In other words, we now force the good drivers to subsidize the mistakes of the bad drivers. But the point is to understand why that is a better solution than letting bad drivers pay for their own mistakes. Namely: because they can't.
  • Re:Of course (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Zak3056 ( 69287 ) on Friday November 21, 2008 @09:13PM (#25854063) Journal

    Right now you are indicating how bitter you are that Obama won and you think that this is just another indication of how wrong he was for the job.

    Honestly, I'm not bitter at all about the election outcome. I don't have any love for McCain, so I viewed the recent election as a choice between "bad" and "worse," with Obama playing the role of "worse." Personally, I picked "none of the above" when I voted.

    That said, I certainly am worried. It's hard not to be, when the man who will be our president in a few short months has little real experience doing... well, anything, and whose platform consisted largely of rather nebulous concepts like "Hope" and "Change" with little (if any) detail to back them up, and who claims to be a political outsider while coming out of the Chicago political machine and surrounding himself with people like Biden, who are anything but outsiders.

    Ideally, I'd like to see the next four years look like 1996-2000, and despite what you may think, I honestly hope that's what happens. However, while I am hoping for 1996, I am expecting 1976.

  • by novalis112 ( 1216168 ) on Friday November 21, 2008 @10:40PM (#25854713)

    But there's no going back to the so-called 'good old days' when you had '100% personal liability' because that wasn't really working terribly well either.

    I actually do agree with you, to a *certain* extent, but just to play Devil's advocate here...

    Were you actually around in these 'good old days' of which you speak? It seems to me those 'good old days' have been long gone since well before we were born. Of course, it's impossible to pick one moment in time when it ceased to be the 'good old days', since it has been a gradual transition away from them since day 0, heheh. I have to ask myself though, have all these rules and regulations *actually* made the world a better place? Are fewer people dying today because these rules and regulations are preventing stupid people from doing stupid things? Or is it possible that the people who would've done those stupid things then, are still doing them now? Or that they are finding new and stupider things to do that don't *yet* violate any of our many rules and regulations?

    Now I said above that I do agree with you to a certain extent... There are some pretty obvious (to most sane people) rules that have a place in modern society. But using your argument is a very slippery slope which can easily be used to implement a lot of crap that we probably don't really need...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 21, 2008 @10:41PM (#25854717)

    No one has the same opinions about the internet now that they had then.

  • by operagost ( 62405 ) on Saturday November 22, 2008 @01:10AM (#25855509) Homepage Journal

    why the largest slaughters of humans have been in the names of religious deities

    In the name of which deity were six million Jews murdered in WWII? For what religion did Chairman Mao execute and starve millions in the "Cultural Revolution?" To what religion did Josef Stalin, who was responsible for the death of at least 10 million, belong?

    You may find this ironic, but I have asked all my Christian friends to challenge Obama if given the opportunity; since he claims to be a Christian, we are expected to call him out on his support of the murder of the unborn and even viable infants. He also supports the farming of clones for fetal tissue to support embryonic stem cell research. We don't need another Mao, Hitler, or Stalin who-- this time-- will set up the laws to passively enable the murder of millions by others. By the way, I agree with everything else you said.

  • by DRAGONWEEZEL ( 125809 ) on Saturday November 22, 2008 @01:22AM (#25855585) Homepage

    political parties, cults... Same diff right?

    really, I was just thinking of all the people still dying in the middle east because of religion (still), and the crusades of course, converting or killing everyone in their path.
    nothing I post is not even close to fact, just commentary. (P.S. my "research though would have found me wrong if you would have let me conduct it though right?)

    Is nazi(ism) a religeon or a political belief? I honestly don't know.

    Abortion is a subject I feel strongly about. I am anti-abortion (as in I would disuade anyone who asked me if they should), yet pro choice to small extent (it's not my right to decide what you do w/ gods creations, and am against any kind of possibly viable termination) Besides, if we outlaw it completely, people will find doctors to do it under the radar.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 22, 2008 @02:00AM (#25855735)

    Some really bad things are going on behind the scenes people.

    Alot of people are convinced that we are now seeing the final pieces fall into place for completion of a one world totaliarian government. Hundreds of years in the making.

    Censoring the internet which is the last bastion of freedom we the people have, is the utmost importance for these people.

    Impossible ? Its all ready happening ! The great Firewall of China, The Australian Governments implication of a manditory filtering without the peoples consent or knowledge. We need help.

    Wake up America ! Obama is already paid for. He has a membership on the Council for Foreign realations. Things arent gonna change, this is simply doubletalk and im certain internet censorship will be forced upon you people too

    Wake up America !

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