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Re: [dvd-discuss] Geeks in government: A good idea?

On Fri, Aug 16, 2002 at 07:59:14AM -0400, Dean Sanchez wrote:
> Has anyone read Declan McCullagh's latest article?  What do you think?  
> Should we throw in the towel and just code?  

No, but close.

Declan is saying that lobbying politicians is a waste of time pretty
much in the same way that arguing with trolls is, namely in that while
you despise what they do, they themselves are perfectly happy with it
and your arguments fall on deaf ears by default.

That doesn't mean you should shut up completely. However, it does mean
you should concentrate on the other things and not put much energy into
this waste of time.

I've been there, and I have to agree. I proud myself with being one of
the guys kickstarting the efforts to launch a european equivalent to
the EFF. It took well over a year to get the first baby steps done, and
we're still nowhere near where it would make even the tinyist

Was it a waste of time? Yes. As sad as it makes me to say so, I believe
the time could've been spent better on other things.

Declan also hits one other truth: Code is faster than law. While it
sometimes takes a long time to code something (freenet comes to mind,
they've been at it for years and it's still not useable), in general
technological change is an order of magnitude faster than legal change.
It would take years or decades to fight for better privacy protection
on e-mail. It takes a couple months to code mail encryption software
that makes the question irrelevant.

This, however, leads to one thing where Declan is wrong: Technology
alone is not the solution. We've had PGP for longer than most people on
the net today have been using e-mail. How much of the e-mail traffic is
encrypted? I'd be surprised if it's 1%.
Same with CSS. It's been cracked for close to three years now (DeCSS
was released in Oct 1999), nevertheless almost all DVDs you buy are CSS

Both, however, have been PARTIAL successes. Those who care can get DVDs
almost as if they were unencrypted. Those who want to encrypt e-mails,

One other lesson to be learned from the Warez scene: Law makes no
difference. For the past 15 years, the warez scene has adopted to
technological change, but I'm not aware of any laws having even the
slightest impact on the volume or kind of warez or the methods of

Maybe the policy makers (politicians and lawyers) have realized that
already, and that's why they're so technophobe. You'd be afraid of
anything that makes you irrelevant, too.

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pub  1024D/2D7A04F5 2002-05-16 Tom Vogt <tom@lemuria.org>
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