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Re: It doesn't matter if it's dangerous or not!

The point was the govt hasn't seen fit to tie up the internet with 100 bullshyt laws. It grew beyond them too quickly to regulate effectively. If and when they get around to regulation, this will start to suck like everything else they "fix".
You should have taken my suggestion and just pretended it was never said... Better to remain silent and be assumed a fool that to speak up and remove all doubt.

Actually, yes, there have been well over US 100 state and federal laws aimed at Internet. And yes, most of them do suck.
[There are entire sites, eg Lessig's, that are devoted mostly to discussing cyberlaw issues and problems.] For a little preview on how bad things will get, follow the recent Yahoo vs France case and extrapolate from there.

I'll grant you that most of the laws might not suck for you, so I can see (and agree with) your point above, but you're factually incorrect. The government has been involved with, and to varying degrees regulated, the Internet since it's inception.

Then again, I'm a throwback. I was using the Internet as a researcher long before the hypertext transfer protocol (aka "the web") was around. Some days I wouldn't mind going back to the pre-web internet....
 

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Re: It doesn't matter if it's dangerous or not!

Here's why you should give a f&ck about France: according to the latest round of cases, yahoo is responsible for making sure that their site conforms to France's laws with regards to sale of Nazi memorabilia. Casting aside the nazi part, that means that one country gets to apply it's decency standards to an internet site housed in another country. There has already been plenty of legislation introduced in the US that applies similar principles. To use a more alarmist example: How would MO react if they had to adjust the content according to arbitrary decency standards from whatever county/state/country could type in your URL? [Though maybe putting that chopper model in a head-to-toe burka would have gone over well with some of the MOrons. :) ]

From a more personal, sucks for me level. As of 1998 case law, ISPs are not considered common carriers. This is a double-edged sword -- on the good side it means that internet providers are free to do things like filter spam, which is what the case was initially about. The bad side is that since ISP's are not common carriers, they can be held responsible for actions users might take on their systems. Again using MO as an example: it would be legally permissible to file a lawsuit against MO for a libelous statement that kpaul made on the site (not that that would ever happen -- he's too entertaining). Because MO is not a common carrier, they do not have common carrier immunity. [There has since been a little bit of case law and other legislative/executive changes that blunt the 1998 case, but last I checked, ISPs in the US are still without common carrier immunity. There are some similar parallels in the journalism realm -- web sites are generally not afforded the same first amendment protections as other media.]

Though not Internet specific in its application, the DMCA was crafted to curb content piracy on the Internet, and is by most accounts a really really bad law. It unfortunately affects me directly since a good part of my work is computer and systems security -- something that the DMCA occasionally makes difficult to do.

I can probably dredge up some property law crap as well, but this post is long enough. Any of Lessig's books or his blog are a good place to dig up further info. As I said in the previous post, I agree with your general point --- they haven't yet f___ed things up beyond usability yet. But the infrastructure is being put in place one library at a time, with plenty of help from both political parties.
 

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Re: It doesn't matter if it's dangerous or not!

My first Internet use was from a vt100 connected to a vax running unix, so I was definitely safe from viri and malware.

Actually, I'm primarly a unix/linux guy (with some occasional MacOS X thrown in) so I'm still pretty safe. Unfortunately, being a computer geek, I end up getting calls to fix friends and relatives Windows boxes, so I still feel your pain. [zonealarm, spybot, adaware, and stinger are your friends -- or just switch to something other than windows.]

And how boring would life be without kpaul? I feel like I should pop popcorn before I log into MO.
 
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