Computers, Freedom, and Privacy

This is a paste of the slide I (Brad Biddle) presented during the "Filtering Out Copyright Infringement" panel today (May 22, 2008) --

Government mandates imposing copyright filtering should be avoided because filtering:

Invades privacy. Requires invasive surveillance and tracking of online behavior.

Inhibits free speech and other rights. Inevitably over-inclusive; limits permitted speech and other protected activities.

Leads to increased demands for technology-based policing:

Broader filtering. E.g., trademark, trade secret, hate speech, slander, etc.

Device-level filtering. E.g., Hollings Bill, Analog Hole.

Is ineffective (or worse). Easily defeated via encryption. Will lead to more "darknets" and difficulties for legitimate law enforcement efforts.

Is inconsistent with existing laws. DMCA, EU E-commerce Directive, Wiretap Act, ECPA and other privacy laws and norms, copyright limitations and exceptions, etc.

Imposes significant costs, with no commensurate benefit. Significant implementation costs, ultimately passed on to consumers.

Creates liability risks. E.g., implementing companies face claims by consumers if over-inclusive and claims by content owners if under-inclusive.

Stifles innovation. Inhibits innovative new technologies and services (e.g., place shifting, network storage).