New! We won. Check out "Dawn Wind" for my thoughts on that. As for this page....I am leaving it as is. Let it be a museum, an eternal reminder of a time when insanity, fear, and hatred threatened to destroy cyberspace. Let it stand as a monument. As new threats to the net appear, and they will, I'll address them as I see fit. But I'll just leave this one page alone from now on.
This page has been turned black in memory of the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. (1789-1996) RIP.
New! Well, it's on the way to the Supreme Court. Both sides, naturally, are claiming imminent victory. Here's Lizards prediction.
New! Addendum. While keeping my old comments intact for honesty's sake, some well-reasoned email on the part of one of my countless admirers has caused me to add a few caveats. One, Scalia was the very important swing vote in the flag-burning case of 1990. He broke with the Courts right wing to vote what he felt the Constitution truly said, and that's worth a lot of points. Second, he has recently spoken out, quite strongly, against the "Let's impeach judges what we don't like" mumblings in Congress -- even though he himself has stated that the federal judiciary and the Supreme Court are 'drafting a Constitution for a country I don't recognize'. So he gets points for that. I still insist he will vote to uphold the CDA, based on his other decisions, esp. in the Denver cable case, but he does get raised a rung or two in hell, just the same. Credit where credit is due. Anyone interested in judging (heh) for themself can check out the pro-Scalia Cult Of Scalia. As was pointed out to me, I link to pro-CDA pages, Solid Oak software, the Wiesenthal Center, and other targets of my wrath, so it's only fair to give Scalia the same due.
Remembers, boils and ghouls -- the point of free speech isn't to permit speech we agree with. It's to permit speech we don't agree with, ideas and concepts we find vile, repulsive, and wrong. And there's no point in having a free society, where all views can be aired openly and freely, if we only read 'our side' of things. I regularly read the Religious Right web pages, and Radical Left web pages, and Aryan web pages and JDL web pages and all sorts of things. I'm not going to be 'corrupted' or 'contaminated' by being exposed to the ideas of those who disagree with me -- at worst, I'll have a good chuckle, and, at best, I'll learn to understand my enemy that much better.
It looks good, but not great. A lot can happen between now and July, when the verdict is due. The mass media is going to be slandering the net left, right, and center, in order to make sure the first real threat to their power is placed under strict government control. We'll see what happens....
We won in New York, too. Let's see....six judges have looked at the CDA. Six judges have said, in effect, 'You've got to be shitting me.'. And, thanks to those six judges, I can still write that where delicate widdle kiddy-widdies might see it and get all corrupted. So, to those who would tell me that I have no right to speak freely, I must reply, politely and with all due respect, 'Neener neener neener'.
I have no clue who 'vandalized' the US Dept. Of (in)Justice Web Site. I have no idea what his or her politics are, or on how many points other than freedom of speech we'd agree. Regardless, I have only this to say:Way To Go, Dude!(Or Dudette)
The government still hasn't gotten it. They still think the masses are all in favor of censorship, government snooping on innocent citizens, and giving up essential liberty for temporary security. They still think they are controlling the feed of information, that the American populace is still brainwashed. They are wrong, and the sooner they learn that, the easier it will be for them to adjust to a world where their power and influence is simply not what it was.
Note to any government types who might be reading this:You're losing. Hell, you've lost, you just don't know it. Give up now, and you can preserve at least some dignity, some illusion of power. Keep fighting, uselessly, and the illusion will be gone totally. Your choice.
General other note:It seems that the idiots running the government in the UK have gotten it into their tiny little brains that if they ban every (and I mean every) newsgroup with 'sex' in the title, they will keep England pure. Hasn't anyone told them you can post any message to any newsgroup? For example, I could copy a whole pile of perfectly-legal-here-in-the-liberal-Bay-Area pornography and dump it into, say, uk.politics.book.burning.bastards, and they'd be pretty must helpless to do a damn thing about it. Just a thought.
Wahoo! We won! (For the moment)
I'd started revising this page before the Philly decision was announced, and now, I'm still revising it. Why?
A quick Alta Vista search made me aware of something I didn't know. A lot of sites are linking to this page. I'd like to be able to offer them something more than I have been, at least a bit. This page was originally hacked together in a blind rage at the inclusion of the CDA in the Telecomm Reform Bill. Since then, I've added bits and pieces, edited a bit here and there, but it's remained mostly what it was -- a scream of anger against one particular bit of impending tyranny.
Oh, and believe me -- I'm still angry, and I'm still screaming. The forces arrayed against free speech are growing every day. It's not just the government anymore -- everyone with a stake in the statist quo is becoming aware of the threat to the power structure posed by communication which is cheap, anonymous, and international. Even if we strike down the CDA, we will not be safe. And even if we in America are safe, what about Canada? Australia? Vietnam? Every nation's government and power-brokers are scrambling to somehow control the net while reaping the benefits of it.
So as to reiterate what I said way-back-when...THAT SHALL NOT BE PERMITTED TO OCCUR!. The net is going to remain a universal, uncensored medium -- or the net shall not remain. Freedom for everyone -- or no net. The governments and overlords of the world will not be permitted to control the net. They may seize it, but they shall not keep it. In the old days, people fleeing before an invading army would kill their cattle, burn their homes, and poison their wells in order to prevent the invaders from reaping any profit. We must do the same. If the government wishes to invade the net, we will make sure there is nothing worth invading.
I'm dividing this document into three parts, sort of like Gaul. The first part is basic techniques to make sure your message gets through, and the messages you want to read get through -- regardless of what the State tries. If there's any internet at all, these ideas should work.
The second part is, basically, 'How To Piss Off Censors, Busybodies, Bluenoses, and Government Spooks, Usually Within The Letter Of The Law'. Any suggestions I know to be actually criminal, I'll note as such. Consider them to be...er...warnings of what not to do. Yeah. I mean, how could you know a particular act was illegal unless someone told you, right? (Netscape needs a 'wink wink, nudge nudge' tag).
But seriously, folks. This isn't about hacking or acting up for the sake of being k00l or rebellious for the hell of it. This is about preserving the first truly free society against the invaders. Do whatever you feel is just or moral to either keep freedom alive, or keep the barbarians from getting any use out of their conquest. Your own values, morals, principles, and standards must be your guide. We're a lot better off working as individuals -- an organization with a leadership can be compromised, but free-acting individuals can never be infiltrated, disbanded, or corrupted from within.
The third part is a "who's who" of would-be book-burners, fascists, censors, and other such scum. It's likely to the fastest growing section of this document. More's the pity, that.
When I first started this page, the presumed model of censorship was a massive, federal law which would place the whole net under a single set of unbearable rules. The DOJ didn't bother appealing the Philly decision until Jesse Helms passed a resolution which made Slick Willie decide to do something to look Presidential. The DOJ knows they have a loser. They probably want to avoid getting a broad, far-reaching Supreme Court ban that could undermine state and local censorship. So the future is probably going to consist of dozens of state laws, all contradictory, all needing to be fought one by one and all applicable across the country. You can live in San Francisco and run afoul of a fascist pig in Memphis.
This is bad, in that you can't possibly know what laws you're at risk of violating. But this is also good -- in that, as the saying goes, the net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it. A single law, enforced with the full might of the United States, (the same might that is doing so well at stopping the flow of drugs, guns, and immigrants), might actually have some impact on the flow of information. But ten thousand laws enforced by a bunch of hick locals? Get real! The laws will harm individuals, and innocents will be jailed for doing nothing more than holding opinions some bible-thumper doesn't like -- but the memes will flow, regardless. The censors will fail in their fundemental goal -- they will not silence dissent. We cannot -- must not -- ignore the human cost of such a nightmare of tangled laws and contradictory rulings, but the most important thing is that the data will get through.
I'm still speculating, of course -- the SC might agree to hear the appeal. They might say, "Sure, go ahead, censor the net." And then I say to them, UP YOURS!
The presecence of any link in the above list is not an endorsement or a recommendation. I have serious gripes with certain policies of all of the above groups. (I have serious gripes with all of humanity!) But they are good sources of information.And now....
An important note on Civil Disobedience. Don't do it in ignorance. For such actions to be effective as a protest, not merely rudeness, you must make it clear that you know what you are doing. Include apologies/disclaimers with any information crossposted for the purpose of protest or raising awareness of censorship. Don't overdo it. Such tactics as I propose work best if they are done a little bit, by a lot of individuals. For one thing, most of the authorities aren't going to chase down the guy who posted one dirty picture to a handful of newsgroups, but they will go after someone who posts gigagbytes of the stuff continuously. OTOH, if you want to be a martyr for free speech, go right ahead. More power to you.
Here are some suggestions to consider. Most require little technical skill -- the Internet must belong to everyone, not just 3l33t haquer d00dz. Some are legal, others are not. Some might even seem contradictory. Do what you feel is right, according to your own judgement and your own morals.
More ideas are welcome; e-mail to email@example.com.
Check out this link, and its' associated links, and bring a barf bag. Remember something as you read this stuff, people -- this person is not 'misguided'. This person is not 'uninformed'. This person is not 'justfiably concerned'. This person, and those who follow her (I believe this is a women), are knowingly, willingly, consciously, and deliberately engaging in an act of ultimate, unforgiveable, evil -- they seek to deprive free adults of their fundamental liberties. Not, as she claims, "privileges" granted by the State, for the benefit of the State -- but fundamental, innate, human rights! To the extent that the right to think freely, and to express the thoughts you think, is the very first derivative of the right of self ownership (the root of all rights), this person is but a shade better than a murderer. (Her web page is rife with quotes from mass-murderer Ted Bundy -- perhaps she thinks he is a kindred spirit?) Some would argue, given the memetic nature of human evolution, that she is worse than a murderer -- for the survival of bodies is less important to our species than the survival of ideas. She is, or would be, a murderer of ideas -- can there be a viler sort of criminal?
Addendum -- according to her web page, this creature has children. Weep for them.
First off, we have the Fascist Research Council, as disgusting a group of bible-thumping book-burners as you could ever hope to meet at your local Hitler Youth Center. Further on, there's the Oklahoma Coalition of Absolute Fascists, though they like to claim that's not what OCAF stands for. In any event, they took down their web page (gosh, wonder why?), but an anti-censorship activist has a copy of their manifesto for your daily bulimia ritual. And if you wish, you can write to the former maintainer of their web page, Paul Cardin and ask him questions. I'm sure he'll be happy to hear from concerned, patriotic Americans.
New! The OCAF now has a web page again --bring your barf bags!
Last, but not least (as regards nausea), we have the American Fascist Association. These people actually helped write the CDA directly, and have filed amicus briefs supporting the DOJ. Another fine group of brownshirts.
But no. While there are many prominent Jewish anarchists and minarchists (like a certain Alice Rosenbaum, whose writings under another name are often quoted and admired by hopelessly confused members of the Racist Right), 'mainstream' Judaic thought, especially in America, is distressingly statist. And even those Jews who disagree with the statist quo are hesitant to speak out, lest they be somehow accused of being 'self-hating jews' (that's Yiddish for 'Uncle Tom').
Well, not this little Red Sea Pedestrian. Evil is evil is evil is evil, and if my alleged co-ethnics are guilty of evil, then it becomes even more my duty to point it out. To this end, I present to you...the Simon Wiesenthal Center. This charming group of former Nazi hunters now justifies its existence by seeking to recreate the enemy it allegedly despises, painted up with the smiley face of 'Tolerance'. Just check out the link to their 'Museum Of Tolerance' on their web site...such an edifice belongs next to the Ministry Of Love in Airstrip One.
The SWC claims, spuriously, to not advocate censorship. Their 'rebuttal' is located here. Please note that Rabbi Cooper has just tried to shut down another revisionist site in Australia. The SWC will not advocate direct censorship in America, because they know it's a dead end -- the SC has ruled time and again, by large majorities both conservative and liberal, that it is precisely such speech as 'hate speech' that is at the core of First Amendment protection. However, the SWC does not believe in any moral right to free speech -- they care only about the current laws, and anywhere that there are laws permitting the government to censor, the SWC will actively encourage such censorship. They are book-burning fascist scum, and deserve to be censured at every opportunity.
Remember -- all tyranny has a human face. That's what makes it so dangerous.
Any society which begins by burning books, inevitably ends by burning people. The book burners need to be stopped now.
Read this stuff. Learn. The enemy is out there. The enemy seeks to present itself as 'reasonable' or 'concerned' or 'representing the silent majority'. You cannot hope to defeat the enemy unless you understand the enemy from their own point of view.
Note:I removed two of my suggestions, those dealing with locking out the government from the net, after receiving a number of intelligent, well-reasoned letters from otherwise supportive federal employees. They pointed out to me that much of the 'rank and file' of the government supports free speech, and that locking them out simply cuts off a valuable source of support 'on the inside'. Frankly, the letters were a bit surprising -- it simply never occured to me that anyone involved in the government could be in favor of freedom in any way. But upon reflection, I concluded that the good which could come from having allies working 'in the belly of the beast' outweighs the harm done by letting the government use the net. (Further, domain-based blocks won't stop the NSA, CIA, etc in any meaningful way...any trolling they will do will come from seemingly innocuous domains. Just because Congress doesn't know a thing about the net, doesn't mean the government as a whole is without powerful technical resources. A lot of very good hackers have found that working for the fed beats 10-20.)
Q:You spend a lot of time pushing anonymity and encryption. Wouldn't a more public protest be more effective?
A:Part of the point of this exercise is to render the CDA (or similair laws) unenforceable -- or rather, to increase the already existing unenforceability of such laws. If they could find you, catch you, try you, and jail you -- the law would be being enforced. If they can't...the law isn't being enforced. The government's credibility drops. People begin to laugh at politicians who promise to 'clean up the net'. They stop trying, and attempts at censorship vanish into the dustbin of history.
Q:Most of your ideas will just antagonize people. Shouldn't we work on winning support?
A:There's not going to be support until the masses become aware there's a problem! If they see a net filled with happy smiling people, they will believe the government -- that the CDA is just to 'protect the children' and only 'pornographers' would oppose it. But if they see that everyone -- not just 'perverts' or 'cyberterrorists' -- is up in arms, they'll become aware they are being lied to. Also, a large part of Civil Disobedience is consciousness raising, getting so "in your face" that people can no longer deny there is a problem. The sit-ins and protests of the Civil Rights era angered people, and undoubtedly made life difficult for many wholly blameless individuals. But when all other avenues of expression are closed (and if you don't think they are, just check out the way the mass media covers the net!), then there are no other alternatives. The first stage in protest is discussion and political action. We tried that -- mass phone calls to congress, petitions, rallies. It didn't work. The second stage is non-violent civil disobedience -- that's the stage we're at if the Supreme Court upholds the CDA. The third stage?
"When in the course of human events....
I hope it never comes to that. But it might.
Q:You keep talking about porn or racist propaganda. Wouldn't it be better to focus on the 'valuable' material which the CDA will ban?
A:It is one of the great fallacies of the modern age that speech has differing 'value', and thus, differing levels of protection. The right to speak, and the right to access speech, are absolutes. The banning of 'Teenage Enema Nurses In Bondage' is just as bad as the banning of 'Huckleberry Finn', and any society which permits the former will inevitably find itself permitting the latter. It is the most extreme and offensive forms of speech which must be the most protected. No one was ever imprisoned for saying 'Have a Nice Day'.
The above suggestions vary from the mildly annoying to the probably criminal. The degree to which you protest, if you choose to protest at all, is up to you -- as is suffering the consequences. Your own conscience and values must be your guide. One thing I do not recommend are mass movements, marches, rallies, etc. These just create visible targets, and, further, mass movements just become voting blocs to be bartered with. True change comes from individual, not collective, action -- what matters is the de facto, not the de jure.
And again -- many of the suggestions above, if enacted on a free Internet, will do the government's job for it. The idea is not to deny free use of the net to the individual, but to deny government the power to control it.
Many people, including people I generally like and respect, will read the above suggestions and be offended or angered. They might point out, with some correctness, that one does not preserve one's own liberties by attacking the liberty of others, and that many actions I suggest could increase, not decrease, calls for censorship. These arguments are valid -- but wrong in this case. If the liberties of some are usurped, ultimately, the liberty of all will be -- and it's a good thing to point this out, directly, by showing those not presently affected what it feels like to have your speech controlled by another. Further, sitting idly by while rights are stripped away will not slow the process -- appeasement never works. If you've once paid 'em the Danegeld, you'll never be rid of the Dane. Further still, I'm positing a situation in which near-total censorship (or threat thereof) exists -- there's no need to worry about it becoming 'worse' due to acts of civil disobedience; the CDA is already utterly unacceptable. Lastly, the imposition of the CDA, or an equivalent, would be, in my opinion, a virtual declaration of war (or a declaration of virtual war) on the citizens of the United States, and indeed, of the world. And in a state of war, due to the nature of war, the rules are different.
The net was built through individual action and voluntary cooperation on a micro scale, leading to a true functional anarchy on the macro scale. If need be, it can be destroyed -- or usurped -- the same way.
A curiousity:Since this page has been up, about once every few weeks or so, I get odd unsolicited mail from various people, all unknown to me, whose sole purpose seems to be to get me to confess to some crime, give advice on how to commit criminal acts (other than simple defiance of a blatantly unconstitutional and currently suspended law), and so on. Frankly, I'd really like to think the FBI/NSA/Whoever has better things to do than try to entrap me, and that all the letters are simply from mildly misguided individuals who think I am some sort of 3l33t haquer d00d. I'm not -- I'm just a lowly database programmer with a passion for free speech. I prefer to hack memes, not computers. But in the event some bored flunky at some alphabet soup agency has nothing better to do, let me make your life easier -- it ain't gonna work. Advocacy of non-violent civil disobedience, especially when such civil disobedience consists mostly of committing legal acts in annoying ways, isn't a crime. Go back to pretending to be a 14 year old girl in a chat room -- or better yet, get your hinder out on the streets and go after muggers, rapists, and murderers, instead of sitting around a cushy office looking for 'cyberterorrists'. I'm paying your salary, bud.
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