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What Should Be In a Technology Bill of Rights? 247

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the careful-wording dept.
snydeq writes "The Deep End's Paul Venezia argues in favor of the creation of a Technology Bill of Rights to protect individuals against malfeasance, tyranny, and exploitation in an increasingly technological age. Venezia's initial six proposed articles center on anonymity rights, net neutrality, the open-sourcing of law enforcement software and hardware, and the like. What sort of efficacy do you see such a document having, and in an ideal world, which articles do you see as imperative for inclusion in a Technology Bill of Rights?"
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What Should Be In a Technology Bill of Rights?

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    The prohibition of off-topic FP!
  • by moderators_are_w*nke (571920) on Monday May 18, 2009 @05:09PM (#28003889) Journal

    Net neutrality, Linux on desktop, Duke Nukem 4 Ever, cheap macs, freedom from malware, peace in the middle east and a cuddly Tux for all.

    • by Bigjeff5 (1143585) on Monday May 18, 2009 @09:33PM (#28006291)

      ...cuddly Tux for all.

      Yeah, that'll happen.

      Everybody knows cuddly Tux isn't ready for neck-space! They are still only good for you stuffed animal geeks who prefer their own hand-sewn plushies to mass produced teddybears and beanie babies. Open source sewing machines are helping, but there are still too many situations where hand-sewing is the only option, and that is just not acceptable.

  • Laws (Score:3, Funny)

    by Narpak (961733) on Monday May 18, 2009 @05:10PM (#28003917)
    Thu shall not commit spam.
  • by davidwr (791652) on Monday May 18, 2009 @05:11PM (#28003925) Homepage Journal

    Er, the right to defend yourself against the evils of viruses, malware, and if I dare to be redundant, DRM.

    • To be fair to the software publishers how about the right to remove and/or disable, and aid others to remove and/or disable, any DRM that in any way restricts the fair use rights of the user.

      I'd also go further and require that any software shipping with DRM that restricts any fair use rights should be required to have exactly what rights it restricts, and how it restricts them, labelled on the outside of the box.
      • by LuYu (519260) on Tuesday May 19, 2009 @02:19AM (#28008281) Homepage Journal

        I'd also go further and require that any software shipping with DRM that restricts any fair use rights should be required to have exactly what rights it restricts, and how it restricts them, labelled on the outside of the box.

        What about future Fair Use rights? Fair Use, until very recently, was not codified, and even today, the enumeration in Title 17 is not a complete listing of all Fair Use rights (for instance, most people consider copying mp3s to a portable player or a phone to be Fair Use, but nowhere in the codified law does it say this is Fair Use, and a strict reading of the law would lead one to the conclusion that this activity was certainly illegal). Before codification and even now, many Fair Use rights are decided by precedent in the courts. How could a label cover all that?

        Still, I like the direction your thoughts are taking :-) A Surgeon General's style warning might be nice: "DRM has been known to cause fits of rage and even strokes in some individuals."

  • Nothing (Score:5, Insightful)

    by digsbo (1292334) on Monday May 18, 2009 @05:11PM (#28003931)
    We don't need it. The bill of rights already protects our personal rights and limits the federal government's powers over the states and the citizens.

    Oh, wait, the Constitution is routinely ignored by the Federal Government. So I'm sure a non-binding technology bill of rights will have a huge impact on limiting the Federal Government's actions...

    • Re:Nothing (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Shakrai (717556) on Monday May 18, 2009 @05:17PM (#28004009) Journal

      The bill of rights already protects our personal rights and limits the federal government's powers over the states and the citizens.

      Actually the Bill of Rights just codified our rights. Our rights are inalienable regardless of whether or not they are listed in the Bill of Rights.

      Oh, wait, the Constitution is routinely ignored by the Federal Government. So I'm sure a non-binding technology bill of rights will have a huge impact on limiting the Federal Government's actions...

      Beat me to it :(

      • by DrLang21 (900992)

        Our rights are inalienable regardless of whether or not they are listed in the Bill of Rights.

        However, these "inalienable rights" are only referred to as inalienable in a non-legally binding document.

      • Actually the Bill of Rights just codified our rights. Our rights are inalienable regardless of whether or not they are listed in the Bill of Rights.
         
        Only if your government doesn't have nuclear weapons. What is inalienable has changed considerably since 1776.

      • Inalienable Rights (Score:4, Informative)

        by Bigjeff5 (1143585) on Monday May 18, 2009 @09:58PM (#28006421)

        Replying more to all the repliers above me than the parent: you people are completely misunderstanding what was meant by "inalienable rights".

        It does NOT mean that it is impossible to infringe on "inalienable rights". What it means is that there are a set of basic rights that apply to all human beings. They are "inalienable" because we desearve these rights by our very existance. However, just because they exist does not make them un-infringeable. What the constitution did by spelling those rights out in the Bill of Rights was make a promise that the US government would not infringe on those 10 basic rights.

        The system for discovering violations of these rights tends to be slow, since the government is large and things tend to escape notice for a while or simply take time to become sizeable enough to be noticed. However despite it's slow nature (or perhaps because of it?) the system is very effective, and we have essentially the same freedoms - more in some ways, in fact - that we had at the nation's founding.

        Our system was designed around protecting these basic, inalienable rights. Even if the mightiest of the mighty in this land - our elected officials, president, and SCOTUS - manage to screw up the Bill of Rights, there is always a do-over. Laws are constantly neutered or bolstered by the courts, SCOTUS decisions can and have been overturned by other SCOTUS decisions, Amendments to the Constitution can and have been supplanted by new amendments, and the President can and has been impeached.

        All this to protect our basic human rights (plus others, sure).

        That said, the promise (i.e. the Constitution) was not made to non-US citizens and so US actions outside the US territory are often ignored, and the oppression of other people is always ignored unless it somehow represents a direct threat to the freedom of US citizens.

        That's just the way it goes.

    • Japanese Americans 1942 [wikipedia.org]

      That should provide a little context as to the enforcement of the bill of rights. Thanks to George Carlin for reminding me of this one.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Things like that are covered under Presidential Emergency powers. Just like making weather reports classified and making the U.S. Coast Guard a part of the U.S. Navy.

        "It is with great reluctance that I have agreed to this calling. I love democracy. I love the Republic. The powers you give me I will lay down when this crisis has be abated!" - Emperor Palpatine

    • Re:Nothing (Score:5, Insightful)

      by slashqwerty (1099091) on Monday May 18, 2009 @06:47PM (#28004957)
      Well the U.S. Bill of Rights is certainly an excellent starting point.
      1. The right to express yourself, to peacefully assemble, to participate in religion without government interference and without government proselytizing, the right to petition the government, and the right to publish.
      2. The right to possess 'hacking' tools such as NMap, cryptography, high-performance computers, and anti-DRM tools.
      3. Prohibition on the government camping out on our equipment ala CALEA and the Clipper Chip.
      4. Right to be free from search and seizure without a warrant.
      5. Right not to testify against yourself such a being compelled to hand over a cryptographic key. Sanctions can not be imposed without due process (no three allegations and your cut off from the internet). Just compensation for government seizure for public purpose. Prohibition on double jeopardy.
      6. Right to confront your accuser (Media Sentry), right to a speedy trial, right to counsel, right to trial by jury.
      7. Right to jury even in modest civil cases.
      8. Punishment shall not be overly severe (no massive penalties for copyright infringement). Bail shall not be excessive (one million dollars bail when refusing to do your job).
      9. Other, unenumerated rights exist.
      10. Government shall not exceed its enumerated powers.
  • by Tackhead (54550) on Monday May 18, 2009 @05:15PM (#28003957)

    What sort of efficacy do you see such a document having,

    Prosser: "Have you any idea how much damage that bulldozer would suffer if I just let it run straight over you?"
    Arthur: "How much?"
    Prosser: "None at all."

  • Separation (Score:4, Funny)

    by oldhack (1037484) on Monday May 18, 2009 @05:15PM (#28003967)

    Strict separation of state from goatse terror regime.

    Or did the frist post already address that?

  • by symes (835608)
    The right to opt out of phorm [slashdot.org] and similar scams. And an obligation for computer users across the world to keep their networked machines patched.
    • Opt in.

      Opt out and that means the sort of bullshit, "Hey, we sent you a letter/email that might have looked like spam and could have been filtered out that said we're doing this and requesting you raise a fucking racket about it to get out of it."

      No. Neither that nor terms of use changes that are agreed to by logging in (think it was Facebook that did that). 'course if we get that, that means shrinkwrap licenses and EULA stuff would (should) be illegal.

  • by serutan (259622) <snoopdoug AT geekazon DOT com> on Monday May 18, 2009 @05:16PM (#28003993) Homepage

    A reference to the Book of Armaments has to be in there somewhere.

  • Gaaah! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MindlessAutomata (1282944) on Monday May 18, 2009 @05:17PM (#28003997)

    The American founding fathers, from whom the Bill of Rights came, viewed rights a inherent to all individuals and not something granted by men. Either from God, or inherent in nature (or actually both, to my understanding).

    These rights are what is referred to as "negative rights". Basically put, that you can do just about anything so long as it doesn't infringe on another's well-being. Everything in the Bill of Rights demonstratably follows from that--that the government shall not interfere. But it doesn't grant you special privileges, either--nothing that requires one else give it to you (well, with some exceptions like right to a speedy trial).

    To then go on to talk about a Bill of Rights as some arbitrarily-agreed upon standards is ridiculous and on some level scary, because it implies your humans rights and worth is something up for democratic debate and potentially is yet another chip on the political bargaining table.

    You don't have to be an adherent to natural law (I'm not) to feel or believe in that. No so-called "Bill of Rights" should demand that other private entities ought to give you special privileges or concessions based on some mob rule decision. No wonder Democrats so frequently assume that the 2nd amendment means something that it doesn't--they believe (or at least, appear to believe) that rights and apparently human dignity are government-granted...!

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by rattaroaz (1491445)
      Unfortunately, you and I are so 18th century. Back then, if not otherwise specified, the government had no rights. But now, it has been successfully turned around. Unless otherwise specified by the government, the people have no rights. Like it or not, I think most Americans see it that way, and not just Democrats. Damn shame.
    • Re:Gaaah! (Score:4, Interesting)

      by DragonWriter (970822) on Monday May 18, 2009 @06:03PM (#28004491)

      To then go on to talk about a Bill of Rights as some arbitrarily-agreed upon standards is ridiculous and on some level scary, because it implies your humans rights and worth is something up for democratic debate and potentially is yet another chip on the political bargaining table.

      I don't know why its scary: the Bill of Rights itself is the product of discussion, debate, and democratic process. Sure, they reflect a means of protecting what at least a significant portion of those discussing and debating thought were fundamental rights in natural law, but they were no less a product of political process than any other law.

      The treatment of the Constitution (whether the main text or the Bill of Rights) as some sort of quasi-religious revealed document given by quasi-divine Founders, rather than a political document created by men and subject to debate on its merits, is what I find scary.

      • the Bill of Rights itself is the product of discussion, debate, and democratic process. Sure, they reflect a means of protecting what at least a significant portion of those discussing and debating thought were fundamental rights in natural law, but they were no less a product of political process than any other law.

        Some Founding Fathers like Alexander Hamilton [wikipedia.org] opposed Rights being included in the Constitution. So the Constitution was approved without them but with the understanding that a Bill of Rights w

    • by Improv (2467)

      But they are yet another chip on the bargaining table. If they were inherent in nature,

      1) How do we derive them from nature without the feeling in the back of our head that we're making them up as a reformulation of current philosophical norms?
      2) Why don't they keep emerging in the same form as we study the history of nations?

      Calling these rights inherent in humanity was good propoganda for the times, but eventually we outgrow the need for such undefensible ideas.

      • I am not a believer in natural law, but let me put it this way: do you believe that what is right is not always the law, and what is the law is not always right? That the law is not something to be obeyed because it is the law? That some ethical principles, however derived, transcend whatever the government or society thinks...?

        That is my position.

    • No wonder Democrats so frequently assume that the 2nd amendment means something that it doesn't--they believe (or at least, appear to believe) that rights and apparently human dignity are government-granted...!

      Except Republicans oppose rights, small "r" not capital, as well. For instance Republicans [cthouserules.com] support Three Strikes Laws [wikipedia.org] and manditory minimum sentencing laws. [cbsnews.com] Though some Democrats support them as well most Republicans love drug laws. During the 2008 presidential campaign only Republican Ron Paul wan

  • the first article there, of course, is to allow customers of licensed entertainment to use the material as the copyright law allows. and that is reflected in "fair use."

    you have to buy something sometime. once you have done so, as long as you own the original licensed copy, you can replicate it on other gadgets for more convenient use. as long as you only use ONE at a time, and don't give any of it away to non-licensed users.

    • you have to buy something sometime. once you have done so, as long as you own the original licensed copy, you can replicate it on other gadgets for more convenient use. as long as you only use ONE at a time, and don't give any of it away to non-licensed users.

      Except the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) [allacademic.com] has made fair use illegal in some cases. Look at the ruckus caused by DeCSS [wikipedia.org].

      Falcon

  • Lets see... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Darkness404 (1287218) on Monday May 18, 2009 @05:20PM (#28004045)
    1. Right to access the internet if you pay for it
    2. Right to control what software is on your computer
    3. Right to copy anything you own for your own personal use
    4. Right to use software that does not interfere with anyone else's right
    5. The Right to publish any information that is true without fear of takedown notices
    6. The Right to possess any information
    7. The Right to control your own hardware
    8. The Right to use any device for any purpose that does not interfere with rights of others
    9. The Right to remain anonymous
    10.The Right to have free, uncensored speech on your own servers

    Have all these and we would have a good start.
    • by icebike (68054) on Monday May 18, 2009 @05:29PM (#28004143)

      All those would have made a FAR BETTER start than those suggested in TFA.

      Can we have TFA author just shitcan his silly suggestions and adopt yours instead?

    • "6. The Right to possess any information"

      thinkofthechildrennowait,you'rethinkingofthemtoomuch

      • While we can all* agree that CP is bad, the problems raise several questions on the ethics of banning information. If we can gain such wide support for banning CP, what comes next? The banning of "radical" political parties? The banning of various political commentaries? CP should without a doubt be highly illegal to produce, however the banning of information has a chilling effect on free speech. Put the ones making it behind bars, but the possession of information, even information that we might not agree
        • Oh, I'm all against the bullshit, fear-mogering pedophile witch hunt.

          I was just making a lulz.

        • I've got a better idea - limit the letter of CP laws to punishing the production and distribution of exploitive CP. The current CP that isn't under that umbrella should still be illegal, but not to the absurd degree that is applied today. Basically, this acknowledges that most so-called CP is produced by teenagers for teenagers and should not be used to destroy their lives. At worst, you destroy the images/videos and write them a ticket.
        • Child porn interferes with the rights of said children. I believe the law covers that.

          Or is he saying, their rights were trampled but I didn't do it and the images/video already exist and will exist?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Numbers 5 and 6, as written, could clash with non-disclosure agreements & similar. For instance if I allow someone to inspect the code for my laboriously-written software for security purposes, I'd like to have a legally binding document with them stating that they're not allowed to hand over my source code to my competitors (or indeed anyone, unless they too sign the same agreement, etc.).

    • by Yvanhoe (564877)
      Right to time-shift, right to space-shift, right to reverse-engineer, right to publish information anonymously, right to use cryptography
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by lupis42 (1048492)

      1. Right to access the internet if you pay for it

      -- Does my home FIOS plan (asynchronous, no static IP, servers explicitly banned) count as "internet access"? I would argue that it technically does not, though it is very close.

      2. Right to control what software is on your computer

      -- What about the related immunity from liability for things running on your computer without your knowledge?

      3. Right to copy anything you own for your own personal use

      --Fair enough

      4. Right to use software that does not interfere with anyone else's right

      --I don't follow.

      5. The Right to publish any information that is true without fear of takedown notices

      --There has to be some takedown process though, for information that is untrue. You never get to publish without any fear, there just needs to be a counter-takedown notice process.

      6. The Right to possess any information

      --So, no copy

      • -- Does my home FIOS plan (asynchronous, no static IP, servers explicitly banned) count as "internet access"? I would argue that it technically does not, though it is very close.

        If it is advertised as internet, or the general definition of it is internet access, yes it should count.

        -- What about the related immunity from liability for things running on your computer without your knowledge?

        Sure, that would be nice, but it would be better done on a case-by-case basis. Perhaps not by computer-illiterate judges, but there are too many ways of making a rootkit yourself and claiming it wasn't you.

        --I don't follow.

        Basically, if you have the software and the software's capabilities, you can use it for whatever you feel like. This is to prevent software from being made that won't let you use it a certain way

    • by Kjella (173770)

      I think what I want is just a more sane application of legal standards, not absolute rights.

      1. Right to access the internet if you pay for it

      Some people should be restricted on the Internet, but only serious criminals not people downloading popular music.

      5. The Right to publish any information that is true without fear of takedown notices

      Including your stolen medical records? Military secrets? Trade secrets? Truth is not an absolute defense offline, then it shouldn't be so online either.

      6. The Right to possess any information

      How about any material currently legal to possess? Is there any reason to make Internet the free zone for everything?

      9. The Right to remain anonymous

      Been there, seen that. If you think t

    • by againjj (1132651)

      1. Right to access the internet if you pay for it

      We have this now, except for those who are wards (i.e. children or prisoners), or those who can't as a result of a court proceeding.

      2. Right to control what software is on your computer

      This is vague. In one sense, everyone has this -- install Linux or whatever. Or are you want the ability to replace each and every dll on your Windows machine individually? And to get around this, manufacturers can lease you a computer for 99 years for a one-time up-front fee.

      3. Right to copy anything you own for your own personal use

      Worthy ideal. Goes against some laws such as it being illegal to duplicate keys that have "do not d

    • I like your list- I'd also like to see "All Information that is collected about me without anonimization by any private entity can be viewed"

      If it is truly deleted, that's all right. If people keep the information around about me, I want access to it.

  • by icebike (68054) on Monday May 18, 2009 @05:21PM (#28004063)

    These things have a habit of A) never becoming law and B) being subverted if and when they do become law.

    For example:

    Article 2: No network provider may constrain or restrict access to the Internet in any way, shape, or form other than agreed-upon access speeds

    Really: Cart Blanche to do any amount of illegal acts on the net without fear of having your use cut off? Really? Required car analogy: I can do anything in my car as long as I don't exceed the speed limit? Really? You've thought this thru, have you Paul?

    Article 3. No individual shall be held liable for effects of malware or malicious code unknowingly run on a personal computer

    This exonerates those who write malicious code. They release a virus to the internet, but have no knowledge of which computers it becomes installed on. Therefore, they are not liable.

    Number 4: Why should anyone be obligated implement mandatory update checks in any software?
    What if I don't want my software calling home?

    The more you read this screed the less well thought out it becomes.

    • by Qzukk (229616)

      Article 3. No individual shall be held liable for effects of malware or malicious code unknowingly run on a personal computer

      This exonerates those who write malicious code. They release a virus to the internet, but have no knowledge of which computers it becomes installed on. Therefore, they are not liable.

      The "article" was badly phrased, but the explanation makes it clear that by "unknowingly run" he means the user clicking on the .jpg.exe icon. "No individual" probably should mean "no individual who unkn

    • Really: Cart Blanche to do any amount of illegal acts on the net without fear of having your use cut off? Really? Required car analogy: I can do anything in my car as long as I don't exceed the speed limit? Really? You've thought this thru, have you Paul?

      Yes he has. Even a convicted felon should get access to the net. Try getting a job without that - won't happen. Sure, commit a crime online and you could go to jail, but you won't be banned from the net when you get out.

  • ... of products people buy after a certain number of years.

    One nasty thing about commercial software is that you can't pay other people to fix it because you DON'T have the source. This means many software programs become forcibly obsoleted by autocratic corporate institutions instead of being able to be released into the public domain.

  • by drDugan (219551) on Monday May 18, 2009 @05:23PM (#28004085) Homepage

    Privacy is the ability to protect ones personal information from others - preventing others from accessing information about yourself.

    Anonymity is removing information which could identify a person as a specific individual from a group.

    These two ideas are close, but subtly different. Privacy can be an absolute concept - preventing information access and use for certain information can be binary: either others can access it or not. Anonymity is almost never absolute: simply knowing a human posted text has anonymity to 1 in about 6.7 Billion(ish). If you know any other information, the degree of anonymity goes down: Posted online: 1 in 2 Billion, in English: 1 in 400million. A male in the US implies 1 in about 190Million. A person who lives a particular zip code: anonymous to about 1 in 20 thousand. Examining the content one exposes: a person in Chicago, who is interested in the Chicago Cubs, and opposes the fare increase -- digging into details like that can make a person anonymous to about 1 in a few hundred with enough work.

    Asserting anything about anonymity must include the idea that anonymity is always a sliding scale, and depends a lot on every bit of information a person chooses to put out into the world.

    I do *not* think anonymity is a right, nor should we try to enforce it or preserve it. Anonymity is an anachronism in recent human history. People act better when they know they are not anonymous.

    Privacy protections on the other hand are very important. Personal information sets, socially defined, that one chooses to protect and chooses to prevent others from being able to access of use once they have it are extremely important, and should be promoted and protected strongly.

    • A person who lives a particular zip code: anonymous to about 1 in 20 thousand.

      A person that everyone thinks lives in one zip code but actually lives in another: anonymous

      I do *not* think anonymity is a right, nor should we try to enforce it or preserve it. Anonymity is an anachronism in recent human history. People act better when they know they are not anonymous.

      Some people act better when they know they are not anonymous. Plenty of people have made valuable contributions to society only because they

  • Software evidence (Score:4, Insightful)

    by amicusNYCL (1538833) on Monday May 18, 2009 @05:30PM (#28004157)

    If the result or output of a software program is to be used as evidence in court, then the code of that program needs to be made available to the court for analysis.

    In 20 years it's going to be a no-brainer that if you're using the output of an algorithm as legal evidence then the algorithm should be up for scrutiny, so I'm not sure why people have difficulty understanding that now (especially as it relates to things like voting machines and breathalyzers).

  • 1. Yes

    2. Yes

    3. Bad idea. The enormous range in user perceptiveness (from those who wouldn't recognize an exploit if it popped up a dialog saying "Let your computer be pwnt by teh China? Y/N" to those who run multiple hardware firewalls, IDSes and remote loggers) and the difficulty of creating an objective metric for what constitutes "malicious" and "unknowingly run" will make this a nightmare.

    It's called "personal responsibility" folks: You are responsible for your computer and what it does. If you c
  • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Monday May 18, 2009 @05:39PM (#28004265)

    Article 1. Any individual shall be able to choose anonymity when posting to Internet sites

    I disagree with this. While I do believe in the fundamental right to anonymity, it is totally up to the sites owners to make them anonymous or not. For example, lets say this happened to Facebook, you would be instantly hit by a whirlpool of spam, bots, etc.

    I believe you have a right to remain fundamentally anonymous, for example I believe in the right to be able to use temporary anonymous e-mail accounts, the right to use Tor and other anonymity proxies, You should have a right to remain anonymous if you so choose, however sites should have the right to require registration to maintain the sanity of the site. But, similarly allowing anonymous postings on a site should be a right for the owners of the site too.

  • How about... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MickyTheIdiot (1032226) on Monday May 18, 2009 @05:40PM (#28004281) Homepage Journal

    Material you create on an electronic device is *yours* and if that is encrypted or "protected" by some third party technology you always have the right to break that technology to get to the content you rightly own.

    Yes.. this is directly in contrast with the DMCA... and it's outrageous.

    • > Material you create on an electronic device is *yours* and if that is encrypted or
      > "protected" by some third party technology you always have the right to break that
      > technology to get to the content you rightly own.

      This is true.

      > Yes.. this is directly in contrast with the DMCA

      No it isn't.

  • But not one that defines "technology" as "teh intertubes". We have been deeply and irrevocably dependent on technology for millennia (hint: Weaving is technology. Cooking is technology. Agriculture is technology). A "technology bill of rights" that described individual rights to technology in the broad sense would be interesting and possibly desireable. One that focuses on "technology" as defined by the newsies would deal only with transient superficial issues with the particular gadgets currently in v

  • I'd say the most important right is the right to know the true identity of the person sending you V14GR4 spam, so that you can (if you so choose) track them down and kick their ass! Of course, this is more of a technical problem (the current email system is severely flawed) than a legal one.
  • by emptynet (787903) on Monday May 18, 2009 @05:48PM (#28004353)
    The Maker's Bill of Rights
    • Meaningful and specific parts lists shall be included.
    • Cases shall be easy to open.
    • Batteries should be replaceable.
    • Special tools are allowed only for darn good reasons.
    • Profiting by selling expensive special tools is wrong and not making special tools available is even worse.
    • Torx is OK; tamperproof is rarely OK.
    • Components, not entire sub-assemblies, shall be replaceable.
    • Consumables, like fuses and filters, shall be easy to access.
    • Circuit boards shall be commented.
    • Power from USB is good; power from proprietary power adapters is bad.
    • Standard connecters shall have pinouts defined.
    • If it snaps shut, it shall snap open.
    • Screws better than glues.
    • Docs and drivers shall have permalinks and shall reside for all perpetuity at archive.org.
    • Ease of repair shall be a design ideal, not an afterthought.
    • Metric or standard, not both.
    • Schematics shall be included.

    http://makezine.com/04/ownyourown/ [makezine.com]

  • by XPeter (1429763) * on Monday May 18, 2009 @05:50PM (#28004375) Homepage

    Don't read my sig.

  • This is a great idea. I have been releasing a 'user rights' doc with software I work on for awhile now.

    Here's one of the things I wanted to include:

    The user has a right to know what ports on their machine will be used for any communication, and the locations where software makes changes to their machine (install locations, save locations, .ini files, registry changes)
  • Campaign finance laws need to be fixed first, otherwise these rights will be nothing more than amusing discussions for MAFIAA lobbyists.
  • by cenc (1310167) on Monday May 18, 2009 @06:15PM (#28004625) Homepage

    All Knowledge is Human Knowledge!!!

    Start with that premise, and then restrict defaulting back to that assumption unless otherwise specifically restricted for good reason. Similar concept of State and individual rights structure found in the U.S. constitution (well in theory anyway).

    It does not belong to one company, it does not belong to one person, or country, it belongs to the humanity. No one thinks up the next great invention in a vacuum. They went to school, they read other peoples ideas, they used a human language to express it. It belongs to humanity.

    Yes, there should be certain restrictions on who can make use of the knowledge (e.g. how to make atomic bombs, what I had for breakfast), but without compelling reason it should default to the public domain.

    • by DaveV1.0 (203135)

      O RLY? What is in my head could save the world. But, because you demand rights to my knowledge, I will not let it out.

  • A technology bill of rights should have zero items, but thinking about tech is a good excuse to review/update what rights people have.

    But that list should be invariant, whether we're talking about intergalactic-warp-travelling nano-enhanced genetically modified cyber-transhumans, or cave men whose highest tech is ability-to-start fire.

    Your rights are your rights, and technology doesn't have a damn thing to do with it.

  • TFA is wrong in three different ways: morally, politically, and practically.

    Its proposals are morally wrong because they trample on individual freedom. For instance, #1 says "Any individual shall be able to choose anonymity when posting to Internet sites." Okay, I run a site that catalogs free books, and accepts user-submitted reviews. When new users register, it's made very clear to the new user that he needs to provide his real name. The reason is that I don't want people reviewing their own books. No,

  • A lot of these "rights" seem a bit wishy-washy. The US bill of rights works because they are primarily a list of "negative rights" - ie, a list of things the government can't do/take from you. These proposals read more like a list of entitlements (eg, net neutrality, the right to post anonymously) or government contractual obligations (eg, required to use open source). That doesn't necessarily mean that these things aren't desirable, but they don't belong in a bill of rights, imo.

    For example, the "righ

  • by Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) on Monday May 18, 2009 @06:35PM (#28004835)

    Every single one of the six points is silly.

    1. Any individual shall be able to choose anonymity when posting to Internet sites

    Well, we've done this one plenty before, but it's still ultimately down to the Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory. With freedom comes responsibility. An anonymous party cannot effectively be held accountable for their actions. QED.

    Oh, and please spare us the sob story about a hypothetical oppressive regime where anonymous speech on the Internet will bring the cure for cancer and world peace. This is not the US a few centuries ago. In modern countries where free speech with your name attached is not protected, anonymity on the Internet is pretty far down the list of priorities and hardly going to be the decisive factor in making things better (not least because if you have access to the Internet at all, it's probably strictly monitored by the state and your identity is known before you ever reach a keyboard anyway).

    2. No network provider may constrain or restrict access to the Internet in any way, shape, or form other than agreed-upon access speeds

    Ah, yes, let's have the lawyers interfere with running the Internet, because that always works out well.

    What is wrong with a non-neutral Internet anyway? All that really seems to mean is giving preferential bandwidth to some services over others, and frankly, if you think your five-reader blog is as important as Google or BBC News then you're the deluded one. Likewise, if you see a high-bandwidth future where streaming services and remote applications are popular or even the norm, you'd better start studying economics if you think the current financial models are going to support it.

    As for crushing the little guy, I have yet to see an argument that isn't pure FUD. A huge amount of Internet traffic isn't from the big businesses who are really going to be affected by such laws, and there is always going to be a demand for the valuable part of that traffic, creating a market for providing such access. We already have competition laws in place should anyone start actually abusing the system to close out that market artificially, and otherwise, why isn't it just commercial dealing, on which foundation we seem to have managed to get this far?

    3. No individual shall be held liable for effects of malware or malicious code unknowingly run on a personal computer

    Throw in something about negligence and perhaps. But if you're one of the dumbfucks who connects a computer to the Internet and then spews out lots of spam because you're too ignorant to learn basic security, then you are a liability to the rest of the world and deserve to be cut off until you learn better.

    One court case with a stupid outcome does not negate this point, incidentally.

    4. A company that produces and sells closed source software for use on computers shall be responsible for the security of that product, and a user has a right to seek damages in the event of a failure to secure their product

    Way to go, you just undermined the entire software development world. Little, if any, of the software running on most computers today would have been developed under this model, because there would be no sound business case for taking on such a risk under conditions that will never be perfect. Most consumers, private and business alike, simply don't need — or want to pay the disproportionate cost for — that level of quality.

    Oh, and spare us the blatant Open-Source-by-the-back-door pitch, please. If you want to compete, make a better product. Forcing competition out of the market through dubious legal tricks is pathetic when big business tries it to prop up their dying business models, and it will be just as pathetic if the OSS world tries it if it turns out that they don't really make better products after all.

    5. Any software or hardware used to conduct or support laws and public policy shall be open-source

    • by bugi (8479)

      Even in the US, there are regularly cases in which one must fight for one's civil rights, freedom of speech and otherwise.

  • The right to continue service under the terms which you agreed and the striking of the ability of a service provider to unilaterally alter the terms of service without notice. New service terms must be tied to new services; failure to agree to the new terms must only bar access to the new services and not restrict access to services under the previous agreement. Discontinuation of old services must either include access to equivalent level of replacement service without change to agreement or a discount on

    • by bugi (8479)

      All contracts must be negotiable. None of this take it or leave it stuff from monopoly DSL and cable carriers.

  • by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Monday May 18, 2009 @06:48PM (#28004969)
    called a "bill of rights" is pretty silly. So call it something else. Big deal.

    Anyway, here are some items I think should be added to the ones in TFA:

    (A) Any digital information published or disseminated to the public by any government agency shall be distributed in an open, non-proprietary format. (This is prompted by my local city bureaucracy insisting on publishing "public" information in the latest version of Word... which a great many people have no way to easily read. Yes, I am aware that Microsoft makes available a free Word reader, but almost nobody outside of IT knows about it.) This would also have the effect of goading software companies to better support open standards.

    (B) The fruits of University and other research that is subsidized by public funds belong in the public domain. Repeal the Bayh-Dole act, which sought to motivate University researchers, but which instead has resulted in corporate ownership of publicly funded inventions and discoveries.
  • by bugi (8479) on Monday May 18, 2009 @06:51PM (#28004997)

    If you make it general enough to handle even just basic human rights, it'll be vague enough to game.

    If you make it specific, the fascists will claim that it's an enumeration of right and so no other rights exist.

    You may recall some of these arguments from the discussion about whether to adopt the US Bill of Rights, or to simply let the Constitution stand on its own.

    Also remember, the internet extends beyond just your country.

  • How about you respect the rights of others first?
    How about a bill of responsibilities as well.

  • by Improv (2467)

    Seriously? Is what the word means so empty that we can call bad technology policy decisions tyranny? Put another way, are we so cynical about political discussion that we need to use crazily charged words like tyranny to label those who are not as libertene as we like? If so, why are we bothering to have the discussion at all?

    Getting sensible policies is important, both in creating a society we'd like to live in and in keeping society as a whole working smoothly, but using words like tyranny so lightly clos

  • by Joe The Dragon (967727) on Monday May 18, 2009 @07:22PM (#28005309)

    The right to a independent experts for court cases dealing with Technology that both sides can use and right to be able to use one for free as well as being to have your own.

  • Any Bill of Rights is impossible today, because I believe it is fundamentally impossible to find a large enough group people to matter that are:
    - basically of normal or higher intelligence
    - qualified to discuss such topics
    - connected enough to matter
    - capable of actual altruism

    1775 was an exceptional year for humanity, sadly not to be repeated.

  • My ideas (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Lord Kano (13027)

    1. Any hardware or software product that is no longer sold must have all source code available under an open-source (not necessarily free) license.
    2. It must be legal and possible to backup anything that one has paid for.

    LK

    1. Freedom of speech and of the press; freedom of religion and assembly; freedom to speak your mind without fear of governmental violence of any sort. Can't say it too many times: expression is sacrosanct.
    2. Right to keep, control, and protect one's own property. The rights of physical property owners to control devices in their ownership reaffirmed over and against claims by "intellectual property" owners. You don't get to scramble my hard drive just because you think maybe I'm a pirate.
    3. D
  • I have a saying that keeps me secure in my house and my office:

    "If it comes into my possession, I control it."

    What that means is that it does exactly what I say, does not call home unless I let it, does not keep hidden logs, does not have back doors, does not answer to anyone but me or the person I have controlling it. I think if this were phrased in lawyer speak, then that would be all we need from technology.

    There would be no DRM, there would be no humans answering to robots, ever, even if the robots wer

  • Article 1 is good, I like that.

    Article 2. No network provider may constrain or restrict access to the Internet in any way, shape, or form other than agreed-upon access speeds unless such constraints/restrictions are required by law (i.e. ISPs being forced to take action by a legal order from law enforcement) or are required to stop actions that are negatively impacting on the network providers network

    The last bit allows ISPs to block viruses and malware (e.g. cut someone off who is part of a DDOS attack and

  • If we're going to create a "bill of rights", then we should be careful that those rights are negative rights--that is, rights which prohibit taking certain actions (such as a right to be anonymous, which really is a right prohibiting authorities from requiring my personal information be gathered and stored), and not positive rights--that is, "rights" which require someone else to cede control or perform certain actions on my behalf. (For example, a "right" to a computer is a positive right--because it requi

  • ... to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.
  • A unicorn in every stable and a fairy in every pot.

    If you're going to make up a document that is never going to happen you might as well go for broke..

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