1996-01-25 - Re: V-chip?

Header Data

From: mpd@netcom.com (Mike Duvos)
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Message Hash: 638f25e46aa3c88c3aea3ee8122f56cc5ee162f317f45be473a01f989dea0431
Message ID: <199601251753.JAA18561@netcom7.netcom.com>
Reply To: <65534.297195739@va.arca.com>
UTC Datetime: 1996-01-25 19:49:03 UTC
Raw Date: Fri, 26 Jan 1996 03:49:03 +0800

Raw message

From: mpd@netcom.com (Mike Duvos)
Date: Fri, 26 Jan 1996 03:49:03 +0800
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Subject: Re: V-chip?
In-Reply-To: <65534.297195739@va.arca.com>
Message-ID: <199601251753.JAA18561@netcom7.netcom.com>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

williams@va.arca.com (Jeff Williams) writes:

 > But what if they *ask* you nicely to label your work?

 >   "If you think your message is offensive, violent, or racist,
 >    would you please consider labelling it?"

 > I don't think I'd mind.  In fact, *optional* labels would
 > make me more likely to post such material, because I'd have
 > some confidence that it would only be read by people who
 > want to read it. (And they could even find it more quickly!)

For Usenet, a similar function is provided automatically by
search engines.  This is why I almost always read news now using
Alta Vista.  The database is updated with new articles in real
time, and I can use any label I choose (i.e. search criteria) to
find material in my chosen subject areas across all newsgroups.

In some sense, search engines are automatic labeling devices for
Usenet traffic.  I find them useful.  With a few more orders of
magnitude computing power, such technology could easily be
applied to audiovisual material as well.

 > There's nothing inherently wrong with labelling
 > information. When messages here are labelled [NOISE], I
 > know to avoid them. This sort of meta-information is helpful
 > and good.

Yes.  Voluntary labeling of publicly available information, or
services which permit selection of such information based on
personal criteria, is a Good Thing(tm).

Government labeling of publicly available information and laws
which mandate the use of such labels at the distribution end are
a Bad Thing(tm).

 > The precedent is what's troubling. Someone will probably
 > try to mandate the labels...Someone will try to write a law
 > that says "Anyone who posts what I consider offensive
 > without a label is guilty." This is what should be
 > fought...not labels.

A nice example of this in the private sector is TV Guide's
labeling of cable movies by content.  This goes beyond the MPAA
rating and includes such terms as "strong language", "nudity",
"violence", "adult themes", and "sexual situations." Were TV
Guide available in computer readable form, one could easily grep
the guide based on such keyphrases and plot summaries to find
everything from "DuckTales" to "Marilyn Chambers' Bikini Bistro."
Certainly easier than reading more than a dozen pages of tiny

Again, I find this sort of thing useful, although I would be
among the first to protest if the government mandated it in law,
or required extra circuitry in all television sets to take
advantage of it.

     Mike Duvos         $    PGP 2.6 Public Key available     $
     mpd@netcom.com     $    via Finger.                      $