1997-05-02 - Re: FC: Responses to Tim May’s criticism of SAFE, and a rebuttal (fwd)

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From: Declan McCullagh <declan@vorlon.mit.edu>
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Message Hash: 27f7350b4d04e56db345fc4c28b137992a856725dae9733fd83dfc1dc4cd084b
Message ID: <Pine.LNX.3.95.970502084319.13849A-100000@vorlon.mit.edu>
Reply To: N/A
UTC Datetime: 1997-05-02 13:07:31 UTC
Raw Date: Fri, 2 May 1997 21:07:31 +0800

Raw message

From: Declan McCullagh <declan@vorlon.mit.edu>
Date: Fri, 2 May 1997 21:07:31 +0800
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Subject: Re: FC: Responses to Tim May's criticism of SAFE, and a rebuttal (fwd)
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.3.95.970502084319.13849A-100000@vorlon.mit.edu>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Thu, 1 May 1997 18:44:47 -0400 (EDT)
From: Charles Platt <cp@panix.com>
To: fight-censorship@vorlon.mit.edu
Cc: Charles Platt <cp@panix.com>
Subject: Re: FC: Responses to Tim May's criticism of SAFE, and a rebuttal

> From: Jonah Seiger <jseiger@cdt.org>
> However, despite our concerns about the criminal provisions, we believe
> strongly that the SAFE bill, and the bills in the Senate sponsored by Burns
> and Leahy, are vitally important and should be passed.

This kind of "pragmatism" is precisely why I have no faith whatsoever in
CDT. There's a slippery slope, here, that really IS a slippery slope. As
soon as you agree with the principle that the legislators can and SHOULD
pass laws in a certain area, you risk losing large chunks of freedom. 
Conversely, so long as the area remains sacrosanct, free of legislation
(e.g. the content of private mail), the situation remains clear and clean.
Once you have one law, naturally some special-interest group will
complain, some lobbyists will have their own ideas, some other legislators
will see an opportunity to extend/clarify/amend/expand the legislation,
and before you know it, you've got the war on drugs or something similar, 
costing billions, depriving relatively innocent people of their liberty, 
and achieving nothing.

I absolutely agree with Tim May. There is no excuse for introducing 
legislation to control something fundamentally harmless that is not 
currently controlled. More legislation is absolutely the LAST thing this 
country needs.

> Congress needs to stand up to the Administration and say, with a strong
> voice, "your policy is a failure - we need a different solution".  That's
> what SAFE, Pro-CODE, and ECPA II do.

For some reason I have difficulty trusting Congress to protect my rights 
in this matter, or in any other matter. Those who seek help from 
government should recall Barry Goldwater's famous quote, which went 
something like this: "When you have a government big enough to give you 
everything you want, it's big enough to take it all away."