1997-05-31 - Re: Rotenberg as the Uber Enemy

Header Data

From: Declan McCullagh <declan@well.com>
To: Marc Rotenberg <rotenberg@epic.org>
Message Hash: 786a26a88836f469a958db09e5646ede56f394e2a3a08afa74cc83bc74157673
Message ID: <Pine.GSO.3.95.970531090958.6950A-100000@well.com>
Reply To: <v03007800afb5dc075d18@[]>
UTC Datetime: 1997-05-31 16:22:03 UTC
Raw Date: Sun, 1 Jun 1997 00:22:03 +0800

Raw message

From: Declan McCullagh <declan@well.com>
Date: Sun, 1 Jun 1997 00:22:03 +0800
To: Marc Rotenberg <rotenberg@epic.org>
Subject: Re: Rotenberg as the Uber Enemy
In-Reply-To: <v03007800afb5dc075d18@[]>
Message-ID: <Pine.GSO.3.95.970531090958.6950A-100000@well.com>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

I'm now more awake than I was before, and a little less
flippant, so let me try to respond to Marc's statement
saying my summary of his "views on privacy below are
just silly."

The initial question has to be not how you protect rights,
but how you define them. For example, we have a right
to speak freely; there should be strict limits on
government controls on free expression or the press.
The state has unique powers of coercion. Similarly,
there should be strict limits on government collection
of personal data about its citizens.

But transactional privacy is a different matter. Sure,
we may generally agree that privacy is the famous
"right to be left alone," but how does that extend to
what happens when I make an affirmative choice to
connect to a web site that might record some info
about my visit -- as an alternative to charging me?
Nobody's forcing me to visit that site. That's why
I'm starting to come around to the idea that privacy
is not a universal right but a preference. We need a
market in privacy, not inflexible FTC rulemaking.

Oh, and the much-touted European Privacy Directive has
made it near-impossible to exchange employee
information between branches of the same firm that are
physically in different countries. Bad move,


On Sat, 31 May 1997, Marc Rotenberg wrote:

> People who are interested in why I am pro-individual freedom
> but not anti-government should take a look a my piece in Wired
> "Eurocrats Do Good Privacy." [4.05]
> I spent a year working for a good crypto policy at the OECD.
> During that time I watched European government officials
> argue for constitutional freedoms and against key escrow,
> while business representatives quietly backed the US
> GAK plan. Welcome to the real world.
> Marc.
> Btw - Declan's summary of our views on privacy below are
> just silly. Many of the greatest defenders of First Amendment
> freedoms have also felt most strongly about the right of
> privacy. The question is always how you protect rights.
> Perhaps libertarians would do away with all laws that protect
> personal freedoms. Bad call.
>  At 3:21 AM -0400 5/31/97, Declan McCullagh wrote:
> >Unfortunately, Tim is letting a rant get in the way of reality. A shame,
> >really, for he's capable of better. Let me respond. I may not be very
> >cordial. We lost tonight's soccer game (goddamn wimpy libertarians) and
> >went to some cheezy Crystal City sports bar afterwards. I just got back
> >home, and it's 3:20 am...
> >
> >Anyway, Rotenberg and EPIC are not the Uber Enemy. Rather, they disagree
> >with cypherpunk and libertarian positions on some issues. So we have
> >issue-by-issue alliances with them. Let's break it down:
> >
> >------------------------------
> >CRYPTO: EPIC takes a purist civil liberties approach to crypto. They've
> >been the ones criticizing the SAFE "crypto in crime" provisions. Did the
> >latest VTW alert sent out today even mention that portion of the bill, let
> >alone criticize it?
> >
> >ANONYMITY: No other group in DC is such a staunch supporter of online
> >anonymity publicly, though look for something from Cato soon. In fact, I
> >linked to EPIC's copy of the McIntyre decision for my Friday Netly piece.
> >Many business groups don't like anonymity online -- hurts the marketeers.
> >
> >FREE SPEECH: EPIC is co-counsel in ACLU lawsuit against CDA. I believe
> >they've said some of the anti-spam legislation is unconstitutional.
> >
> >FOIA: David Sobel does fabulous work snagging government documents the
> >spooks don't want released.
> >
> >PRIVACY: EPIC wants more Federal involvement to protect privacy and a
> >Federal Privacy Commission (or something similar). Lots of laws,
> >bureaucracies. Though EPIC does realize there's a First Amendment; other
> >privacy groups are even more aggressive. EPIC is of course on the side of
> >libertarians when it comes to government violations of privacy.
> >------------------------------
> >
> >From a libertarian perspective, EPIC is good on everything but privacy. On
> >that they want Big Government solutions.
> >
> >But that doesn't mean we reject and condemn what they do on other issues.
> >Do we reject Eagle Forum's anti-Clipper endorsement because they're a
> >bunch of ultraconservative wackos? Do we reject the National Organization
> >for Women's position on the CDA as bad because they're a bunch of
> >ultraliberal wackos? How about the National Association of Broadcaster's
> >amicus brief against the CDA? The Christian Coalition rejecting a national
> >ID cards and numbers? Ralph Nader wanting open access to government
> >databases?
> >
> >No. We don't. Instead, we address this issue by issue. EPIC and Rotenberg
> >are not always, but are often, our allies.
> >
> >-Declan
> >
> >
> >On Fri, 30 May 1997, Tim May wrote:
> >
> >>
> >> I suppose I am developing a reputation amongst the Inside the Beltway Cyber
> >> Rights Groups (tm) as a pain in the ass, but nearly everytime I see one of
> >> their chief spokeswonks giving a policy statement I realize they are "not
> >> on my side."
> >>
> >> The latest quote is from Marc Rotenberg, on a CNN piece on spam and
> >> anti-spam legislation, saying that what the legislators in Congress really
> >> need to look into is how the spammers develop their data bases.....
> >>
> >> Incredible. Does he propose investigations of private data gathering?
> >> Perhaps search warrants served on those who take public postings and
> >> construct data bases?
> >>
> >> Look, I'm annoyed by getting 5-10 "unwanted" spam messages a day. But I
> >> realize the "spammers" are merely  taking publicly available (= legally
> >> available, as 99.99% of all such information is) information and using
> >> legal channels to contact me. I may not "like" it, but their behavior is as
> >> legal as someone calling me on the phone.
> >>
> >> (And ny nearly any measure of hassle factor, dashing to get to the phone
> >> only to find it's a salesman selling something I don't want is worse than
> >> any 20 unwanted e-mail messages.)
> >>
> >> So, Marc Rotenberg wants Congress to "look into" (= interfere with)
> >> compilation and use of public information.
> >>
> >> These people are NOT our allies.
> >>
> >> --Tim May
> >>
> >> There's something wrong when I'm a felon under an increasing number of laws.
> >> Only one response to the key grabbers is warranted: "Death to Tyrants!"
> >> ---------:---------:---------:---------:---------:---------:---------:----
> >> Timothy C. May              | Crypto Anarchy: encryption, digital money,
> >> tcmay@got.net  408-728-0152 | anonymous networks, digital pseudonyms, zero
> >> W.A.S.T.E.: Corralitos, CA  | knowledge, reputations, information markets,
> >> Higher Power: 2^1398269     | black markets, collapse of governments.
> >> "National borders aren't even speed bumps on the information superhighway."
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> ==================================================================
> Marc Rotenberg, director                *   +1 202 544 9240 (tel)
> Electronic Privacy Information Center   *   +1 202 547 5482 (fax)
> 666 Pennsylvania Ave., SE Suite 301     *   rotenberg@epic.org
> Washington, DC 20003   USA              +   http://www.epic.org
> ==================================================================