1997-06-01 - Re: Rotenberg as the Uber Enemy

Header Data

From: Marc Rotenberg <rotenberg@epic.org>
To: Tim May <tcmay@got.net>
Message Hash: 3fb34f2260a8aa02f53618a4233bb079f08a95f0e70e9df526ba34273fb4b0fe
Message ID: <v03007800afb6766f6f7f@[]>
Reply To: <v03007801afb643715b3a@[]>
UTC Datetime: 1997-06-01 00:16:47 UTC
Raw Date: Sun, 1 Jun 1997 08:16:47 +0800

Raw message

From: Marc Rotenberg <rotenberg@epic.org>
Date: Sun, 1 Jun 1997 08:16:47 +0800
To: Tim May <tcmay@got.net>
Subject: Re: Rotenberg as the Uber Enemy
In-Reply-To: <v03007801afb643715b3a@[]>
Message-ID: <v03007800afb6766f6f7f@[]>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

>At 2:33 PM -0700 5/31/97, Marc Rotenberg wrote:
>>It's an interesting argument. I don't agree, though
>>you can certaintly try it. But more to the point of
>Oh, I don't intend to "try it." The Supreme Court is far past ever
>restoring basic constitutional rights. Instead of "trying it," better to
>monkeywrench it.

Don't give up on the Supremes. There was at least one good
decision this year that you should care about, Chandler v. Miller,
striking down the Georgia drug testing requirement for public
officials.  Justice Ginsburg said in an 8-1 opinion that there
was no "symbolic value" exception to the Fourth Amendment. It
was the first time the Court struck down a drug testing law.
And the case was brought by the Libertarian Party in Georgia.
Credit where credit is due.

>>your original post, is the information that TransUnion
>>sold to Lexis/Nexis for P-TRAK "public information"?
>>If yes, what is private information?
>It all depends on what was agreed to, tacitly or explicitly, in the process
>of applying for and accepting a credit card. I seem to recall "agreeing to"
>multiple pages of fine print about how and to whom information could be
>disclosed. That most of us ignore such fine print is our problem....I don't
>think there's been any allegation, even by you, Marc, that what Equifax is
>doing with credit information is breaking either the contract or any
>existing laws. You just want a new set of laws to do what contracts are
>perfectly capable of doing. Those who want protection of information
>disclosed to others should, of course, make such arrangements.

Sure, and the fine print could say that you waive your right
to vote, your first-born male child will be sold into slavery, etc.
Fortunately, the law doesn't permit this.

Btw, I didn't say Lexis/Nexis was breaking a law. I said
they were exploiting a loophole in a law, which is
exactly right.

>(And such arrangements are made all the time. Examples abound.)
>That such arrangements for a "privacy card" are not easy to make is not an
>issue for the law to meddle with. In fact, many of us think there's a
>market for just such a "privacy card," and, absent meddling by government,
>expect such a card to appear

Keep me posted. If legislation is threatening a good technical
solution, I'll be the first to blow the whistle.

>>I agree that there are real threats to cyber freedom in Europe.
>>I'm not saying otherwise. But my point is that anonymous remailers
>>and the like will have a better future in countries that recognize
>>a right of anonymity as opposed to those that don't.
>Despite my dislike of most of what passes for the American system, I'll
>take the protections of the First, augmented with the 1956 "anonymous
>leafletting" Supreme case, over the "ad hoc" protections nearly all
>Europeans have (or don't have).

The case is MacIntyre v. Ohio (1995), affirming Talley v. California
(1960). I agree that MacIntyre is very important. We keep citing
it in our arguments in support of techniques for anonymity. That's
another example of why law matters.

>>The question is what are you going to do with companies
>>that won't let you buy a product unless you provide
>>your True Name?
>The answer to this is both simple and profound. You have heard the answer
>many times, but you probably dismiss it as just libertarian rhetoric.
> . . .
>But I submit that the hypo of a company refusing to sell a product unless a
>True Name is given is unlikely in the extreme, and is not any kind of
>justification for a new set of so-called privacy laws which actually
>interfere with other basic rights.

What about web sites denying access without registration?

I'm not going to argue the adequacy of contract for resolving
privacy issues with you. I know you have a deep belief that
uncoerced market relations are the norm. I'll respect that.
But I have a different view. I don't want people exercising privacy
rights to be discriminated against. I don't want them to have
pay extortionate rates to protect their identity.

>>One of the consequences of legal obligations on companies
>>that collect personal information might be to encourage
>>more payment anonymous, psuedo-anonymous payment schemes.
>>Wouldn't that be a good result?
>If privacy is important to an agent, make it part of the contractual
>arrangement. Again, this is already done in a huge array of cases.

It's an interesting view. I could say, with probably more support:

"If privacy is important to an agent, make it part of the
statutory arrangement. Again, this is already done in a huge
array of cases." (Credit reports, bank records, video
rental records, cable subscriber records, telephone calls, etc)

What examples do you have where privacy is included in
a contractual arrangement?