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US-Centric Internet

2002-08-13 19:59:57+00 by meuon 3 comments

Except for the closed network part, this article makes a lot of sense how the internet has become very very US-centric, and more importantly than US-Centric content wise, the laws and proprietary technologies of the US prevail. I do like the quote:
"We need to build our borders online and offer our citizens protection within those borders, and escape from America. "
And feel it sometimes applies to those of us INSIDE of the USA as well.

[ related topics: Net Culture ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment made: 2002-08-15 20:16:51+00 by: canis [edit history]

Is Mr. Thompson's article a troll?

Just wondering.

Frankly, as a European, I think that article's complete arse. Not that I don't agree with some of the things it says about America, it's just that they're completely irrelevant to the thesis, just smoke and mirrors. Yes, America's current plunge towards totalitarianism is bad and scary, but how the hell do anticensorship software, libertarianism and the Constitution cause that? Surely they do the exact opposite? It's a lot easier to export freedom on an open Internet than "imperalism".

Generally, the Internet "permissiveness" and "borderlessness" Mr. Thompson whines about, give people the ANDed set of restrictions, not the ORed ones; it requires complex treaties to do otherwise. US lawyers applying DMCA threats overseas? They try it on occasionally, but do you see them getting very far? No. They can only make progress with local laws.

It's not that the US doesn't negatively affect the rest of the world -- of course it does -- but it has far more effective ways of doing it than the Internet.

I'm far more concerned about US agencies applying pressure to European lawmakers to enact similar laws to those in the US, such as the European Union Copyright Directive (some info at http://www.ntk.net/2002/08/09/), which is basically the DMCA, only more so. And we don't have a constitution to fall back on, or even any particularly effective libertarian organisations to try and campaign against it -- so we will fall prey to American cultural/legal Imperialism. Not via the Internet. And it's our lack of the very things Thompson complains about, that are part of the reason why this will happen.

You know, stereotypically, we're supposed to have a fine grasp of irony over here, but Mr Thompson seems to be sadly lacking.

Yes, the P2P-hacking-immunity thing is ridiculous, but a) it's just as ridiculous in the US and b) defending against it, for someone in Europe, is no different from defending against Ukrainian hackers, who've been around a lot longer and aren't exactly overladen with respect for the law. The Internet's survived.

There are so many other straw men and general logical fallacies I can't even be bothered to work through them all. I'll just address this one last point, cuz it seems quite central:

"Many will see this as a loss of freedom, but the freedom they value so much is also the freedom to act irresponsibly, to undermine civil authorities and to escape liability."

I like that freedom to act irresponsibly. It's called free will.

Freedom to act irresponsibly is something we all have, every day of our lives, in the real world that Thompson wants to be our guide. It might be illegal sometimes, but we can do it. Ditto for undermining civil authorities.

We can't guarantee we will escape liability for these things. But the same goes for the Internet: Does he not realise ISPs have log files? Just like in the real world, there is Evidence online. Hell, the EU has mandated these logs must be preserved for 7 years just in case!

Thompson appears to want to build an RIAA-friendly Minority Report-esque thoughcrime prevention Internet. One where it will not be possible to act "irresponsibly", by using a complex web of digital keys that must verify we are permitted to make our every move. This is supposed to protect us from "American imperialism"? Bwahahahahaha!

#Comment made: 2002-08-16 02:49:05+00 by: meuon

Yes. It is a troll. He's gone to an extreme to make some points. It's supposed to make you think and he did that.

#Comment made: 2002-08-16 16:10:14+00 by: canis

Make me think about what? What a lousy article it was? I'd rather be thinking about ways to organise people against lousy implementations of the EUCD and educate people about what's going on in these areas. Things that, frankly, were on my mind already.

Anyway, I'm off for the weekend to visit friends. Seeya Monday :)