November 03, 2003

On Diebold: The DMCA Is An Anti-Freedom-Of-Information-Act

Inspired by all that's been going on with the Diebold Election Systems / Swarthmore story today, such as NYT: File Sharing Pits Copyright Against Free Speech, and Online Policy Group v. Diebold case archive:

People are told to think of the DMCA as an "anti-piracy" law. It's supposed to stop copyright infringement. But in terms of implications, the DMCA is an anti-freedom-of-information-act. It's turned into an all-purpose gag-order tool. The reason is stated to be infringement - but it's very easy for that reason to turn into an excuse. This is the exact same phenomena as when material is improperly classified as "secret". The ostensible reason is protecting national security, but too often in reality it's hiding government incompetence or corruption. Except that now, "copyright infringement" works much better in certain contexts than "national security".

Consider this - the process of voting is perhaps the most fundamental aspect of a functioning democracy. And yet, we're expected to accept that we are not permitted to check and monitor the mechanics by which the votes are being counted. It's "secret balloting", in a very negative sense! Rather than control the votes, it's control of the vote-counting machines.

By Seth Finkelstein | posted in copyblight , politics , security | on November 03, 2003 04:47 PM (Infothought permalink) | Followups
Seth Finkelstein's Infothought blog (Wikipedia, Google, censorware, and an inside view of net-politics) - Syndicate site (subscribe, RSS)

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