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GILC Submission to W3C re PICSRules (2)
- To: email@example.com
- Subject: GILC Submission to W3C re PICSRules (2)
- From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Rigo Wenning)
- Date: Wed, 17 Dec 1997 12:22:52 +0100 (CET)
- Comment: This message comes from the debate mailing list.
- Sender: email@example.com
Hier nun die Reaktion des W3C auf die Erklärung
FITUG e.V. Förderkreis Informationstechnik und Gesellschaft
>Date: Mon, 15 Dec 1997 17:56:34 -0500
>From: Dave Banisar <firstname.lastname@example.org>
>Subject: fwd> Re: GILC Submission to W3C re PICSRules
>To: Global Internet Liberty Campaign <email@example.com>
>>Date: Mon, 15 Dec 1997 17:39:10 -0500
>>From: "Joseph M. Reagle Jr." <firstname.lastname@example.org>
>>Subject: Re: Re: GILC Submission to W3C re PICSRules
>>Forwarded Text ----
>> From: "GILC-Plan" <email@example.com>
>> Subject: Re: Re: GILC Submission to W3C re PICSRules
>> To: "Joseph M. Reagle Jr." <firstname.lastname@example.org> (by way of Michael Baker
>> Date: Mon, 15 Dec 1997 17:20:50 -0500
>> -------------------- Original Message Follows --------------------
>> Mr. Baker,
>> Thankyou for the very well presented concerns regarding PICS and PICSRules.
>> >* Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights explicitly
>> >protects freedom of expression for all and specifically the "freedom to
>> >hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart
>> >information and ideas through any media".
>> Understood, however, this issue is a problematic one:
>> Does my country have a right to filter what I see?
>> The norms for what is considered to be appropriate speech across nations and
>> cultures obviously varies. The W3C is not the proper organization for
>> resolving cultural differences. However, some of these differences have been
>> addressed by a number of international organizations. The following
>> quotation demonstrates that international treaties on civil rights actually
>> have provisions for restricting certain types of speech:
>> Americans don't rely solely on the First Amendment for guidelines on freedom
>> of expression, according to Ann Ginger of the Meiklejohn Civil Liberties
>> Institute. Also on the books are:
>> The Genocide Convention Implementation Act, 18 USC Sec.1091 CHAPTER 50A:
>> Passed in 1987 by the U.S. Senate, the act made it a crime to try to destroy
>> people on the basis of race, creed or religious orientation. More
>> significantly, the act also criminalized direct public incitement to
>> genocide, such as hate speech.
>> Article 20 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights:
>> Passed by the U.S. Senate, it became effective Sept. 8, 1992. The covenant
>> prohibits any propaganda for war, as well as "any advocacy of national,
>> racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination,
>> hostility or violence.
>> >* This principle has been reaffirmed in multiple international
>> >agreements, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political
>> See Article 20. My point being it is not our place to determine what
>> is the proper use or exercise of free speech.
>> >* PICSRules 1.1 have been developed for, or can be used for, the
>> >purposes of:
>> > - preventing individuals from using the Internet to exchange
>> >information on topics that may be controversial or unpopular,
>> > - enabling the development of country profiles to facilitate a
>> >global/universal rating system desired by governments,
>> This is not our intent, though we have been very frank in stating
>> that PICS technology could be used in such a way. Not that we advise or
>> endorse this. Our intent has been the exchange of preference files,
>> (particularly when it comes to privacy) and to continue to enable user
>> empowerment on the Web.
>> >* PICSRules 1.1 go far beyond the original objective of PICS to
>> >empower Internet users to control what they and those under their care
>> >access. They further facilitate the implementation of server/
>> >proxy-based filtering thus providing a more simplified means of
>> >enabling upstream censorship, beyond the control of the end user.
>> Some form of trust management (how to make decisions given meta-data, certs,
>> vouchers, digitally signed statements, etc.) has long been a part of our
>> work on meta-data. Lorrie Cranor did a good job of explaining this on the
>> Fight Censhorship list.
>> >We draw to W3C's attention that:
>> >* similar techniques that block Internet sites have prevented access
>> >to innocuous speech, either by deliberate intent, through oversight,
>> >or as a result of ignorance of the infrastructure of the Web,
>> This is lamentable/unfortunate, and I'm always glad to see people such as
>> yourselves call those organizations on it.
>> >climate of confidence for the furtherance of electronic commerce. In
>> >fact, filtering and rating systems intended for the protection of
>> >minors have proven inefficient and counter-productive,
>> I am not sure I would agree with this.
>> >* the ability of community organisations to develop a ratings system
>> >applicable to their values, a stated original intent of PICS, is not
>> >enhanced by the complex, albeit sophisticated, language of PICSRules
>> PICSRules implies that there will be multiple systems, preferences,
>> and ways of selecting/blocking content. I think one of the most outstanding
>> difficulty with filtering systems today is there lack of transparency (the
>> user can't see what is going on.) The product, rating system, or the method
>> for including sites in a white list or black list are biased. Consequently,
>> efforts to remove cultural biases from rating systems and to make them
>> clear, unbiased, and simple can be a good thing IMHO. I think the PICSRules
>> is supportive of point 5 of the EFF guidelines (though you would obviously
>> criticize it with respect to points 11 and 12.):
>> >even a cursory analysis of PICSRules 1.1 indicates that the likelihood
>> >of community organisations developing complex profiles is slim. The
>> >necessary expertise is more likely to be acquired by governments
>> >seeking to restrict access to content and inhibit freedom of
>> Hopefully, you would just set your preferences in a nice GUI, them
>> dump them to a file, we have working test code that does this at the W3C.
>> >It seems apparent that PICSRules have been developed in response to
>> >calls from governments who seek a more efficient and effective
>> >technological means of restricting human-to-human communications.
>> I do not believe this is the case.
>> >proposed in the UK, Australia, USA. The ability of governments to
>> >restrict access and freedom of expression through the use of firewalls
>> >/proxies will be enhanced by the adoption of PICSRules 1.1.
>> Again, on a pragmatic level, this could be done without
>> PICSRules.Thought has been given by various entities to PICS rating systems
>> translators have already been given some attention. Regardless, a question
>> to ask ones-self when presented with the options of
>> 1. a government stating they will pass a law which makes various entities
>> liable or that content must be suppressed at the source
>> 2. or a government stating that you should/must use a specific preference
>> when browsing the Web
>> which is better?
>> I believe that your position is that Australia or other countries would do
>> the first, and the policy would be bad, but unactionable. The net gain is
>> that the law on the books would be moot, its implementation would be
>> impracticable, and "free speech" is not practically hindered. With
>> PICSRules, the policy itself may be less onerous, but the practical impact
>> would be troublesome. My response to this is that this is a pragmatic issue
>> of assessing the likelihood of various outcomes, where others may actually
>> disagree with you. Second, it is not the position of the W3C at this point
>> to try to weigh these various outcomes in the many different cultures and
>> jurisdictions that want to use the Web and to make value judgements about
>> which is better. Though I will say that such an analysis did seem to be the
>> reason PICS was started in the US/CDA context (and now that the SC struck
>> down the CDA, people's assessment of the balance and slipperiness of certain
>> outcomes is changing.) Also, the people working on the technology probably
>> make these types of judgements for themselves, personally. I can't speak for
>> them, but for myself, and I think for most of the people, are still trying
>> to push client side, self empowering type solutions.
>> >However, once there is a global rating system, people in Sweden, Brazil,
>> >USA, or wherever, will be able to rate material with that rating system.
>> I think the global rating system is of concern in your context given
>> the pragmatic assessments you make, but is not something the W3C is
>> responsible for and is orthogonal to PICSRules. Also, we are not in the
>> position to publicly question and judge the motivations of our members. Work
>> is produced according to typical W3C process, there has to be a fair amount
>> of interest and consensus.
>> >In view of the above, we oppose the proposed adoption of PICSRules 1.1
>> >on the grounds that they will provide a tool for widespread global
>> >censorship, which will conflict with W3C's mission to "realize the
>> >full potential of the Web...as an efficient human-human communications
>>End Forwarded Text ----