Förderverein Informationstechnik und Gesellschaft

Fretting about the future, lost liberty

Fretting about the future, lost liberty

By Declan McCullagh

April 7, 2003, 5:45 AM PT

NEW YORK--About 250 activists gathered here last week to mourn lost Internet liberty and worry about what the future may hold.

At the 13th annual Computers, Freedom and Privacy (CFP) conference, attendees fretted about shrinking privacy, growing online censorship, and their reduced ability to make "fair use" of music, video and software girded with anticopying technologies. Events included panels with titles such as "Terrorizing Rights" and enthusiastic condemnations of corporate miscreants. Anger and alarm characterized the mood.

What many CFPers failed to recognize, however, is the tremendous difference between actions by governments and those undertaken by corporations. I've seen this view among other technologists as well, and it's based on a misconception that's commonplace.

We should be most worried about government infringements of our civil liberties. [...]