The coming robot apocalypse
Posted Sep 13, 2012 13:06 UTC (Thu) by bfields
In reply to: The coming robot apocalypse
Parent article: The coming robot apocalypse
I've also found James Boyle's 1997 article Foucault In Cyberspace has helped me think about these things.
The basic idea as I understand it: the fight to keep the net free from Big Brother has tended to miss the more subtle but more effective strategy of putting enforcement in private hands:
If one saw these technological transformations as mainly a threat to both the copyright owner and the enforcement power of the state, how would one respond, particularly if one took seriously the difficulties in policing that the Internet trinity points out? One would try to focus on building the regime into the architecture of transactions in the first place -- both technically and economically -- rather than policing the transactions after the fact. Thus one might seek out private actors involved in providing Net services who are not quite as mobile as the flitting and frequently anonymous inhabitants of cyberspace. In this case, the parties chosen were the Internet Service Providers. One would pin liability on them and leave it up to them to prevent copyright infringement through technical surveillance, tagging and so on, and to spread the cost of the remaining copyright infringement over all the users of their service, rather than all the purchasers of the product in question.
By enlisting these nimbler, technologically savvy players as one's private police, one would also gain another advantage; freedom from some of the constitutional and other restraints that would burden the state were it to act directly. Intrusions into privacy, automatic scrutiny of e-mail, curtailing of fair use rights so as to make sure that no illicit content was being carried; all of these would occur in the private realm, far from the scrutiny of public law.
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