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Politech is the oldest Internet resource devoted to politics and technology. Launched in 1994 by Declan McCullagh, the mailing list has chronicled the growing intersection of law, culture, technology, and politics. Since 2000, so has the Politech web site.

Request for help from reader: Government urges to control new technologies?

[Forwarded with permission. --Declan]

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: getting a reader pointed in the right direction
Date: Thu,  9 Jun 2005 10:42:46 -0500
From: Andrew Harrison <andrewh@rice.edu>
To: Declan McCullagh <declan@well.com>


I've been reading Politech since I was 15, but never guessed I'd have 
any reason
to email you. Unfortunately, this isn't news but a request for a small 
I'm a rising junior at Rice University in Texas interested in writing a
political critique. Specifically, I'd like to address the nature and
implications of government intervention in emerging technology.

After meditating on many of the Politech posts that have made my hair 
stand on
end, I began to wonder what precedents exist for the US government's 
style of
information control. Censorship has been thriving for a while, as has
registering and tracking citizens, but another style of information 
control may
not have had a strong presence since the Church's quarrel with Galileo: 
of the means of progress.

The modern US government draws a significant amount of political 
strength from
its role of gatekeeper. Intellectual property rights cases, collaboration
between the MPAA and the government, and legislation such as the DMCA 
have all
been Politech topics that indicate a trend; whenever a *new* technology 
in the general population, the government quickly assumes a 
responsibility for
controlling it in some way -- all too often deeming it dangerous and banning
its use or providing constraints for citizens. Conversely, there's 
rarely such
a hue and cry in the government channels about technologies initiated from
within the government itself.

If you know of any writings offhand that relate to this topic, or anyone 
has interest in such a topic, please point me in that direction. Since your
time is at a premium, whatever assistance you can offer would be welcomed

Keep up the incredible work!


andrew harrison
rice philharmonics: business mgr.

x1401 / cell 601.201.7777
rm 112 old hanszen

open door. open mind. open heart.

Posted by Declan McCullagh on Jun 10, 2005 in category economics

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