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[ NNSquad ] Re: Mall's Wi-Fi blocks "adult" content
- To: email@example.com
- Subject: [ NNSquad ] Re: Mall's Wi-Fi blocks "adult" content
- From: PK <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Date: Tue, 30 Nov 2010 16:57:01 +0100
- Reply-to: email@example.com
Sorry guys, I agree with the mall, they don't want to accumulate pervs
who are sitting on benches in their mall, downloading porn in plain view
of their customers and any kids that walk by.
This kind of loaded comment loses sight of the difference between legal and
illegal acts. People who act illegally in the mall run the risk of arrest
or other legal action; and if what people do isn't illegal, who are you to
say they shouldn't do it? (Incidentally, is there any evidence to support
your fear? Such as reliable reports of people who've been successfully
tried for illegal Internet activities in places with open wifi? How many?)
If what people are doing is legal, even if it's distasteful to someone
else, they may do it: that's how we, in our society, are supposed to
distinguish between what we permit and what we don't. Some other societies
don't make that distinction; we call them autocratic. If you want to limit
free expression and access to legal services, do that frankly: don't muddy
the waters with excuses about "pervs in the mall".
That's the slippery slope: approving limitations on behavior because you
also chance to fear that distasteful -- if quite legal -- things might
happen. Each little step leads downhill to another, and you end up with
frankly, repulsively, repressive measures. History, including very recent
history, abounds with examples.
If a provider of open wifi acts as an arbiter of legal use, why not take
the next step: no Fox at this mall, only MSNBC and Al-Jazeera? Or the full
Monty: DPI, no anti-abortion websites, no Skype, no Google, injected ads
for the mall on every web page? All map site references resolve to a floor
plan of the mall? After all, the free wifi user hasn't paid for access, so
obviously has no complaint about its outcome!
That might all be perfectly legal within the mall, but it's still the
slippery slope, and we shouldn't suffer it gladly. On the contrary.
[ Here's a thought experiment. If a mall offered free telephone
service for their patrons around the mall, through handsets
placed at various locations, would similar restrictions be
acceptable? If a customer tried to call a local abortion clinic
or an "adult toys" store from one of those phones, would it be
reasonable for the system to cut in and say, "I'm sorry, we will
not complete your call as dialed, since we consider the business
you are calling to not meet our ethical standards -- CLUNK." ?
Is this fundamentally different from the Wi-Fi situation? Even
more to the point, what if you were trying to call a store in
the mall itself when this happened?
-- Lauren Weinstein
NNSquad Moderator ]