North American Network Operators Group

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Re: On Internet and social responsibility

  • From: Joel Baker
  • Date: Mon Sep 17 15:34:14 2001

On Mon, Sep 17, 2001 at 12:10:40PM -0700, David Schwartz wrote:
> On Mon, 17 Sep 2001 09:08:51 -0400, Greg Mirsky wrote:
> >Or perhaps you're more tolerable to Chechen terrorists using American
> >info-space then if it would be bin Laden using it? Would your company
> >host a site that posts Laden's fatwahs (sp?)? Would you provide them
> >with 24*7 customer support? If not, please try to explain to me, where's
> >difference?
>  No, I wouldn't. The difference is, my company is mine and it's my right
> to choose what speech I wish to carry over my network. Another network
> carrying someone else's speech is not mine, and the principle of freedom
> of speech demands that I not use my government as a club to suppress the
> speech of others.
>  I realize this might be considered a complex distinction by people not
> from this country. But it's absolutely fundamental to the philosophical
> principles on which America was founded. Foreigners sometimes think it's
> nutty.

Another fairly important point to it - a US company also has every right
to limit what you can say with their service (by AUPs, etc) in the contract
you sign to obtain service. Censorship beyond this is a matter of breach,
rather than First Amendment rights. Just as you are not guaranteed any sort
of audience, you also aren't guaranteed a podium from which to speak, in
most cases (there are certain specific exceptions to this, of course).

IANAL, of course. File complaints with the relevant RFC-specified addresses
at the carrier, if you believe it to be in violation of their AUP, or in
criminal violation of libel laws (please note that slander is only spoken,
not written, and libel has a fairly specific definition; if you don't know,
you shouldn't be claiming this without retaining legal counsel, yadda yadda
Joel Baker                           System Administrator -
[email protected]