The Null Device

David Touretsky, of DeCSS gallery fame, on why the DeCSS decision sets a frightening precedent:
The judge decided to invent a new category of speech that does not enjoy First Amendment protection. Besides the old standards (libel, fraud, obscenity, incitement to riot and copyright infringement), the court's new category is, essentially, "anything that potentially threatens the profits of Time Warner and Disney."
In the long run, what the motion-picture and music industries want to do is take control of your hardware. They want everything encrypted: the disk drive, the monitor, even the wires that run between them. What they're doing gradually is outlawing all forms of reverse engineering... I think we're headed toward a dangerous time. There aren't going to be telephones, radio and televisions -- it will be one device. Unless the right kind of people take up arms, the government is going to say that you can't just hook up any computer to the Net. Only trusted machines can be hooked up. You could be running an approved version of Windows, or if you're using Linux, you would have to run a specific version of TCP/IP.
Now, the implications of this are as follows. If the government has a compelling interest in suppressing DeCSS, doesn't it have a far more compelling interest in protecting our innocent young children from the hideous scourge of illegal drugs? And therefore, shouldn't our wise leaders be allowed to suppress speech that might serve to facilitate the manufacture or use of these drugs?

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