Comments: FBI asks US Congress to repeal laws of physics

If it is a law of physics, why worry?

Posted by Twan at June 20, 2004 08:56 AM

:-) Because society will have to pay the cost of the legislation. All legislation costs. In this case, it sets up a barrier to entry for new innovations, and causes an old uneconomic model to extract more rents from the people.

The cost will be in the lost benefit of the new innovations, and the deadloss of the expenditure in old model rentals.

! Against that should be measured the benefit. I'm unsure I can find a benefit to society in these proposals, so I'll set it to zero.

It's clearly not (for example) better and more widespread entertainment, or better or more telephony, which would be valuable. Instead, this legislation represents the reverse, as they supporters are trying to stop competitors doing precisely that.

It's not the access to 911 emergency services, as that is slowly being provided by the VOIP operators at their own choice.

It might be the jobs of the industry. So it is a transfer scheme or a subsidy.

Posted by Iang at June 20, 2004 08:58 AM

Hi Ian,

Sure, it is as plausible as it is extended ;-)

But that was not what I intended to imply and you made your point already clear. I meant to say that if it is a law of physics, then in spite of politics, legislation, and/or economics, things will return back to their "natural state". And may be your "law of physics" has a much larger scope, which includes the cost of not-learning.

I think that calling upon law of physics is not a very effective rethorical device. Especially when it doesn't have any bearing on physics as such.

Much to my pleasant suprise, the questioning comments of the politicians, as quoted in the ZDNet article, are a judicious application of the proportionality principle. And that seems to be much more effective in raising doubt over the FBI's and DOJ's lobby, as these questioning comments are quite understandable by everybody. US voters included.

And then the argument invoking the inhibition of innovation sounds much better.



Posted by Twan at June 20, 2004 09:28 AM

Indeed, things will return to the natural state, so if you consider this just a cost of learning, then I suppose we have to pay the cost.

Your aversion to physics I'll put down to the Dutch predeliction of making water flow up hill... :-) By physics as an image, we more mean the inventions of the day - the phonograph made mass production music a possibility, and it also made copyright a commercial possibility. In contrast, about a century later, the MP3 player and the net made copyright a commercial dead weight.

As to voters, I'm surprised that you bring them up. What have they got to do with it?


Posted by Iang at June 20, 2004 01:04 PM

You write: 'Why doesn't the DoJ and its primary arm, the FBI "get it?"' Unfortunately, the only correct answer to that would be a political one.

Posted by Axel at June 21, 2004 10:13 AM

Oh, and just for reference: the German government had plans to have all telecom providers keep their connection data for up to three years and to have them create wiretapping capabilities for the authorities on their own paylist. Funny enough, we have proven more liberal for now.

Posted by Axel at June 21, 2004 10:21 AM
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