Re: TECH: Is PICS a threat to Free Speech?

Bobby Whalen (
Sat, 28 Jun 1997 11:33:43 PDT

Lee Daniel Crocker wrote
>Freedom of expression does not give one the right to force others to
>listen if they don't want to. A PICS labelling bureau can evaluate
>any site by any criteria it wants, and subscribers can choose any
>bureau they want and choose to filter on any ratings they want. That
>is not by any stretch of the dictionary "censorship"; it is enabling
>the user to make his own choices; after all, his right to listen to
>only what he wants is every bit as valid as your right to say what
>you want. I am a free speech radical absolutist, but if you want to
>put me in your killfile, I have no right to complain, nor do I have
>any right to know that you have done so or why. A PICS bureau is no
>different. If they choose to label a site "adult", they are under no
>obligation to explain, inform, or grant any recourse. They are only
>exercising /their/ free speech to evaluate and label.
>I'd like to start a PICS bureau that labelled sites for "cluefulness",
>so that users could filter out various levels of idiocy.
It seems we have a misunderstanding. I know that the intent of PICS is
to give the user freedom to filter whatever they want. And that is not
my concern. My point is that I have heard that PICS can be used to
censor OTHER people! The idea for PICS came from the concern of parents
as to what they want their children to view on the net. Since PICS is
intended to be built into the infrastructure, it could also be used by
any third party (such as the chineese government), to censor other
people from what they can and cannot see. At least this is what I've
heard - and thats why I made this post in the first place.

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