Re: Singularity: can't happen here

From: Charlie Stross (
Date: Sun Sep 09 2001 - 06:24:34 MDT

On Sun, Sep 09, 2001 at 04:20:06AM -0700, Samantha Atkins wrote:
> Bull. If the War on Drugs has taught us anything it has taught
> us that government goons can barge into our homes any time of
> day or night, with or without identifying themselves, and cart
> of whatever they wish that they might claim as "evidence". They
> can even freeze your accounts and sell off your goods so you
> can't buy too good legal protection with your supposed
> ill-gotten gains. They have been known to do similiar things
> in IRS enforcement. For many classes of crimes the citizen is
> effectively guilty until proven innocent. The supposed DMCA and
> other IP related laws are shaping up to be just as nastily
> enforced.

I just did something I never expected to have to do ...

Back in my youth, I made a career error and ended up qualifying as a
pharmacist. It took me a couple of years thereafter to realise how bad a
mistake this was for me, go back into academia, get a degree in something
I was _interested_ in (computer science), and start a new career.

I've just sent a preliminary enquiry to the Royal Pharmaceutical Society,
asking about regulatory and educational requirements I'd need to meet
to go back into the profession. (I've got the Pharmacy degree and the
sheepskin to prove I'm allowed to deal in heroin and cocaine in the
course of my lawful business, but I've been out of it for a decade and
times have changed.)

My reason?

I detested being a pharmacist. It damn near gave me a nervous breakdown
before I realised that I had the option of jacking it in and doing
something else instead. But if this law ends up going through, it's
liable to kill my preferred profession stone dead. I need to be able
to earn a living, and counting pills is better paid than secretarial work.

Lest you think I'm exaggerating, consider that the implications of the
SSSCA bill would make it an offense to use a compiler or development
tools that _could_ circumvent a protection device. Can you spell "licensed
software engineer"? With random spot inspections to ensure that you're
not using any uncertified, dangerous, free software tools?

This bill can't be allowed to go through and spread world-wide: it would
be a catastrophe.

-- Charlie

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