Susan Crawford wrote an item in her blog entitled "Apple and bloggers" in which she suggests that the protection of blogging (and free speech in general) is more worthy of protection when that speech is being used as part of a "democratic process" than it is if the speech is merely being used in a commercial setting.
That's a nice distinction but one that I believe is not viable.
The problem is that we are in an era of outsourcing - in particular we are are in an era in which governments are outsourcing their authority into private hands.
Here in California we observed the flow of authority over electrical utilities into the hands of companies such as Enron and Duke - an outflow that has cost us billions of dollars.
And ICANN is a prime example of how the US Department of Commerce (and its NTIA) have outsourced governmental powers - an outflow that has cost users of the internet their privacy and hundreds of millions of dollars wasted on price supported domain name fees.
There is no reason to expect governments to stop outsourcing their powers; it would be wrong to draw a line that protects those who who write about the abuse of power by those clearly in government while leaving unprotected those who write about the same wrongs committed by a nominally private body that is exercising outsourced governmental powers.Posted by karl at March 7, 2005 1:46 AM