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Helen Kelley
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I agree that Google likes to purport that it is a socially conscious company with its "Don't Be Evil" slogan. But I would disagree to even the possibility of it acting like a state actor of the United States since Google acquiesced to China's demand that the search engine remove any mention of the 1989 Tienanmen Square protests and other sensitive keywords on China's blacklist--against the wishes of the U.S. Government (NYT Mag, Google's China Problem 4-23-06). Though Google tries to spin its decision as the lesser of two evils, saying in an official statement "while removing search results is inconsistent with Google's mission, providing no information... is more inconsistent with our mission," it is hard to imagine that China's large market and increased competition from Baidu, a Beijing based search engine, didn't contribute to Google's decision (BBC News, Google Censors itself for China 1-25-06).
I agree with you in part; how could someone who has an opinion on an issue only want to be heard in one medium, when another medium may spread their ideas to an even larger audience? But on the other hand; what most people are willing to discuss with their peers, they might not be so keen to talk about with their mothers. My point is that those bloggers, who refused to be named, might have had other interest (like their reputation) that outweighed their opinion on a particular topic or maybe they were just fooling around and their feelings didn’t really reflect what they posted. If it was me, I would not have used quotes that I could not attribute to a person. Attributing to a persona, like you did, may have been accurate, but I wonder what value a persona’s opinion has. I agree that online discussion forums are like public forums, except in one important respect, anonymity. Should anonymous bloggers be forced to identify themselves- no, in my opinion. The rules are different, just as the styles are different, for each medium. This is a difficulty we all face in switching between two seemingly similar, yet different mediums.
Toggle Commented Jan 24, 2007 on Electronic Expectations of Privacy at Cairns Blog
How can hackers' speech be limited if they live "off the grid" and "do as they please" anyway? Hackers in the shadows aren't the audience I imagine public forum rules to be targeted towards either. First of all, I'm saying that accountability would only be required in those specific places designated as public forums (not private spaces), for the purpose of encouraging thoughtful speech and expression and preventing harmful or even dangerous actions. Furthermore public figures, especially government officials, would be less protected from claims of insult and injury than other members of the community--as they already are in real life. Finally, while I think it's important for laws to evolve with the times, I also think human intent largely remains the same, which is why I hope you can distinguish between the significance of a pie in the face and the federalist papers, common sense, or a burning flag. Not all speech is worthy of being protected speech.
Toggle Commented Jan 19, 2007 on Return of the Flying Penises at Cairns Blog