Last Monday, during my first cup of coffee, I wrote a brief piece titled "Toward a Technology Bill of Rights." It contained a few basic ideas that had been bouncing around in my head for a while, but it was by no means exhaustive. It got picked up on Slashdot and other places, and I was deluged with e-mails, comments, criticism, and praise. Had I known the distance that piece would travel, I probably would have had another cup of coffee before writing it.
But the specifics of this idea certainly isn't set in stone, and it's supposed to create public discussion -- so that part worked. I've had more time to think about it and to read the comments and e-mails, so I think some clarification and expansion is in order.
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I really liked the idea of patterning something such as this on the Five Laws of Library Science, and I think that in a perfect world, those might be sufficient. I also fully agree with the comments that the last thing we need are more laws, and what I've outlined could either be covered by existing laws or handled by mere common sense. However, we live in an ever more litigous world, and common sense is more expensive now than ever -- and somehow even rarer. That's why I think that these rights need to be explicitly spelled out. They also need significant clarification. This whole writing of laws thing is pretty tough, believe it or not.