[ExI] to my fellow renaissance life forms

Ben Zaiboc ben at zaiboc.net
Sun Aug 15 10:49:21 UTC 2021

On 15/08/2021 05:50, John Grigg wrote:
> BillW wrote:
> "My first thought is scientific studies being hampered by government 
> regulations (though I am ignorant as to what these might be - I seem 
> to recall that they eased up on stem cell research)."
> And what about crypto?

Scientific studies being hampered by government regulations
Regulatory bodies interfering with cryptocurrencies

No, I'm thinking about more fundamental things than these. Going back to 
what BillK said, "Whatever is required to maintain power structures will 
be applied". Whenever anything appears that threatens to take existing 
power away from a group that holds it, there will be attempts to 
suppress, deny, outlaw, demonise, ridicule or distract from, it. This 
includes all types of power - political, economic, religious, 
ideological, etc.

The above examples are just results of this principle. Tackling them at 
that individual level won't work. At best, it will result in some 
crippled version of whatever it is, being tolerated to some degree, 
until it becomes obsolete and the battle has to be fought all over again 
for it's successor. Look at home-taping & copying of music for an 
example. Is the normal consumer any better off, after all the battles 
over the years, about being able to own, and do what you like with, the 
music you buy?

Things seem to be getting worse instead of better. Farmers can't fix 
their own broken tractors, musicians are afraid to make music for fear 
of being sued, you can end up in jail for taking apart your games 
console.. And don't get me started on books. Remember the painfully 
ironic episode when Amazon denied access to "1984" on the Kindle? 
(actually, not just denied access, but forcibly deleted it from anyone 
who had it).

Read 'Unauthorised Bread' by Cory Doctorow, for a depiction of the world 
we're rapidly heading towards (If you think this is far-fetched, have a 
look here: https://doctorow.medium.com/unauthorized-cups-2d838f20529, 
for a real-world example).

Sites like 'Defective by Design' (https://www.defectivebydesign.org/) 
have many examples of things like this, and the only 'progress' we see, 
is individual problems being superficially solved. Amazon have said they 
won't delete books from people's Kindles anymore. They haven't said 
they'll provably remove the ability to do such things from their 
products. They're simply reacting to bad publicity, doing the least they 
can get away with, before reverting back to business as usual.

Here's a quote from an executive at Disney, from 2005:

"If consumers even know there's a DRM, what it is, and how it works, 
we've already failed."
—Peter Lee, Disney Executive in an interview with The Economist in 2005.

This is the attitude that big corporations have towards their customers, 
it's the same attitude that governments have towards their citizens.

We know what happens when you treat symptoms one at a time instead of 
tackling the underlying cause.

I'm not saying I have any answers, I'm saying let's state the 
fundamental problems, instead of enumerating the myriad results they 
lead to, like lethal runaway bureaucracy, Digital Restrictions, 
copyright abuse, mass spying on your own people, etc., etc., etc.


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