RE: [Full-Disclosure] RE: [ISN] DARPA pulls OpenBSD funding

From: Ed Carp (erc@pobox.com)
Date: 04/19/03

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    From: "Ed Carp" <erc@pobox.com>
    To: "Blue Boar" <BlueBoar@thievco.com>, <jasonc@science.org>
    Date: Sat, 19 Apr 2003 14:25:12 -0500
    

    > > Free speech means the government cannot put you in jail for the
    > things you say
    > > or believe.
    >
    > I disagree. I have no way to know what the current legal definition of
    > free speech is, or to what point the first ammendment has currently been
    > eroded. It says something to the effect of "Congress shall make no law"
    > ... "abridging the freedom of speech..."

    It doesn't matter if you disagree or not - Congress and the Supreme Court
    get todecide what 'free speech" is, not you or I or anyone else on this
    list.

    > I was taught that what that means is that my government doesn't get to
    > limit what I say about my government.

    Then you were taught incorrectly.

    > I think it does. (Though withdrawing non-entitled funds does not
    > neccessarily constitute "creating hardship".) You think the government
    > should be allowed to harrass people that say things it doesn't
    > like at will?

    Pulling a contract is harassment? I don't think so.

    > So the government *should* be able to pull (discretionary) funding at
    > random from any group, if someone in power doesn't like the political
    > opinion of anyone associated with that group?

    Yes. It's not a question of whether or not someone doesn't like what a
    political group says, but whether or not that speech is perceived to put the
    goals of that project at risk. By Theo shooting off his mouth to the press
    like an idiot, he raised the risk that he, or someone else on the project,
    would do something that would be incompatible to the goals of the project
    funding, and that raised the risk to what the DoD perceived to be an
    unacceptable level. So, they pulled the funding. They're not stupid.

    > You don't think that this might have a slight chilling affect on groups
    > that don't match well with the current party in power? You don't think
    > that might give a slight advantage to groups that are associated with the
    > current party in power?

    Not at all. If you take the government's money, you play by their rules.
    That also implies that you don't trash the hand that's feeding you. If you
    were hired by IBM, then started trashing them in public, how long do you
    think you'd have a job there?

    > How about instead... for a case like this, we allow the funding decisions
    > to be made on technical merit, and allow all parties involved to hold
    > whatever political opinion they like? Perhaps stop it just short of
    > allowing the government to fund groups that are opening working towards
    > violent overthrow or something?

    But that's not how funding decisions are made, nor should they be. Funding
    decisions are made based not only on technical merit, but also on the risk
    that the company or individual is going to do something to you that's
    incompatible with the project's goals.

    > By my thinking free speech means protecting speech you *don't* like.

    That's not what freedom of speech is about. The courts have long since
    delineated what freedom of speech is all about. I suggest you go to
    findlaw.com and read a few of the first amendment cases to get up to speed
    on what free speech is all about from the court's point of view.

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