As a law professor, Susan Crawford is better placed than most to warn of the dangers of allowing the government to make decisions instead of making decisions for ourselves.
In her talk at the Freedom To Connect conference, she warned everyone invoved in the Internet that we all have to grow up (as ISPCON’s Jon Price might say) and start making our own decisions.
She said we should not be eager to give away what we have, warning, ”A digital bill of rights assumes that someone has the power to cut those rights off.”
Psychology might explain our inability to seize control ourselves. She said humans feel a need for control and planning, but the future, by its nature cannot be predicted (a little bit of Toffler in that comment, perhaps). She challenged attendees to look at the whole picture, to reach beyond their specializations.
She said government may take charge of the details, but the big picture must remain human and individualistic.
”We need to tell our government: You’re in charge of the atoms — you need to deal with food and chemicals and health care. But you are not in charge of our minds and our culture.”
She said politicians and old industries find interests in alignment with calls for regulation of access (telecoms), of content (media), and of applications (law enforcement).
She warned that people are also looking to the government for solutions to problems like porn and spyware, hoping to get a government mandate for filters. VoIP apps are running into the same regulatory twitch of dinosaur industries.