Category: 5. Public Policy
Posted by: mychilocline
Under existing law, ownership of data – the right to access, use, or sell data – is tied to the ownership of the computer used to access, create, or manipulate data. If you access your email at work – even if you are using a personal email account online – your employer has the right to read it. That is, your employer has the right to read your love letters and personal correspondence. If your data is stored even temporarily on someone else’s machine – whether at work, at school, or at a friend’s house – they have a right to read your data; and legal rights to the data may be a subject of some debate. Ownership of data is, as a general rule, linked with the computer used to access or manipulate the data.

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Category: 5. Public Policy
Posted by: mychilocline
We are seeing the emergence of the new middleman – Microsoft, AOL, Google, eBay, PayPal, and MySpace. In order to interact in the Virtual World, we depend upon them. They are our liaisons. Yet, our increasing reliance upon others comes at a price, the loss of a degree of control over our lives.

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Category: 5. Public Policy
Posted by: mychilocline
Hidden cameras will watch how consumers respond to displays and advertising. Police officers will monitor public spaces, as they do in London (1). “Please pick up your trash, sir.” Cell-phone companies will track your movements.


In the future, on every street light, in front of every house, and behind every advertisement, there will be surveillance cameras. Surveillance will be everywhere.

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Category: 5. Public Policy
Posted by: mychilocline
There is a growing need for social and economic regulation in virtual environments. In order to address this need, corporations are defining and enforcing rules of user conduct. In this way, the Rule of Law is being replaced by “Terms of Use” and “User Code of Conduct” in online environments. This is unacceptable. In the future, it will be necessary to extend the Rule of Law to Virtual Space.

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Category: 5. Public Policy
Posted by: mychilocline
The Case for a National Internet Sales Tax

States are aggressively implementing new tax policies aimed at generating revenue by taxing online commerce. In California, for example, all online purchases are subject to either California Sales Tax (for in State purchases) or a “use” tax (for out of State purchases). If you are from the State of California and you made out of State online purchases, in which you were not charged California State Sales Tax, you are subject to a “use” tax, to “make up” for the revenue the State of California would have received had you made the purchase in State. In fact, there is a line item for it on the California State Tax Return. All across the United States, individual States are levying new taxes and fighting for their piece of the pie.

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Category: 5. Public Policy
Posted by: mychilocline
The credit card is the new currency of the online world. It is a great way to buy things online – it is universally accepted, easy to use, and relatively safe. But, it is also relatively expensive. Merchants pay a transaction fee on every credit card transaction or purchase, usually between one and six percent (depending on a number of factors) [1]; and most of us are not even aware of it. But whether we are aware of the hidden charges or not, these costs are passed along to the consumer.

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Category: 5. Public Policy
Posted by: mychilocline
There is a relationship between the growth of media technologies and our diminishing right to privacy. Cell-phones, like hidden surveillance cameras, are everywhere, recording, extending the sphere of public awareness. In large, this phenomenon is harmless, people enjoy making videos and people enjoy watching them. Yet, this phenomenon also has a darker side. In the modern world, we no longer have a reasonable expectation of privacy.

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Category: 5. Public Policy
Posted by: mychilocline
News organizations are given considerable latitude with regard to what they put on the news, and not without some justification; we don’t want the government interfering in the process. As a result, it is left to the media to decide what to put on television, provided that it is “newsworthy,” even if it, from time to time, infringes upon the individual right to privacy.

But, if the media, for all practical purposes, has the right to invade my personal privacy, what about the teenager who wants to post a video clip of me online? The problem is that just about anything could be “newsworthy” to someone. Is the fact that Mary Jane didn’t wear a bra, in gym class, news? It is to someone.

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Category: 5. Public Policy
Posted by: mychilocline

To: Congress
From: Mychilo S. Cline
re: The Future of Democracy and the Rise of the Virtual State

The development of virtual environments presents a significant threat to the long range viability of the nation-state, of law and order, and our way of life. A plan of action is required. Significant challenges lie ahead.

Introduction
We have moved into virtual space – in fact we spend most of our time in virtual environments, on the telephone, on the internet, watching TV, and playing computer games – and this is leading to important changes in social interaction and business life. In light of these changes, it is necessary to make changes to the way we think about government and governance, about borders and national defense, about capitalism and about individual rights.

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Category: 5. Public Policy
Posted by: mychilocline
In his book, Seeing Like a State, James Scott investigates why state sponsored social engineering projects, such as Soviet collectivisation, have resulted in disastrous consequences. Scott suggest that these tragedies have four antecedents: the unrestrained power of an authoritarian state, the ability of a state to understand and manipulate its citizens, a civil society inability to resist the state, and an uncritical belief in progress and reason. These factors give the state both the power and the motivation to initiate social engineering projects.

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