Saturday, June 30, 2007

Internet Freedom of Speech--10 Years Old.....7/3

Ten years since Supreme Court upheld Internet freedom of speech
By Nate Anderson Published: June 26, 2007 - 12:11PM CT

Today is the ten-year anniversary of the Supreme Court decision striking down the Communications Decency Act—a landmark ruling for Internet freedom of speech. Thanks to the decision, the Internet (in the US) now enjoys the same freedom of speech protections as print and remains more open than either television or radio. On the tenth anniversary of the decision, let's take a quick look back.

The Communications Decency Act was passed in 1996. The goal was to protect children from harmful content on the Internet, which sounds great in theory but turns out to be terribly difficult to implement in practice. Many groups believed that the CDA was overly vague and could restrict all sorts of legitimate speech between adults, and the ACLU took the lead in the legal challenge to the law.

The case worked its way up to the Supreme Court, where it became the first Internet-related case addressed by the Court. Reno v. ACLU was decided on June 26, 1997, and it struck down major sections of the CDA.

The Court found that the law was imprecise; regulating speech generally requires highly-specific controls, and the text of the law did not meet that standard. The CDA did not define "indecent" and "patently offensive," nor did it include the caveat that "patently offensive" material with some socially redeeming value would be allowed. The justices found that filtering on the user end (that is, by parents) was a less-troubling method of filtering out unwanted Internet content.

But if radio and television can be regulated, why can't the same regulations apply to the Internet? The justices found that the two mediums are quite different; spectrum for over-the-air radio and television signals is limited, for instance, and expensive to use (setting up a large-scale transmitter in studio costs serious money), making "speech" over the airwaves available to only a privileged few. By contrast, the Internet is so simple and inexpensive to use as a publishing medium that it deserves the same First Amendment protection as print.

The ruling was a strong statement of support for freedom of expression on the Internet at a time when the Web was just entering mainstream consciousness. The EFF's David Sobel, a co-counsel in the case, said yesterday that "the Reno decision defined the First Amendment for the 21st century. The Court wrote on a clean slate and established the fundamental principles that govern free speech issues in the electronic age."

Congress attempted to craft a better bill soon after, passing the Child Online Protection Act the following year, but it too was never enforced. Tied up by the same legal challenges that derailed the CDA, COPA met the same fate as its predecessor earlier this year when a federal judge ruled that the bill was unconstitutional.


Anonymous said...

Dont fall for the amnesty offered by Essent. It sounds a lot like the free train ride offered to the Jews of Germany if they would come forward on their own and admit who they were.
Seriously ,I have been in contact with the ACLU in Austin and they are considering getting involved if any private citizens are named in this SLAPP suit. They are especially interested in knowing if any employees are fired or are offered inducement to reveal a collegue in exchange for not losing their job.At this point they feel that Essent will have to actually commit an actionable violation before they get involved .If that does occur ,they will seek class action status in federal court and vacate the injunction of Judge McDowell based on jurisdictional conflicts in their pleadings.( slander and defamation can be heard in either court , but HIPPA violations will have to be adjucated in Federal Distric Court.)
So; dont give them anything ,and report any disiplinary actions to the blog first .

Anonymous said...

As a native of McKinney, a practicing physician in Nashville and sometime reader of this site I think you have finally had the proverbial sh_t scared out of you and your readers.

You disingenuously state that this is not an "anti-Essent" site. You know that is simply not the case. It is fine to say if it makes you feel better. I think, based on what I hear from colleagues back home as well as family, this site has effectively harmed irreparably the future of the hospital. Why?

First, some background. Paris, Texas is known as a mean spirited dying east Texas community that the last vestiges of hangers-on are doing whatever they can to protect their piece of the pie. Doctors in the market are notoriously inhospitable to new blood coming in because they are simply afraid of competition. They are too short sighted to see that more choices is better.

Nobody, I repeat nobody that really knew how parochial Paris is would have set foot in that market when the hospital was being sold. Texas Health Resources got tired of all the bickering and divisivness and gave their hospital away to poor old Christus. Christus soon realized that having two hospitals staffed by petty and vindictive also rans had actually made their problem in the market doubly worse, not better. They had a monopoly and still could not take the crap. So they bailed. Did Baylor step in? Nope. They knew better. ETMC? Nope. Old Elmer Ellis is not the sharpest knife in the drawer but EVEN he knew better! Among the for-profits, did Community Health Systems? Hell no, they got rid of Bonham like a hot potato. So the short of it, is, no matter what you think of Essent, you guys simply weren't wanted by anyone who knew anything about you.

Think about it. No health system who knew anything about the Paris market wanted a thing to do with you. What does that say? One thing it says is, based on the crap posted on this blog, they knew what the hell they were doing!
Essent's only mistake was thinking they could make lemmonade out of a lemmon.

I laugh when one of your posters writes in to moan and groan about the hospital installing flat screen TVs in patient rooms (and wasting money, you say). Then another sad little poster writes in about how momma or some relative got shipped to Baylor-Plano and talks about the lap of luxury they were surrounded by---even posts photos.

Then, there was the series of posts about the new class of nurses. Simply unbelievable. As you continue to disparage the hospital, you will be lucky to attract blind nurses with dementia!!

I have no idea about the lawsuit or its merits. What truly cracks me up, is noticing how all of the bold small minded gossip mongers have suddenly tucked tail and run.

IMHO you have undermined the future of the hospital so that physicians won't want to come there and no buyer in their right mind would pony up the money to step into Essent's shoes. Why would someone agree to practice in such a clannish little community and why would a hospital company buy into that market when there are many other greener pastures? You bitch and moan about some cardiologist that was recruited and expose your racism by basically calling him the son of Osama. Who, in the hell would step into that BS?

If Essent approached me to relocate my practice to Lamar county what would be their sales pitch? Why should I come? If I was told there is a website that has had 200,000 hits slamming the hospital, my simple conclusion would be a town of 25,000 hates the place, wouldn't use the hospital and I couldn't build my practice. That is too bad.

I may someday move my practice back to somewhere around Dallas. Sherman-Denison is easy access to town and on a major highway, has good schools and a great quality of life with Texoma. Tyler is not far from Dallas and has two fine hospitals. Greenville is not great but closer to Dallas. I could go on and on. All the pluses of location, the one thing that would drive my decision more than any is would me and my family feel at home, welcome and wanted in the market? Your blog tells me that in Paris I would be a pariah.
Good job.

It’s unknown if you would be a pariah, but as a part-time reader, let me bring you up to date. This didn’t start out with the tone it has now--something pushed the blog there. Maybe it was employees going 24 months with out a pay raise…and when they got it, it was a nickel.

Maybe it was the elimination of a suggestion program--a real one, anyway.

Maybe it was the video cameras in the phony smoke alarms.

Maybe it was essential equipment not being maintained.

Maybe it was ‘no-rehire’ tag after proper notice was given.

Maybe it was running at dangerous staffing levels.

Maybe it was crucifying a non-employee, and getting her husband fired, for attempting to help.

Maybe it was the breaking of faith with the employees.

(And, Essent wasn’t the only bidder for the hospital, in fact it wasn’t the highest bidder….)

The comments about Dr. Hashmi were rough, and unfounded, for what I could see, and though I hadn’t done it before, I closed the comments on the post. I hated doing that, because I don’t believe in censorship of opinion. Anonymous blogs can get nasty.

Flat screen TVs in the rooms--when we have employees with twenty-plus-years that are asked to take pay cuts.

Read through the blog, ignore the personal comments (and there are a lot), and you’ll note that there have been calls for suggestions and actual suggestions made.

But, there is an atmosphere of fear, and it affects me as well as my viewpoint. Two years is a long time in blogs.

The lawsuit scared some people, since they could see the use of an unfounded accusation being used to persecute commenters.

As to ‘small-minded’ contributors running for cover…not so! You commented, didn’t you?


not a doctor, but I play one on a blog said...

Re: "As a native of McKinney," 12:41 AM

"Essent's only mistake was thinking they could make lemmonade out of a lemmon."

Doctor, if you want the good people of Paris to take you seriouisly, you might consider brushing up on your spelling skills.

After reading your little tantrum, I'm certain I am not the only one who is glad to know you won't be moving your practice to Paris.

Your assertion that the readers/moderator of this blog have had the sh_t scared out of them fits neatly into the propaganda coming out of Essent right now. Given the location of your practice, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out which side of this you're on. Blame the people of the community for the service at the hospital, instead of the business practices at that facility. Kill the messenger for delivering the message of Essent. Makes sense, in an odd Essent kind of way.

Crucified said...

Poster 12:41's comments sound much like the same comments I heard come from Dick's mouth...

If you live in Nashville and are from McKinney how is it you "know" so much about Paris?

While I would agree to some of the negativeness in this community, after having lived HERE(I've learned first, hand not from rumors in Nashville), the people here have been beaten down, under paid, and treated like something under my shoe.

Human beings can only take so much abuse before they become jaded and
"mean spirited" and lash out at those who, in at least, this instance deserve it.

And by the way...I'm not scared, but I did see that you are using the anonymous route...SCARED?

Anonymous said...

Here is something very interesting to read, especially since Suddenlink Communications had been dead silent about releasing customer's IP addresses.

Read the rest later, but skip down to the section titled "Law Enforcement and Legal Requests" which says "Federal law provides generally that the government must obtain a court order for disclosure of your information and can do so only upon a showing of clear and convincing evidence that you are reasonably suspected of engaging in criminal activity, and the information sought would be material to the case. The law also generally affords cable subscribers an opportunity to appear and contest the disclosure of personally identifiable information to a government entity pursuant to a court order."

So where is the clear and convincing evidence that anyone has engaged in criminal activity?? Sounds like a lawsuit to me.

Then, if that's not enough reading for you, skip down to the section titled "Your enforcement Rights" which states "You can enforce your legal privacy rights concerning our collection, use and sharing of your personally identifiable information. Among your remedies is the right to seek damages and reasonable costs and attorneys’ fees under 47 U.S.C. 551."

Sounds like Suddenlink customers need to be holding Suddenlink Communications responsible and accountable if IP addresses are released by what appears to violate Suddenlink's own privacy policy.

Anonymous said...

1241 sounds like Dickie to me.

Anonymous said...

To the snooty doctor from Nashville.

Lemmonade from lemmons. And you're a doctor? Maybe we're the lucky ones you're not coming to Paris.

Anonymous said...

Every conflict has three sides; two opposing and then there's the cold hard truth.

Anonymous said...

SuddenLink's Privacy policy states:

Special Exceptions - We reserve the right to disclose your information if we have a good faith belief that it is necessary to: (1) comply with the law or legal process served on us; (2) protect and defend our rights or property or those of others; (3) respond to fraud, abuse or unauthorized reception; (4) enforce our Website Visitors’ Agreement and Terms of Use, our Acceptable Use Policy or related standards; or (5) act in an emergency to protect your safety or that of another. We may also share or transfer your information along with your account as a part of any sale or transfer all or a portion of our business operations, merger or combination with another organization. In such a case, you will be notified of any changes in policy.

Seems we need to start blitzing SuddenLink as well.

To Dr Lemmonade: I'm not scared. I'm pi$$ed. I won't go down without a fight. I've already started setting money aside for a lawyer.

Anonymous said...

To the Tennessee doctor-

Since you're not a current resident of the area, your comments are, at best, limited in validity. You apparently get your opinions from Hud or Dick, niether one of whom cares much for the residents of Paris themselves.

Oh, BTW- I may just have a measly Bachelor of Science degree, not an MD, but at least I know how to spell lemon. Says little for the McKinney ISD, dunnit?

But hey, feel free to continue ponitficating on the ignorance of the good citizens of Lamar County, just don't plan any trips in that area any time soon. They may not be as sophisticated as you Nashvillians, but they have long memories and little tolerance for arrogant a$$holes like you.

In the Biblical sense- Physician, know thyself.

Anonymous said...

Are we sure that Dr Lemmonade is a real doc? He types and writes like Dicky!

Anonymous said...

Ha, yeah E$$ents hacked off by our "anonymous" posting, but they sure like to use it themselves.

You'd think they'd at least have a Websters handy for the spelling errors, or at least know how to use spellcheck..........gimmee a break, as believable as pink elephants!