A good week for civil liberties — mostly

Three opinions came out last week that made a nice little Chanukah gift for civil liberties buffs. Two related to Ashcroft’s attempts to circumvent the Constitution in the name fo security, one cuts short the RIAA’s efforts to gut the Constitution in the name of copyright. But the opinions still leave a lot of room for concern.

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Tales From the Sausage Factory: Saddam and Howard Dean

I seem to be the only one in America who fails to see the link between the capture of Saddam Hussein this week and the 2004 Democratic Presidential Primary. Or so says an op ed in today’s Washington Post. On the other hand, I do see this as a classic example of media group think.

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Tales From the Sausage Factory: Telephone Competition in the U.S.

I’m taking the opportunity to post a little essay I wrote when I moved last March. It illustrates the problems of implementing domestic phone competition in the U.S. I have no reason to believe that anyone in either company (Verizon or Cavalier Telephone) were trying to screw us or were playing fast and lose with the rules. Each one was genuinely trying to do its job, and all the people I talked with were uniformly polite, friendly, and well intentioned. I love well intentioned people, they provide me with such great paving stones that the handcart I’m in rides smooth to the end. . .

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For Copyright Buffs in Europe

I got this notice from the Consumer Project on Technology, which is a public advocacy organization I’ve worked with and respect. CPT has been very active on a variety of fronts seeking to limit abuses of intellectual property.

The Trans Atlantic Consumer Dialogue (http://www.cptech.org) is planning an event in Brussels on Feb 4 on digital copyright issues. If people are interested in this, the should contact Jamie Love (james.love@cptech.org) or Manon Ress (manon.ress@cptech.org) for more info….

Tales From the Sausage Factory — The Media Compromise

Hello all.

As this is my first post, a brief introduction. I am Associate Director of a non-profit public interest law firm, the Media Access Project (www.mediaaccess.org). I love communications policy, which as you might imagine is all the rage at cocktail parties. I cannot tell you how many women I have seduced by whispering to them “let me tell you about TELRIC pricing!”

12/24, I’ve moved the bulk of this essay below the fold.

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