Friday, April 21, 2006

Apple And Free Speech

Apparently Apple doesn't think that bloggers and 'independent news sites' deserve the same protections of the press that more established press outlets enjoy.

It seems that there have been a few websites that are focused on news and events coming out of Apple headquarters in Cupertino, CA. Apple can't control the information flow from these sites like it can with CNET or ZDNet that depends on the company feeding information to them so it wants to put them out of business. You can read the complete story here.

The larger point here is that Apple along with most other corporate entities and individuals don't hesitate to utilize the government to shut down those opposed to their interests. Never mind that such a thing does violence to the basic tenants of free speech, they are only interested in themselves.

If Apple succeeds and convinces the government that bloggers and other sites don't deserve the same protections the press enjoys then we're all in trouble. But it's not just free speech, this problem spreads across the entire spectrum of the liberties we are supposed to have.

Despite the title of this post and a rant against Apple, I don't blame them for trying. We ourselves are to blame for continually calling on the government to solve all of our problems. We call for new legislation whenever people are doing things we don't like. We want restrictions placed on unfavorable behavior of others. And it's always more government we want, never less.

Rarely does a law get repealed. Rarely is legislation passed specifically to remove restrictions. You can't get a bill through Congress to eliminate government agencies, cut their funding, take laws off the books or deregulate an industry. The little deregulation that has happened over the years has been big news and vehemently opposed by the those that think we should be controlled. Deregulating the airlines was clearly a positive step. Deregulating energy in California wasn't really deregulation but it was billed that way and has clearly been a failure.

The answer is simply to strip the government of the power necessary to do the bidding of private interests. If someone is violating your rights, there is already good laws in place to protect you. If some one steals your intellectual property, you can rightly sue for damages. Libel and slander are already actionable as they should be. Lacking principle and integrity, people don't care about unintended consequences of their actions. The sad thing is, as soon as those consequences are no longer advantageous to them, they want even more stuff piled on top if to get them out.