Sunday, December 31, 2006

Further proof that the typical GOP bright light doesn't get the Internet

You can read up on the sleazy details here, but the short version is: One former Senate staffer is suing another for publishing a blog that described his sexual preferences--handcuffs and submissives yes, condoms no, apparently--while they were dating. Gives "Grand Old Party" a depth of meaning that wasn't there before.

The key defense strategy? According to MSNBC, "[defense attorney] Billips argues that [naughty blogger] Cutler never intended to make the blog public."

You see, on the settings page, you can control whether Blogger includes your blog's URL on its own promotional listings of blogs. (Click the image at left.) But, as snarkily points out, this has no effect on the rest of the net-surfing planet's ability to find the URL through ordinary means such as a search on Google (which owns Blogger, by the way, and is unlikely to make its own products unfindable). This is akin to claiming in one's defense that, while one had a skywriter fill the sky over downtown with the message, one didn't put a flier in the local Shop 'n' Go. Good luck with that.

Bad cases make bad law, they say, but this is simply beyond the pale. The thought that this lawsuit--if it isn't tossed out, and the judge on the case appears to be losing his patience--could in any way help shape privacy law for the Internet is depressing.

People with a grasp this shaky of how things work on the Web--and I'm talking about the whole pack of nitwits with their helpful ideas about "the Google," "the Internets," and the "series of tubes"--should under no circumstances be allowed to make up rules about who gets access to it, or what rights they have once they get there.

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