Re: IP ---> e-mail

Jonathan Day (jonathan.day@umist.ac.uk)
Tue, 04 Jun 1996 12:08:18 +0000


John W. Osborne wrote:
> Elliot....I could not disagree more. Requiring ISP's to run a finger server is
> akin to forcing you to wear a sign on your back, with your home street address
> every time you venture out into public to talk with someone. Or, if you don't
> like that analogy, how about having to to give -your- home address and telephone
> number to directory assistance, or anyone else you call?

Already done in the UK. Anyone is capable of retrieving the phone number of a caller
automatically. So far, it hasn't caused riots in the streets or widespread panic. To
be honest, I doubt anyone here could care less. As for wearing a sign on your back,
all that'd do is make things physically uncomfortable. Much of the information is
freely available every time you buy something by cheque or credit-card. (All it takes
is a name, a district and a quick visit to the public records.)

Privacy, in this day and age, is an illusion. Ok, you've computer encryption and you
can invent verbal and mechanical coding systems, but real privacy vanished a long
time ago.

> Just because I write a letter to the editor in my local newspaper (eg., a newsgroup)
> doesn't entitle people to come to my front door (my electronic mailbox) to harass me.
> Deciding to give out a personal detail is -my- choice. Not yours, and not my
> phone company's nor my provider's.

Depends. In the US, the harassers would be legally entitled to do just that. A few
take a stonger line & threaten posting credit card info to alt groups if you try to
block their attempts to harass. (I'm not keen on finding out how real the threat is.)

> Your suggestion of about requiring ISP's to run a finger server is a 'cure' far
> worse than the malady it is meant to address. There -is- room for anonominity
> -everywhere-, Internet included. Just because some people do things that
> -you don't like- (note, we have never established any harm that has been done to
> anyone) certainly does not require their provider to furnish the subscriber's name,
> rank, and serial number.

If knowingly, maliciously causing offence is "harm" (and I'd certainly call it that),
then we have indeed established that it "harms" people, because that becomes part of
the definition of what such people are doing. Oh, there's room for anonymity, but no
room at all for malice and cruelty.

> As to the nudity issue...*snore*....it is largely an American thing, the objections,
> that is. Americans are still very uptight about seeing someone's (or their own) "grisly bits".
> I have raised my daughters better. They know what all the parts looks like, what
> they do, how to use them, and have no interest in seeking it out on the net, and if
> presented to them, via, say, a "flasher", would burst out laughing rather than be
> permanently harmed, as so many neo-Fascist-let's-police-ourselves
> apologists would suggest.

An "American" thing, is it? I'd have said any social belief was cultural, not national.
There are no doubt things you would find objectionable, hurtful or damaging. The fact
that a Bugblatter beast of Traal would find different things objectionable, hurtful or
damaging is /utterly/ irrelevent. I don't impose my standards on anyone else, but I am
/not/ going to stand for someome else imposing their standards on ME. The world is quite
large enough to deal with everyone's ideals and beliefs. People /do not need/ to tread
on each others toes.

> The "police ourselves" rhetoric is just a smokescreen for a smaller group of p
eople to
> impose its will (read...'set guidelines') for the larger. While I dislike government
> intrusion enormously, at least those critters are elected.

Protocols are needed in any community and someone needs to define those. Protocols allow
people to talk to each other in a way that they like -without risk of causing offense-
to each other or those around them.

I have no objection to people exercising their right to be themselves, just so long as
they in turn respect my right to be me. My life is my own.