Using the Market to Counter Surveillance

by on July 16, 2007 · 2 comments

Ever get frustrated asking your Member of Congress to limit government surveillance and the advance of surveillance technology? Ever even try? Probably not, because you know you wouldn’t get a straightforward answer if you did.

That’s why I was delighted to read about the Seeing Yellow project on Ars Technica. The idea is for people to call and pressure printer manufacturers to let them turn off the tracking function that has been incorporated into many color printers at the behest of the U.S. government. Knowing that consumers care about their privacy, printer manufacturers (and others who learn from their experience) will be inclined not to build surveillance into their products.

It may not happen right away, but active consumerism gives you a vote about government surveillance every time you buy a printer, not just once every two, four, or six years.

  • http://www2.blogger.com/profile/14380731108416527657 Steve R.

    The issue of printer cartridges and consumer activism turns out to be much more complex. Techdirt is running a poll. The pole asks which of the following six topics worries you the most. One of the responses is government surveillance the other is draconian DRM. Cnet recently ran an article on how the print manufactures are now attempting to make it “illegal” for you to refill your ink cartridge. So here we have a case of calling for consumer activism to stop spying while the ink manufactures are attempting to reduce consumer rights.

    My answer to the Techdirt pole? Government spying at the fundamental is innocuous since it is not meant to be an active program at eliminating your rights whereas the print manufactures actually seek to change the law so that existing rights become illegal.

  • http://www2.blogger.com/profile/14380731108416527657 Steve R.

    The issue of printer cartridges and consumer activism turns out to be much more complex. Techdirt is running a poll. The pole asks which of the following six topics worries you the most. One of the responses is government surveillance the other is draconian DRM. Cnet recently ran an article on how the print manufactures are now attempting to make it “illegal” for you to refill your ink cartridge. So here we have a case of calling for consumer activism to stop spying while the ink manufactures are attempting to reduce consumer rights.

    My answer to the Techdirt pole? Government spying at the fundamental is innocuous since it is not meant to be an active program at eliminating your rights whereas the print manufactures actually seek to change the law so that existing rights become illegal.

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