Lawrence Lessig Predicts Government Ruining the Internet

If you remember, after 9/11 the government dropped the Patriot Act within about 20 days and it was passed. I mean, the Patriot Act is huge. I remember someone asking a Justice Department official, how did they write such a large statute so quickly, and of course the answer was that it’s been sitting in the drawers of the Justice Department for the last 20 years waiting for the event that would allow them to drop it.

Of course, the Patriot Act is filled with all sorts of insanity about changing the way civil rights are not protected anymore in the United States. So I was having dinner once and Richard Clarke was sitting at the table and I said to him, “Is an equivalent, is there a Patriot Act — an i-Patriot Act — just sitting waiting for some substantial event for them to come and have an excuse to radically change the way the internet works?”

And he said, “Of course there is.” And I swear this is what he said, and quote, “Vint Cerf is not going to like it very much.

So this is the big terror. They’re just sitting there waiting for the inevitable to happen, and then ‘Slam!’

published 2007-08-06

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