CFP 2004: Preaching to the choir
The Computer Freedom and Privacy Conference for 2004 is quickly approaching and I’m pretty pissed off. This is a conference for exploring issues in, go figure, computers, freedom, and privacy. To me, it’s as much a catch-all as “alternative rock.” Sure, freedom and privacy are important, but then again…
I was checking the list of speakers to find the interests represented at the various sessions during the conference. I estimate that at least 3/4 of the participants are representing left-leaning organizations or universities (and university types tend to also sway left). Occasionally there’s a government official or corporate interest represented, but largely this is a “pat yourself on the back” kind of clinic for the liberal-type front line fighters in the freedom and privacy battle.
So who in their right mind would defend less privacy or less freedom? Of course everyone wants freedom and privacy. Just like mom and education and apple pie, nobody could defend decreasing freedom and privacy and live to tell about it, especially at a conference held in Berkeley.
Is this the most self-serving conference ever? I would absolutely love the opportunity to go and (fraudulently) profess my hatred of freedom and privacy. You know — explain to everybody how futile their efforts are and destroy their dreams that they’re actually “making a difference.” Bring blight and strife across the lands and leave a swath of destruction in my wake.
But I digress… I feel sorry for any representitives of the MPAA or RIAA and the like. They’re outnumbered and certainly will have many hard fought arguments ahead of them during that week. I’m on their side — not that I agree with their point of view, but I like rooting for the underdogs.
This conference is the ultimate collection of subjects that the left-leaning people care about that everyone else doesn’t care about. Does this mean we shouldn’t care about these issues? Of course not, but we don’t have solutions to most of the problems. Will open source software fix the issues with electronic voting systems? Absolutely no, and most people wouldn’t know the difference between an open-source powered electronic voting system versus a proprietary one.
My concern is the lack of concern about these issues. Surprisingly, there’s only one session about organizing people for protest and change, but that was about sites such as MoveOn.org and the like. The conference presenters are ice skating uphill; they don’t realize that most of their problem isn’t solving the issue at hand but rather creating a movement behind their beliefs.
And this brings me back to where I started from. Bring in more RIAA people, more anti-privacy folks, more anti-freedom advocates. Make them show their true colors. Piss people off. Generate a following of others not part of the intellectual elite or conference participants. These people are trying to start a rebellion but don’t realize it. Don’t they understand that the issues they’re fighting for can stir the passion of everyone in this country or maybe even start a worldwide movement?
I suppose not… Instead, they’ll enjoy buffets and organized discussions and leave the conference with “contacts” and not come to any new conclusions about how they can achieve their goals. If these issues are so fundamental to every person in this country, then why don’t most people care? Or do they care and are apathetic to the calls to fight?
Lawyers and technologists make bad evangelists. I think I’ll hire Mr. T or someone of similar standing when I start my campaign. At least then people outside those who already care might actually listen…