Yet another weird SF fan


I'm a mathematician, a libertarian, and a science-fiction fan. Common sense? What's that?

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Yet another weird SF fan
 

Sunday, January 28, 2007

This Sounds Dangerous

The most useful question to ask when considering a proposed government activity is: Would I trust my worst enemy with the power? For example, let's consider the current Emergency Alert System for broadcasting emergency instructions:

Today, the E.A.S. enables federal authorities to override programming and issue warnings without intervention from stations. State and local authorities may also override programming during crises — but only if they have the prior consent of broadcasters, which are not legally obligated to cede control of their content, and only if they have installed E.A.S.-compatible equipment, which is voluntary, too. Predictably, the loose local standards leave some officials confused about how to issue an alert and some broadcasters ill equipped to help.
Would you trust a government, possibly right after a coup, to take control of the “nation's” airwaves? They will try to do so anyway, but do you want to lubricate a potential power grab?

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