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Author Topic: can bitcoin be protected by freedom of speech?  (Read 2279 times)
grondilu
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May 07, 2011, 10:57:15 PM
 #1



An interesting legal idea here:

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I doubt Bitcoin will be made illegal. By itself, the Bitcoin network is just a mechanism for passing around signed messages and calculating hash values. It would be difficult to outlaw that without running into constitutional free speech issues.


I tend to agree with that.

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grue
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May 07, 2011, 11:02:50 PM
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just say "terrorism" or "child porn", and people will be ok with any constitutional right breach.

It is pitch black. You are likely to be eaten by a grue.

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May 07, 2011, 11:06:14 PM
 #3

just say "terrorism" or "child porn", and people will be ok with any constitutional right breach.

+1

"We will not find a solution to political problems in cryptography, but we can win a major battle in the arms race and gain a new territory of freedom for several years.

Governments are good at cutting off the heads of a centrally controlled networks, but pure P2P networks are holding their own."
grondilu
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May 07, 2011, 11:08:01 PM
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just say "terrorism" or "child porn", and people will be ok with any constitutional right breach.

+1

I'm afraid you're right guys.  I totally forgot about those magic words.
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May 08, 2011, 12:23:34 AM
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But...but... Osama's dead!!

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May 08, 2011, 12:39:58 AM
 #6

Look at the Liberty Dollar guy.

He got it in the pooper from the feds.

em3rgentOrdr
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May 08, 2011, 02:31:01 AM
 #7

Look at the Liberty Dollar guy.

He got it in the pooper from the feds.

Arguably that was a trademark/intellectual property issue since he used the term" dollar".

"We will not find a solution to political problems in cryptography, but we can win a major battle in the arms race and gain a new territory of freedom for several years.

Governments are good at cutting off the heads of a centrally controlled networks, but pure P2P networks are holding their own."
FreeMoney
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May 08, 2011, 03:18:44 AM
 #8

Look at the Liberty Dollar guy.

He got it in the pooper from the feds.

Obviously what they did to him is criminal, but he couldn't use the argument that he was only passing information.

Anyway, I don't think it matters much. I'd almost rather they make it illegal so that people who don't care end up richer in the new society. I think Bitcoin overcomes any law. Enforcement requires a completely totalitarian regime, I don't think it'll happen.

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FreeMoney
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May 08, 2011, 03:19:37 AM
 #9

Look at the Liberty Dollar guy.

He got it in the pooper from the feds.

Arguably that was a trademark/intellectual property issue since he used the term" dollar".

That touches on a different point. Intellectual property and trademark laws are violations of free speech too.

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wareen
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May 08, 2011, 08:17:52 AM
 #10

Quote
I doubt Bitcoin will be made illegal. By itself, the Bitcoin network is just a mechanism for passing around signed messages and calculating hash values. It would be difficult to outlaw that without running into constitutional free speech issues.

I think that's a bit too simplistic in today's world - "passing around (signed) messages" is basically the only thing the internet does, so if you see that protected by freedom of speech there would be no such thing as cybercrime, right?
Freedom of speech was probably originally not intended for anything like the internet, where "speech" suddenly got much more powerful - a simple data-packet (=speech) can be anything, from intellectual property to malicious code.

Although I do sympathize with the "no data packet is illegal" point of view but to justify that only with the first amendment is probably not enough. On the other hand I am not from the US, so I might be wrong about how far you go with freedom of speech.

Sadly, with the "magic words" mentioned, severe cuts to basic civil freedoms seem to be justified pretty much anywhere in the world...
grondilu
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May 08, 2011, 08:58:51 AM
 #11

Quote
I doubt Bitcoin will be made illegal. By itself, the Bitcoin network is just a mechanism for passing around signed messages and calculating hash values. It would be difficult to outlaw that without running into constitutional free speech issues.

I think that's a bit too simplistic in today's world - "passing around (signed) messages" is basically the only thing the internet does, so if you see that protected by freedom of speech there would be no such thing as cybercrime, right?

Execpt that here the message is nothing but an arithmetic transfer of some artificial amount.
Pieter Wuille
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May 08, 2011, 01:14:41 PM
 #12

Freedom of speech only means no law is allowed that would prevent people from expressing their opinions (afaik, ianal).

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barbarousrelic
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May 08, 2011, 01:32:59 PM
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Look at the Liberty Dollar guy.

He got it in the pooper from the feds.

Norfed tried this defense. The Liberty Dollar warehouse receipts have this printed on theom:

"Receipt is an exercise of the bearer's First Amendment right to petition the government for a silver based currency as mandated by the US Constitution."

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May 08, 2011, 01:57:32 PM
 #14

Freedom of speech only means no law is allowed that would prevent people from expressing their opinions (afaik, ianal).

A Bitcoin transaction is nothing more than a expression of your view of who should be the new owner of your coins.

One off NP-Hard.
grondilu
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May 08, 2011, 01:59:08 PM
 #15

Freedom of speech only means no law is allowed that would prevent people from expressing their opinions (afaik, ianal).

A Bitcoin transaction is nothing more than a expression of your view of who should be the new owner of your coins.

Very true.   +1
deadlizard
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May 08, 2011, 02:03:36 PM
 #16

I have to laugh every time an American refers to their constitution as if it's relevant.
America has been in a state of emergency since 1933. The constitution no longer applies.

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em3rgentOrdr
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May 08, 2011, 06:35:13 PM
 #17

Look at the Liberty Dollar guy.

He got it in the pooper from the feds.

Arguably that was a trademark/intellectual property issue since he used the term" dollar".

That touches on a different point. Intellectual property and trademark laws are violations of free speech too.

I believe that as well.  However, the SCOTUS subscribes to a different, flawed logic system.  Sad

"We will not find a solution to political problems in cryptography, but we can win a major battle in the arms race and gain a new territory of freedom for several years.

Governments are good at cutting off the heads of a centrally controlled networks, but pure P2P networks are holding their own."
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