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WideOpenNews: Code Is Law, An Interview With Lawrence Lessig

Dec 11, 1999, 01:45 (1 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Anne Speedie)

"Cyberspace is becoming more regulable, but open source will weaken this ability."

"You've argued that the Net is unregulable, but not uncontrollable. How does open source fit into the equation?..."

"Government's ability to regulate code weakens if code is open source code, because with open source code it's easier for people to opt out of the government regulation by pulling out the government module and plugging in another kind of module. Open source becomes a check on government's power to monopolistic code. In closed code, it's much easier for government to regulate. Right now, for example, the government is attempting to get telephone companies to change their code so that it's easier to wiretap telephones. As a user of the telephone there is nothing I can do to change that code -- I don't know how to do it, I don't know what I could do -- but if it were open source code, then there would be a lot of things I could do."

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