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Linux and Main: The Consumer Broadband and Digital Television Promotion Act -- A Closer Look

Apr 22, 2002, 16:00 (10 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Catherine Olanich Raymond)

"Anyone who has been following general legal news or the computer trade press over the past few weeks likely has heard that there is proposed legislation in Congress that will destroy the computer industry. The bill in question was originally sponsored by Senator Fritz Hollings of South Carolina as the 'Security Systems Standards and Certification Act.'

"Senator Hollings's bill is now called the 'Consumer Broadband and Digital Television Promotion Act' ('CBDTPA'). It has drawn a good deal of criticism from computer experts, computer-related businesses, and First Amendment advocates. Claims have been made that the bill assaults computer programmers' First Amendment rights and would destroy the personal computer industry. However, few, if any, of the news articles written about the CBDTPA bother to explain what the bill actually says, let alone explain very clearly *how* the bill assaults First Amendment rights or would destroy the computer industry.

"Since I am a lawyer, I decided to read the bill for myself, and draw my own conclusions about whether, and why, the bill is dangerous. (Anyone who may be interested in doing likewise can find the text at http://www.politechbot.com/docs/cbdtpa/hollings.s2048.032102.html) My reading leads me to believe that the CBDTPA is unlikely to be effective in achieving its stated goals, and cannot be enforced as written without violating important rights..."

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