Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Ah, Memories . . .

Phoblog thinks fondly back to her senior year of college when reading Class Maledictorian's post about the Secret Service investigation into Indymedia's posting of RNC delegates contact info.

Mal's story comes from Volokh, which in turn, get's its background story from Fox News.

So what does my senior year have to do with it? My two neighbors and former coworkers posted Electoral College members' contact information online in 2000 as part of an effort to get them to jump ship and elect Gore, winner of the popular vote. Their organization, Citizens for Democracy, got quite a bit of national attention, and on more than one morning I was trapped in my apartment because of a pile of cameras and mics on the patio out front.

And citizen action grand?

Maledictorian notes that no one investigated Dave and Matt back then. Those were different days, though, weren't they? When activism didn't come with a promise of a federal house call and an invasive background check?

Volokh says he doesn't know if such posting is per se illegal. I doubt it is. As with the EC members, and other such efforts, the problem is seldom the information individually, but when it's aggregated and easily accessible that we have a problem. The hosting service has been subpoenaed so the feds can track down Indy folks.

Their concern is that the organizers could be planning to hurt the delegates. But from the one posting quoted, the message was that the delegates should know what people think of the Reep platform and that "they aren't welcome" in NYC. The second part of that statement may be cause for concern, if it's paired with a call for violence (Never a protected form of speech, and rightly not). But since it is a website, a new, mostly transparent medium, there shouldn't be too much to investigate. There's no mention of anything flashmob-ish. And the point of a website is that it's an easy, one step, fairly passive way to get instructions and comments out to an infinite group of people.

I'll note also that the Fox News article doesn't link to the Indy site. So here's the delegate site: rncdelegates.com, and the Indy site: Independent Media Center. I'll be reading them and updating this post later. (Assuming power has been restored to Casa de Phoblog. Ah, charming old SF victorian).

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