Jennifer Granick has a great new column for Wired News. her first piece, Wired News: Open Internet, We Hardly Knew Ye, picks up ways restrictive laws (copyright, CFAA, trespass) could have blocked the creation of a central hurricane-relief people-finder:
People in far-flung places across the United States turned to the robust, decentralized internet to find their loved ones. Almost immediately, there were too many sites to choose from. A grandchild looking for her grandmother, or a father for his son and wife, had literally dozens of online databases to search. The internet offered a solution here as well. An international, ad hoc group of self-described geeks built a system that automatically combined information from the dozens of refugee listing sites into a single, searchable database that family members could use to find each other.
But under a permission-only legal regime, the Katrinalist.net volunteers would have had to contact every site with listing data and ask for authorization to use the information first. With dozens of sites popping up in the days following the storm, getting permission would have taken a lot of time -- if the site owners could even be reached and convinced of the merit of the idea in the first place.
Thanks, David!Posted by Wendy at September 15, 2005 01:34 PM | TrackBack