Reason.TV: The Government’s War on Cameras!

Posted on May 26th, 2011 by bile
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Who will watch the watchers? In a world of ubiquitous, hand-held digital cameras, that’s not an abstract philosophical question. Police everywhere are cracking down on citizens using cameras to capture breaking news and law enforcement in action.

In 2009, police arrested blogger and freelance photographer Antonio Musumeci on the steps of a New York federal courthouse. His alleged crime? Unauthorized photography on federal property.

Police cuffed and arrested Musumeci, ultimately issuing him a citation. With the help of the New York Civil Liberties Union, he forced a settlement in which the federal government agreed to issue a memo acknowledging that it is totally legal to film or photograph on federal property.

Although the legal right to film on federal property now seems to be firmly established, many other questions about public photography still remain and place journalists and citizens in harm’s way. Can you record a police encounter? Can you film on city or state property? What are a photographer’s rights in so-called public spaces?

These questions will remain unanswered until a case reaches the Supreme Court, says UCLA Law Professor Eugene Volokh, founder of the popular law blog The Volokh Conspiracy. Until then, it’s up to people to know their rights and test the limits of free speech, even at the risk of harassment and arrest.

Who will watch the watchers? All of us, it turns out, but only if we’re willing to fight for our rights.

Produced by Hawk Jensen and Zach Weissmueller. Camera by Jim Epstein and Jensen. About 7.30 minutes.

Read Reason magazine’s January 2011 cover story, “The War on Cameras” and the companion piece “How to Record the Cops.” For coverage of the war on cameras, go here.’s Drew Carey Project Episode 21: Universal Preschool – A silver bullet for education reform or a waste of money?

Posted on November 3rd, 2008 by bile
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With support from major foundations and political heavy hitters like Barack Obama, universal preschool is the next big thing in education reform. Indeed, it’s second only to universal health care on the liberal wish list. The goal is to offer publicly funded preschool—complete with credentialed teachers and and a standardized curriculum—to all four-year olds during the school year.

Advocates argue that public investments in early education will pay dividends over the long term. Critics point out that the evidence from states that have universal preschool programs shows that whatever benefits kids receive from those programs fade out by the fourth grade.

Since preschool attendance rates in states that have universal preschool are no higher than the national average, universal preschool wouldn’t even increase preschool attendance. It would, however, cost a lot of money, put lots of privately owned preschools out of business, and dramatically decrease early education options for parents.

So what do you think? Is expanding our failing K-12 system the best way to fix it?

This 10-minute documentary is hosted by reason‘s Nick Gillespie. It is produced by Paul Feine and Roger M. Richards.’s Drew Carey Project Episode 19: Second Life – A Virtual Frontier

Posted on October 12th, 2008 by bile
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Drew Carey takes us on a guided tour of Second Life (SL), a virtual world with more than 500,000 residents.

But SL isn’t your typical virtual world. Unlike other popular massively multiplayer online role-playing games, like EverQuest and World of Warcraft, there are no defined roles or objectives in SL. Just like in real life, SL residents determine their own goals and decide for themselves how best to achieve them. Moreover, virtually everything in SL was created by the residents themselves using tools provided by Linden Lab, the company that launched SL in 2003.

SL is based on a simple set of institutional arrangements that would make F.A. Hayek proud. In essence, the people who own the property in SL make the rules. The result is a spontaneously ordered world in which residents are free to fly, teleport, build, trade and interact with others without interference from the state.

Recently, Linden Lab—the SL equivalent of a state—has begun acting more and more like a real life government by restricting activities such as gambling. But open source competitors based on the SL platform are currently in development. so better virtual worlds offering even more freedom are just around the corner.

Linden Labs has banned gambling, instituted a fractional reserve bank cartel and banned some advertising. So there is a nanny state. The best part is the underground which has sprung up. At some point however its possible Linden Labs will be able scan their databases for objects or actions which appear to be illegal. What government would love to have in real life: omniscience.

Russell Roberts: What You Need to Know about the Bailout

Posted on October 12th, 2008 by bile
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Pretty good rundown.