Re: OVC on HR 811

From: David Mertz <voting-project_at_gnosis_dot_cx>
Date: Sun Jul 15 2007 - 12:18:53 CDT

On Jul 14, 2007, at 8:37 PM, Teresa Hommel wrote:
> Please read my comments on the bill before you continue to support it.
> http://www.wheresthepaper.org/HR811markupCmt.htm

This feels exactly like the sort of "the best is the enemy of the
good" attitude that Matt Zimmerman discusses in EFF analysis I
mention (http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/archives/005308.php).

For every single one of Teresa's mentioned weaknesses, HR 811 makes
things *better than the status quo*. Indeed, for all of them, it
doesn't make things *as good as I would like*. But I just don't
believe that there's magical perfect legislation just sitting in
committee that would be passed if only HR 811 is defeated. Our real-
world choice (for this Congressional session) is getting this
legislation passed as a first step, or keeping the status quo.

On one point, Teresa's analysis is flat-out false rather than merely
imagining "the perfect law". Trade secrets are an existing fact that
limit transparency of elections: HR 811 would slightly weaken trade
secret law (and *absolutely NOT* establish it), or at least the
effects of such bad law, but not nearly as much as I'd like. The
claim that HR 811 creates some new barrier to disclosure of code is
more-or-less just absurd.

Most of the other points amount to "not enough money, and overly
loose time requirements". True enough. The status quo is: "ZERO
money, and NO requirement to EVER carry out HR 811's limited
improvements".

This is a *good* bill. We're shooting ourselves in the foot by
posturing against its real-world flaws, and making any future
legislative agenda for better bills in later sessions that much less
likely to ever occur.

Yours, David...

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Received on Tue Jul 31 23:17:04 2007

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