Friday, October 24, 2014

GMRG8 and Law

As a result of difficulties explaining my previous remarks over at Balloon Juice, I have this thought:
I think what I am writing about in this context is law. We have, in GMRG8, one kind of law: the law of the jungle. In the response I fear, I see another kind of law: the law that suppresses visible conflict, while enforcing oppression. I would like to see a third kind of law: one that punishes the gmrg8rs, while protecting and encouraging freedom of expression and women's rights.
I think Brianna Wu agrees with me. Today she has written:
I also found this statement troubling. “Many at IGN feel additional visibility only encourages those who want to use the Movement as a means to stop rather than start discussions.” IGN prefers silence. They say they don’t want to “signal boost” [gmrg8].

What IGN doesn’t understand is ignoring these people isn’t working. They are going after any woman in the industry that speaks up about representation of women in the games industry. They went after Samantha Allen, they went after Jenn Frank, they went after Zoe Quinn and they went after me.—Brianna Wu, About IGN’s Statement…

Sure sounds like what I just called "the law that suppresses visible conflict, while enforcing oppression."

So, what kind of law and changes in legal practice do we need?

  1. To begin with, taking conduct on the internet seriously, and a matter for law enforcement. There is a huge amount of crime of all sorts that takes place on the internet. Most of it is fraud and theft-of-service (spam!) But there is also stalking, and something new that social media makes far easier: trolling for the violent, which is at the heart of GMRG8.
  2. Enforcing existing anti-stalking laws.
  3. Outlawing doxxing.
  4. Outlawing the practice of trolling for the violent.
  5. Finding a better compromise between the protections anonymity and pseudonimity provide, while at the same time, limiting their abuse.
Given our current crop of lawmakers, it doesn't sound like anything that is likely to be done soon. Still, let us at least pose the problem.

[Weasel phrase removed 2014.10.29]

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