When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson

04 December 2005

Are your papers in order?

Meet John Gilmore. He's a 49 year-old philanthropist who lives in San Francisco, California. Through a lot of hard work (and a little luck), John made his fortune as a programmer and entrepreneur in the software industry. Whereas most people in his position would have moved to a tropical island and lived a life of luxury, John chose to use his fortune to protect and defend the US Constitution.

On the 4th of July 2002, John Gilmore, American citizen, decided to take a trip from one part of the United States of America to another. He went to Oakland International Airport -- ticket in hand -- and was told he had to produce his ID if he wanted to travel. He asked to see the law demanding he show his 'papers' and was told after a time that the law was secret and no, he wouldn't be allowed to read it.

He hasn't flown in his own country since.

[emphasis added - bc]
Oral arguments in the case of Gilmore v. Gonzalez will be heard in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on December 8th.

There's quite a bit of good information on the case, and why it's important, at the site that John Gilmore has set up:

PapersPlease.org - Gilmore v. Gonzales

Gilmore is a principled libertarian, not some random crank. He's one of the co-founders, and still sits on the Board of Directors of, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and was employee #5 at Sun Microsystems; he's also the guy who made the timeless (and highly accurate) observation: "The Net treats censorship as damage and routes around it."


No comments: