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Editorial: Does the First Amendment apply to virtual spaces?

April 29, 2063 - Last week, in one of the biggest synchronized police actions in US history, the homes of more than seven hundred private citizens were raided, and more than five hundred arrests were made for the crime of "inciting criminal behavior using private informational processes."

If you've been paying attention over the past nine years, you'll know how to parse the above legal word soup: those raided are accused of participating in a virtual anti-corporate sovereignty rally, this time at the holo-net headquarters of Sterling-Malkeet.

Watching five-hundred people, many of them bloodied and terrified, hauled from their homes by police 'SWATbots' is--understandably and rightfully--horrifying to a lot of people, but this is nothing new. As far back as 2054, when the first major arrest of virtual protesters occurred over the occupation of Metallurgic International's holographic customer service center, pundits and courts have engaged in the debate over whether or not the internet constitutes a public space, and is therefore legally required to oblige peaceable assembly.

Legislation simply hasn't kept up with the advances of the holo-net, and that's no accident. It serves the interests of Sterling-Malkeet and Metallurgic and their corporate ilk to treat the holo-scape, not as a public space, but (in the words of Metallurgic-backed Senator Gerard O'Neil) "an array of privately owned information processes." The same O'Neil - [DATA CORRUPTED]

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