Culver City Gets Around Pesky First Amendment With Terms Of Service
from the read-closely dept
Last week, we learned that Culver City, California was installing filters on its muni-WiFi network, in an attempt to block content it (or the MPAA) didn't like. Ignoring the facts that filters don't really work and they weren't aware of any real problem until a vendor pointed it out to them with a sales pitch, a local government deciding to put roadblocks up to undesirable, though not illegal, activities (surfing porn or using P2P, in this instance) is more than a little sketchy. But it gets a little more interesting: when logging on to the service, the city's terms of service says users must agree to "waive any First Amendment claims" stemming from the service. That seems like a slightly less nasty way to tell people their First Amendment rights simply don't apply -- but since users are "voluntarily" waiving them, it's somehow okay. Plenty of companies use things like end user license agreements to make it okay for them to do things like install spyware on your computer, and some have argued that EULAs can trump certain laws. But a city using a similar terms of service -- which most users aren't likely to read -- to make an end run around the Constitution seems like a silly measure that's destined to end up in court.