Thursday, February 16, 2006

Global Online Freedom Act of 2006

The new law, if passed, will make it unlawful to turn over information about users to certain governments unless the U.S. Justice Department approves. This would solve the basic problem being protested by BooYahoo. This website would potentially go away, or morph into something else. It doesn't mean that the basic nature of Yahoo! will have changed; it would only mean that their ability to do severe damage to their customers will be made illegal and would undoubtedly stop. If that happens, this boycott would be rendered effete.

Here is a complete draft of the law. I haven't read it yet, but I fear it may solve one problem and create another. Namely, as the article states, the powers of this bill are apparently broadly defined.

However, Reporters Without Borders' Lucie Morillon offers a glimmer of hope. "Our first reaction would be that hopefully this hearing and all this congressional and media attention is going to push the companies themselves at some point to regulate themselves ..."

I hope you are right, Ms. Morillon, because there is a certain irony to a Congressional Bill with "Freedom" in the title. Freedom cannot be legislated. It exists naturally, and legislation can only curb freedoms.

One portion of the bill prohibits censorship as dictated by an "internet restricting country," but continues to allow censorship as dictated by the US and its friends. While these few censored items may seem justifiable now, there is some degree of certainty that in the future, unjust censorship will occur.

However, Google's Elliot Schrage, who is someone I can't help but like, is cautiously agreeing to the bill.

UPDATE: After reading this bill, I am left with a very large question mark over my head. The language is extremely broad, and does nothing specific other than appropriate funds to technology that prevents internet jamming, and set up an office of Global Internet Freedom, which will "implement" a "comprehensive global strategy" to combat internet jamming and persecution by a named list of 10 repressive governments.

Apparently much of the conversation with the Big 4 yesterday was hypothetical.


Blogger Ontario Emperor said...

12:14 PM  
Blogger Jim said...

Thank you!

2:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I fully agree with Jim here. But how about stopping the companies (tele-communication) from turning over info to US NSA and FBI for domestic eavesdropping. Should people living in glasshouses throw stones at others?

8:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who's U.S. Justice Department? Its approval or disapproval mean nothing. Loser Americans. You think you can rule over the Web, but you cannot.

3:00 PM  

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