( Read more... )We've seen a lot of bad recommendations for internet policy in the recent past, a lot of it related to misguided copyright enforcement initiatives, but this is really special. No anonymity? Constant oversight? Only real pictures as avatars? No using languages that the internet police doesn't speak? How on earth does this sort of baffling nonsense make it into the recommendations of an official body made up of grownups with brains?
The noxious influence of business interests is strong in this one; EDRI calls the whole initiative "little more than a protection racket (use filtering or be held liable for terrorist offences) for the online security industry". What's kind of shocking here is not that business interests are trying to influence policymaking, though. That's been happening ever since businesses and policymaking came into existence. The real issue is that these sorts of recommendations have some chance of getting somewhere. They may or may not make it into law, but they will almost certainly end up influencing the policymakers who will lay eyes on them. Far too many of these people have no earthly idea how the internet works and what is necessary to keep the internet gears from turning. They don't have the necessary background knowledge and practical experience to recognize these "recommendations" for the harmful crap they are the moment the papers land on their desks. I shudder to think that serious lawmaking people will be looking this over, nodding along and assuming these ideas are very reasonable and terrorist-stopping.
Nobody can be expected to have a thorough grounding in every topic in existence, but the internet is no longer a "special" issue that you can ignore until some proposals come around, at which point you call in a "nerd" to explain things and tell you what to do. Knowing about the workings and needs of a functioning internet is as essential for a 21st-century public official as knowing about traffic rules. Every time you make a new rule, you should consider the effect it will have on the internet, and you should know how to do so. Back to school for everyone.