Saturday, December 27, 2008

Labour party: meet the Internet

You sometimes can only despair at the comments of ministers regarding the Internet. Today's head-in-hands moment comes from Culture Secretary Andy Burnham:

"Leaving your child for two hours completely unregulated on the internet is not something you can do. This isn’t about turning the clock back. The internet has been empowering and democratising in many ways but we haven’t yet got the stakes in the ground to help people navigate their way safely around … what can be a very, very complex and quite dangerous world… The change of administration is a big moment. We have got a real opportunity to make common cause. The more we seek international solutions to this stuff — the UK and the US working together — the more that an international norm will set an industry norm."

It is hard to know what is more alarming: Burnham's ignorance of the US constitution and the limits it places on governmental action; or of the US debates throughout the 1990s on regulating online speech in which the US courts came down decisively against Congressional and Presidential efforts to restrict "obscenity":
As the most participatory form of mass speech yet developed, the Internet deserves the highest protection from governmental intrusion—just as the strength of the Internet is chaos, so the strength of our liberty depends upon the chaos and cacophony of the unfettered speech the First Amendment protects.

Sorry to push my own work on this subject yet again; but why bother documenting the practical options open to governments if they make technology policy in the style of King Canute?

1 comment:

chris said...

I'm guessing you have to spend a couple of minutes calming down at moron Burnham's continued idiocy before posting this - what scares me is that its not his ignorance, but that of his political advisors and perhaps even the odd civil servant, unless they've given up on him and expect him to get replaced in the General Election?