Governments and the internet: they will regulate; they will over-regulate; and they will get it wrong
Eric Schmidt of Google has told governments not to be too hasty in regulating technology.
When asked about government regulation, Schmidt also said that technology moves so fast that governments really shouldn’t try to regulate it because it will change too fast, and any problem will be solved by technology. “We’ll move much faster than any government,” Schmidt said.
Eric Schmidt To World Leaders At eG8: Don’t Regulate Us, Or Else
He may have been talking about Google – but the argument applies to technology and the internet in general. And it’s a self-evident argument to anyone with half a brain cell. Sadly, governments are not that clever. They will regulate; they will over-regulate; and they will get it wrong.
The European Commission (EC) has today released its new Intellectual Property Rights Strategy (IPRS), which controversially requires UK and EU broadband providers to give their “cooperation” in helping to tackle internet copyright infringement (piracy) at source.
Europe Forces ISPs to Act as Internet Police for Copyright Infringement
The US Department of Homeland Security has gone on another round of domain seizures – its first since February this year – taking control of domains used by sites accused of copyright infringement and counterfeiting offences.
Homeland Security seizes more domains
Quite clearly, our brainless governments are bending over backwards to be the firearm of the IP rightsholders, regardless of the warnings they receive from the industry. Why? I think there are two reasons: money and control. Firstly, governments fear the loss of tax revenue from a faltering industry. And secondly, they welcome the control it gives them. Political control. If they can take down a site for copyright infringement, they will be able to take down a site for any old (political) reason.
And where does that leave us? Well, it’s going to turn a lot of us into criminals. Because as Eric Schmidt says, technology can move faster than governments. And as they legislate, we will evade. Not many of us are going to sit back and obey silly laws that are unfair, wrong and unenforceable.