Fighting for a free internet: why is it necessary? (+)

domingo, junio 15, 2008

Thanks to Spanish blog Doce Doce, I get to know of this new EU law project, which wants to create a "supposedly-volunteer" census of bloggers, allegedly because "they don't give true information sometimes" and because "their status is not clear". Oh, and if you include a video or a photo you have yourself taken, you will have to pay a fee, just to ensure you're not invading anyone's privacy... such as public figures' one. So, anyone considering the money and the blogger's control as the real reason for this "very-needed-measures"?

The report, which has no legal weight but offers political guidance to Europe's executive institutions, also calls for the establishment of fees for user-generated content and a clarification of the legal status of weblogs.

In order that existing professional producers of content such as photographers or journalists not be undersold by freely delivered but poorly produced content, the report recommends the payment of fees for use-generated content. In this way, producers or publishers would choose which content to purchase – professional or amateur – not based on which was cheapest, but which was of the highest quality.

The committee found that the increased use of the users own videos and photos on the internet does not always respect the privacy of citizens and public figures, and they believe that legal means need to be provided in order protect those concerns.(Why if someone has seen his/her privacy invaded does not sue the blogger in question? Another case of criminalising ALL bloggers just in case ONE is going against the law... Another interesting question is do Governments respect citizens and public figures' privacy? Do they really? Are they going to criminalise themselves in ALL their actions just in case ONE of their public servants do not respect their privacy?).

MEPs were also worried that the legal situation of bloggers regarding source protection is unclear, as where liability should be assigned in the event of lawsuits, and recommended that blogs and their authors be taken out of this legal limbo. (
Why? The limbo is not, theologically speaking, Heaven, but it's better, without doubt, than Hell. Are they sure that they are going to take us out of Limbo to get us to Heaven or are they going to take us directly to Hell? I for myself, just say experiments are not good to be made in real life).

In addition, the deputies want to see a disclosure of interests and the voluntary labelling of weblogs and the establishment of a right to reply to those felt unjustly portrayed in a blog. (
Well, actually you can reply: write your blog and answer the one who is "unjustly portraying" you in a blog. There would be times where that is exactly what it's needed, there would another times where that's exactly the contrary, as you're going to consider as worth of answering any idiot without brains who wants to speak about you. But hey, it's all about freedom).

The report's first reading in the plenary of the parliament is expected next month.

Meanwhile, the European Commission has launched an independent study on indicators of media pluralism in member states. It has said it will issue a communication on the subject later this year, to be followed by a public consultation on the topic.

But it is not the only one trying to control bloggers. Pajamas Media has also a very interesting article on the fight for free speech:
In a recent editorial, the NY Times welcomed federal regulation of the Internet under the benign-sounding cause “net neutrality,” warning us that Internet service providers might suppress ideas they do not like. The Times ignores the fact that the First Amendment is designed to protect us against suppression of ideas by the government, not the private sector, which has neither the power nor the motive to suppress ideas. Moreover, as the Las Vegas Review-Journal tells us, “Net neutrality is a solution in search of a problem.” It has not been given a chance to surface, much less an opportunity for the marketplace to fix this hypothetical problem. It is a weak reason to allow the irreversible step of government regulation.

Another party that is uncomfortable with free speech on the Internet is the Orwellianly-named group “Free Press.” They are pushing for the FCC to regulate the Internet similar to the way it regulates broadcast TV, calling for a national (read “government”) broadband policy to regulate price, speed, and availability. They also want the government to provide municipal broadband service to everybody, even though this model has already collapsed in the marketplace.

And of course, the U.N. and its many dictatorships is no fan of free speech on the Internet. Last November, the United Nations’ Internet Governance Forum (IGF) held its second annual meeting with a not-so-hidden agenda for a U.N. takeover of the U.S.’ private sector control of core Internet systems.

It is a sad commentary that the loudest voice against Internet regulation so far seems to be a group called Hands Off the Internet. The group is made-up of special interests — whose special interests happen to coincide with what we should all be fighting for.

So what will happen next? Hmm, difficult thing to say really. But in one way or another, they are going to try to regulate bloggers and freedom of expression. Some would protest, but would it be sufficient?

Will be continued...


Muchos se han hecho eco de ambas noticias, que reproduzco únicamente porque tanto una como otra tienen algo en común: la preocupación de las élites gubernamentales (y los directores de medios...) por los nuevos "panfletos", que ahora en vez de papel usan códigos binarios, ordenadores y la red para hacer ver qué piensan los ciudadanos. Pero claro el mero hecho de decir cualquier cosa que no gusta a los Gobiernos (y a los dueños de medios de comunicación) hace que los bloggers estén en el punto de mira.

De la primera noticia se hacen eco muchos blogueros: Doce Doce, Elentir, Víctor Gago, Internet Política, Compostela, Manuel Delgado, Persio, entre otros critican la medida que, sin embargo, no es algo nuevo ni en España ni fuera. Es el paso lógico desde el punto de vista europeo, una vez que se aprobó la Directiva de Conservación de Datos Electrónicos y en España, la ley que la transpone. Con ambas normas, cada vez que cualquier persona dentro de la UE se conecta a la red, todos sus datos quedan grabados.

En el Reino Unido, hay planes de que todos los correos electrónicos y llamadas de teléfono que se manden queden grabados para que el Gobierno pueda disponer de ellos supuestamente para investigar casos de terrorismo (link in English, which tells you why Governments are considering ALL citizens as potential terrorists and not as ONLY people with several common characteristics). Es decir, se confirma que los Gobiernos consideran terroristas potenciales a TODOS los ciudadanos y no a aquellos, que por determinadas características, debieran estar incluidos.

La segunda la trata JJ Noblejas en su blog. Lo más importante del post, aparecido en Pajamas Media, es la historia que traza de Internet y la libertad de expresión y que voy a traducir para todos aquellos que no entienden inglés:
En un reciente editorial, el NYT se congratulaba de la regulación federal de Internet bajo lo que se llama con un nombre que parece benigno "la neutralidad de la red", advirtiéndonos de que los proveedores de internet podrían suprimir las ideas que no les gusten. The Times ignora el hecho de que la Primera Enmienda está diseñada para protegernos contra la supresión de ideas por el Gobierno, no por el sector privado, que no tiene ni el poder ni los motivos para suprimir ideas.

Además, como Las Vegas Review-Journal nos dice "La neutraldiad de red es una solución en busca de un problema". No se le ha dado la oportunidad de salir a la superficie, mucho menos una oportunidad para que el mercado arregle el hipotético problema. Es una razón muy frágil para dejar que se produzca el paso irreversible de la regulación gubernamental.

Otro partido que está poco cómodo con la libertad de expresión en Internet es el llamado de modo Orwelliano "Libertad de Prensa". Están pidiendo al FCC que regule el internet de modo similar a la forma en que se regula la TV y llamando a una política de banda ancha nacional (léase "gubernamental") para regular precio, velocidad y disponibilidad. También quieren que el Gobierno provea un servicio municipal de banda ancha a todo el mundo, a pesar de que este modelo ha colapsado ya en el mercado.

Y por supuesto, la ONU y sus muchas dictaduras no son tampoco fans de la libertad de opinión en Internet. El pasado noviembre el Foro para el Gobierno de Internet (IGF) mantuvo el segundo encuentro anual con la agenda no tan escondida de una invasión de la ONU sobre el control del sector privado de EEUU de los sistemas centrales de Internet.

Es un triste comentario que la voz más alta contra la regulación de Internet parece ser la de un grupo llamado "Fuera las manos de Internet" (Hands Off the Internet). El grupo es un heterogéneo complejo de intereses especiales -cuyos intereses especiales coinciden con lo que todos deberíamos estar luchando.

La pregunta es ¿todos estamos luchando por esto? Y si hay alguno que no lo hace, ¿por qué?

Desde mi punto de vista, todos estamos obligados a hacerlo. La cuestión ha causado revuelo en la blogosfera, pero no tanto como en principio debería haber causado. ¿Por qué? Al fin y al cabo todos somos bloggers y ninguno quiere que el gobierno le diga lo que debe bloguear. ¿O sí?

Por cierto, buenísima la tira de Microsiervos: da totalmente en el clavo de por qué quieren regular los blogs...

Enlaces complementarios sobre la neutralidad en la red: Manuel Delgado, Enrique Dans.


(+) Por cierto, ¿nadie se acuerda de esta iniciativa del gobierno Prodi?
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