By Leigh Beadon
This week, both our winners on the insightful side are folks expressing their doubt about our Greenhouse guest post on thoughtfully regulating the internet. In first place, it’s an anonymous commenter focusing on the various interests at play:
The big danger for Internet regulation is that the driving force is old school publishers, and they want to reduce or eliminate the self publishing capabilities of the Internet. At the same time, the politicians want to wrest back control over political discussion, which is what is driving the attacks on section 230, while the security services want to abolish or backdoor all encryption.
If fosta/sesta is anything to go on, regulation will be used to backdoor government control over content by simply increasing the things that sites can be held liable for within user generated content.
In second place, it’s a different anonymous commenter focusing on the government’s track record:
Surely it needs to be shown that the government can effectively govern the infrastructure before it begins redefining the infrastructure to include everyone’s living room and garage?
Issues like net neutrality, reasonable price accounting and honest price reporting for simple consumer internet services, reliable maps of areas served by cable or cell-tower, addressing the digital divide–are all (1) much easier than regulating free speech; (2) inarguably constitutional, (3) currently within the authority of the government regulators, and …
(4) not even addressed, let alone solved.
Whichever government agency can solve THOSE problems … may be judged competent to define the problems of the edge.
But at this point, government regulators are allowing monolithic monopolies to give themselves huge price advantages to their own subsidiaries selling content to their captive audiences; ignoring the false advertising of prices and contract-violating price increases (both increases in hidden fees to be paid as “content fees” to their own subsidiaries, and uncontrollable, exorbitant, economically-unjustifiable costs for downloads in excess of plan); not requiring accurate reporting of areas served or speeds available in those areas; and giving money away for “expanding coverage”, then never even checking to see if the specified areas were served, or indeed if that money was even spent on services.
I’d grade that “F” in law, “F” in accounting, “F” in technology, “F” in social studies.
Those are the people that you want working on HARD problems? I wouldn’t trust them to dig a privy with both hands and a trowel.
First, walk–then run. Actually, first crawl. Maybe, first roll over and cry for a bottle.
Since that post generated a lot of debate, we’ll kick off the editor’s choice for insightful with one more comment, this time from That One Guy also focusing on the conflicting motivations:
Volume does not equal validity
While there are valid concerns regarding online platforms and services far too often the ‘concerns’ I see range from selfish concerns on the part of governments about how those platforms have the utter audacity to not just give them all the data they have and/or use encryption so the government can’t just get the info itself, individuals and groups upset that platforms have rules and keep kicking the assholes off, or entrenched companies/industries that are angry that someone came along and succeeded where they failed and so want to add in regulations crippling their new competition.
If I believed that those calling for regulations were doing so honestly and in the best interests of the public that would be one thing, but as it stands more often than not it seems the motivations are purely selfish and self-serving, with nary a care for the wider impact that their demands would have if implemented.
Next, it’s Bobvious with a comment about the appeals court ruling that said address mistakes on warrants are no big deal:
I’m sure that if a judge’s address “was used to test a department-wide computer system” there would be REAL reform REAL QUICK.
Over on the funny side, our first place winner is an anonymous commenter responding to AT&T’s attack on Section 230:
Splendid! Let’s strip AT&T of the immunities it enjoys when criminals use the phone system to commit crimes. Every time an Indian Extended-Vehicle-Warranty or IRS-collection scam call is made–every time a Nigerian money-transfer email is sent across AT&T wires–NAIL THEM FOR RICO!
Because, unlike Bad Stuff being uploaded to Youtube which cannot be spotted without human review, the phone-company nerds know how to stop the fraudulent phone calls. (It’s a matter of validating the phone originator, the protocols for which are already in place.) But the phone companies do not do this, because … well, they get paid for completing fraudulent calls.
Whatever Google or Facebook is doing, they CANNOT do anything so annoying to the general public, as those fraudulent phone calls.
Kick the elephant out of the bedroom before looking for crickets.
In second place, it’s a response to Trump’s tantrum over the FTC not doing what he wants:
LAW AND ORDER!
NO NOT THAT LAW!
For editor’s choice on the funny side, we start out with Norahc commenting on the students and parents who figured out how to game an AI exam grading system:
Edgenuity – training people to be SEO specialists at over 20,000 campuses nationwide.
Finally, it’s :Lobo Santo commenting on the administrations apparent collection of dossiers on journalists who criticize the president:
Wouldn’t it be faster and easier to list the people who’re aren’t critical of Trump?
That’s all for this week, folks!