Archive for May, 2011|Monthly archive page

The Internet and Legislation

Coming from a heavily regulated industry, I’ve always felt that the Internet will find itself mired in regulation sooner or later. Piracy, long lobbied on by the entertainment industry has given way to regulations on Privacy for the consumer and a robust discussion of the use of twitter and the right to privacy.

Taking the consumer angle first; the great EU Cookie Law which needs websites to gain explicit consent before placing a cookie came into force today. The ICO website has implemented its view on how to meet the legislation, which isn’t particularly pretty and boils down to “accept it or the website won’t work” – well duh. The ICO advice on the rest of the subject is limited, in particular the advice on  ICO advice on 3rd party cookies boils down to “your users need to know what you’re doing – but we don’t have an answer on how that works yet.”

The right to privacy and celebrity injunctions has had wall to wall coverage in the UK this week. Of course, 13 years is a long time in the internet and Jack Straw (then home secretary) was the first notable person to find the Internet breaking an injunction, after users named his son in connection with cannabis dealing. As a savvy internet user, I was aware of CBT’s identity over a month ago but as the twitterati worked together – there was a suggestion that Twitter was liable since it had “published” the tweets. Still in a time warp, I couldn’t help but recall the Demon Internet Defamation case.

I’ve long felt as the Internet matured, government will create legislation, that will be good intentioned but be poorly implemented. If it happens, I can  guarantee it will infuriate the tech community.

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