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.


1 comment so far

  1. Brian on


    Interesting post.

    Personally I feel we need more regulation. Why should users of the internet be exempt from the laws of the country they live in? The people who knowingly defied a ruling of a UK court should be punished accordingly, regardless if they think that ruling is unfair. All 77,000 odd of them. Twitter should also be held to account for not removing illegal tweets. People and companies need to take responsibility for their own activities.

    Of course, this is coming from a tech geek who knows how easy it is to post on blogs via a few proxies, especially with fake names :-)I don’t fancy the governments chances for enforcing regulation…

    One other thing. Why on earth has the British media (especially the BBC) been reporting the footballer as CTB. Have I missed some obvious hint in those initials, if not surely that is just plain mis-information to the public?

    (Poor fella though, I don’t fancy Craig Bellamys chances of a return to Celtic now)

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