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False Positives Adventures in Technology, SciFi and Culture from Toronto

Monday, March 07, 2005

What Do You Want the Internet to Be?

Michael Geist (law professor at the University of Ottawa) in his most recent column in the Toronto Star (Law Bytes) draws further attention to the disturbing policy proposals being considered by the Canadian government today which include:

telecommunications service providers will be required to refit their networks to allow for real-time interception of communications, to have the capability of simultaneously intercepting multiple transmissions, and to provide detailed subscriber information to law enforcement authorities without a court order within 72 hours.

Allowing Telecommunications Service Providers and ISP to block or slow data coming from competing sites or services such as VoIP.

The Minister of Industry, together with Liza Frulla, his Canadian Heritage counterpart, are also reportedly about to finalize new rules that may reshape the availability of Internet content to educational institutions.  Acting on the recommendation of a parliamentary committee that was chaired by Toronto MP Sarmite Bulte, the government may soon unveil a new ?extended license? that would require schools to pay millions of dollars for content that is currently freely available on the Internet.

Rules that make it far easier to remove an allegedly infringing song than to remove dangerous child pornography.

Raymond A. van der Woning @ PolySpy obsevers in And Orwell Wept: Humans seek to control information, how it forms, where and when it flows, and whom shall have access to it and under what conditions. They aim to monetize it.

As does Dana Blankenhorn over at Moores Lore in Who Will Sa-ave Your Soul (for those lies that you told) : There's a theme here. And the theme is right-on. It is that the Internet is threatened as never before, by cops, by greed, and by fear. If we allow these to dominate the conversation we lose. And we must not let that happen.

Also Doc Searls, and from Notes from a Teacher:THE INTERNET, CHILLED

I know some people think (hope) that "they" would never do such a thing, based on the evidence that hey have never done such a thing in the past (or at least hardly ever) - which sounds like something from Gilbert & Sullivan's HMS Pinafore - but did they say that in Republican Rome or in Classical Athens? (History Majors step forth). And given the news about the EU Council Adopting the Software Patent Directive in disregard of it own procedures.

So is it "Money corrupts" and "Greed Rules"? Are we going to have a Neutered, watched Net or a Free and innovative Internet? Hopefully this is all just a False Positives.

Update: Michael Geist's Law Bytes column in the Toronto Star got SlashDot'ed (http://www.terremoto.ca/ beated me to it) Michael suggests writting Your MP as well as the Industry Minister David Emerson and Canadian Heritage Minister Liza Frulla. Emails are good, written letters are better.

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