|Honesty an issue with regulation|
|Written by Erin Hogg, Daily Vidette Columnist|
|Thursday, 29 November 2012 19:34|
In a surprise announcement on reddit.com Tuesday, Rep. Darrell Issa posted that he is sponsoring a bill that would ban any new laws, rules or regulations governing the Internet.
The proposed bill, called the Internet American Moratorium Act of 2012, is an effort that would require individuals or corporations engaged in activities on the Internet to meet additional requirements or activities, according to the discussion draft.
There will, however, be an exception during that two-year ban for Internet regulation due to national security reasons.
Issa was an outspoken critic of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) last year. He is also one of the more tech-affluent members of Congress, according to CNN.
With this in mind, the bill may sound like a great idea. For one, our country has much more on its plate now with the fiscal cliff, health care, unemployment, Hurricane Sandy relief and many other current issues.
Internet privacy and net neutrality should not be taking up the valuable time our representatives have to pass other legislation that is arguably more important.
I am also a firm believer that the Internet should be open and free, with no regulation from the government — save for cases where people’s lives are in danger, such as child pornography.
However, there are a few problems with Issa’s plan. First, no one in Congress is educated well enough on technology and the Internet to write legislation regulating it.
Even the U.S. Homeland Security Chief Janet Napolitano does not use email at all. Until we have honest lawmakers who can admit they really do not have any experience with the Internet (outside of maybe watching cat videos with their Yahoo! toolbar) there is no way they could ethically create regulation.
Another important issue for this bill’s sponsor is that Issa voted yes to the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA). Similar to SOPA, which Issa was a staunch critic of, CISPA is a bill to help the government investigate cyber threats and ensure the security of networks against cyber attack.
But, the problem with this is that there are too few limits on how the government can monitor an individual’s browsing history.
Clearly, while Issa tried to come off as tech-savvy and for the people, he voted in the complete opposite manner.
Finally, and maybe not as obviously, the two-year ban is an interesting amount of time to choose for this bill. It could be enough time for the issues of Internet regulation to come to the forefront again, but maybe not. Something that does happen in the next two years is the midterm election, in which voters choose members for the House and Senate.
Issa’s goal here could be to simply wait until there is a Republican majority in both the Senate and the House and then possibly pass bills that would severely limit privacy on the Internet.
It is all “what ifs” at this point, but it should not be discounted.
Just because Issa likes “Battlestar Galactica” and “Star Trek” does not make him an Internet expert either — that’s just some nerd cred.
Questions or comments to Erin’s column can be sent to: