Collaboration optimize

My problem with Internet Federalism


President Truman once admonished the U.S. House and Senate as a

"do-nothing Congress" bent on stalling rather than taking action. While

I'm a fan of Harry, I almost wish the do-nothing Congress would make a

comeback, because the legislative branch's obsession with legislating

away the evils of computers and the Internet is causing more problems

than it solves.



CNET's Declan McCullagh warns us that no less

than five antispyware and antispam laws are being hustled through

Congress, all modelled on the rousing "success" that was the Can Spam

Act.

Meanwhile,

at the state level, the Terminator himself has signed a California law

banning "heinous, cruel, or depraved" video games, as if such terms

were objectively measurable.



McCullagh's

article cuts to the heart of the matter:


"George Mason University

professors Bruce Kobayashi and Larry Ribstein have written about how

Internet federalism affects Americans' privacy rights. They say that

'federal law would perversely lock in a single regulatory framework

while Internet technology is still rapidly evolving. State law, by

contrast, emerges from 51 laboratories and therefore presents a more

decentralized model that fits the evolving nature of the Internet.

Moreover, competition among state laws can mute the inefficient

tendencies of (special interest group) legislation.'"



Action is

not the same as progress. State and federal legislators need to take a

breath and figure out where the law can do the most good, rather than

where legislation can score the easiest political points.


Agree, disagree, or got a different take? Throw it into this discussion.

About

Jay Garmon has a vast and terrifying knowledge of all things obscure, obtuse, and irrelevant. One day, he hopes to write science fiction, but for now he'll settle for something stranger -- amusing and abusing IT pros. Read his full profile. You can a...