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My problem with 'Internet Federalism'

By Jay Garmon Contributor ·
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.,2101,69141,00.html?tw=rss.TOP

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.

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by apotheon In reply to My problem with 'Internet ...


I really don't have a lot to add right now. I just agree that this is a terrible, terrible bad thing, and that (action != progress).

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Diversity Truncated?

by Aaron A Baker In reply to My problem with 'Internet ...

I fail to see how "Congress" in all it's wisdom can seriously think it can rope in the Entire Net in one easy brush stroke. The very reason for the Net is it's complexity and it's wide variance. Admittedly there may be laws required to guard against certain issues, be they moral or otherwise,however to presume that with one law or ruling, one can bring the entire Internet into line is to demonstrate a clear misunderstanding of the problem.
For the life of me I can't think of how many "different rules and regulations" it would take to even affect the Net let alone what is being discussed here. Although a worthy ambition, I seriously doubt that the Net can be entirely ruled and regulated by one Governing body. There are simply too many variables and variances involved. It is this that make's the Net interesting, let us hope that it will not be used to kill the greatest from of communication ever created, most especially by a Congress who seems more determined to garner points rather than actually protect society.
Thank You
Aaron ]:)

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Why not?

by apotheon In reply to Diversity Truncated?

Why wouldn't they think they can just fix everything with a single law? Many of them seem to think they can just make universal healthcare happen with a single law, never mind the fact that the resources of such a program would be greater than the GNP of the country, or that the labor involved for such a bureaucratic undertaking would require more workers than beneficiaries. This is the same Congress that thinks raising taxes magically conjures money out of thin air without affecting economic realities like individual productivity, inflation, financial solvency for small businesses, cost of living, and the willingness of the most productive to continue to contribute to productivity, either directly or by spending their hard-earned cash. This is the same Congress that seems to think that a law can be passed that objectively regulates decency and obscenity, that laws can make "intellectual property" have only positive effects and no negative effects, that corporate bodies can be granted financial protections without giving them legal advantages that interfere with the legal rights of individual citizens, passing laws preventing certain behaviors will only affect those who don't follow laws, and micromanaging both wage rates and tariffs won't cause businesses to move their operations offshore (thus producing domestic employment rate crises).

With the daily idiocies rampant in Congress, I'd frankly be surprised if they didn't think they could just pass a single law to eradicate all the "problems" of the Internet, particularly without adversely affecting its benefits.

Of course, they're wrong about all of the above.

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"Internet Federalism" post

by xxxmadmassxxx In reply to My problem with 'Internet ...

I was wondering if you could provide me with some links to how the federal government is trying to capture the control of the internet and how the state is doing something else. Please and thank you for your time reading this message. If possible can you respond by today. Any help or useful resources is grateful.

Robert Lee

o and system admin, it said i cant post a message so plz do something, thx

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now thats conspiricy theory....

by ---TK--- In reply to "Internet Federalism" pos ...
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Dear self-important gasbag politicians,

by road-dog In reply to My problem with 'Internet ...

How about this? You guys stop Nigerian email scams and maybe we'll give you something better to do. Firewall ONE country off. Just one. Make it stick if you can. If you can't, then let me police my own hard drive. Thank you!

As for the governator, he is a state level gasbag who made his fortune in movies where robots hunt down women and children with body counts in the hundreds. He simply isn't a voice of reason as to what constitutes depravity.

Please leave us the **** alone.

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Depravity is...

by NotSoChiGuy In reply to Dear self-important gasba ...

"Hercules in New York", "End of Days" and "Last Action Hero" being played back-to-back-to-back!!


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Its a waste of taxpayer time and money

by LarryD4 In reply to My problem with 'Internet ...

It just seems silly to enforce laws that will not affect the business. Just because these federal laws are in place here. Doesn't mean that it will stop them from doing it from somewhere else..

It is just posturing..

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