Perhaps this is just a conclusion that I have reached. Maybe I am alone in this thought. Even so, I have to state what I think. Whenever the Government steps in to identify, and quantify, Rights of this group or that freedom dies just a bit more.
Just last month there was an uproar across the internet. Millions of people and thousands of internet sites joined together to protest the Government as it waded into what can and cannot be done on the internet. It was an invasion of freedom and choice. It was Big Brother stepping on the toes of the public. It was unAmerican.
That was the reaction to SOPA and PIPA, the initiatives by Congress to moderate what can and cannot be on the internet. But Government is nothing if not consistent and observant. The internet is a realm of vast power, the ability to influence millions of minds in just a few clicks. Such power cannot just remain in the hands of the public. Especially when the Government knows so much better how to weild such power, at least in its own mind.
Thus President Obama has announced a Bill of Rights for the Internet. Something that has not been needed in decades, and now is seemingly impossible not to have. But that has nothing to do with Government intrusion in the actions of free people across the world. Even if it comes a month after the prior attempt to wrest control failed.
There is no question that there are abuses on the internet. There is spam, and viruses, and all manner of bots that have only a single purpose – to observe what you do and find a way to sell you stuff or otherwise get your money. Such is the price of an open forum. Those with nefarious intentions cannot be kept away from those that deserve to be heard and seen.
But when the Government announces how it will provide a Bill of Rights, how is that not a restriction of Rights?
Right now, if you have read this far, you can leave this site in a click. In fact the average time ANY site on the internet has to gain the attention and keep a visitor is well under 15 seconds. How is that not the most powerful action ever. The ability to reject what you don’t want.
Take it further. Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and so on have this tool and that bot to get your information. You know this. You can choose a near limitless series of options to avoid their tracking tools. In fact, because they do what they do, there is ALWAYS someone trying to create the next great whatever. An alternative to what exists and is annoying the public. And no matter how much money Google or Facebook have today, tomorrow someone will have a better product and they will lose that money because they are also pissing off the very lifeblood they need – You.
But the Government wants to protect you. Because you are not smart enough to use a differnt search engine. Because you are not smart enough to use a spam blockers, or any number of anti-malware and anti-spyware software out there. No, you need the Government to decide what can and cannot be done.
Just like how the Government decided what is good for women and killed the ERA movement. They decided that Affirmative Action was the solution for Blacks. That Welfare and social aide programs would cure the poor. They enacted laws to protect every type of group and sect to the point that today you are free to speak, only as long as what you say is approved.
Things are so convoluted that we need laws to state that a Black man, or a Japanese woman, or a Hindu is equal to a White. Stop. Think about that. We need laws to tell people that everyone is as equal as anyone else, and no more than that. You win for just showing up at a race. You are subsidized, as long as you fill out the right form. You are free of persecution, as long as you fit into the correct box on a form. That’s equality? That’s freedom?
Thus, somehow the Government, who just a month ago was going to recklessly shutdown websites and servers, and inflict unknown penalties on innocent observers, is now the shinning knight that will defend the Rights it was willing to sacrifice a month ago.
Explain this to me. How is any law created today more powerful than me clicking the back button and never visiting a site again? How is the Government able to protect my right to privacy, even as they scheme to invade it with PIPA? How is the Government better at deciding if Google, et al., will survive as a business rather than create a new innovation by their existence and intractability, if they count success as Solyndra and VOLT?
I don’t need an Internet Bill of Rights. My Rights are at my fingertip, and if I exercise my ability to choose I can cause the next innovation. Given there may be bumps in the road, but where in life are there not? At what point in the 2+ decade existence of the internet has there not been the nefarious? Yet there is more available and capable, without Government intervention or protection. How could we have survived without a Bill of Rights? Indeed.
The internet is not perfect. There are problems, and privacy intrusion. Just like there is the issue with GPS on cell phones and Government listening. But at this moment, people have the power. Businesses ebb and flow with our collective demands. They tread only so far into our privacy, lest they be outcast and rejected. All without a need to have a set of Rights that determine what we can do, and not what Government or business cannot.
The Internet Bill of Rights sounds great. So did the Kool-aid at Jim Jones’ house. But in the end, being told what Right you have as opposed to using the Rights you have, always ends up with some version of China.
But that is my thought on the idea. What do you think?