Making the Internet Suck

Michael Geist has a column in the Star today about attempts to “lock” the internet down. Since the people who want this kind of thing are media content providers, you don’t tend to hear a great deal about this in the media content that they provide. It’s being considered quite seriously elsewhere in the world, Geist points to the continent:

“More recently, French President Nicolas Sarkozy unveiled a plan that would mandate country-wide ISP filtering of copyright infringing content. Although a similar pan-European proposal was defeated earlier this month, few believe the issue is dead, particularly given the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry’s claim last Thursday that 2008 will be the year of greater ISP responsibility.”

This is an alarming, statist solution to concerns over intellectual property rights. Once we start filtering for copyright, the state will have an incredible apparatus with which it may monitor internet content. The temptation to block all manner of other content will be immense. The implications for our freedom of expression from this are surely greater than anything that can be mustered by the Alberta Human Rights Commission. I’m not sure why I haven’t seen libertarian-oriented conservatives aren’t screaming about this issue. (If you are a libertarian conservative and you have been, tell me and I’ll link to it.)


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