Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Wikileaks and government censorship

Two excellent academic blogs on the issue: IGP on US hysteria from the military-industrial complex, and Technollama on theory brought to life. If I use AMEX, is that a blow for freedom against Visa and Mastercard and Paypal? Thought not...but there are over 1000 mirrors of Wikileaks out there, and the hydra has too many heads for the NSA.
UPDATE: ONI details the private censorship so far.

Monday, 6 December 2010

EU Council agrees to move towards First Reading agreement with Parliament on web blocking

The deed is done - against all sensible opposition, the Council agreed to words (p.23) that where it cannot take down websites, it will block - which in effect means unfocused approach to the former, and heavy attention on the latter. Insanity.
This will run and run next year - and don't expect non-Pirate Parliamentarians to grow a pair and oppose this. I look forward to seeing what anti-regulation, anti-neutrality MEPs make of this disgraceful over-regulation - will they show consistency?

Friday, 3 December 2010

Chapter headings updated

Chapter 1: States, firms and legitimacy of regulation
Chapter 2: Internet Co-Regulation and Constitutionalism
Chapter 3: Self-Organisation and Social Networks
Chapter 4: Standards, Domain Names and Government
Chapter 5: Content Regulation and the Internet
Chapter 6: Private ISP Censorship
Chapter 7: Analyzing Case Studies
Chapter 8: Internet co-regulation as part of the broader regulatory debate

Web blocking mandatory in Europe in 2011?

Coimmissioner Malmstrom from Sweden proposes that to the Justice Council - and it is to be debated by the European Parliament in February. Interesting Swedish radio interview with her Pirate Party MP who runs rings around her: "what Cecilia Malmström is proposing is to just put a blanket over the problem to hide it."

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Speaking on co-regulation and constitutionalism at Wharton

Its always a great pleasure to accept Kevin Werbach's invite to Wharton to discuss media and communications law. In particular, its the concept, one hour per paper for a brief introduction and a long discussion - which requires the superb and engaged scholars that Kevin attracts.
Two rules: its work-in-progress so nothing public, and you have to read and note every paper in advance to properly participate. This year, I am talking co-regulation and Kevin has pointed me to this fascinating Phil Weiser net neutrality co-regulation paper that somehow slipped under my radar - he takes co-regulation from the Ofcom study which is derivative of everything else (with a nod to pioneering Schulz-Held in 2001), so that makes my paper an intellectual and policy history of how Europe got to that point.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Civil society: OSCE urges state torturers to 'open dialogue with civil society'

Its quite absurd that the OSCE is urging the 'Stans (the ex-Soviet but still brutal kleptocracy-dictatorships in central Asia) to open dialogue with civil society. These regimes torture including by boiling victims to death. How the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) pretends to discuss open engagement is a Kafka-esque invention that Orwell would have been proud of: "Giving formal legal status to public councils and other consultative bodies will also be on the agenda, as will strengthening mechanisms for financial support of NGOs and the establishment of governmental bodies designed to improve co-operation between governments and civil society. Non-governmental organizations have a vital role to play in the promotion of human rights, democracy and the rule of law, but to do so, they need an enabling environment with adequate legal and financial frameworks," said Snjezana Bokulic, Head of ODIHR's Human Rights Department.

Friday, 26 November 2010

The limits of co-regulation: tax avoidance and Big Banks

So Boy George tries to persuade banks to take a bath - and they essentially told him to get lost (except 4 that he owns). Now he must have come back with some bribes because 15 of them are playing ball: "Osborne is stepping back from plans, initiated by the Labour government, to demand that bankers disclose how many of their employees earn more than £500,000 a year." Is this what you would call a voluntary Code of Practice? Not in my book...

Social Networking Bill of Rights?

It'll be a bit difficult in the States as Facebook is governed by contract not privacy law, but Europe offers more hope of some regulation of Mr Zuckerberg's universe.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Self- or co-regulation for UK ISPs?

Adjournment debate in Parliament - with a very interesting intervention about coding of mobile content. Minister Vaizey (yes, that one) stated: "I mentioned this during my speech on net neutrality last week-that they can manage the traffic that crosses their network in order to give their consumers a good service... It seems to me that, given that rights holders are fully aware of the websites that are distributing their content illegally, ISPs could do more in that regard."

Sunday, 21 November 2010

96,000 word book finally delivered! Cambridge University Press next year

Internet co-regulation!

Chapter 1: States, the Internet and legitimacy of co-regulation 15.6
Chapter 2: Reflexive co-regulation and the Internet 11.5
Chapter 3: Self-organization and social networks 12.3
39.4
Chapter 4: Self-regulation and standards 11.8
Chapter 5: Co-regulation and medium law 13.8
Chapter 6: Privatized censorship: ISPs and co-regulation 13.5
39.1
Chapter 7: Of governance and governments: roots of all nets? 8.4
Chapter 8: Intelligent governance: the role of governments in co-regulation 9.1
17.5
96.000k

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

How do stakeholders play a role in ICANN 'self-regulation'?

ICANN wants to be judged as a voluntary contributions-type charity - odd as it charges registries a compulsory charge, which surely makes its position that of having its cake and eating it. Mandatory charges mark out a sovereign regulator - which supposes an administrative law standard of care. Perhaps it would prefer those contributions to be voluntary in future??!!
To reinforce the administrative law point, Neelie Kroes has expressed 'The need for accountability in Internet governance':
"I trust that by opening a dialogue with the wider public - whether you are a private or public sector stakeholder - you will find new and better ways to reinforce your structures and decision-making processes. The same applies for the Internet Governance Forum : this multi-stakeholder approach has proved successful ; it must continue and evolve to serve the purposes of the Tunis Agenda... when freedom of speech and human rights on the internet are at stake, it is not just public authorities that have a role to play... We need rules that make the decisions accountable, transparent and efficient; and that guarantee a mutual respect for the common good. Nowadays, how could any organisation with global responsibilities not be accountable to all of us? In this respect, just like the EU welcomed the openings made in the Affirmation of Commitment last year, I am hopeful that the expiry of the IANA contract next year will be turned into an opportunity for more international cooperation serving the global public interest."

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Asian Media Summit: co-regulation for all?

Its always dangerous to go to Asia and talk about co-regulation and civil society multistakeholders as if they really exist. here's a good write-up from Botswana on a big Beijing media summit:
'President of the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation and former Secretary-General of the European Broadcasting Union, Dr Jean-Bernard Munch, observed that universal principles of freedom of expression and information can be upheld in an environment that allows for effective co-regulation of the media industry on the basis of common codes of conduct, as well as self-regulation by individual media houses. He noted that in Switzerland, mechanisms for co-regulation in broadcasting involve structures through which the Federal Minister responsible appoints an oversight body largely drawn from civil society.
Amidst calls for re-regulation of global media in the face of mounting evidence of a worldwide decline in public trust in news organizations, the concept of co-regulation found widespread acceptance among diverse Summit participants. As one participant noted regulatory mechanisms, along with guarantees of press freedom, should exist for the protection of the governed, not governments.'

Rights and the Internet

Computers, Privacy, Freedom will this year focus on social network users and a potential Bill of Rights - in response to rather flagrant privacy breaches by Facebook, but also governments, employers and stalkers dipping liberally into social networks to prosecute their interests.
Also, there's a very interesting article by Yaman Akdeniz regarding Internet filtering and European law and regulation.

Friday, 4 June 2010

More on how regulation aids big business against entrants

Mr Cable: 'Regulation is too often the creature of big businesses with the resources to handle it forcing out the small.  The cost to business of regulation currently in the pipeline is around £20bn: far in excess of any direct help the Government does or can give. Of course regulation can be necessary to protect consumers, the environment and the labour force.  But it must be proportionate.  I used a statement to Parliament yesterday explaining how this Government will embark on radical steps to remove and stop unnecessary and costly regulation.'
Yet the European Parliament (quite rightly) asks big companies to account for human rights, notably Siemens Nokia Networks for their Iranian operations.

Vince Cable on Adam Smith

Stronger competition policy signals: "Arguing for more competition instead of cosy cartels. Arguing for better protection for consumers from shady practice. Rejecting special pleading... Amongst [Adam Smith's] many wise words which have stood the test of time is this: “the interest of the producer ought to be attended to, only so far as it may be necessary for promoting that of the consumer”. And the consumer is all of us.Smith – and this is often forgotten – also argued trenchantly that successful capitalism rested on a sense of morality, not on unfettered greed."

Friday, 28 May 2010

Krugman on corporate lobbying against regulation

How broken is DC? 'Many Obama supporters have been disappointed by what they see as the administration’s mildness on regulatory issues — its embrace of limited financial reform that doesn’t break up the biggest banks, its support for offshore drilling, and so on. Yet corporate interests are balking at even modest changes from the permissiveness of the Bush era. From the outside, this rage against regulation seems bizarre. I mean, what did they expect? The financial industry, in particular, ran wild under deregulation, eventually bringing on a crisis that has left 15 million Americans unemployed, and required large-scale taxpayer-financed bailouts to avoid an even worse outcome. Did Wall Street expect to emerge from all that without facing some new restrictions? Apparently it did.'

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Harpers' Steven Pearlstein: industrial warfare


"The biggest oil spill ever. The biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression. The deadliest mine disaster in 25 years. One recall after another of toys from China, of vehicles from Toyota, of hamburgers from roach-infested processing plants. The whole Vioxx fiasco. And let’s not forget the biggest climate threat since the Ice Age…It hardly captures the breadth and depth of these regulatory failures to say that during the Bush Administration the pendulum swung a bit too far in the direction of deregulation and lax enforcement. What it misses is just how dramatically the regulatory agencies have been shrunken in size, stripped of talent and resources, demoralized by lousy leadership, captured by the industries they were meant to oversee and undermined by political interference and relentless attacks on their competence and purpose. "

Monday, 24 May 2010

The Coalition: our programme for government: co-regulation

The second section of the document makes clear that regulation needs improvement by using more co-regulation:

"We will cut red tape by introducing a ‘one-in, one-out’ rule whereby no new regulation is brought in without other regulation being cut by a greater amount.
• We will end the culture of ‘tick-box’ regulation, and instead target inspections on high-risk organisations through co-regulation and improving professional standards.
• We will impose ‘sunset clauses’ on regulations and regulators to ensure that the need for each regulation is regularly reviewed."
Surprising that some of this still doesn't exist in 2010!

Monday, 4 January 2010

Penn Programme: new blog and 'import Safety' book

The excellent programme on regulation at UPenn Law has released a new book on consumers and product safety, as well as a new blog (see list to right). With the new Obama open government initiatives and Cass Sunstein getting to grips with regulatory reform, plus financial and telecoms reforms on the agenda in 2010, the US is once again the centre of the regulatory reform world. See Cary Coglianese's latest papers here.