04 September 2009

Good Thoughts on Naughty Lord Mandelson

One of the heartening things about the disheartening three-strikes saga currently playing out in the UK is the quality of the opposition that has provoked. I've already tweeted today about Cameron Neylon's splendid polemic - written with a rigour that only a scientist can provide - which I strongly urge you to read.

Meanwhile, here's an important point made by Monica Horten:

What he [Lord M.] doesn't get is that the Internet is not an entertainment system. It is a public communications network. The powers that he could acquire have serious implications for civil liberties, in particular for freedom of speech. Under the UK's own Human Rights Act, freedom of speech may only be restricted where there is a genuine public interest objective, and any measures must be specific and limited.

I think this goes to the heart of the problem with Lord Mandelson's intervention: he thinks the Internet is like radio or television, and does not appreciate how much bigger it is than that. As Horten points out, the UK's Human Rights Act may well provide the coup de grâce to his plans.

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1 comment:

Gordon Kennedy said...

An open letter to Lord Peter Mandelson.
I have an idea about European Trade & ‘Human Rights’.
I suggest the promotion of a scheme to ethically label the packaging of goods and imports, into the EU, a voluntary scheme for any company wishing to use a simple universally recognized mark, and prove by audit the origin of their goods.
I suggest simply; certifying commercial goods to say, that the originating country is a state which conforms to the articles of the Universal Charter on Human Rights, and allowing the use of a registered mark on its packaging.
A Simple system, with simple audits, and the articles of Universal Charter of Human Rights as a standard , eventually allowing the consumer to decide if they care about human rights abroad.
My opinion is that the consumer should be free to choose what they buy, with the choice of not supporting the economy of governments which suppress civil liberties.
I am sick of diplomats saying they will change the countries from within, or that short term intermittent sanctions will work.
I do not think such a scheme as this will happen overnight, and because of the time this campaign will take to gain momentum, concerns about the well being of the population affected by sharp changes in the market will be diminished.
I hope that slowly in the same way that Fairtrade pushed producers to reconsider their operations, this scheme may coerce vicious regimes to consider their actions, but from a profit motive.

I ask Lord Mandelson , what he thinks of this proposal?