Skip to content

Allow me to translate this

EU citizens expect to benefit more – not less – from the full potential of online activities. But the Internet cannot remain a ‘Wild West’.”

We’re going to stop it being a free market. Because what’s the point of having a bureaucracy if the bureaucracy doesn’t get to regulate things?

15 thoughts on “Allow me to translate this”

  1. Being a Wild West is a large part of the attraction. Does he tell us why he finds this state of affairs unacceptable? I mean, we know why, but what lies has he put forward?

  2. How in practical terms can the EU bend the internet to its preferred shape?

    Twitter, facebook, youtube and the rest have become vulnerable by moderating content that they don’t like and thus effectively becoming publishers rather than platforms but beyond that it’s hard to see what powers Brussels could exert.

  3. Twitter, facebook, youtube and the rest have become vulnerable by moderating content that they don’t like and thus effectively becoming publishers rather than platforms

    I don’t see this. The tech companies are private companies. The users of their services have no obligation to do so. They’re not even monopolies like a utility company might be. A private company can choose whether or not to extend its services to someone & how those services are used. I’ve run private companies & I sure did. Why shouldn’t they? The publisher/platform argument? Technically, isn’t the publisher the person who chooses to download the content? There’s no obligation to do so.

  4. This gets a bit garbled so a partial explanation.

    In US law the publisher has certain duties. No libel but then that’s not as big a thing over there as it is in UK. Also, things like racism, blah blah and so on.

    A platform doesn’t have those responsibilities for the content. AT&T doesn;t get sued because someone uses a phone call to libel, slander, someone, Nor to organise a terror attack. And so on and on.

    Legal liability is different for a platform and a publisher.

    What’s the difference between the two? Well, one is that if you moderate the content then you’re a publisher. So, cutting out the kiddie fiddler piccies means you’re now responsible for all the other things that are published.

    Internet platforms currently are mostly protected from this as a result of a special law. Much of the argument is about whether that should remain so.

    If they moderate then are they “common carriers” that gain the legal protections? Hmm, well, umm….

  5. @ BiS
    Technically, isn’t the publisher the person who chooses to download the content?
    You are explicitly saying, in that case, that a person who buys a book or borrows one from a library becomes the publisher. Curious logic.

  6. The problem with the idea that the Europeans aren’t getting a shot at doing what Amazon, Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat do, is that Silicon Valley is the centre of this activity. It’s not USA, or even California, it’s a little spot of that. Much like F1 teams are all quite close together and the global perfume industry is around Grasse in Provence. So if you’re a Frenchman looking to work in startups you get on a plane to San Francisco.

    It also doesn’t help that many European labour laws are anti-startup. Startups move fast at hiring people, and sometimes, firing them. You can’t raise more funding? Everyone goes home. Try that in France. or having people working 60 hour weeks on the next release. This also applies to things like retail. French retail chains are like dinosaurs compared to the UK.

    Oh and things like GDPR. Someone wants their data deleted, or to have a copy of their data? You have to write the code for that, and the people to service it, and you can’t charge people. You’ve got tight budgets to work with already, do you want that extra cost, or do you go elsewhere?

  7. Once when working abroad we were suffering under what we thought were the demands of some capricious local bureaucrats. One of the people I was working with commented that “well, they must know what they are doing else they wouldn’t have the job”. I have never, ever heard an American express a similar sentiment.

    It’s a cultural thing, but some cultures more readily expect to be ruled closely and are very accepting of it. I certainly know Europeans and Brits here in the States who are of a Libertarian outlook, but in general I think Europeans more readily accept being told how they will live. That’s not to say that plenty of Americans don’t want to run the country more closely – Bernie Sanders had a lot of support – but the battles are so intense because the resistance is more intense. Some blame the Scots-Irish.

    Europeans seem more convinced of the beneficence of those who govern them.

  8. @TimW
    Couldn’t help noticing, when I was in the post office yesterday, the long list of items they won’t accept. Most delivery services do the same. So does that make them carriers or not?

    @asiaseen
    As far as I know, that’s how it is. They trap they fell into wanting to prosecute people for downloading kiddiepr0n. They can’t stop the stuff being on the internet because it’s uncontrollable. So downloading is regarded as publishing because it now exists on the enthusiast’s computer.

    Without doubt they will try & legislate the social media companies. The they’ll be trying to sort out the second order effects of having done so. Good luck to them.

    @BoM4
    It also doesn’t help that many European labour laws are anti-startup.

    Tell me about it. I’ve been looking at how much it’d cost to start a Spanish limited liability company. You’re into €3k just to get to the starting line. Then you’re liable for taxes before you’ve made a cent. Why would you bother?

  9. @BIS

    The post office doesn’t monitor what you write in your letters. The social media companies do. It’s a free speech thing, not a thing about shipping/selling products.

    Downloading isn’t the publishing bit, that’s still the bit about making it available. Holding illegal content on your own equipment is possession, same as if you had terrorism manuals or kiddie porn.

    And in the UK, you can start a company for £12.

  10. Downloading isn’t the publishing bit, that’s still the bit about making it available.

    Not up here in the People’s Democratic National Socialist Republic of Nicolastan. Thanks to one even more clueless than usual judge 🙁

  11. @SMBL
    I can’t see why you see this as a free speech issue. It’s like demanding you have the right to free speech in someone else’s house. You have, for the limited time until they choose to throw you out for using it about something they disagree with.
    It’s an aspect of the Free-Stuff-Army way of thinking that has long pervaded the interweb. That because there is something you don’t personally have to pay for, it doesn’t have to be paid for. Therefore you have “rights”. It’s the same sort of thinking that produces a “free” NHS. The social network companies are paid for by the advertising industry. That’s who’s buying the product. The users of the network are the product. If you want to provide them with their product, that’s entirely up to you. But by the same token, they’re not obliged to accept it.

  12. Or the short version familiar to us veteran interweb users. RTFTAC. Read the fucking terms an conditions.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *