Welcome!

Blog Feed Post

Will Congress Kill Facebook and the Rest of the Internet?

Fake news, fake ads, fake accounts, bots, Russians interfering with our elections … suddenly, people are waking up to the idea that the Internet is a highly chaotic, ungoverned meta-world with practically no regulation. This awakening is long overdue.

Facebook Under Attack

Congress wants answers. It’s caveat emptor if someone boosts (pays to advertise) a Facebook post about a new fruit smoothie that prevents cancer, heart disease, and warts. Who cares if you use Facebook to advertise fruit smoothies with mystical healing powers to stupid people? But suggest to a professional politician that the same exact Facebook advertising might adversely affect that politician’s ability to get reelected, and it’s time for a congressional hearing.

Fast Forward

Let’s get right to where this is ultimately going. In America, we enjoy the rule of law, and to that end, there are laws that protect our freedom of speech and laws that prohibit the dissemination of child pornography and the propagation of hate speech. The laws are not as sophisticated as our technology, nor can they ever hope to adapt at the speed of technological change. But we have laws about what can and what cannot be said, and we have courts to adjudicate those laws.

How Congress Could Kill the Internet

Congress will not try to establish a Ministry of Truth (although there are some politicians who would welcome the opportunity to do so); Congress will attempt to establish a Ministry of Accountability. After all, if you can’t control what people say, you can establish a bureaucracy that holds people accountable for what they say. With new Internet regulations in place, there would be legal remedies available to aggrieved parties, and you’d know whom to sue!

“The Social Media and Search Neutrality Act of 2018”

The nightmare scenario goes something like this: Congress decides that it is too dangerous for the Internet to be unregulated. Congress knows it can’t control what people say, but it can make sure it knows who is saying it. So the first provisions in the hypothetical Social Media and Search Neutrality Act of 2018 will require all websites visible in the United States to register with the government, obtain a “web license,” and purchase a government-regulated Secure Sockets Layer certificate. These few provisions will radically alter the fabric of the Internet, but the government will not stop there.

In order to ensure that only registered websites are visible, the government will have to regulate search engines and browser software. Search engines (specifically Google) will only be allowed to surface legal websites in search results, and to make doubly sure that everyone complies with the new law, browsers such as Safari, Chrome, IE, etc. will be modified (by law) so they only display legal websites.

Then, the government will regulate Facebook, Twitter, and all the other social media networks by requiring them to remove all fake, bot, and anonymous accounts. Facebook already attempts to be in the identity business. Technically, you have to be you (picture, email account) to get a Facebook profile. But the new regulations will require a passport, driver’s license, or other verification of identity to participate in a social network. As you know, Twitter is in the anonymity business. With the exception of verified users, you have no way to know who anyone is on Twitter. Accountability will require the end of anonymity. Congress will recognize this and do its best to make it so.

Imagine an Internet where everyone was known to you. No more anonymous comments, posts, or content. Everything online would be attached to a person or to a business entity that was 100 percent accountable for what was posted. It sounds good, and in some alternative universe it might be possible. But it’s just not going to happen. No matter what Congress tries to do.

My Cynical View

I’m not sure which is worse, an unregulated Internet (which is what we have now) or a half-regulated Internet (with half of those sites and profiles being faked or hacked anyway), which is what we will have if Congress attempts to regulate any of this. There is no way to regulate the Internet in a democracy. It cannot be done.

If you want to understand what a 90 percent regulated Internet looks like, visit mainland China and spend some time online. The Great Firewall of China imposes an impressive set of restrictions on its digital citizenry. I don’t think anything like that would ever get traction here. But if that’s not the goal of regulation, what is?

Our Choice

The free and open Internet has not fulfilled its promise. The paid and closed Internet has amplified confirmation bias and tribalism beyond reason. Facts, opinions, and commentary are all conflated to a locus of incredulity. And now, we find ourselves at the event horizon of a major inflection point. We are just about to enter a world enriched and augmented by real-time data. We are just learning what it means to be instantly connected and connectable to 4 billion fellow humans and a few smart machines. Regulation may have a place, but we must think long and hard about what unintended consequences lay ahead.

I know you have an opinion, and I want to hear it. Please click here to take my Internet Regulation Survey and to leave your comments.

Author’s note: This is not a sponsored post. I am the author of this article and it expresses my own opinions. I am not, nor is my company, receiving compensation for it.

Other Articles You May Enjoy

Why Lose-Lose Almost Always Beats Win-Win

Who Should Be The President of the Internet?

About Facebook Ads

Chipping People: Are You Ready?

ICOs: What You Need to Know

How Do You See the Future?

The post Will Congress Kill Facebook and the Rest of the Internet? originally appeared here on Shelly Palmer

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Shelly Palmer

Shelly Palmer is the host of Fox Television’s "Shelly Palmer Digital Living" television show about living and working in a digital world. He is Fox 5′s (WNYW-TV New York) Tech Expert and the host of United Stations Radio Network’s, MediaBytes, a daily syndicated radio report that features insightful commentary and a unique insiders take on the biggest stories in technology, media, and entertainment.

Latest Stories
Widespread fragmentation is stalling the growth of the IIoT and making it difficult for partners to work together. The number of software platforms, apps, hardware and connectivity standards is creating paralysis among businesses that are afraid of being locked into a solution. EdgeX Foundry is unifying the community around a common IoT edge framework and an ecosystem of interoperable components.
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Carl J. Levine, Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1, will objectively discuss how DNS is used to solve Digital Transformation challenges in large SaaS applications, CDNs, AdTech platforms, and other demanding use cases. Carl J. Levine is the Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1. A veteran of the Internet Infrastructure space, he has over a decade of experience with startups, networking protocols and Internet infrastructure, combined with the unique ability to it...
"MobiDev is a software development company and we do complex, custom software development for everybody from entrepreneurs to large enterprises," explained Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Vulnerability management is vital for large companies that need to secure containers across thousands of hosts, but many struggle to understand how exposed they are when they discover a new high security vulnerability. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, John Morello, CTO of Twistlock, addressed this pressing concern by introducing the concept of the “Vulnerability Risk Tree API,” which brings all the data together in a simple REST endpoint, allowing companies to easily grasp the severity of the ...
Agile has finally jumped the technology shark, expanding outside the software world. Enterprises are now increasingly adopting Agile practices across their organizations in order to successfully navigate the disruptive waters that threaten to drown them. In our quest for establishing change as a core competency in our organizations, this business-centric notion of Agile is an essential component of Agile Digital Transformation. In the years since the publication of the Agile Manifesto, the conn...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, James Henry, Co-CEO/CTO of Calgary Scientific Inc., introduced you to the challenges, solutions and benefits of training AI systems to solve visual problems with an emphasis on improving AIs with continuous training in the field. He explored applications in several industries and discussed technologies that allow the deployment of advanced visualization solutions to the cloud.
Enterprises are adopting Kubernetes to accelerate the development and the delivery of cloud-native applications. However, sharing a Kubernetes cluster between members of the same team can be challenging. And, sharing clusters across multiple teams is even harder. Kubernetes offers several constructs to help implement segmentation and isolation. However, these primitives can be complex to understand and apply. As a result, it’s becoming common for enterprises to end up with several clusters. Thi...
"NetApp is known as a data management leader but we do a lot more than just data management on-prem with the data centers of our customers. We're also big in the hybrid cloud," explained Wes Talbert, Principal Architect at NetApp, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
While some developers care passionately about how data centers and clouds are architected, for most, it is only the end result that matters. To the majority of companies, technology exists to solve a business problem, and only delivers value when it is solving that problem. 2017 brings the mainstream adoption of containers for production workloads. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ben McCormack, VP of Operations at Evernote, discussed how data centers of the future will be managed, how the p...
"Space Monkey by Vivent Smart Home is a product that is a distributed cloud-based edge storage network. Vivent Smart Home, our parent company, is a smart home provider that places a lot of hard drives across homes in North America," explained JT Olds, Director of Engineering, and Brandon Crowfeather, Product Manager, at Vivint Smart Home, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The question before companies today is not whether to become intelligent, it’s a question of how and how fast. The key is to adopt and deploy an intelligent application strategy while simultaneously preparing to scale that intelligence. In her session at 21st Cloud Expo, Sangeeta Chakraborty, Chief Customer Officer at Ayasdi, provided a tactical framework to become a truly intelligent enterprise, including how to identify the right applications for AI, how to build a Center of Excellence to oper...
"IBM is really all in on blockchain. We take a look at sort of the history of blockchain ledger technologies. It started out with bitcoin, Ethereum, and IBM evaluated these particular blockchain technologies and found they were anonymous and permissionless and that many companies were looking for permissioned blockchain," stated René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventi...
"Akvelon is a software development company and we also provide consultancy services to folks who are looking to scale or accelerate their engineering roadmaps," explained Jeremiah Mothersell, Marketing Manager at Akvelon, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Coca-Cola’s Google powered digital signage system lays the groundwork for a more valuable connection between Coke and its customers. Digital signs pair software with high-resolution displays so that a message can be changed instantly based on what the operator wants to communicate or sell. In their Day 3 Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Chambers, Global Group Director, Digital Innovation, Coca-Cola, and Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, discussed how from store operations and ...
"Infoblox does DNS, DHCP and IP address management for not only enterprise networks but cloud networks as well. Customers are looking for a single platform that can extend not only in their private enterprise environment but private cloud, public cloud, tracking all the IP space and everything that is going on in that environment," explained Steve Salo, Principal Systems Engineer at Infoblox, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventio...