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RIP Internet

The EU's Article 13 has passed, and the greatest asset to human liberty has been seized by the European Commission, supported by your nominated representatives.

Anyone who owns a "popular" website or online platform (note that "popular" has not been defined) will be responsible for all content that users upload - text, images, audio, and video alike. ISPs and platform owners alike will be required to use "effective content recognition technologies", which could cost companies that don't already do this in the order of millions. Big names like Tim Berners-Lee have spoken out about it, saying it will harm freedom of speech and expression, and stifle competition of the largest companies, helping them maintain their monopolies.

Someone else falsely claims copyright over your own original content? You won't be allowed to post it online - you'll have to take them to court (good luck with that if you're poor like me) just to be able to share your own work. Think that's fine? Now imagine a political candidate. Someone destroys them in an interview, clearly rebuffing all of their points. What do they do? Simply claim ownership of copyright over the interview - sure, the courts will sort it out eventually but in the meantime all dissenting material is silently removed, and it's smooth sailing through the election. Good job we have fair and impartial media, right? Oh, never mind.

Fair use? Nobody needs that, right? This is the end of memes, the end of remixes, and the end of mashups. Oh, you made a political video that was all well and good, but you were wearing Nike trainers and Nike disagreed with your politics? Guess that video's gone. You filmed your daughter's birthday party and she had a Peppa Pig balloon? Let's hope the algorithms don't detect it...

Here's an open letter on the issue (albeit outdated now that the article has passed), and is good for further reading.

Don't let this be the end of the free internet.
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Re: RIP Internet

I'm a strong proponent of copyright, as an increasingly (in a virtualized age) important form of personal property rights. But even I think this goes much too far.

The degree to which the EU was determined to exert control over content is demonstrated by its denial of an exception for parody or satire. Who benefits from refusing to protect those forms of expression?

This isn't the end of the Internet, any more than the U.S. moving enforcement of broadband competition from the FCC back to the FTC was the end of the Internet. But I think this does mean that less original content will be created for everyone to enjoy, and that is a significant negative consequence.

Worse, it means your "government" must now spy on you to an extraordinary degree to ensure compliance with this new rule. That strikes me as a real and serious threat to the human liberty and general liberal principles that Western civilization, as bloomed in Europe, originated and exported to the great benefit of most of the world.

What remains to be seen is the extent to which the EU will be able to enforce this power grab. How will people respond? Will most EU "citizens" (private and corporate) comply voluntarily? If the majority do not comply, and continue as though today's diktat never happened, what will the EU do to try to enforce it? Are automated tools capable of handling the load, and who controls those pieces of Internet-connected technology? Or will half of Europe need to be hired as Internet cops to police everybody else's uploads? Are you prepared for that level of monitoring of your online activity?

And while I know some won't like to hear this, everyone who advocated Brexit on the basis of restoring national sovereignty is owed an apology by everyone who pooh-poohed that position as nothing more than fear-mongering nativism. Those Remainers who said concerns about the EU's intrusions on liberal freedoms were exaggerated were wrong, and they ought to acknowledge that error.

I don't know if enough citizens of other EU nations will be upset enough about being Internet policed to demand their own nations also exit the EU. Maybe some will. Or maybe it's too late, and the core of the West is just too far gone now to care that they've traded liberty (which requires personal responsibility) for a temporary comfortable security.

Difficult times, these.

Re: RIP Internet

Flatfingers wrote:
Thu Sep 13, 2018 12:10 am
... everyone who advocated Brexit on the basis of restoring national sovereignty is owed an apology by everyone who pooh-poohed that position as nothing more than fear-mongering nativism.
Alas, those of us who voted for Brexit will still be vilified. We'll even get blamed for the zombie apocalypse!
Oolite Naval Attaché

Re: RIP Internet

The internet has died many deaths already, it will endure.

Especially since the EU tends to be fairly incompetent with their Articles and their enforcement.
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Re: RIP Internet

I can't wait until this nonsense finishes up and we wind up with a solid, enduring Internet that nobody tries to bother with. Assuming that ever happens at all, of course. I'm sure it will eventually, though.

I agree with everything you said there, Flatfingers. :) We may not agree on Net Neutrality, but at least we agree on this.
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Re: RIP Internet

Yeah, I want to make it clear that I don't actually believe this is "the end of the internet". However, if this goes through as planned, it will be the end of personal liberty and privacy in the EU with regards to internet usage. Whereas previously some ISPs/platforms chose to store your data (leaving you the option to use alternatives if you don't want your data stored elsewhere... for the most part, at least), now it will be a legal requirement for them to monitor exactly what you upload and remove (and report) anything that might, with a small possibility, be in some part owned by someone else.

Most companies simply can't afford the extreme costs this filter would require; so of course, in order to preserve anti-monopoly laws, the Government will provide their own filter. And then the Government will suggest their filter be used across all ISPs, probably on the grounds of stopping terrorism or criminals. And then, shrouded in darkness with no witnesses, Big Brother will remove wrongthink.
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