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A Tech-Econ Mashup with a Libertarian Flavor

Update: Protecting “The Children”

PolicyBeta summarizes the final report from Internet Safety Technical Task Force:

I fear that our society is about to make a similar mistake with social networks. If we impose laws that inhibit minors from using social networks, we will drive them away from the current leading social networks (which are very concerned about child safety) to overseas websites (which have far less concern about the safety of our kids). If there is one takeaway that policymakers should get from the Task Force report, it is that public policy in this area should be made based on real data about real risk, not media hype, and on a concrete understanding of the technological, privacy, free speech, and other implications of any proposed policy (or technology) solution.

Amen. The whole thing is worth a read, for you techies out there.

Sounds almost like wishful thinking, doesn’t it? The problem with politics is that reason and economic analysis usually take a back seat to compromise (geez, I’m channelling Ayn Rand now). I will be very, very surprised if the internet escapes regulation under the Obama administration (or any administration). Maybe I’m overly pessimistic, but I just don’t trust that the leading voices (and shapers of public opinion) among politicians and regulators are much more knowledgable about modern technology than my own computer-illiterate Dad. John McCain’s ignorance of and apathy towards technology, had he miraculously won the election, might have made the internet safety hot-button more of a political non-issue, as it should be.

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Whenever you find that you are on the side of the majority, it's time to pause and reflect.
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