FCC may regulate web publications
Uncle Charley (the Federal
Communications Commission) is now looking at regulating certain
components of the web, a move that is lauded by many Americans who
are tired of abuse and fraud by anonymous netizens.
Some opinion leaders like Tim
O'Reilly are publishing "codes of conduct" for internet broadcasters
(bloggers), but without Federal regulation they can never be
enforced. The web is extremely dangerous, and criminals use
the web to threaten and kill victims with increasing regularity.
Only with Federal regulation will we put an end to the abuse by
The FCC is charged with regulating
all broadcasting in the USA, including web broadcasts (podcasts,
webcasts, webinars), and the fact that they use the Internet is
incidental. Since broadcasting falls within the purview of the
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), sometimes known as "Uncle
Charley" by those in the broadcasting industry, it's only a matter
of time before all people who publish to the USA audience will
required full identification and an FCC license.
See my notes here on
web regulation of broadcasting.
This reminds me of the CB radio fad
of the 1970's where the FCC attempted to regulate all broadcasting
on CB radios, with limited success. It's a funny issue,
because getting an FCC license subjected people to heavy fines while
not having a license was only a minor offense. It's clear that
if Uncle Charley wants to regulate internet broadcasting, they will
need to put some "teeth" behind their licensing requirements.
FCC roundtable notes that interest is gaining and this
Computerworld publication titled "Why
the FCC will regulate the Internet" notes:
"Government controls over the
Internet are not only coming - they're already here. . . "The
FCC has to understand that all of those modalities are equal and
one should not be treated differently from another," he says."
"Assuming that the FCC buys
arguments such as this, we could see a new regulatory focus on
the Internet and a decline in the hands-off attitude shown in
From the regulators' viewpoint,
the Internet increasingly may be viewed as just another utility
that requires oversight."
Whether it's over the airwaves or
an internet cable, IP broadcasting is broadcasting, and under the
purview of Uncle Charley.
The DMCA and the FCC
Section 230 of the DMCA immunizes
web providers (e.g. Yahoo) from prosecution for the publications of
other on their blog, but government regulation is another story
altogether. Using VOIP with Skpye or Vonage is not different
than landline communications, and it's just a matter of time before
anyone who broadcasts a publication on the web will be required to
publish their FCC license number. This will end all of the
problems with serial predators, stalkers and anonymous deviants.
In traditional broadcasting (over
the airwaves), the radio stations can be heavily fined for allowing
third parties to threaten, harass or defame innocents.
I have details in my book "Web
Stalkers: Protect yourself from Internet psychopaths" and the
coming FCC regulation of the Internet will be a very good thing,
except for weirdoes and crooks.