Documents that were brought to light by the December 2014 Sony hack revealed the MPAA's plans to create SOPA-like Internet censorship mechanisms through agencies outside of the federal legislature in order to purposefully skirt the public oversight that comes with Congressional rule making. The first explosive revelation was that the MPAA had been colluding with, and even financing, state attorneys generals to go after Google.
But another set of documents revealed Hollywood's other crooked plan—to persuade the International Trade Commission (ITC) into forcing Internet service providers to block sites that allegedly distribute copyright-infringing content. The ITC is a federal, quasi-judicial agency that regulates the importation of goods coming into the United States. It recently held in a patent case (which is under appeal) that its authority extends to data transmitted online. The MPAA wants to take advantage of the ITC's expansive new interpretation of its mandate to fight contraband online, and extend that to blacklist content in the name of fighting piracy.
The social media firm’s latest big idea is to allow users in developing nations free net access if they use its app. The goal of public policy everywhere should be to increase access to the internet – the whole internet, not some corporate-controlled alcove – for as many people as possible.
Ed Vaizey, the minister for culture and the digital economy, called for technology firms to “meet politicians halfway” on sensitive issues around privacy and internet safety, rather than react furiously with accusations that politicians do not understand the technology.
“So the prime minister, I think, is entitled to say: ‘We have a very sophisticated technology industry and encryption and so on… on the one hand I want to promote those industries and I want a successful technology economy, but I also have a duty as prime minister to keep our citizens as safe as possible. And we need to meet somewhere in the middle and talk about this’.”
Vaizey was speaking at a Big Digital Debate event in London organised by techUK, Computer Weekly and BCS – The Chartered Institute for IT, which aimed to give the three major parties a platform to set out their approach to digital issues.
Romanian MEP Siegfried Muresan has initiated a Laboratory of Innovation for Public Policy, which aims to facilitate the exchange of experience among EU countries in terms of public policies that are more efficient and have lower costs. The laboratory, which is a pilot project, has been inaugurated by the European Commission this week.