Irony Alert: Hollywood Howard Berman To Introduce 'Internet Freedom' Bill

from the are-you-serious? dept

Earlier this year we noted this was likely, but now it appears that Rep. Howard Berman is getting ready to introduce an "Internet Freedom Bill," that would limit how US companies could operate in "internet-restricting countries." Now, we've already pointed out that it's odd to see politicians pushing such bills when the US itself is pushing to restrict the internet in similar ways -- but it's particularly ironic with Berman. In supporting this new legislation, Berman notes:
He's trying to figure out "what's the most effective thing we can do to help people in countries where the government is" seeking to restrict Internet freedom.
But, here's the thing. Howard Berman, who literally is the Representative for (part of) Hollywood, has been a very, very, very strong proponent of restricting internet freedoms any chance he gets -- as long as those restrictions are part of Hollywood's plan to prop up its business model. Berman famously proposed letting companies hack into file sharing networks to break them a few years back. He's also been a major proponent of turning ISPs into copyright cops, and (of course) was actively involved in the initial planning for ACTA. He's also sought to limit the ability for people to access publicly funded research, claiming that he didn't want the "N" in NIH to "stand for Napster."

Perhaps before passing legislation to try to punish other countries for their internet restrictions, Berman should take a long hard look in the mirror, at his own long and detailed history of supporting internet restrictions in the US.

Separately, with the news coming out that New Zealand has just started rolling out its own internet censoring system, it will be interesting to see if Berman's legislation includes "friendly" countries like New Zealand and Australia that push internet censorship.
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Filed Under: censorship, copyright, howard berman, internet freedom, internet restrictions

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Mar 2010 @ 3:47pm

    To be fair, and irony aside, much of what appears to underlie the proposed legislation is directed to "political censorship".

    Of course, such legislation is largely ceremonial since there is precious little that can be done from the US to influence such actions by other countries. Unfortunately, the ceremony would have the untoward effect of placing even greater burdens on sites like Google since each would now have to keep a whole new set of data for regular reporting back to DC.

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