A prime example of the lack of congressional technology chops is this new HR 4194 bill presented in a most positive light as a way to protect “bloggers”. The mistake it makes, and this is the same broad clumsy brush that painted Hatch’s INDUCE act, in that it refers to “web logs” only. INDUCE referred to “P2P” technology without bothering to define it. P2P can equally cover the technology behind email, instant messaging, and legal file transfers, all which would have been made illegal by INDUCE. HR 4194 seems to think that all political communication on the Internet is done over “web logs” and therefore only that should be protected speech. Nevermind mailing lists, Usenet, web bulletin boards, audio, video, and other technologies down the road. Some staffer thought the only speech that needed to be free was “web logs” and therefore we have our amendment to protect “that Internet thing”.
For the first time in the history of democracy, the Internet presents the opportunity for all to have an equal voice in lobbying congress and political action. What disturbs me about the FEC actions is that it appears they are attempting to curb that freedom.
Many prominent political blogs have joined together, across – the political spectrum, to fight this. I echo their efforts to have you call your representative and let them know to vote “NO” on HR 4194.
What remains to be seen is whether the political efforts of online communities will ever result in the election of a candidate who understands what they’re talking about.