European Union wanna control the The Net

Roger Clarke
Fri, 1 Nov 1996 08:44:15 +1000

Steen wrote from Denmark:
>Im doing a piece on censorship on the Internet and need a comment from
>you. Ive studied your pages and a number of your links with great intere=
>- their good because you skip the icons and funny graphics and get to the

Thanks!  I need reminding from time to time that I'm justified in using
text-only (and that I should update the page!).

> My problem is rather banal. The European Union has released a report on
>the status of the Internet and the problems that comes with it. The report
>is only meant to be a sort of checking out the mood in the 15 EU-countries
>- the EU-Commission does not prepose any actions. Yet. But I cant figure
>out the motivation behind the paper.
> My question is: If they NOT want to take actions, why do they make a
>detailed report filled with accurate information on how to regulate and
>control the Net - and specificate instructions on how the control takes
>place in the US and Singapore? In other words, what hidden motivations can
>there be?
> Im not asking you to comment on european politics, but maybe You with
>your experience could give a suggestion on whats going on up here?
>If you got 5 minutes, check out the summary of the report on

G'day Steen

The actual proposals appear to be pretty reasonable, and consistent with
the current Australian position ("advocate a closer co-operation between
Member States and on an international level, the use of filtering software
and rating systems, and an encouragement to self-regulation of
access-providers", "Although, statistically a limited phenomenon, these
aspects are too important to be ignored", "As regards the distribution of
illegal content on the Internet, it is clearly the responsibility of Member
States to ensure the application of existing laws").

As regards the EU's motivations, my suspicion is that:
(a)  there are considerable differences between the policies of the various
     governments within the EU, and hence no likelihood of a common position;
(b)  the EU wants to materially assist those governments that *do* want to
     adopt an aggressive censorship stance.  Their motivation may be that they
     are hard-liners themselves;  or that they are 'on our side', and think
     by doing this they can appease the hard-liners.

(Sounds like international politics, right?)

I've copied this to the local 'link' list, in case anyone else has a
better-informed interpretation than mine.

Regards  ...  Roger

Roger Clarke    
Xamax Consultancy Pty Ltd, 78 Sidaway St, Chapman ACT 2611 AUSTRALIA
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