Letters to the Editor

Fast Focus: New Bill of Rights

With the news that the White House is promoting a new "Bill of Rights" for internet privacy, should we be quick to welcome such governmental protections -- or wary of the consequences of increased regulation of the internet? Is further government regulation the answer for online consumer protection or will it do more harm than good? Knowing the propensity of the current administration to regulate away our rights under the guise of beneficent increased government oversight of everything from banking to health care, what is the real danger we are facing at this time -- a danger to our privacy or a threat to online innovation?

The leading innovators in global internet technology and communications, including Google, Facebook and Yahoo are all U.S.-based. The free-market practices of the United States made them possible, while the European model that our president is following with his "Bill of Rights" has stifled marketing innovation. While a "Bill of Rights" may sound benign, do we want more government regulations or should we continue to allow the free market to devise security and privacy strategies in response to consumer demand?

This time, let's not "pass the bill to find out what's in it," but take time to consider the consequences of empowering the FTC as an enforcement agency. Like a Trojan horse, the "gift" of these privacy protections could not only result in the limitation of the free market but eventually could even hinder free speech and freedom of religion, leaving us, like China, with the state in the role of Internet censor.

-- D.P. Dillon, Kennewick

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