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Technology 8 April 2019

The Week in Internet News: Facebook Calls for New Internet Regulations

Grant Gross
By Grant GrossTechnology Reporter

More regulation, please: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, in an op-ed in the Washington Post, called on governments to get more involved in Internet regulation, including defining harmful content and making rules on how sites should handle it. Governments should also look at new laws to protect elections, to improve consumer privacy, and to guarantee data portability, Zuckerberg said. His ideas weren’t universally embraced, however. The Electronic Frontier Foundation, in a blog post, said there were “fundamental problems” with governments policing harmful content, particularly in defining what’s harmful.

Hold my beer: Australia’s parliament didn’t take long to look at new regulations, with lawmakers passing legislation that would create three-year jail terms for social media executives and operators of other websites that do not remove violent content in an “expeditious” manner, NPR reports. Web-based services could also be fined up to 10 percent of their annual revenue for not complying with the law.

Even more laws: Singapore is the latest country to consider legislation attacking fake news. A proposed law there would require online news sites to publish corrections or warnings about stories the government decides are fake news and remove articles in extreme cases, the Straits Times reports. The proposal is a “human rights disaster” in the making, according to one critic quoted at Al Jazeera.

The Pope checks in: Meanwhile, Pope Francis has gotten involved in the fake news debate, by urging a group of journalists work with facts and objective reporting, not with fake news and rumors, Cruxnow.com reports. Journalists should focus on “facts rather than fake news, objectivity rather than gossip, accurate research rather than sloppy headlines,” the pope said.

Privacy overrated? A U.S. Department of Justice official questioned whether individual control over personal data is a good idea, Insidesources.com reports. Too much individual control could hinder law enforcement investigations, DOJ Chief Privacy Officer Peter Winn said.

Millions exposed: The personal records of more than 540 million Facebook users were exposed on a public Amazon cloud server, USA Today says. The records included user comments, likes, reactions, account names, and Facebook IDs.

Around the world, people are creating laws to regulate technology. But we won’t save the Internet by breaking it.

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Disclaimer: Viewpoints expressed in this post are those of the author and may or may not reflect official Internet Society positions.

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