The recent TLF podcast touched on the way that states and state AGs are actively trying to regulate social networking and e-commerce sites. My colleague Steve DelBianco recently testified on this issue before the New Jersey General Assembly, and his testimony is a good read. He writes about three rules for state legislators to keep in mind when attempting to regulate e-commerce:
As a firm believer in the benefits of the Internet, I often feel like that little boy who was asked why he was digging through a huge pile of horse manure and responded with a smile, “Well there must be a pony in here somewhere.”
Lawmakers need to understand that e-commerce, instant communication, and global information sharing are worth digging for. To help them do that I offer a simple three-part formula: consumer education, industry responsibility, and law enforcement.
Rule number one – regulate behavior, not technology.
Rule number two – don’t smother the Internet under a patchwork quilt of conflicting state laws.
Rule number three — watch out for special interest legislation.
Read more here.