More on California’s New Net Regulations

by on May 23, 2011 · 1 comment

As Sonia Arrison mentioned here on Friday, the State of California is currently considering legislation that could, in the name of enhancing online privacy, impose burdensome new regulatory mandates on the Internet. Sonia has a nice column at TechNewsWorld discussing this. I also wrote about the same issue in my Forbes column this week, which is entitled, “The State of California Versus the Internet.” Specifically, I discuss SB 242, “The Social Networking Privacy Act,” and SB761, the so-called Do Not Track bill, and argue that: “What unifies these two measures is a general lack of understanding about the way the Internet and digital technology work. Both measures fail to appreciate the global nature of the Internet and would raise a host of unintended consequences.”

While the best of intentions drive these measures, they will be complicated to enforce in practice and could have a devastating impact on the California economy in the process. “If California wants to reestablish itself as the home of high-tech innovation,” I argue, “it needs to realize heavy-handed Net controls are not the ticket to either economic progress or job-creation.” Moreover, “These laws could be challenged in court since state-based regulation of the Internet raise constitutional issues. The Commerce Clause of the Constitution was designed to block the sort of parochial burdens on interstate commerce that these measures would establish.”

Jump over to Forbes to read the rest. Let’s hope California policymakers realize what a mistake they are making before it’s too late. If they don’t, Congress will need to preempt this regulation of interstate commerce if it’s not immediately challenged in Court and overturned.

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