Toothless tigers: The state of Internet privacy laws

Iran wants Facebook's CEO for privacy violations, but no worries, Zuck -- vague international laws are your friend

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I haven't heard what happened with that case. Chances are Google tried to buy Italy and turn it into a robot playground. But the anti-information prosecuting fever caught on in Spain, where a court made pretty much the same decision, also in 2010. Now the European High Court has extended that legislation into the "right to be forgotten" law, which will affect the entire European Union. Flame wars notwithstanding, I still maintain these rulings are more bizarre than a Japanese game show. Not only are they aimed at the wrong people, they also seem to ignore technological realities.

Frivolous lawsuit

Now Iran is after the Zuck's head (maybe literally), apparently due to pressure from ultraconservative Islamic groups upset that tech billionaires are bringing decadent Western culture into their lands. And that's not just a factor in Muslim countries, though we like to tell ourselves it is. All kinds of religiously motivated groups strongly feel their values need to be imposed on the Internet, including right here in the United States. Take a look around.

Hey, if the NSA can get away with simply ignoring the law with weak loopholes and what amounts to "bite me" declarations and make it stick, why not anyone else?

No, I'm not a lawyer and that's undoubtedly for the best. I'm just a sad tech pundit who's upset that everyone from the Nigerian royal family to Chinese hacker hordes to greedy corporate providers is systematically destroying our right to free, global, and legally unfettered communication.

Now the courts that are supposed to be chasing those criminals are going after the wrong guys because they're easier targets and otherwise they'd have to work for a living. I guess all good things have to end sometime, but I wish it wasn't the promise and possibility of the Internet.

This article, "Toothless tigers: The state of Internet privacy laws," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the crazy twists and turns of the tech industry with Robert X. Cringely's Notes from the Field blog, follow Cringely on Twitter, and subscribe to Cringely's Notes from the Underground newsletter.

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