Leveson failed to learn from credit crisis

The content of rule books, the sanctions available to regulators, and the composition of regulatory bodies are not trivial issues. But the principal reason both press and financial services regulation were lax is that political leaders wanted them to be lax.

In one case this is because they were intimidated by the perceived power of the press; in the other because they held an exaggerated view of the economic importance of the financial services industry and of the abilities of those who led it.

via ft.com

Regulation, guns and broadcasting come to mind. Also the precious movie industry.

For the attention of Piers Morgan: three reasons why conservatives oppose gun control

Piers provided a rare moment of insight when he recently admitted that banning assault weapons ???will not solve the gun crime problem in America??? ??? and he captured the myopic authoritarianism of his breed perfectly when he immediately added that Americans should do it anyway. Why? Because they can and they must. It???s the right thing to do. Better than that, it???s what the British would do.

Key’s stance on broadband decision gob-smacking

It [the Commission ruling] substantially reduces the income of that company [Chorus] and its capacity around broadband.

Chorus investors (who are rewarded for risk, ffs) aren’t the only investors in telecommunications, even if you did think “investors” some special interest group that deserved more attention than others.

I wonder to what degree this proposed intervention and attendant kerfuffle is intended to distract us from the rort, that for every copper line, every month, Chorus (nee Telecom) was being paid $12.53 more than it was worth.  That the original “retail minus” model was so inflated by monopoly rentier behaviour, that when a “cost plus” regime was instituted it discovered how excessive the rent was.

That a company (Chorus) that is receiving the lion’s share of the State’s investment in fibre deployment, should then be protected by the State from a rational reduction in price is sketchy.  Especially when you consider the reduction will transfer profit to more competitive (AKA risky) companies who use the monopoly copper input to provide consumer choice in the market.

The Federal Trade Commission closes its antitrust review

We???ve always accepted that with success comes regulatory scrutiny. But we???re pleased that the FTC and the other authorities that have looked at Google’s business practices???including the U.S. Department of Justice (in its ITA Software review), the U.S. courts (in the SearchKing and Kinderstart cases), and the Brazilian courts (in a case last year)???have concluded that we should be free to combine direct answers with web results. So we head into 2013 excited about our ability to innovate for the benefit of users everywhere.

Cyber-bullying: education and narrow focus critical

“We understand that physical bullying is far more prevalent than cyber-bullying and that cyber-bullying peaks in Years 9 and 10. It is clear to us that cyber-bullying cannot be addressed without simultaneously addressing bullying as a whole in schools.”

“While generally supportive of the legislative measures proposed by the Communications (New Media) Bill, InternetNZ has put forward 10 recommendations to address the policy issues it raises. In particular, InternetNZ recommends that the Communications Principles should be used for guidance and education only. Further, given a lack of evidence that a Tribunal is really required, those provisions should be removed from any new legislation developed. A review should be held after two years to determine whether a Tribunal is in fact really needed.”

via InternetNZ

NZ to vote against governments taking over internet

Information Technology Minister Amy Adams says New Zealand will try to block an international move by some governments to take over the running of the internet.

Mrs Adams made the announcement at the first regional internet community conference, NetHui South, in Dunedin on Friday.

Mrs Adams says New Zealand will vote againt the move, because the not-for-profit agencies including ICANN, which organise the worldwide web, are doing a good job.She says the current system allows stakeholders from governments, academia, business and the wider internet community to have input and has proven itself flexible enough to cope with rapid changes in technology.

Internet New Zealand chief executive Vikram Kumar applauded the New Zealand Government’s stance, saying it is a huge step forward as government control of the internet would kill its openness and innovation.


Killing the copper and income inequality

Why is all of this happening with so little policy response?

InĀ Affluence and Influence: Economic Inequality and Political Power in America (2012), author Martin Gilens makes a data-driven case for the following proposition: The responsiveness of government policies in America is strongly tilted towards the most affluent Americans. Indeed,”under most circumstances, the preferences of the vast majority of Americans [including the middle class as well as poorer Americans] appear to have essentially no impact on which policies the government does or doesn’t adopt.”

Who’s affluent? The top ten percent – including all members of Congress and most policymakers.

Universal service, still a good idea.

Copyright isn’t dead just because we’re not willing to let it regulate us

The inability of copyright to regulate cultural activity isn’t anything new. It’s probably true that this inability reduces the profitability of some entities in the entertainment industry’s supply chain, just as it increases others’. But that’s just a question of profit maximisation, not survival.

The problem is that the entertainment companies treated the increased ease of copying in the age of the internet as a signal that copyright should be expanded to cover more people and more activities, far outside of the entertainment industry. What they should have done is picked a new proxy for “this is an industrial activity within copyright’s scope” and soldiered on regulating themselves, without trying to regulate the whole world at the same time.

It’s time to stop declaring copyright dead because we aren’t willing to let it be the ultimate regulator of everything we do with a computer.


The News Media meets ‘New Media’: Rights, Responsibilities and Regulation in the Digital Age

-Who are the news media and what is their role in society?

-Should the news media continue to have access to special legal privileges to enable them to do their job? If so, who should qualify for these privileges and under what conditions?

-What standards should apply to the news media and how should they be held accountable to these standards?

-And what legal standards and accountabilities should apply to the thousands of ordinary New Zealanders who are not part of the news media but who make use of digital technology and the read/write web to publish and communicate publicly in a variety of mediums?


These are some of the challenging questions the Law Commission considers in its November 2011 Issues Paper: ‘The News Media Meets ???New Media???: rights, responsibilities and regulation in the digital age.’

The paper was prepared in response to a Government request for a review of the legal and regulatory environment in which New Zealand???s news media and other communicators are operating in the digital era.

It is important to stress that this is a preliminary paper designed to garner wide public debate and feedback on the scope of the problem and best solutions. We welcome submissions and comments on the questions and proposals contained in the paper.

Mind those “right & responsibilities.” Apart from noblesse oblige, responsibilities assessed by a third party make rights merely rewards for obedience.