The Internet Bill of Rights. A Dangerous And Useless Idea

Italy (or at least, a little but noisy group of old-school netizens, politicians and academics) is in pole-position at the race for the Internet Bill of Rights, a sort of “constitution” to grant “internet rights” to the people.

The Internet Bill of Rights is useless because doesn’t add a set of rights that we don’t own just yet, and is dangerous because, on the contrary, would add more confusion to a rather chaotic situation.

In the Western World we have plenty of rights such as: data-protection, personal privacy, free-speech, freedom of commerce, freedom for press, copyleft and copyright. But what we actually lack – in Italy for sure – is a FAIR ENFORCEMENT of these rights: the fundamental rights that are taken for granted on paper, when challenged in court or in the parliament are twisted and torched to meet the need of the moment.

Think of the ridiculous extension made by local courts first and then by the Corte di cassazione (the Italian Supreme Court) of the “seizure” legal concept up to including the Internet traffic filter, or the way the Italian Data Protection Authority is working as a censorship machine, taking over the freedom of press, the Communication Authority, that self-gave the power to shut down Internet resources accused of copyright infringement, without any judicial review or, yet, the Antitrust authority that has been given the power (that was supposed to be reserved for a judge) to tell as illegal a contractual provision between a professional and a consumer…

This is typically Italian: pretend to fix a problem by passing a law, and immediately forget to check whether and how is enforced. And when the “need” arises, the old joke comes into play: law is enforced against enemies, interpreted towards friends.