Two Stories about Governments Not Understanding the Internet

Singapore has attempted to bring websites under the same decency standards are other media.

The Singapore government just announced an intention to begin regulating websites that report on the country, requiring a S$50,000 ‘performance bond’ and compliance with any takedown notices from the government within 24 hours. The reason for this is apparently to regulate content which solicits for prostitution, undermines racial and religious harmony, or ‘goes against good taste'”

Generally speaking, I’d say they wouldn’t be so clueless if this applied to Singaporeans and/or servers located in Singapore. But, bafflingly, this applies to foreign websites. This is clueless because they have no jurisdiction outside their territory and, therefore, no true ability to control what their citizens see on the World Wide Web outside of simply blocking all IP addresses outside of Singapore. Not only does that usually end up being ineffective, but it would put Singapore on a disadvantage, commercially. Anyway, good luck with that.

Here in the USA, NYC wants to make it illegal to print your own guns with a 3D printer if you aren’t a gunsmith. Good luck with that! There’s absolutely no way to police that – no way to keep people from getting the necessary CAD files or the necessary “ink” for their 3D printers. What’ll probably happen in practice is that it’ll be tacked on to other things – arrested for drugs AND printing guns. Or pulled over in a traffic stop and found to be possessing a gun. Although in either case, unless they literally caught you in the act of printing the gun, they’d have to prove that you printed the gun and didn’t buy it from someone else. Again….good luck with that! After all, I predict that since a lot of 3D printers are DIY, it’ll be damn near impossible to mandate that they print some kind of serial number. And it isn’t (and most likely can’t be) illegal to posses the CAD file. They can probably create some feasibility that you made the gun, but I doubt it would go past the shadow of a doubt test. As I mentioned last time, the genie’s out of the bottle and I don’t think there’s anything you can do about it short of changing fundamental freedoms we enjoy in the USA.

Author: Eric Mesa

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