Best/Worst internet laws

Over the past dozen years, the lure of regulating the Internet has proven irresistible to legislators. For example, in the 109th Congress, almost 1,100 introduced bills referenced the word “Internet.” Although this legislative activity doesn’t always come to fruition, hundreds of Internet laws have been passed by Congress and the states. This body of work is now large enough that we can identify some winners and losers. So in the spirit of good fun, I offer an opinionated list of my personal votes for the best and worst Internet statutes in the United States.


I would suggest that anyone interested in the wild world of internet law check this site out.

Here’s the “3rd worst” internet law (in that site’s opinion):

Dot Kids Implementation and Efficiency Act of 2002

As we saw with the Utah Digital Signatures Act, legislators can’t stimulate market demand simply by legislating the market into existence. In my opinion, no legislative act better illustrates this principle than the Dot Kids Implementation and Efficiency Act of 2002. In the name of providing a safe online haven for kids, Congress co-opted the domain and decreed that only kid-safe content could reside there. In theory, parents would feel safe letting their kids loose there, and content publishers would have a good place
to reach kids. Ultimately, Internet filters could simply enable websites and shut off the rest of the Internet to kids.

The problem? Not many content publishers saw the value of creating kid-safe websites and housing them under the restrictive rules of the law. As a result, is a virtual wasteland, housing fewer than 20 websites—almost all of which have less-than-compelling content. (You mean to tell me you’ve never been
there? Check it out yourself.) Not exactly the most enticing destination for Junior. So is a ghost-town-like reminder that legislators should stay out of the business of trying to manufacture markets.

I thought that was an interesting choice… and, no matter how often I shout about media responsibility & internet safety with kids… I can see the uselessness of this law. There’s nothing kids like less than being reminded of the government-issued sterile room with padded walls the “man” tries to create for them. LOL.

Would you rather hang out at Willy Wanka’s factory (it’s just as clean, remember– those Oompa Loompa’s work hard to make sure no human hands have touched the choco-river) where he makes his own crazy (yet oddly sensible) rules… or hang out at a candy factory maintained by candy-clueless bureaucrats, ya know?

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