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Saudi Arabia Requiring License For Online Media

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the license-and-registration-please dept.

Censorship 175

Beetle B. writes "According to Saudi Arabia's leading English newspaper, Arab News, online newspapers, blogs and forums will now need to register with the Ministry of Information and Culture for licenses to operate, according to new regulations that the ministry announced Saturday it is to introduce. Abdul Aziz Khoja, minister of information and culture, said that the system is 'in line with the development moves that the media sector is witnessing.' He added that the rules do not include any clauses restricting freedom of speech and that the ministry is eager to ensure there is transparency. He also said that the rules will be made open to improvement in the future."

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Fairness (3, Insightful)

bonch (38532) | more than 3 years ago | (#34756276)

Saudi Arabia's neat little version of the Fairness Doctrine. I'm sure the government will stick to its word that there will be no restrictions on free speech. What could possibly go wrong in having governments regulate the internet? Other than governments being the most corrupt organizations on the planet, I mean.

Re:Fairness (2)

devxo (1963088) | more than 3 years ago | (#34756304)

What could possibly go wrong in having governments regulate the internet? Other than governments being the most corrupt organizations on the planet, I mean.

Yeah, we should stop them from regulating anything. What could possibly go wrong?

Re:Fairness (5, Insightful)

jameskojiro (705701) | more than 3 years ago | (#34756368)

No, we should limit their control over us at every turn in which they attempt to usurp more power for themselves.

No Goverment = Anarachy = Bad

Total Government = Totalitarinism = Bad

Limited Government = A lot better than the above two choices.

Re:Fairness (1)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | more than 3 years ago | (#34756446)

Limited Government = A lot better than the above two choices.

Sorry, I don't have mod points, and probably won't have any in the near future, so here: +1. :-)

Re:Fairness (4, Insightful)

Richard Steiner (1585) | more than 3 years ago | (#34756600)

Sure, but for what value of $Limited...?

It isn't the idea of limiting government that's usually the issue, but the degree to which the limitation should occur.

Re:Fairness (2)

vegiVamp (518171) | more than 3 years ago | (#34756664)

Any power that any government proposes to assume because it "feels it needs them", "to combat mostly-unspecified public threats" et al should be cause for shooting the requesting politicians in the knee within half an hour of failing to produce founded and quantified justification.

Any power that any government doesn't really want because it's "too complex to administrate" or "a drain on the budget that brings no tangible benefits" but the population will see actual benefit of in the near and/or remote future should be forcibly put upon them.

Yes, I'm aware that that still makes it fuzzy as hell. It all comes down to those seeking power not being supposed to be allowed near it, really.

Re:Fairness (1)

tolgyesi (1240062) | more than 3 years ago | (#34756730)

What about a limit where a minority of the population can not overthrow the government, but a majority can. To keep it in this range, a good feedback loop is needed though that I have not seen anywhere in practice.

Re:Fairness (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34757182)

In the US we have that; it is called the Constitutional Congress or Constitutional Convention (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constitutional_Congress). It can declare the current government null and void and can create a new one to take its place. However, it requires a VERY large majority. 2/3 of the states have to declare that they want it to happen. And, once the members to represent the Convention are seated, they can pretty much do whatever they want.

Re:Fairness (2)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | more than 3 years ago | (#34756888)

Well the standard libertarian argument is that the government should be limited to protecting citizen's rights. This means protecting them from physical force by others, which can take many forms, including theft, fraud etc. Many legitimate powers of the government then follow: legislature, courts, police, military and various supporting functions such as collecting taxes or finding some other means to fund them. To quote Ayn Rand: "A government is the means of placing the retaliatory use of physical force under objectively defined laws". This is more or less in line with the US constitution (or at least they are both on the same side of the argument - far less government than we currently have). Any powers that we grant our government beyond the above should be viewed with suspicion and avoided if possible.

Re:Fairness (1)

cream wobbly (1102689) | more than 3 years ago | (#34757610)

Err, £imited?

Re:Fairness (1)

jace_d (1955838) | more than 3 years ago | (#34757114)

Of course you should understand that a government is an entity that takes the power, so the limited of a limited government as time goes by,is a totalitarian government. Mainly because granting more power to a government can be done by law, and no government ever cedes power. It keeps climbing up the ladder slowly, only to come cascading down under revolution. Then the series repeats.

Re:Fairness (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 3 years ago | (#34757184)

Wait, someone -not- talking in extremes? ... (brain explodes)

Re:Fairness (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34757632)

Wait, someone -not- talking in extremes? ... (brain explodes)

Meh, give the GP a few more layers deep in a thread and you'll quickly learn "limited" means "effectively zero, but somehow magically betterer than anarchy". Happens all the time around here.

Re:Fairness (1, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#34756452)

>>>Yeah, we should stop them from regulating anything

Strawman argument. He did not say the government should not regulate all things - only that speech should not be regulated. Nor did he say the world is black-and-white, and that one must always assume the extremist viewpoint without nuance..... as you have done.

Re:Fairness (1)

oldspewey (1303305) | more than 3 years ago | (#34756566)

governments being the most corrupt organizations on the planet

Nor did he say the world is black-and-white

Actually, he pretty much did say the world is black-and-white.

Re:Fairness (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34756572)

>>>Yeah, we should stop them from regulating anything

Strawman argument. He did not say the government should not regulate all things - only that speech should not be regulated. Nor did he say the world is black-and-white, and that one must always assume the extremist viewpoint without nuance..... as you have done.

And you should learn what sarcasm is....

Re:Fairness (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 3 years ago | (#34756682)

Sarcasm is a rhetorical tool to make a point. Just because he said it sarcastically does not mean he was trying to make a point; it was his underlying point that commodore64 was trying to answer.

Re:Fairness (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34756488)

Yeah, we should stop them from regulating anything. What could possibly go wrong?

Well, "regulations" are usually lobbied for by the industry they're regulating and just serve to protect established companies and hurt their competition. Plus, the regulatory agencies end up being full of executives from the companies they're supposed to be regulating. Also don't forget that corporations are creations of the state that really just serve to separate profit from accountability.

Re:Fairness (4, Insightful)

Microlith (54737) | more than 3 years ago | (#34756326)

The FCC, the same organization that freaked out over Janet Jackson's nipple, wants to regulate the internet.

Your sig shows that you aren't qualified to comment on discussions like this. Fundamental failure to understand issues purely to take an anti-government stance draws into question your willingness to actually discuss issues.

Not to say that Saudi Arabia won't abuse this, they will, but suggesting that the US is trying to "regulate" the internet just shows a complete (and willing) failure to understand the topic.

Re:Fairness (4, Interesting)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 3 years ago | (#34756386)

but suggesting that the US is trying to "regulate" the internet just shows a complete (and willing) failure to understand the topic.

Perhaps your definition of regulate is different from mine, but hasn't the FCC introduced "net neutrality" regulations? What, if not the Internet, do those regulations apply to?

Re:Fairness (4, Informative)

Microlith (54737) | more than 3 years ago | (#34756462)

The carriers, obviously, and how they handle your data. They haven't gone and dictated what content can appear on the internet, or any such nonsense like the GP was trying to imply by citing the "Fairness Doctrine".

Re:Fairness (2)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 3 years ago | (#34756620)

So, regulating the people who provide you with access to the Internet and how they provide you with access to the Internet is not regulating the internet? If that is not regulating the Internet, what exactly would constitute regulating the Internet?

Re:Fairness (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34756660)

No, these are regulations for ISPs, not the internet itself. Regulating the internet would be something like forbidding all mention of former presidents employment by foriegn dignitaries.

Re:Fairness (2)

NatasRevol (731260) | more than 3 years ago | (#34756726)

How is regulating access to the internet realistically different than regulating the internet? Which is why everyone was up in arms over net neutrality.

Re:Fairness (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34757668)

How is regulating access to the internet realistically different than regulating the internet?

The same way that regulating car speeds and whether or not you are allowed to drive a car on a sideway is very different to telling you that some destinations are forbidden and you will be hearing from the police if you visit them in your vehicle.

(Actually I don't have an opinion on this, just saw an opening for a car analogy and BAM, there you go.)

Re:Fairness (2)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 3 years ago | (#34757256)

I have a question. How does regulating the company that provides you with access to the Internet differ from regulating the Internet?
If the FCC were to require ISPs to throttle certain types of traffic (say bittorrent), would that not be regulating the Internet? That would be "regulations for the ISPs.

Re:Fairness (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34757346)

"The Internet" is not your home PC, or your DSL connection, or your ISP. "The Internet" is the collection of routers that form the network between the collection of servers that hold the content we typically refer to as "The Internet."

Regulating a service provider doesn't affect the internet any more than regulating a plumbing contractor affects the municipal water system.

Re:Fairness (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34757192)

"So, regulating the people who provide you with access to the Internet and how they provide you with access to the Internet is not regulating the internet? If that is not regulating the Internet, what exactly would constitute regulating the Internet?"

If done how "net neutrality" is suppose to be, then this regulation is to prevent the ISP companies from regulating the content by punishing users from using "unapproved" websites. For instance without the neutrality then an ISP could charge you for the bandwidth you use - but not count the bandwidth used by specific sites that have deals with the ISP. For instance, if they had their own video hosting site, they could waive the bandwidth used on that while charging you for the bandwidth you use on youtube, and/or throttling the bandwidth on those sites. The net result would be less and less use of the competition not because the competition sucks at what they do, but because you won't be able to afford to use it.

When you have large companies doing things like this, it opens the doors for the government to regulate since those big companies can be "persuaded" with fines, laws, etc to cooperate since they very much have something to lose.

Mind you, I vaguely remember the version of "net neutrality" that the FCC was implimenting isn't what net neutrality was intended to be. I'll let someone else clarify that assuming anyone even reads this. :P

Re:Fairness (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34756376)

Don't jerk your knees so hard, bro.

Let's wait until the dudes grasp the enormity of the job they just appointed themselves too, and see how they handle the wonderful workload of policing the internet. Even their small corner of it. There will be plenty of time for government-bashing then. I guess some people will probably end up executed because of their blogs, but then I guess people tend to get executed a lot over there. It's a cultural thing, I guess.

AC

Re:Fairness (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34756388)

Other than governments being the most corrupt organizations on the planet, I mean.

It's a good thing, then, that the U.S. doesn't have deep ties with them and is planning to dispose of the despotic regime running the place any day now. Wait a minute...

Re:Fairness (5, Insightful)

makubesu (1910402) | more than 3 years ago | (#34756424)

Governments are the most corrupt organizations on the planet? Yes because everyone knows that big corporations are actually run by angels and bunnies, who would never do anything wrong...

Re:Fairness (1)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | more than 3 years ago | (#34756890)

Corporations do not claim that they aren't in the game exclusively for profit. They don't lie about what their priorities are, it says right in their charters that their number one duty to stockholders is to earn revenue and increase profit and value. People running governments, despite having many of those same inclinations, never admit to that and act like it works some way other than how it actually works. This is why Senators seeking re-election always talk about how bad it is in Washington and how it needs to be changed, expecting us to forget that it was them that made it that way. They say it's terrible, it's corrupt, it's hard to get anything meaningful done, it needs to be changed, and oh, won't you please send me back?

Government versus corporation (1)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 3 years ago | (#34757078)

You might want to learn some history there. Corporations are a legal fiction created and backed by government. Every time you look at a truly evil thing that was done and made possible by the scale and legal immunity that individuals in corporations often enjoy, you can thank a government for that.

Re:Government versus corporation (1)

Lilith's Heart-shape (1224784) | more than 3 years ago | (#34757316)

Stop making sense. If people want to think that corporations get their charters and legal privileges out of a fucking Cracker Jack box, then who are you to spoil their fantasy?

Re:Fairness (1)

HaZardman27 (1521119) | more than 3 years ago | (#34756470)

I'm sure the government will stick to its word that there will be no restrictions on free speech

I'm interested in how they're going to handle this. Maybe in order to obtain a license, you must agree that your forum/blog will only contain content deemed appropriate, thus the government is not technically restricting anyone's free speech, they're only forcing others to do so. It seems that if they had no intentions of censoring, they would have no reason to start this licensing process to begin with, but then I haven't yet RTFA so perhaps it is explained there.

Re:Fairness (2)

Mia'cova (691309) | more than 3 years ago | (#34756706)

Well, only the 2nd paragraph in seems block a good number of people from even applying.

"The regulations also specify punishments in case of violations. These include the obligatory publishing of corrections, fines and bans for various time periods, including total bans. Applicants for licenses need to be Saudi, no less than 20 years of age, have high school certificates in the least and documents testifying to their good behavior. Online newspapers also need to employ editors in chief who have been approved by the Ministry of Information and Culture."

You're taking too many meds, or not enough... (2, Insightful)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 3 years ago | (#34756680)

Net neutrality is not about regulating the Internet. It's about regulating Internet connections. Your sig is wrong. Your..."understanding" of net neutrality is wrong.

That "net neutrality = fairness doctrine" crap is a tinfoil-hat conspiracy theory straight out of Glenn Beck's ass (that's literally where it came from...by "ass" here I mean "the bodily orifice that the most vile waste is excreted from"). By bringing it up, you've obliterated your own credibility on this topic.

Re:You're taking too many meds, or not enough... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34756932)

Sure, our government now says that it is not about regulating the internet. But what a lot of people who are against it are worried about is that it is a step towards a government controlled internet. The real debate should be, can we trust the government not to use this to try to leverage more control?

Or more simply, can you trust politicians?

Re:You're taking too many meds, or not enough... (4, Insightful)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 3 years ago | (#34757770)

You can't trust politicians, and you can't trust telcos (or any sufficiently large business), but you can control politicians to some degree.

Can you control a telco? You can vote with your dollars - unsubscribe from the only Internet connection available in your area, or if you're lucky, switch to their only competitor who's no better...and that's about all you can do. Good luck convincing all your neighbors and nearby businesses to do the same. Even assuming there's another option, switching still costs money and often causes downtime, so convincing businesses to vote with their dollars is especially difficult - plus they don't have the same interests as humans in the first place. You can't vote to control the telco unless you own a certain percentage of shares, while any citizen can vote to control a politician. A telco is even less likely than a politician to respond to widespread public outrage. And they won't even toss you a doggie treat once every few years like politicians do around election time.

Control of Internet connections can lead to control of the Internet itself. I'd just rather have a government regulation that says "don't fuck with this connection, keep it a dumb pipe" rather than the telcos having control and fucking with the connection in any way that could potentially make them more money.

Government control is a threat to the Internet, but corporate control by the telcos is a more near-term threat. If we kill corporate control there is still government control to worry about right afterward, that's why I think we'll have to move to a community-controlled Internet infrastructure, but stopping corporate control will buy a little time.

Re:Fairness (2)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 3 years ago | (#34757104)

What could possibly go wrong in having governments regulate the internet?

Well, considering that the US government created the internet with taxpayer money using technologies developed at publicly funded institutions, it only seems fair that they should be able to regulate it.

If you look at the history of the internet, I think it can be argued that things really started to go wrong when corporations started staking out claims on it. To the extent that these big corporations will exert increasing control over the internet, I predict that it will become less like world-altering communications revolution that it started out to be, and more like a cross between a shopping mall and cable television. As much as I like streaming video, it's not nearly as important to me as irc or nntp was, back in the day. I would trade streaming video for assurances that anyone can put up a website and they're not going to have their traffic prioritized downward in order to make sure that telcos can maximize their profits.

In my own unscientific polling, it seems like people's desire to see Net Neutrality laws govern the internet goes up if they are old enough to have used the internet in the first decade of its existence. If all you know is Facebook and Hulu, you might not know why anyone's making a fuss about keeping the playing field level. And if the EFF thinks net neutrality is a good thing, that's good enough for me. I'm more inclined to believe their take on it than I am to believe that AT&T or Comcast have my best interest at heart.

Hardly Surprising (5, Informative)

UdoKeir (239957) | more than 3 years ago | (#34757152)

The content in Saudi Arabia's domestic mass media is under the control of the government, having to pass through censors before it makes it on air or in print. Furthermore, while the press is said to be privately owned, the editor-in-chief of each newspaper is appointed by the government.

From: http://iml.jou.ufl.edu/projects/fall09/jawad_n/traditionalmedia.html [ufl.edu]

Traditional media is already under government control. Thousands of people producing online media are less easy to control, so they're only handing out licenses to those individuals they approve of.

Sounds like an MBA (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34756290)

He's got the Governmarketing down pretty good. Your speech is totally free, you just need a license to ensure total accountability for your transparent actions. Enjoy your increased accountability, online citizens!

Regime change... (1, Funny)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | more than 3 years ago | (#34756324)

They have an oppressive non-democratic monarchy/theocracy, I'm sure the US will be there soon to institute regime change, right? Right?!

Wait, you mean we are best of buddies with those shitbags? Color me surprised.

No laws restricting free speech (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34756328)

They just revoke your license when you say something they don't like.

Re:No laws restricting free speech (1)

BatGnat (1568391) | more than 3 years ago | (#34756350)

Bingo!

Re:No laws restricting free speech (0)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#34757336)

Could be worse. If you're a woman, you won't even be able to get a license in the first place.

Re:No laws restricting free speech (1)

cgfsd (1238866) | more than 3 years ago | (#34757430)

By revoke, you mean execute the person, correct?

Unclear on the Concept (1)

eric02138 (1352435) | more than 3 years ago | (#34756344)

This action merely underscores the Saudi Government's technical ignorance of the nature of the Internet.

Re:Unclear on the Concept (1)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 3 years ago | (#34756426)

No they understand it quite well. If you're not broadcasting what they want, you're a threat to the government. Even more so in dictatorial-monarchies and despot ridden hellholes. Can't let the peasants know life is better anywhere but there.

Re:Unclear on the Concept (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#34757404)

To paraphrase Matt Damon in Syriana [wikipedia.org] , most of the Western world is indulging Saudi Arabia's backwards religion and thuggish government only because we know that, the day after the fuckers run out of oil, they'll be thrown right back out into the desert and right back into the "Hillbillies we don't give a shit about" file.

Saudis today, the US about 5 years from now (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34756352)

Because terrorists might run them, and we have to make sure there is accountability. We can't have an anarchy on the internet, it's too important!

And we won't use it to restrict political views or leaks of embarrassing information.

At first.

Have all the freedom of speech you like (1)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | more than 3 years ago | (#34756392)

As long as you don't say anything bad about the government, mmmmmkay?

Free Speech Won't Be Restricted (1)

Ukab the Great (87152) | more than 3 years ago | (#34756406)

You merely need to register with the Ministry of Free Speech. Due to a backlog of requests in Saudi Arabia, your license to speak freely might take twenty years to process.

In Further News... (1)

Kozar_The_Malignant (738483) | more than 3 years ago | (#34756416)

This just in from the Ministry of Truth^H^H^H^H^HInformation and Culture: "We have always been at war with Eastasia."

Licensing and Freedom (5, Interesting)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | more than 3 years ago | (#34756436)

When I was growing up my buddy's dad told us a story. He talked about how he and his dad used to go out into the woods and cut firewood, fish, and hunt without a license. They just took these rights for granted. Hell, he even told us about how he shot a buck in some guy's front yard when he was a teenager. That was life back then in the sticks. Anyways, when he was younger, his dad made the comment to him that, when he got older, one would need a license to fish, hunt, and cut firewood. He also predicted that, eventually, you would only be allowed to do these things in certain, designated parts of the wilderness, rather than anywhere the road ended in bush.

Anyways, those predictions have come true, at least here in the California. That always stuck with me and got me thinking. I have ten bucks that says, when I am my roomate's dad's age, you'll need a license to upload most, if not all, content that you want to the internet. You might require a license to legally access the internet at all. You'll be required to get a license to allow you to consume alcohol, if it's not prohibited outright. And you'll need a license to run a wireless networking node, you know, so that you can't set up a shady mesh network that is not policed.

So those are my predictions for the next 20 years. Every time I see a story like this from Saudi Arabia, China, or, hell, even places like Australia with their internet censorship boogeyman that their government keeps bringing up, I just figure that the U.S. will wait a year or two before enacting those same policies here. I'm so sick of this bullshit about living in the land of the free but continually watching our freedoms get sold to the highest bidder. Maybe I'm just a pessimist, but mark my words, the internet will be licensed in the U.S. before long.

Oh, one more, if 3D printing becomes cheap and accessible, you'll be required to get a manufacturing license to produce anything. That one will get enacted under the name of that God-foresaken commerce clause.

Re:Licensing and Freedom (1)

Joehonkie (665142) | more than 3 years ago | (#34756592)

Hell, he even told us about how he shot a buck in some guy's front yard when he was a teenager.

And thanks to him this is why we have to have licenses.

Re:Licensing and Freedom (1)

perpenso (1613749) | more than 3 years ago | (#34756882)

Hell, he even told us about how he shot a buck in some guy's front yard when he was a teenager.

And thanks to him this is why we have to have licenses.

And mandatory hunter's safety classes which are a large portion common sense firearms safety, a larger portion informative firearms safety, a small portion ethics and a small portion actually hunting related.

Re:Licensing and Freedom (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 3 years ago | (#34756940)

> And thanks to him this is why we have to have licenses.

Shooting a deer in someone's front yard is trespass and reckless endangerment. Licenses are irrelevant.

Re:Licensing and Freedom (1)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | more than 3 years ago | (#34757124)

There was nobody around. The "front yard" was multiple acres large (the advantage of living in the middle of nowhere). There was no fence up. There were no "No Trespassing" signs up. So in reality, no, there was no reckless endangerment. At the time, the trespassing laws were loose enough that it didn't really qualify as trespassing either. He did end up getting a ticket, for discharging a firearm near a residence, or something like that. But that wasn't really a big deal.

I understand the necessity for firearm safety and rational application of hunting skills and tools, but before you go slapping a bunch of legal terms on a simple anecdote, you might want to understand the context of the story first. In the county where he grew up, some forty years ago, the entire police force consisted of a local constable, the sheriff, and a self-proclaimed private investigator. It was a different time in a place remote enough that you might not be all that familiar with the history.

The resident owner's biggest complaint about the whole deal was that he didn't get to shoot the buck himself apparently.

Re:Licensing and Freedom (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34757734)

There was nobody around. The "front yard" was multiple acres large (the advantage of living in the middle of nowhere). There was no fence up. There were no "No Trespassing" signs up. So in reality, no, there was no reckless endangerment.

No, in reality, he was the problem and the very reason we need training and licenses indicating the holder has had training. In a more civilized land, assuming this was a recreational hunting trip and not a matter of not knowing where he was or some other desperation situation, he would have had the foresight to at least look up a vague notion of whose land it was BEFORE firing lethal weapons at wildlife on it for fun, fences and signs or no.

Face facts: Your buddy's dad was a primitive hick.

Re:Licensing and Freedom (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 3 years ago | (#34756644)

Unfortunately I agree with the basic themes of your post, and it only remains in what precise detail it goes. We already have the alcohol license - it's called "Zero Tolerance" ID Carding.

Problem is, looks to me like these stories are accelerating. Sometime soon I wanna' dig in and graph these stories because it's looking like some cross between Battleship, Monopoly, and Bingo.

Re:Licensing and Freedom (5, Insightful)

Angst Badger (8636) | more than 3 years ago | (#34756710)

Anyways, when he was younger, his dad made the comment to him that, when he got older, one would need a license to fish, hunt, and cut firewood. He also predicted that, eventually, you would only be allowed to do these things in certain, designated parts of the wilderness, rather than anywhere the road ended in bush.

Some of this is just population growth. Fishing licenses have always struck me as silly, at least for non-commercial fishermen using poles instead of nets. But when it comes to hunting and felling trees, if everyone was allowed unlimited access, we'd run out of trees and deer pretty damn quick, just like we did with the buffalo. Licensing just prevents (or at least delays) the tragedy of the commons.

If there were fewer of us, as their were in our grandparents' day, we could probably go back to having fewer restrictions. Of course, to get there, we'd need to start licensing reproduction.

Re:Licensing and Freedom (1)

Thomasje (709120) | more than 3 years ago | (#34757556)

If there were fewer of us, as their were in our grandparents' day, we could probably go back to having fewer restrictions. Of course, to get there, we'd need to start licensing reproduction.

The jury is still out on that. In China they went with regulating reproduction, but in Europe and Japan fertility rates are falling on their own. My personal theory is that it is actually possible for entire nations to come to their senses and start behaving responsibly, and those non-enforced low fertility rates could be evidence of that, but of course it remains to be seen whether the current demographic trends will hold long enough to really make a difference.

Re:Licensing and Freedom (1)

Kirijini (214824) | more than 3 years ago | (#34756750)

I have ten bucks that says, when I am my roomate's dad's age, you'll need a license to upload most, if not all, content that you want to the internet.

Technically, if the content wasn't actually created by you (i.e., you are the author), and if the content is not public domain,* then you *do* need a license - from the owner of the copyright over that content - in order to upload it.

But, I imagine that you're not railing against private ownership and control of resources. Just the conflict between government stewardship of resources and individual liberty.

* I mean "public domain" in the expansive sense - e.g., ideas are public domain, fair uses of content is public domain, etc.

Re:Licensing and Freedom (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34756810)

I'm so sick of this bullshit about living in the land of the free but continually watching our freedoms get sold to the highest bidder.

The price of Freedom is eternal vigilance.

Re:Licensing and Freedom (2)

PhysicsPhil (880677) | more than 3 years ago | (#34756818)

You're comparing two different things.

Hunting/fishing/wood chopping requires a license because humans have proven themselves pretty adept at hunting/fishing/chopping things to extinction unless artificial controls are present. There's no equivalent problem with the creation and distribution of digital media.

Your fear of excessive regulation is not unreasonable, but the analogy with the protection of physical resources is.

Re:Licensing and Freedom (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34756842)

The thing is, we wouldn't need licensing if people used common sense.

If you over-hunt, over-fish, or clear too many trees supplies become depleted. The effects impact not only the resources being over used, but anything that depends upon them. Licensing is the most obvious answer because it is hard to tell when someone has taken more than their fair-share or more than the environment can handle, yet it is easy to tell when someone is using those resources without the proper papers. (Got a buck in the back of your truck. No license. Here's the fine.)

The same can be said for public safety. Too many people driving unsafely? Too many people who don't know how to handle a firearm? Tie licensing to training, revoke license when necessary, and make it difficult to pursue those activities without a license.

Like it or not, a lot of people don't know or don't want to use their common sense on the internet. If people didn't use it to break the law (e.g. piracy and hate speech) or to publicly attack others (usually without sound evidence or through making dishonest claims) then licensing/regulation wouldn't be necessary. But people do. So everyone has to live with the consequences.

Re:Licensing and Freedom (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 3 years ago | (#34757310)

"Hell, he even told us about how he shot a buck in some guy's front yard"

and that's what always bothered me about some people who complain about limits on their freedom. they really are complaining about their "right" to impose on the freedoms of others

the rest of your post is spot on. but no service is done to the cause of freedom when you confuse freedom with your "right" to impose on others

for example: the right to smoke in an office, or a bar, or on the street. what about my right to fresh air? so the real story with smoking, and with you shooting deer in someone else's yard, is less about loss of "freedom", and more about complaining about the loss of license to impose on other people's rights and freedoms

Re:Licensing and Freedom (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34757382)

Regarding the last paragraph, about needing a license to run a 3D printer; Bruce Sterling wrote a short story called Kiosk about that very thing. You can read the story here : http://www.wattpad.com/75756-kiosk-by-bruce-sterling.

Re:Licensing and Freedom (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34757448)

This would, no doubt, be a flawlessly accurate prediciton, if there were no such thing as IPv6.

Re:Licensing and Freedom (1)

scharkalvin (72228) | more than 3 years ago | (#34757682)

There is a big difference between licenses for hunting or fishing and using the internet. The first is a regulation to preserve our natural resources, which have been plundered greatly since this country was mostly unknown wilderness. Streams have been over fished, woods over cut, and game over hunted. Think of the buffalo and whales to know what will happen if it goes unchecked. Licensing and registering hunters and fishermen helps enforce limits on harvest to make sure that these resources will be around for our grandchildren. The fees for these licenses should go toward enforcing the laws protecting the environment. I know the gun lobby is against licensing gun owners, but maybe the law could be turned into their favor. Require that a gun owner must pass a test to prove he can safely use a gun, and a marksmanship test to prove he can shoot straight! Maybe the NRA will pick up more members by providing gun classes.

OTOH a license to make use of my 1st amendment rights goes against those rights. I suppose having to suck up to Ma Bell or Comcast is about the equal of a license though.

So... (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#34756440)

We are so eager to, um, impose absolutely no restrictions at all in a totally open and transparent manner that registration is now mandatory. If it weren't mandatory, we would be not imposing absolutely no restrictions at all, and you would actually be less free! Doesn't it all make perfect sense?

We need to buy electric cars (3, Interesting)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 3 years ago | (#34756442)

Not because of the environment, but so we stop funding Saudi Arabia. If it weren't for oil, Saudi Arabia would be a few poor camel herders in the desert, and their children would look on their ultraconservative religious views and go "I'm outta here," and ultraconservative Islam would die as a force in this world.

But we are artificially maintaining Saudi Arabia's Wahabbi beliefs every time we fill up our fuel tanks, and Saudi Arabia exports ultraconservative Wahabbism to Pakistan, to absolutely wonderful results, sarcasm clearly intended.

Value systems and cultural believe systems that work in this world create value for their societies and result in rich societies. And those values and beliefs are therefore furthered. Meanwhile, broken value systems and abusive cultural believe systems that don't work in this world result in impoverished suffering societies no one wants to be a part of, and so those societies change to seek out more prosperity. But if your society is sitting upon a giant vat of petroleum, and other societies pay you trillions for that, there's no reason to change, and so you keep these medieval belief systems, because you can afford to do that. We need to make sure Saudi Arabia can't afford to do that anymore.

If Islamic extremism bothers you, then your next automobile purchase should be electric. There's very little you can do in this world as an individual to right horrible complicated wrongs. But here is one clear way you can.

Re:We need to buy electric cars (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34756578)

Yeah? In that case how do you explain Afganistan? No oil. No wealth. Plenty of fundamentalism and poverty to go around.

Re:We need to buy electric cars (2)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 3 years ago | (#34756816)

you didn't notice all the fundamentalist madrassas and mujahedin saudi arabia exports to pakistan and afghanistan?

with whose money is that made possible?

with money that some soccer mom provided when she filled up her minivan

Re:We need to buy electric cars (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34756902)

Protection of the oil pipelines by making sure that Iran doesn't mess with the Iraqi pipelines. We have large, active military operations on both sides of them.

Re:We need to buy electric cars (1)

Amouth (879122) | more than 3 years ago | (#34757596)

Yeah? In that case how do you explain Afganistan? No oil. No wealth. Plenty of fundamentalism and poverty to go around.

except for the extremists who are not poor but are rather controlling the flow of drug money from the poor farmers to the rest of the world.

Afghanistan is poor except for the drug market - then there is a small group making a lot of money.

Re:We need to buy electric cars (3, Insightful)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#34756646)

Not because of the environment, but so we stop funding Saudi Arabia.

America imports twice as much oil from Canada as Saudi Arabia, and the Chinese will be more than happy to buy any Saudi oil that Americans don't.

Re:We need to buy electric cars (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 3 years ago | (#34756788)

the amount of money people pay to saudi arabia is a function of worldwide demand. and my call to buy electric cars does not apply to only american people

less demand for product x=lower price for product x=less money for supplier of product x

it's just simple economics

do you want fight islamic extremism? buy an electric car. never mind all the other good reasons to do that

Re:We need to buy electric cars (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34757274)

But America imports twice as much oil from OPEC as Canada. We use Saudi Arabia as a friendly in OPEC to ensure that our prices don't go up too much, both in OPEC & world wide.

Also, Saudi Arabia has much higher production capacity & reserves. For a stable oil price, we need Saudi Arabia.

Re:We need to buy electric cars (1)

electron sponge (1758814) | more than 3 years ago | (#34757378)

America imports twice as much oil from Canada

Those Canadians need to be stopped, too, before we're all eating circular bacon and enjoying curling.

Re:We need to buy electric cars (1)

serviscope_minor (664417) | more than 3 years ago | (#34756834)

Don't forget that the USA gets most of its oil from Canada. Being closer, they're even more dangerous. If you keep buying oil, it will be only a matter of time before they swarm south over the border armed with their all-destroying hockey sticks.

Re:We need to buy electric cars (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 3 years ago | (#34756880)

if the usa stopped buying oil from canada, the price of oil on the world stage would drop. price is a simple function of supply and demand. saudi arabia would get less money

besides, my call to buy electric and not ICE cars is a call to the world, not just the american consumer. anyone who is bothered by islamic extremism can stop funding islamic extremism just by buying an electric car, nevermind all the other good reason why they should be doing that

not necessarily (1)

jDeepbeep (913892) | more than 3 years ago | (#34757036)

What is stopping the Saudis (and other oil-rich nations) from simply making heavy investments in coal, for example, and becoming an "energy conglomerate" versus just an "oil magnate." That way, your electric purchases still benefit them.

Re:not necessarily (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 3 years ago | (#34757138)

ummm... what? there's no appreciable coal deposits in Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia paying West Virginia for coal isn't exactly a problem. Because the net flow of cash is to West Virginia, not Saudi Arabia. Yes, there's a lot of money floating around in the world of finance, and Saudi Arabia can and does partake of that. But the essential problem is the creation of cash, oodles of it, just for sitting on top of a bathtub full of crude. Not some bond holder skimming off a little extra value for what goes on elsewhere in the world.

Or synthesize fuels, or NatGas cars. . . (1)

JSBiff (87824) | more than 3 years ago | (#34757334)

Electric battery-powered cars kind of suck right now. The better solutions (at least for awhile) are probably to either A) Synthesize gas/diesel from coal, using the Fischer-Tropsch process, or start buying Compressed Natural Gas cars, and fuel the cars with CNG (the U.S., at least, has a lot of both coal and natural gas).

If you're worried about carbon emissions, there's also the idea of synthesizing gas/diesel fuel using electricity, water, and CO2. There's a company, which I haven't been able to determine if they're legit yet, called Doty Energy [dotyenergy.com] . If the tech is legitimate (and it, at least, doesn't seem to violate any basic laws of physics, so far as I can tell, so that's a good start in the plausibility department).

They claim to have a process to synthesize liquid hydrocarbon fuel from electricity, water, and CO2. If that's true, we could use nuclear, wind, or solar to produce fuel.

Right now, I favor the Fischer-Tropsch process idea, because CNG requires new cars, and new fueling stations, whereas F-T fuels are the same gas or diesel we already use, so we have distribution infrastructure and cars/trucks/boats that can already use it. Longer term, switching to CNG or electro-synthesized fuels seems like a pretty good idea.

But, I do agree with your basic position - right now, our money being dumped into the Middle East can't be all the helpful. However, it's quite possible that even without oil money, Saudi Arabia wouldn't be much different than it is (except poorer). I mean, look at Rwanda or several other nations where lots of violance and bloodshed, genocides, etc have happened, where despotic, corrupt regimes hold onto power. All it takes to terrorize a population is an army of zealots and a lot of cheap machetes.

Re:Or synthesize fuels, or NatGas cars. . . (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 3 years ago | (#34757352)

yes, Saudi Arabia would probably still be barbaric. but at least it would be poor, its level of prosperity equal to its medieval set of values and beliefs. rather than artificially inflated by oil reserves, which allows them to export Wahabbism to Afghanistan and Pakistan. Without oil in Saudi Arabia, there never would have been a 9/11 and Osama Bin Laden would be a goat herder.

No Ministry of Truth? (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 3 years ago | (#34756466)

"Ministry of Information and Culture" sounds very wimpy to me. They need a Ministry of Truth: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ministry_of_Truth [wikipedia.org] . That would get those meddling kids on the Internet back into line.

"If it wasn't for those meddling Internet kids ... etc"

Re:No Ministry of Truth? (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 3 years ago | (#34756526)

You have committed double-plus ungood crimethink. Please immediately report to the Ministry of Love for reeducation.

Coming Soon (2)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | more than 3 years ago | (#34756504)

to a [CENSORED] near you!

Seems better than in Hungary, then... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34756510)

...at least judging by this

He added that the rules do not include any clauses restricting freedom of speech

Do we believe him?

Unoriginal Lie About Freedom Of Speech. (2)

purplemecha (1823386) | more than 3 years ago | (#34756516)

You would think they would have come up with a more original lie, as it is, it's a boring lie. Typical of governments around the world.

"He added that the rules do not include any clauses restricting freedom of speech and that the ministry is eager to ensure there is transparency."

So why do I need a license? (3, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#34756584)

"Rules do not include any clauses restricting freedom of speech"

So why do I need to get a license before I can speak on my blog? That alone implies a restriction (no licence - no blog permitted).

Uh... (2)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 3 years ago | (#34756604)

So how does this affect online media hosted _outside_ of Saudi Arabia? Isn't this move just going to drive all bloggers to offshore hosting?

Oil (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34756614)

The sooner they run out of oil the sooner they'll have no choice but to join modern society. Shame I won't live long enough to see this happen.

Be careful what you write... (2)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 3 years ago | (#34756626)

...or you might be the head of an article without any body.

minus 5, troll) (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34756688)

Re:minus 5, troll) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34757086)

I'm 12 and what is this?

The rub: (1)

clyde_cadiddlehopper (1052112) | more than 3 years ago | (#34757148)

Define "media".

Free Speech (1)

pellik (193063) | more than 3 years ago | (#34757236)

Seriously, This will in no way impact their freedom of state endorsed speech.
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