Monday, September 26, 2005

Reforming the Net campaign reformers

CNET "Congress finally recognizes the magnitude of the error it made three years ago by acquiescing to a sweeping campaign finance law. All I can say is that it's about time.
That 2002 law, which included the most extreme restrictions on political speech in a generation, is called the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act. It's better known by the names of its Senate sponsors, John McCain, R-Ariz., and Russell Feingold, D-Wis.
Today it's known on the Internet as an unconstitutional restriction on free expression, thanks to federal regulations based on the law that are currently being drafted and are expected to become final in the next few months. Bloggers are alarmed, civil disobedience is being mooted, and petitions are circulating.
Our politicians may lack an appreciation for the values enshrined in the First Amendment, but they're hardly naive. Now that they've realized that a public backlash is brewing from bloggers and online activists from both major parties, members of Congress who once embraced strict Internet restrictions are backpedaling. (Possible regulations could include mandatory disclosures of affiliations with campaigns, restrictions on linking, or rules against republishing campaign material.) "

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