Blogging in EU

EU consider internet anonymity for bloggers

5th September

EU Politicians with Malicious Intent...

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EU are looking to censor and regulate blogs

When it comes to blogs, Eurocrats instinctively dislike spontaneous activity. To them, "unregulated" is almost synonymous with "illegal". The bureaucratic mindset demands uniformity, licensing, order.

Eurocrats are especially upset because many bloggers, being of an anarchic disposition, are anti-Brussels. In the French, Dutch and Irish referendums, the mainstream media were uniformly pro-treaty, whereas internet activity was overwhelmingly sceptical.

[Perhaps blogs are just a little more in touch with what real people are actually thinking. It seems a little arrogant and patronising to think that people mindlessly heed the government friendly mainstream media. It maybe that blogs don't influence so much as reflect the thoughts of real people]

Bruno Waterfield recently reported on a secret Commission report about the danger posed by online libertarians: Apart from official websites, the internet has largely been a space left to anti-European feeling. Given the ability to reach an audience at a much lower cost, and given the simplicity of the No campaign messages, it has proven to be easily malleable during the campaign and pre-campaign period.

The EU's solution? Why, to regulate blogs! Back in June, MEPs began to complain that unlicensed blogs were polluting cyberspace with misinformation and malicious intent . They wanted a quality mark, a disclosure of who is writing and why.

At the time, I dismissed it as the ramblings of a single dotty MEP. Not even the European Parliament, I thought, would actually try to censor the internet. I was wrong. We now have the full report and, sure enough, it wants to clarify the status, legal or otherwise, of weblogs , and to ensure their voluntary labelling according to the professional and financial responsibilities and interests of their authors and publishers.


23rd September

Update: Anonymous Bureaucrats...

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MEP feels that bloggers are negative and should be stripped of anonymity

Marianne Mikko, an Estonian MEP, is concerned that growing numbers of blogs are being used by individuals with malicious intentions or hidden agendas.

The blogosphere has so far been a haven of good intentions and relatively honest dealing. However, with blogs becoming commonplace, less principled people will want to use them, she said.

Mikko has proposed that bloggers should be required to identify themselves and that some popular blogs should come with a declaration of interests.

We do not need to know the exact identity of bloggers. We need some credentials, a quality mark, a certain disclosure of who is writing and why. We need this to be able to trust and rely on the source, she said.

Chris Heaton Harris, a British Conservative Euro MP, has rejected any moves to regulate and restrict independent media sources. Mrs Mikko obviously does not understand that blogs have become the life blood of a vibrant democracy. I hope these proposals are kicked out.

Thursday's vote in the European Parliament is not legally binding but is an indicator of growing EU concern over the influence of blogs on the internet. A recent internal European Commission report, leaked three weeks ago, found that the EU was losing the battle for hearts and minds online. Blog activity remains overwhelmingly negative, it said.


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