Government Minister's Twitter Name "kidnapped"
As a response to the Culture Secretary Andy Burnham's proposal to give internet sites 'cinema-style age ratings' reported in an interview with The Daily Telegraph, Techcrunch UK has kidnapped Burnham's Twitter user name "until he's prepared to sit down and listen to some real feedback about his ideas". Whether this symbolic gesture of activist cybersquatting will have any affect has yet to be seen.
Burnham says his proposals, which also include changing libel laws to make it easier for people to sue if they had been defamed online and legally forcing sites like YouTube and Facebook to remove offensive content, will set an agenda for future discussions with the incoming US administration regarding rules for English language websites. In The Daily Telegraph interview Burham said "The change of administration is a big moment. We have got a real opportunity to make common cause,” and “The more we seek international solutions to this stuff – the UK and the US working together – the more that an international norm will set an industry norm.”
The item at Techcrunch points out that the internet already had a ratings scheme in the form of W3C's Platform for Internet Content Selection (PICS) that has not been successful and has fallen behind current developments on the internet. Another issue raised is the problem of increased regulation during the economic downturn which would place extra costs upon service providers and website owners.
Another MP, Tom Watson, has opened up a discussion on his blog, where a useful debate has ensued that appears to be overwhelmingly negative to Burnham's proposals.