‘Absurd’ EU Ruling, Potentially ‘Fatal’ DNS Move, and More on the Mind of CEA’s Shapiro
Posted at 3:58 p.m. on June 4, 2014
Shapiro at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association, says the recent EU court decision involving Google and the “right to be forgotten” is one that’s “absurd.”
Speaking at a Brooking Institution event, Shapiro said the decision was an “extraordinary affront” on the First Amendment and on history. Erasing the “mechanisms for the transmission of facts” does not “erase the facts themselves,” he said.
“The European Union announced that it doesn’t matter what the facts are,” he said. “There’s an affirmative obligation by Internet search providers to eliminate history if a person who has been convicted of a crime and paid their dues have paid their dues and they request it.”
In the wake of the court decision, Google has been flooded with requests to have search results deleted and the court ruling has spurred backlash.
On the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s plan to relinquish its role in key Internet domain name system functions, he said discussions need to take place about conditions to set so that people are comfortable that there won’t be government control, and that openness, cross-border traffic and neutrality will be preserved.
“Given what’s at stake, we have to have that type of discussion and debate occur,” he said.
The result of a mistake in this case would be “fatal,” he said.
“The worst world that I can envision is one where there are borders around the Internet in every country and we can’t communication and share information. So I want to make sure we get it right,” he said.
In contrast, the Information and Technology Industry Council and the Internet Association have explicitly said they support the plan, “provided certain specified principles are met.”
On net neutrality, Shapiro wants more of a hands-off approach from the government. He wants to see government allow industry and nongovernmental organizations establish principals. “And if the principals are violated, then act,” he said.
“I personally am fearful of all of a sudden sending those companies into a new area of regulation like utilities,” referring to the FCC considering using Title II of the 1996 Communications Act to rewrite net neutrality rules.
He said he likes things the “way they are” and that he’s rather not see them changed, adding that “good intentions scare me.”
Public interest groups have been calling for the FCC to reclassify broadband in rewriting its 2010 net neutrality rules that were mostly struck down by an appeals court earlier this year. But even the possibility of reclassification has drawn the ire of Republicans and Rep. Bob Latta, R-Ohio, recently introduced legislation on the matter.
Shapiro’s talk at Brookings comes the same day that the American Spectator published a piece by him that blasts Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.