The president of France spoke last week about bringing the internet to heel at the star-studded eG8 conference he hosted (and, oh yeah, we attended).
“We need to talk to you. We need to understand your expertise, your hopes … We need to hear your aspirations, your needs. You need to hear our limits, our red lines.”
We do? Web entrepreneurs and digital company founders asked themselves in bewilderment. We’re all about breaking rules, pushing bounderies, distrupting stuff. “Creative destruction is what we do”, said one participant.
The ensuing twitterstream was as interesting and amusing as Sean Parker’s bling-alicious after-party at swanky Paris night club Matignon. Synthesio made a useful infographic about the topics & tone of the even.
It was a fascinating two days in sun-drenched Paris. We were privileged to rub shoulders with the BBC (billionaires’ boys club), senior government officials and media tycoons such as Murdoch, Zennström and Zuckerman whose empires collide online and off with increasing frequency.
Unfortunately, as professor Larry Lessig pointed out, the French president’s desire to rein in the web is hopelessly misguided. Google’s exec chairman agreed by saying that policymakers should tread lightly and avoid “stupid” rules. Stupid being defined here, presumably, as boneheaded policies and official panic. The battle lines are being drawn.
Conflicting visions of the Internet – notably about how regulated it should be – are pitting companies like Amazon and Google against governments when the subject is privacy and copyright online.
The impact on web advertising will be enormous. How enormous? Really really big. Too big to quantify just yet. (As we publish this, it is May 26 +3)
But until governments understand what the Interweb is really about, they should refrain from regulating it. Wittgenstein springs to mind:
”Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen.”
Freely translated: Dude, if you dont get it, just STFU.
Bonus Video: Sean Parker demands Duck Confit!