We met briefly at the Edinburgh Book Festival last month and I mentioned that I was one of those former Conservative voters who had switched to the SNP.
I’d like to draw your attention to an opportunity for Scotland.
Over the last couple of days there’s been an unprecedented outburst of anger in the world of British political websites. What’s happened has united people across the entire political spectrum. The full details can be read:
hereBriefly, two bloggers wrote articles about the Russian/Uzbekh billionaire, Alisher Usmanov, and his lawyers successfully persuaded the hosting company to close down the two sites. But here’s the shocker – the hosting company also closed other sites on the same server even though the owners of those sites had never written a word about the issue at hand. Sites shut down include those of Labour councillor Bob Piper and Conservative mayoral candidate Boris Johnson MP.
The hosting company has clearly panicked in the face of Britain’s particularly harsh libel laws that strike at the heart of freedom of speech.
But of course we have a separate legal system here in Scotland and therein lies the opportunity.
The modern economy depends on freedom of communication and that is one reason why the United States is so predominant in the world of IT and other industries of the future. The First Amendment of the US Constitution protects freedom of speech. More recently, Section 230 of the US Communications Decency Act has added the following provision:
No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.
That seems fair to me.
Scotland can gain a competitive advantage by introducing robust laws that protect freedom of speech for both individuals and companies.
Why not go for it?
You wouldn’t want your website to be shut down like Boris Johnson’s.
With best wishes,