back to article Sarko to Schmidt & co: 'You can't escape' net regulation

French president Nicolas Sarkozy, whose country has the G8 presidency this year, called for greater regulation of the internet today. Speaking at the e-G8 Forum in Paris, Sarkozy said more rules to police the net were needed to, among other things, help protect copyright law and prevent children from seeing harmful material …


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  1. There's a bee in my bot net


    Aaaaaaarrrrrgggghhhhh!!!!! Just fucking Aaaaaaarrrrrgggghhhhh!!!!!

    Vous et un idiot Misiour Sarkozy.

    1. Yag


      En effet, c'est un idiot.

      French politicians have a very annoying habit of thinking of themselves as elected kings. DSK is a good example : He is well known for years for his inacceptable behavior, but as long as he was in France, it was easy to bury the scandals.

      Seems like it's getting time to use the good ol' solution : Off with their heads!

  2. The BigYin


    "Liberté, égalité, fraternité"? Really?

    More like

    "Control, Restriction, Slavery"

    1. spodula


      Is, and always has been, a control freak. He doesnt like people doing stuff that he doesnt know about.

      Why should his attitude to the internet be any different?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    ""Nobody should forget that these governments are the only legitimate representatives of the will of the people in our democracies. To forget this is to risk democratic chaos and hence anarchy."

    Very typical view from the French political class.

    How about the stuff people do as representing their will?

  4. MJI Silver badge

    Not another one

    Haven't they heard the internet routes around any disruptions.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Why, then.

      No problem routing from Sarko's left ear to his right ear, then.

  5. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  6. BristolBachelor Gold badge

    In similar news

    The new WorldWide® "kitchen" regulations come into force today to prevent children from hurting themselves on sharp objects. All sharp objects (including scissors) must now be kept in a kitchen or workshop and all kitchens and workshops must be registered with worldwide authorities. Registered kitchens and workshops must be available for instant surprise inspections to ensure that children cannot access sharp objects.

    Arguments are still ongoing about the new "media room" regulations. Some countries disagree about what percentage of time a police officer must be in all registered media rooms to guard against copyright 'theft'. The US wants 100% police presence 24 hours a day. Also some countries are unhappy that all rooms containing a music / video player or PC have to be registered as a media room, leading to issues where some dwellings may need a team of 5 or more police officers to guard them.

    How about this law "If it is illegal in the real world, then it is illegal on the internet" ?

    Sarkozy ≡ Fuckwit

    1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

      @AC At the risk of reopening the AV debate

      According to Electoral Reform Society estimates (there are no direct results, because the votes were not cast in the appropriate way), comparing First Past the Post, Alternative Vote, Alternative Vote+ and Single Transferable Vote, we get the following:

      FPTP: Cons 306, Lab 258, LibDem 56, Others 28

      AV: Cons 281, Lab 262, LibDem 79, Others 28

      AV+: Cons 275, Lab 234, LibDem 110, Others 31

      STV: Cons 246, Lab 207, LibDem 162, Others 35

      Hmmm. Obviously with all of these alternatives, there is no better split. We still have to have a coalition, and one where *any* two of the three mayor parties would have a majority. <sarcasm>Sooooo much better. </sarcasm>

      And with full PR (figure from the BBC), it would have been Cons 36%, Lab 29%, LibDem 23%, Other 12%, which is no better.

      I prefer to know that the government was formed by the party with the biggest share of everybody who bothered to vote, at least in a system where a single party normally gets to form the government.

      And I don't think that having a system where in in order to get a vote on what biscuits are served at the tea break, you have to engage in horse-trading with parties whom you may radically disagree with like much of Europe has is really that much better, and tends to lead to weak compromise government.

      Of course, we could have a full referendum for everything, televised and using modern IT for instant voting, but I doubt that many people could stomach sitting down and listening to the boring and mundane arguments that form most debates in parliament even if they understood them (try watching the BBC Parliament channel for an evening, and that is the interesting selected highlights!)

      Just face it. There is no perfect system, and any system will lead to some people being upset some of the time. Significant numbers of people are *always* in a minority in any democratic system.

      Anyway, it's all a moot point. Regulating the Internet is like holding liquid mercury in your hand. It's almost impossible.

      1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

        1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

          @AC (both of them)

          My views presented here are deliberately contentious, to try to get people to think. I am a little undecided about what is the voting system with fewest drawbacks, but I am reasonably certain that it is not FPTP or AV.

          I agree about the post about mathematics (and other) teaching. I am not disputing that governments take a big part of everybody's earnings (although you 50% is an average, many people at the lowest end of the earnings spectrum only end up paying VAT - unless you are including employers NIC, which is an expense to the business of employing people, not really a tax on the income unless you look at it with a real pedantic eye). I used to run my own company with it's own payroll, so I can see all of these aspect of tax.

          But unless you go to a full PR system with national candidate lists, which breaks local accountability (something I value strongly), then there will always be some quantization errors in the representation of the people. This is true with AV, STV and MMP. And when considered with current party preferences, will nearly always end up with minority governments.

          I know that some successful countries actually work with governments that are in a minority, but for every one that does, I could probably point to at least one where historically they haven't always. In a minority government, charismatic leaders are the key, and in the cynical political atmosphere in the UK, I don't believe that we trust any individual enough, especially after Tony Blair and Margaret Thatcher.

          Another point I want to make is that people don't actually want democracy. What they want is what they personally believe is right. Whenever such people do not get their way, many of them are prepared to blame the system, rather than accept that they are out of step with the 'will of the people'. And with a complex voting system, the least well educated and those that don't-give-a-damn-about-how-it-works will always feel this as long as they don't understand the process.

          I was also pointing out that whilst the share of seats in the UK does not often track the percentage of the vote (and this has always been a sore point to Liberal Democrats and before them the Liberal Party in the UK - I've been politically aware for that long), it does not actually matter that much to the over-all policies. Bills are presented, mostly (though not exclusively) by the incumbent party, debated, amended and eventually have to achieve a majority of a vote to become a policy or law. Be more afraid of secondary legislation that only has to be voted on by a select committee rather than poor representation in the House of Commons. This is truly unrepresentative.

          I accept that between elections, there is little that can be done by constituents to 'sack' their member of parliament, but votes in the House of Commons are by majority, so any minority government has to convince other parties, one way or another, to support them. I would be happy seeing fee votes more often, allowing MPs to vote according to their conscience and constituency wishes rather than along party lines, but sometimes it is necessary to enforce the party lines. So I assert that a party with only 36% of the vote imposing their policies is actually not significantly different from voting alliances seen in most countries with some form of PR without overall majority governments, although I accept that it is the the incumbent party that get to present the most bills.

          I would also point out that if you really want an accountable government, you really ought to make it compulsory for all eligible voters to do so, because even 51% of 65% is less that 38%, only slightly more than the number who didn't vote! Is this truly representative? Or do you contend that people who don't vote don't deserve to be represented?

          Anyway, beside electoral systems, somebody ought to take the "how-it-works" bat to Sarcozy, to beat some real knowledge into him.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      At the risk of ...

      Well bugger all actually...

      Please note that Governments - large, small, local, regional, national and international - take over 50p in every pound received in pay packets or benefit cheques and spend it. This 'take' comes in the form of taxes, fines and charges. Some of this may well be approved of, much of it probably wont - even if known about or recognised as 'Government spending'.

      I'd like the government that takes and squanders - or spends, your choice - to be as representative as possible and make informed decisions to the betterment of society in general and me in particular. It will not always be possible and will be nigh on impossible when the politicians are even more in thrawl to vested interests and civil servants than they have been since the middle ages.

      Pronouncements these days by almost any politician in high office are not made with the intention of benefiting the populace. Sarkosy and his ilk have in mind a scheme to further up the payroll vote or placate one or other conglomerate, union or NGO pressure group. They have to, they need to be elected.

      Until "the great and the good" start to demonstrate a lot more of "the good" and a lot less of "the great" then they can all *** off because they are not governing with the consent of the people they are governing with the consent of a small proportion of the electorate and that is an altogether different thing.

  7. The Fuzzy Wotnot


    What the hell is Sarko's problem with the internet? He's obsessed with regulating and controlling it!

    FFS, you short-arsed git, haven't you got more important things to do like, I dunno, running a flipping a huge European country?!

  8. Anonymous Bosch

    Goose meat Gander

    I would have thought that governments have a moral imperative to be honest and forthcoming to their voters, so that they could listen and respond accordingly to the democratic process.

    Oh crud - I've forgotten to take my morning meds....

  9. Alien Doctor 1.1

    Get off yer box sarky...

    oh, sorry, you already have.

    What a bastard - how on earth did Bruni end up marrying that de-shelled snail? (Not that she is that much better).

    If they wish to drive internet democracy undergorund then they are doing exactly what needs to be done; these petty-minded, short-sighted bureaucrats are doing more harm to their own causes than good - long may they not live.

  10. K. Adams

    "...governments are the only legitimate representatives of the will of the people..."

    I would say that the people are the legitimate representatives of the will of the people.

    Most modern Western-style democracies and republics are based on "Rule By Consent of The People" (At least, in theory... In practice, maybe not so much.)

    However, it would be (from a practicality standpoint) very, very difficult to regulate the Internet into submission.

    Technology evolves too quickly for legislation to stay abreast; even the Great Firewall of China is riddled with easily exploitable holes, the 09F9 AACS encryption key controversy demonstrated the futility of battling the Streisand Effect, the "CTB Super-Injunctions" have been effectively nullified by Twitterers @large, and WikiLeaks is still in operation, despite attempts to limit its operations through various means. In short: "Can't stop the signal, Mal..."

    The best way to "regulate" the Internet is to educate people, starting with Primary education, on how to use it responsibly and safely, show them how to protect their privacy and personal information while using online services, and demonstrate the dangers of carelessness.

    1. PT


      FFS, Fuzzy, don't you understand that EVERY GOVERNMENT IN THE WORLD is obsessed with regulating and controlling the Internet? Some may be more vocal about it than others, but they all share the same mortal terror of a communications channel they can't monitor and control.

    2. Jean-Luc Silver badge

      @ The Fuzzy Wotnot & what's Sarko problem?

      Sarkozy's problem is not with the internet. Not at all.

      It is with his poll numbers.

      Grandstanding and making it sound as if France can decide what the world should be doing is one way to attract voters.

      1. Jimmy 1

        Our moral guardians.

        The two leading proponents of internet regulation just happen to be experiencing some local difficulty with their re-election prospects caused in part by their deregulation of the greediest section of society. Naturally, their response to this impending disaster is to impose full-on regulation of the one medium that allows the bien-pensants to freely express their contempt for politicians and other self-serving 'saviours of the nation'.

        On the one hand we have a French dwarf with primped up hair, high-heels and a trophy wife to enhance his stature, while on the other hand we have a corpulent Italian whore-master who is currently being investigated for alleged corruption, Mafia collusion, police bribery and tax fraud.

        And it is grotesques like these who think they are entitled to regulate the internet?

        In your dreams, sweethearts.

  11. Bakunin


    Anarchy is actually one of the things I like most about the internet (who would have guessed). Anarchy doesn't have to mean bad.

    People are talking and sharing and changing more. It's not an over night revolution, but it is putting more of a voice and a distribution network into the hands of the average person. Rather than spending money on control and pacifying and locking things down we should be putting that money into getting more of the world to connect and ... I don't know ... talk to each other?

    Nearly every single political sound bite about the internet that I've heard over the last decade seems to live in the shadow of "I don't quite get it, but it scares me".

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    remind me

    Remind me, because I really don't know, but could you list me some global French computing/media or internet businesses? Is vivendi French?

    1. MarkieMark1
      Black Helicopters


      the travel booking system, is based in France; the French national research lab, INRIA, regularly produces ground-breaking work; however it is fair to say that the French grasp of the internet is 'different'

      Bringing me to the main bone of contention; that many people feel that we need to stop internet fraud somehow; not, it must be said, the way the Sarkozys of this world would stop it, although as I say, somehow.

  13. Maty


    The will of the people is not always the will of the government. As demonstrated by the unfulfilled will of the French people in recent opinion polls. I.e. that Sarkozy should flush himself down the nearest latrine and get out of their lives.

    If he really, really, wanted to know the 'will of the people' it would not be that hard to discover it.

    Set up a website with one question on the poll 'Are you in favour of a French-led initiative to regulate the internet? Yes/No'

    'Without fair dealing, what are governments but huge robberies?' (Tacitus, Roman historian 1st century AD.)

  14. Sam Liddicott

    In other words...

    ... in other words, if we don't have a minimum set of rules, the proles will forget who's in charge!

  15. Luther Blissett

    Sarko tips hat to fellow Frenchman

    > "Nobody should forget that these governments are the only legitimate representatives of the will of the people in our democracies."

    Baudrillard could not have put it better - but only in the hyperreal.

    All too palpably for those being subjected to state terror in the name of "democracy".

    1. BristolBachelor Gold badge

      Not represented

      I can vote for A or B, however A ≡ B, and I want C.

      A or B wins (remember A ≡ B anyway, but I want C). How am I legitimately represented?

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    All invited

    According to his 'Welcome Note', even those who are "simply users of the Internet" are invited along to give their views. I wonder if we would really all be welcome? I don't think so.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You're all forgetting...

    ... the golden rule about French rules.

    Rules apply to everyone else, but never to you.

    Applies to no parking areas, no smoking areas, no internet areas...

  18. Cyfaill

    What he is really saying

    I'm scared of a changing world... were Governments play a less significant role... because people might discover that communication has unified humanity and Nationalism is more destructive than helpful.

    Regulation keeps us in power and the people of the world, powerless and controlled.

    Of course it really is more complicated than that reduction... but jerks like this just make me mad at their ignorance. Perhaps they aren't ignorant.

    Have you noticed the most regulated internet from the government are also the most restricted populations. Let Freedom be Freedom.

  19. Wang N Staines

    someone once said...

    "In my lifetime all our problems have come from mainland Europe and all the solutions have come from the English-speaking nations across the world"

  20. Anonymous Coward

    Danger from anarchy?

    well, Thomas Jefferson was also called an anarchist and things didn't turn out so bad

    "Of liberty I would say that, in the whole plenitude of its extent, it is unobstructed action according to our will. But rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add 'within the limits of the law,' because law is often but the tyrant's will, and always so when it violates the right of an individual."

    "The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions that I wish it to be always kept alive. It will often be exercised when wrong, but better so than not to be exercised at all."

    "The tree of liberty must from time to time be refreshed with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure."

  21. Anonymous Coward

    It's That Time Again

    Guillotine time!

  22. Tom 35 Silver badge

    Do the world a favour and piss off

    "governments are the only legitimate representatives"

    Governments? I only remember voting for one, and even then they seem to be more interested in representing corporations then me. Are we to remove everything someone dose not like?

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