Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Innovation, Personal Responsibility, and House Bill 139

Last week, Pete Ashdown announced an unfortunate but understandably necessary new direction for Xmission, and free wireless access for Utahns.

This week, Representative Brad Daw wrote House Bill 139 which will effectively put an end to public XMission Free Wireless. Sourcing from a legislator who describes himself as being in favor of “limited government”, this bill introduces civil penalties if a minor is able to access pornography over public wireless Internet. With XMission wireless never earning one red cent in profit, the potential of a civil suit hanging over its operation immediately makes it not viable. The moment this bill is signed into law, I will shut down all XMission free wireless and cease expansion of this service.

Some may accuse me of packing up my “toys” and refusing to cooperate. When this plan surfaced last year, I had a long conversation with Representative Daw expressing my concerns of such legislation. In reading the text of this bill, I see those concerns were flatly ignored. XMission has provided free Internet filters longer than any other provider in the state, but I can never guarantee that a minor can not access pornography over an Internet connection. Nor do I believe government or business is the best parent of my children or anyone else’s.

(Emphasis mine)

For those interested in lending their voice in opposition to what amounts to a very short-sighted and reactionary bill from Representative Daw, get involved (h/t Saintless):
I have received the following reply from Representative Daw:
I will be hosting a meeting here in the Capitol on Thursday, January 31st at 3:00 P.M. We will be discussing House Bill 139 about public wireless access. I will be in attendance along with some members of the Attorney General’s staff and members of the Xmission ISP staff. Anyone is invited to attend, and please let us know if you will be able to.

The meeting will be held in the East (Senate) Building, in the Beehive room which is just south of the cafeteria on the first floor. I hope to see you there.
Considering our legislature's attitude toward UTOPIA, and now this stifling and poorly crafted legislation, it's time we started asking our representatives who it is they are really looking out for. While this bill may be well intentioned, it creates a liability for independent providers willing to challenge the corporate stranglehold on broadband access in our state, without addressing the real issues that pose risk to Utah children who can access the internet; parental involvement and education.

Let Representative Daw and/or your own representative know what you think of stifling innovation with poorly planned legislation.

1 comment:

  1. This is another example of legislation that solves nothing, causes multiple problems, and sets Utah backward a few years in developing technology; all because our legislators have no common sense, and hypocritically pad their campaign coffers by creating a babysitting government while shouting about limited government at the same time. Brad Daw has missed the mark by a mile with this piece of legislative drivel. I hope he loses his seat for be so, to put it plainly, simple minded.