The intention behind #CarolinesLaw is incredible. I fully agree with harder internet laws being in place and stricter regulations online to prevent and hopefully one day eradicate cyberbullying.
Finding a way for trolls to be named, shamed and held accountable for their actions is important, but I am not fully on board with the current proposals, and I hope I’m not alone in these thoughts.
Blanket Ban for IP Addresses
A person can have at least 5 IP Addresses in their possession (or use):
- Mobile Phone
- Tablet Device
- Smart TV
- Additional devices used for work
- Computers in libraries
Not everyone can afford to buy brand-new.
Heck, even my printer has an IP address these days and I can send it emails. The advancement of technology is astounding.
Blocking IP addresses from accessing social media platforms only creates issues down the line. Anyone can access a new IP address, meaning trolls will just set up new accounts elsewhere.
It also means that if an IP address is accessed by multiple people, say computers in libraries, then this can cause additional costs arising for people who aren’t even the perpetrator of abuse.
Similarly, this means that buying second-hand devices come with a risk that innocent people will not be able to log into or use their social media platforms. Not everyone can afford to buy brand-new, and a lot of people are buying second-hand to better use resources for ethical reasons.
Sharing Passport or Identification Information
Something people often forget (or overlook, or simply don’t care because they’re in a position to) is that sharing passport or official ID information is a privilege.
It’s a privilege to afford a document that holds identifiable information about yourself. It’s going to cost me around £70 to renew my passport, and I’m not even buying a new one. Imagine having to fork out upwards of £70 per person in a family so you can all stay online and stay connected when out and about.
Sure, texting is an option but in areas where signal is crap and the only thing you have is to connect to WiFi to message each other on Whatsapp or Facebook, then what are they to do to ensure their family is OK?
Owning a passport, or other means of ID is a privilege which is often forgotten.
Also, does this mean that you think poor people shouldn’t be able to use social media platforms? I would like to hear your ideas for getting people under the poverty line who can barely afford to eat back on social media so they can continue to use Facebook Groups, Twitter and LinkedIn to search for jobs so they can afford to live. Government issued IDs is a good try, but I cannot see our current or any future governments providing their people with free ID.
Critically, what would this mean for people in countries without access to ID?
How far do you want this implementation to go, anyway? Is it just for social media sites, or will job search platforms also have to begin implementing this also?
Throwback to Cambridge Analytica…
People are uncomfortable with the amount of data social media platforms, especially those under the Facebook umbrella (Instagram, Whatsapp, etc.) have about us already.
We shouldn’t expect everyone to feel comfortable sharing even more information which can be used to track us, and target us. That’s not even because we “have a guilty conscience”, like a lot of people assume at this point in the discussion. It’s just because people are already uncomfortable with being retargeted by the cookies they agree to when they access a website.
People will be hard pressed to share even more personal information they can be identified by, followed by, ad-targeted by.
I’m not saying I have all the answers, because I don’t. I will immediately put my hands up and admit that someone smarter than me will be able to figure this out. I simply can’t! But the thoughts and the intent behind #CarolinesLaw is fantastic. I just can’t get on board with these proposals. We really, really, really do need better internet laws in place sooner rather than later, but this isn’t it I’m afraid.