As if lawsuits weren’t enough, Malaysia is considering setting up some kind of Blogger Registration Act for their local bloggers. The reason? To curb “malicious content which could harm the country’s security”. Playing devil’s advocate here, I see the point to this considering the capabilities of some people in regards to the whole idea of freedom of speech. After all, great ideas are often marred by the infallible onset of stupidity.
Of course, not all Malaysian bloggers are that stupid. Not all Malaysian bloggers are that irresponsible. Some at least have more brains in their finger than some people have on their hind ends and laws like this, if passed, are not only irrelevant, they just ruin the whole experience of blogging for everyone. But as much as many Malaysians are speaking out against the very idea of having to register their blogs, personally I think it’s going to fail from the moment it was conceived and here are some of the reasons why:
- At this point, it says “Bloggers using locally hosted websites may be asked to register with the authorities”. So basically anyone hosted overseas (like myself) or are blogging on commercially hosted blogging applications like Blogger or WordPress.com are free of this law.
- Bloggers will eventually migrate from local to foreign webhosts because they do not want to be under this law. It will hurt local webhosting companies. It will hurt Malaysia’s economic growth in that area.
- The Malaysian Government is still in the dark as to what blogging basically is and how the net really works (evident by relating .my domain names with locally hosted websites). As a result, even if there is a law for it, there would be no actual plan to enforce it. After all, giving away personal information from your IP address is a violation of privacy laws. The police have better things to do, like catching actual criminals.
- Malaysian people in general do not know, let alone stand up to their constitutional rights. This might sound like a bad thing, but if people aren’t aware of laws like this, more so the young teens and youths who make up for the bulk of bloggers everywhere, would it even work in the first place? Again, how would you know how many people in Malaysia are actually bloggers?
So really, there is nothing there that would cause much of a stir simply because it’s doomed from the start. Short of having the technological capacity to back the plan up, they are simply too new at this to handle the situation.
I’m not going to bother talking about how the freedom of speech relates to all of this because it’s been talked about so much, I don’t even know what the words mean anymore. All I can say is that one way or another, the government can either keep running away from the fact that the people are beginning to find a voice through the net or learn to listen to the people that they were supposed to represent.
After all, it could be worse. They could start building a giant firewall around Malaysia. Then you’d know you’re really in trouble.