Don’t Hate EU Internet Regulation – Defy It

The European Union has come in for criticism over its repeated attempts to regulate the web. Critics assert that waves of EU legislation are suppressing free expression, impairing the user experience and, most heinously, “killing memes”. The solution, for those who take this view, would appear to be simple: don’t hate on the EU – defy them.

Rules Were Made to Be Broken

The European Union has the power to make internet laws, and it’s been exercising that right with gusto of late. When it comes to enforcing them, however, its powers all but evaporate. This is an important distinction to note. A lot of the headlines surrounding the passing of copyright laws Article 11 and 13, and the recent GDPR data protection legislation, are hyperbolic. That’s not to say there aren’t valid concerns to be raised over the implications of these laws, but the media, as well as the webmasters obliged to implement the EU’s directives, have missed the point.

When you try to visit a US website, as a European resident, and are barred from doing so by a notice blaming GDPR, that’s not the EU. That’s the fault of the webmaster, who has unilaterally decided out of caution, ignorance, or stupidity, to impose a blockade. The EU is not going to come after US websites that fail to display GDPR notices – it has no authority to do so, and no interest in doing so either. The same applies, believe it or not, for websites hosted within the European Union.

If you live in the EU, you’re sure to have bemoaned the absolute state of the internet lately. Visiting any website for the first time calls for blindly clicking to remove the GDPR-based privacy notice concealing the page before you can proceed. It’s annoying once; having to do so dozens of times a day is infuriating. Americans and Asians, free from the excesses of the EU, have no idea how good they’ve got it. Many European regions benefit from super-fast internet, but what’s the point in getting online faster, only to waste time clicking through a panoply of pop-ups? […]

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