Feds To Get Power To Target Websites Making “False Claims”
Tue, 23/06/2009 - 03:39 — smashdracs
New FTC guidelines would allow government to scrutinize content of websites, “patrol what bloggers say and do”
The Federal Reserve refuses to disclose where trillions of dollars in bailout money went and yet the FTC is more concerned about snooping into the financial affairs of bloggers who make a few bucks off affiliate relationships, according to new guidelines set to be introduced later this year that would give the government a foot in the door to regulate and shut down blogs for making “false claims”.
“New guidelines, expected to be approved late this summer with possible modifications, would clarify that the agency can go after bloggers — as well as the companies that compensate them — for any false claims or failure to disclose conflicts of interest,” states an Associated Press report.
Furious that struggling families are supplementing their income by having housewives write blogs about cooking, or individuals posting political opinions and funding their operation by carrying affiliate links to Amazon books, the new FTC regulations would ensure that “Any type of blog could be scrutinized, not just ones that specialize in reviews,” according to the report.
The proviso that “any type of blog could be scrutinized” frames this assault on free speech in a wider context that just individuals making claims about products advertised on their websites.
The proposed guidelines (PDF) state that “deceptive speech is not protected by the First Amendment,” and that “The Supreme Court has repeatedly stated that the government can restrict, or even ban, such speech.” Of course, the issue of whether such speech is deceptive will be decided by the government itself.