Secrecy Is Not Good For Democracy

by Christopher Paul on February 25, 2012

From A VC:

Fred Wilson talks about the Reddit community crowd sourcing legislation in response to the secret deals that go on in writing SOPA/PIPA and the upcoming cyber-security bill. He doesn’t comment on The Free Internet Act because he hasn’t had a chance to read through it all but others have weighed in already. Nevertheless, he likes the involvement and supports what the people are attempting.

But something he said is really important and it’s what I took away from the post (emphasis added):

“When an important piece of legislation is drafted in secrecy, such that Senators and their staff members don’t even know what is going to be in it, and then is put out for voting on a very fast track, people are going to be suspicious. And suspicious citizens don’t make for a healthy democracy.

It’s not just laws that affect the internet that are being written in secret. I sometimes wonder that, by attempting to ram SOPA/PIPA down the Internet’s throat, other covert laws will be exposed and result in similar protests. It could mark a pivotal moment in our history where the people don’t just vote for people in government… they become a part of and responsible for it.

That has to be scary for those in power thanks to the current system. It’s uncharted territory and I’m a little scared myself… but I like it.

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