Big Brother (aka FDA) to Regulate Internet

According to the AP and ABC News, President Clinton today (Dec 28, 1999) announced the first steps toward Government regulation of the Internet. Clinton is proposing new laws that would require Web sites to get federal approval and that would stiffen fines for violators The move would mark a significant shift in the regulation of both the Internet and pharmaceuticals.

Under Clinton's proposal:

  1. Online pharmacies would be required to get FDA certification that they are legally operating or face sanctions.
  2. Violators would face a $500,000 fine for each time they sold a prescription drug to someone without a valid prescription.
  3. The FDA would get new power to subpoena the records of online sites while investigating these operators.
  4. The FDA would get $10 million in the 2001 budget to hire investigators and upgrade computer equipment.

It is unclear how these rules, even if approved, would affect Web sites operating out of other countries. With the exception of child pornography, the Internet has been largely unregulated by government.

But other regulations will probably come as government tries to apply long-standing laws to cyberspace, said Tara Lemmey, president of the San Francisco-based Electronic Frontier Foundation, which tracks Internet public policy. "This may be the first of a series of these that we see," she said. Full Story from ABC News

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