Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Distance Trust Geopolitics

Busy day, so I'll leave you with something to chew:

The proposal, the Icelandic Modern Media Initiative, combines in a single piece of legislation provisions from around the world: whistle-blower laws and rules about Internet providers from the United States; source protection laws from Belgium; freedom of information laws from Estonia and Scotland, among others; and New York State’s law to counteract “libel tourism,” the practice of suing in courts, like Britain’s, where journalists have the hardest time prevailing.

“We would become the inverse of a tax haven,” said Birgitta Jonsdottir, a member of Parliament and a sponsor of the initiative. “They are trying to make everything opaque. We are trying to make it transparent.”

For many observers, this legislation represents a direct reversal of recent Icelandic history. Secret dealings by a few banks in Iceland, combined with a lack of regulation and oversight, led to calamitous debts that were nine times the gross domestic product. In response, Iceland would institutionalize the most aggressive sunshine laws possible. ...

... The pitch was, in part, practical: much the way businesses relocate to countries like the Cayman Islands or Switzerland to take advantage of legal protections and shield laws for bank accounts, publications would relocate to Iceland — or at least relocate their computer servers that publish their Web sites — in order to get the benefits, and gain access to Iceland’s plentiful energy resources.

“Iceland could become an ideal environment for Internet-based international media and publishers to register their services, start-ups, data centers and human rights organizations,” reads the Web site, which explains the proposal and answers questions about it. “It could be a lever for the economy and create new work employment opportunities.”

I've had a few days to meditate on the idea, but it still blows my mind.

No comments: