Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Unenforceable Regulations

You've probably heard about Canada's Air Transport Security Authority's new regulations banning transgender people from flying. Leftygirl responds with an interesting take (emphasis in original),
The thing is, we don’t know much about how this law is being enforced at present. Maybe it’s not being enforced at all, I have no idea. And before we respond to it, maybe we should figure out what it actually is first and who it actually impacts.
Just a thought.
You have probably also heard of SOPA and PIPA in the US and Canada's bill C-11. If not, here's Michael Geist on the Hour to fill you in:

The thing that strikes me about these is not the direct oppressiveness of the regulations but rather of the unenforceability of them.  In the case of the CATSA regulation about people needing to appear the same gender as indicated on their passport, the wording is so vague as to be completely subjective. In the case of the C-11/SOPA-type laws, the problem is as complicated as shutting down every internet connection in the world, one-by-one.

Let me give you another example of an unenforceable law: public drunkeneness. If the police were to arrest or fine every person who was ever drunk in public, they'd never stop arresting or ticketing drunks, at least at some times of day. Instead, the law is used to stop people who are causing trouble but not breaking any other laws, per se. It's a stick given to the police to be used at their discretion.

So it goes with the CATSA rule and bill-C11, except the stick has been given to the same kind of people who confiscated a cupcake in the name of safety and Hollywood, respectively.

So the question is: do you want some WB executive deciding what you can and can't see on the internet, or even whether you're allowed to connect to the internet? No. Do you want some airport security guard to stop you from flying because she's having a bad day and your passport says 'W' but you haven't waxed your upper lip in a while? No. It's time to stop the Conservative government from giving out these kinds of discretionary sticks. Write your MP.

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