I'm sure there must be a legitimate reason behind the new Federal Trade Commission rules for bloggers, but it looks pretty nonsensical from my perspective, another example of one-size-fits-all rules that inconvenience millions in an attempt to collar a few offenders.  It invites comparisons with the TSA's airport screening, except that I'm a lot more worried about terrorists than about those "I lost 300 pounds on this simple diet" ads.

The Federal Trade Commission on Monday took steps to make product information and online reviews more accurate for consumers, regulating blogging for the first time and mandating that testimonials reflect typical results.  Under the new rules, which take effect Dec. 1, writers on the Web must clearly disclose any freebies or payments they get from companies for reviewing their products.  Testimonials will have to spell out what consumers should expect to experience with their products.  [From the Hartford Courant, October 6, 2009]

So here goes.  I suppose I'll have to put it in my About link, too.

I have no idea what others should expect from anything I review or comment on.  I'm one person, not a research laboratory.  You may love a book I find objectionable; you may dislike the recipe I say is fabulous.  Such is life.  Sometimes I get books for free, from publishers, which I'll acknowledge in the review, but no small tip is going to make me say I liked a book when I didn't.  (So far, I've received all of one book this way, and I haven't read it yet, which is why you haven't seen any such acknowledgement.)  I also get incalculable return from Lime Daley, but I like to think that's because of my familial relationship with the owners, not because of any endorsements I make on this blog.

I don't mean to pick on the FTC; they have a tough job.  But I'm much more interested in disclosures, say, of gifts given by textbook publishers to school boards, or from pharmaceutical companies to doctors.  When Internet bloggers attain the respect, authority, and power of doctors and school boards, when it takes more than common sense to realize their reviews might not have universal applicability, then I may be convinced of the need for regulation.  I won't be in that category anyway.  Smile
Posted by sursumcorda on Tuesday, October 6, 2009 at 8:45 am | Edit
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Hmm - does the ruling apply to bloggers resident in the USA, hosted in the USA, or is this another attempt to rule the world?
Something like this?



Posted by Stephan on Tuesday, October 06, 2009 at 4:37 pm

Scary. My immediate response is to fear that this:

Other sections of the proposal include a federal certification program for "cybersecurity professionals," and a requirement that certain computer systems and networks in the private sector be managed by people who have been awarded that license

and this:

If your company is deemed "critical," a new set of regulations kick in involving who you can hire, what information you must disclose, and when the government would exercise control over your computers or network.

will sneak through while people are concentrating on the more obviously scary sections.

I still haven't recovered from the shock of learning that if I'm accused of a crime I can make bail but my computer might be locked up indefinitely, so this new attack doesn't surprise me.



Posted by SursumCorda on Tuesday, October 06, 2009 at 6:54 pm
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