February 3, 2012

The Strange Case of Richard O'Dwyer

Apparently--I'll tentatively take the report at face value--, he may be extradited from the UK to the US for an online offense which is not illegal in the UK. I guess the extradition treaty governs, but this is bizarre. Maybe this situation was not contemplated when the extradition treaty was negotiated; maybe the UK authorities would like to jail O'Dwyer and are letting him be shipped to a country which will do it.

This strikes me as bad policy by the UK--and it strikes me as overreaching which the US could come to regret. (Not surprisingly, the negative consequences will not fall on those who are benefiting from the overreaching.)

For the time being, various despotic and soft-authoritarian governments may be entirely willing to watch the US putting in place the machinery to control online behavior. However, a case is emerging that America is not behaving as an honest broker on the Internet. When calls come for the US's role to be reduced--and they will--, we will no longer have the moral high ground.

No comments: