Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Could I go back to work in a "leadership role"? Maybe CDA230 could set up a scenario

A good question these days, given that I have passed my 70th birthday (July 10), is, could I go back to work in a “conventional workplace”?

I’m so engrossed in my media work right now that I seem to have left the old world of mainframe and contractor gigs (like those for Obamacare) for good.  I haven’t worked in that kind of environment since the end of 2001.

One motivator, though, can be the debates on Internet freedom and particularly the recent “states-based” threat to Section 230 (of the 1996 Telecommunications Act) that I’ve discussed on my main (“BillBoushka”) and COPA blogs.  It is significant because immunity from downstream liability for service providers is essential for continuing to sponsor unser-generated content on the Web.

A factor in the discussions about this matter is the lack of an effective national system to verify ages of Internet users.  We saw this in the COPA litigation a few years ago.   Conceptually, such a system could be like a national system to verify identities based on the USPS National Change-of-Address databases, which I worked on when I was at ING-ReliaStar (mainly in 1998).   The resistance to such a system would come from recent concerns about privacy and surveillance.  But if it existed and was secure and separate from the public Internet in a normal sense, it could help make life more secure for many more vulnerable people (children) and could help us resolve these existential debates about how to balance freedom, sustainability, fairness, and security.  In that sense, the existence of such a system could help buttress free speech from challenges like ending part of Section 230.

Were there to be a serious appropriation for such a system from Congress, for a large contractor (EDS, IBM, Perot, Computer Sciences, Booz-Allen, etc) to develop, I certainly would be well qualified to participate in developing such a system in a leadership role.  Maybe it could turn out to be the best thing I can do for the ideas I believe in.

I am interested in working with some parts of legacy media.  I worked for NBC as a financial programmer analyst (on the general ledger system, in its Univac 1110 days) in NYC back in the 1970’s.  History sometimes repeats itself.   

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