My friends over at the Center for Democracy and Technology have just launched an important new website entitled NetDemocracyGuide.org. The site aims to provide the creators of blogs and other Internet sites and services information about what their rights are in light of stepped-up Federal Election Commission (FEC) regulations in the wake of new campaign finance laws (McCain-Feingold). [See this, this, and this for some background.]
CDT's new site assures us that:
"The new campaign finance rules for the Internet leave the vast majority of uncompensated citizen-initiated election activities on the Internet free from any regulation. With few exceptions, you may develop websites, blog, e-mail campaign material, raise money, and collaborate with your friends on election related activities online without worrying about running afoul of the rules. Campaign finance obligations kick in only in very limited circumstances - primarily where payments are made to place advertisements and other communications on third party blogs and websites."
That's great but I remain concerned and think that the empire still plans to strike back. Moreover, the very fact that a site like this has to exist at all is a little bit scary. The cyber-citizenry should not have to live in fear of over-zealous FEC regulators or members of Congress who will increasingly be scrutinizing online speech for supposedly "illegal" forms of political advocacy. Remain vigilant and monitor the new CDT site for updates regarding your blogging rights!