New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer is at it again — this time, forcing Yahoo Chat to close their chat rooms (used by millions of people) to anyone under 18, and give a few hundred thousand in extort.. err, “donations” to placate a few interest groups.
Time for an economics quiz. The likely outcome of closing the chat rooms will be (a) : millions of teens will immediately abandon Internet chat (b): millions of teens will start lying about their age, and give child molesters an “I didn’t know” excuse, (c) millions of teens will switch to seedier and unmonitored chat room sites, where the identity or age of the participants cannot be tracked, or (d): (b) and (c )will make the internet a more dangerous place, creating new opportunities for Eliot Spitzer & Co to get in on the action.
I doubt any drastic consequences will come of this. The real story here is how politicians use regulations and wealth transfers to gain favor with interest groups and voters without any concern for the actual effect on the public they are supposed to be “protecting.”
More on New York state’s resident fascist.