Should the Net be regulated?

Should the Net be regulated?

Summary: weekly roundup In the last couple of years, there's been much debate and controversy swirling around Internet regulation. Some focused on the perennial argument over freedom of speech, while others focused on the concept of Net neutrality.

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TOPICS: Browser
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weekly roundup In the last couple of years, there's been much debate and controversy swirling around Internet regulation. Some focused on the perennial argument over freedom of speech, while others focused on the concept of Net neutrality.

At the Oxford Media Convention last week in London, the debate took another direction when delegates discussed whether the Internet should be policed under the same rules that currently apply to the broadcast media. With the convergence between traditional broadcasting and new media, one content provider argued that regulatory polices should be kept consistent across the various platforms--new and old.

The problem, though, is that the Internet is not like the TV. A large part of the Net's phenomenal growth lies in its inherent 'free' nature, spawned out of a desire to create an entity that would be open, democratic and transparent.

And unlike TV or even print media, it is next to impossible to police the Internet effectively 24x7.

Instead, Tom Loosemore from the BBC noted that the Internet should be allowed to self-regulate. He said: "The Internet is a remarkable and very fragile thing."

Do you agree? Or, do you think the Internet should be regulated?

This week, Microsoft isn't getting the results it wants and Hewlett-Packard is under some unwanted limelight, again. Also, your company should no longer take too much heat for not being environment-friendly and find out why the open source community is upset with U.K. telco BT.

Topic: Browser

About

Eileen Yu began covering the IT industry when Asynchronous Transfer Mode was still hip and e-commerce was the new buzzword. Currently a freelance blogger and content specialist based in Singapore, she has over 16 years of industry experience with various publications including ZDNet, IDG, and Singapore Press Holdings.

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  • Nope, no way, the internet should be as is.... no interference. Thank
    you.
    anonymous
  • Many technologies (such as print, radio, aviation, etc.) have started as open use activities. Then society intervened and they became more or less regulated in order to control risk. It happens, and sometimes for the best.

    However, there are several keys to manage the risk of technology. One is to carefully identify what purposes will regulation serve? As a corollary, would some kind of standardization meet those same purposes? (Use the minimum level of control necessary to meet the purposes.) In addition, the purposes for regulation and the approaches must be the result of consensus decision-making.

    The unique aspect of the Internet is described in the title "World-Wide Web". The WWW was intended from it's inception to cut across nations and their various social norms. Some countries would like to censor Internet use in their country. In which case, their intentions for regulation are widely different than the intentions of Internet use and access in other counties. What is the purpose of regulation in such cases? And how could consensus be reached? Or should each country define their own purposes?

    And don't forget, for good or ill, information is considered a weapon in some circles. And for these environments, regulation becomes weapons control. And look at the difficulties that the world has encountered in controlling something that is generally accepted as being so detrimental. And also in history, regulation has also been used to establish and maintain monopolies, either governmental or commercial. How has the purposes for this regulation been justified? (Books have been written about such topics.)

    Regulation is a tool for managing risk, however that risk is defined. If the risks do not outweigh the benefits, then regulation should not be necessary. So, what is the purpose for regulation again?
    anonymous