How Do We Regulate?

The internet is still so new that the world isn’t quite completely sure what to do with it. It is like a brand new state where the government is still trying to work things out. Certain demographics fear the internet’s endless possibilities and what people have figured out how to do with it, while other demographics love the internet’s endless possibilities and what people have figured out how to do with it. Myself and almost everyone born into a generation where the internet became a common part of your life growing up seem to rather enjoy the internet how it is and wouldn’t really do much to change it. But there are still many people who want to limit and/or change the internet and its power. So here’s the thing; who is right and who is wrong? Well quite simply it isn’t that simple. There is no black and white the internet is all grey.

The thing about the internet is that since it is endless there is so much variety of what you can find on it. Much of the internet is made up of sites that wouldn’t really need any regulation other than their own.  Sites that represent companies, let’s say bestbuy.com, are not going to put anything that might seem unsuitable for all ages on their website, because they want to seem professional and sell all their products to all age groups, while doing as little to no offending in the process. So all these types of sites are all pretty much self-regulated, but there is still the rest of the internet. I don’t know exact stats but I would assume most of the internet is made up of user generated content. Stuff that anyone could make sitting on their computer at home and then upload it to a website in minutes or even seconds. And it is all of this material that causes almost all the issues and controversy with the internet and regulation.

Now I am in no way experienced enough in this type of field to say how the internet should be run, and what and how should we regulate, but what I do know is that I am pretty happy with the way the internet is in its current state. With that said you can’t have zero regulation on a place where almost anything is possible and sites have to monitor and sometimes regulate what content goes on their pages. In the first article, “The Slippery Slope of Facebook regulation” by David Glance, I liked the explanation of how Facebook regulated its content. It talked about how the users of Facebook would determine if content was obscene or offensive and needed to be taken off the site; much like a democracy does its voting. Now that sounds like a good system for regulation but that could only work on certain sites, and even sites that use that method of regulation still have some other ways they regulate their site as well.

With the internet being so new, massive, and foreign it makes you wonder if we will ever sort out this problem of internet regulation. I am curious and scared about what might happen in the future. But my question to you is, do you think the internet will ever be clearly regulated and what do you think will happen in the future with internet and regulation?

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2 Responses to How Do We Regulate?

  1. andyeudy says:

    I think that the regulation of the internet will continue to be in flux. It seems that with every new form of technology, the government only learns how to effectively regulate it through trial and error. For every problem that arrises, we are forced to look for a solution. These preliminary solutions tend to cary with them large amounts of backlash. So we look elsewhere for a different solution to accommodate more people without alienating them. Take for example Microsoft Office. When the software was restricted to be used by only one computer, multiple computer homes felt cheated out of a service that they had already paid for. This also led to an increase in the amount of pirating the software. Microsoft had to adapt to the consumer to create new rules that would please the community that used the software, but at the same time keep people from easily stealing it. The same applies to the Internet. As users become more active and vocal, speaking out against regulations that they do not agree with, regulators will need to adapt in order to not drive their audience away without losing the integrity of their online entities. Because of this constant push and pull between consumer and producer, we are probably never going to see a static constitution of internet regulation.

  2. I can agree with much of what you said in this post. Depending on when you were born (and what type of socio-economic class you grew up in) had a large determining factor on how literate you are with the computer and internet technologies. This has raised a lot of concerns that you have addressed along the lines of government regulation versus self regulation. To plainly answer your question I think that the obvious answer must be no; the internet not only won’t be clearly regulated but cannot possibly be fully regulated. There are multiple reasons that agree with this heavy statement. First, as a example I would like to present China’s regulation and the presence of hackers and bi-passers. China can “clearly regulate” the internet but what is regulation if people can find loopholes? That’s not regulation. That’s attempted and failed regulation in a state that will always find a way around things. Similar to this is how in middle school and high school my friends and I got around the school blocks by changing what user we were using or back door websites. Whatever way you look at it, a failed regulation is no regulation at all. Secondly, I feel we as a society living in a free nation have become so dependent so quickly on these tools that it would only cause mayhem to take them away. I don’t need to bring up examples around the world where this happened because there are many and none of them ended well. Because of our dependence, we will revolt. If they take away our life necessities (we will combat it with laws and our rights). Prohibition won’t last as it didn’t before. I do believe there should be some types of regulations (protecting children and families) but these regulations will always come too late. America (in order to allow rights and freedoms) always acts one step behind. They wait until something goes wrong until they fix it. And even after it is fixed they change it and tweak it constantly. There should be filters and regulations but I believe ultimately that it will come down to the user to do the filtering and not the government.

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