Is Any Form Of Internet Regulation Really Possible?

1620 words - 7 pages

The Internet has taken the world by storm. Nowadays companies realise that when advertising their products it makes sense to reach the broadest possible spectrum. In today's society the Internet provides the broadest spectrum so it makes sense to have a web site or at least an e mail address. Whilst the Internet is boundless for communication, marketing and research users must also be aware of its downsides such as anonymity of paedophiles, abusers, terrorists and fraudsters.Since the Internet is a relatively new technology, the policing and relevant laws are not yet in force to protect those who need protecting. This piece will attempt to put forward arguments for and against regulation of ...view middle of the document...

Fourthly there's the problem of the Internet heeding no national borders. Ulrich Sieber, a computer-crime expert and law professor at the University of Wyerzburg put forward an interesting comment:"We have a global medium in a world ruled by national laws.With the Internet, state control is no longer possible. So if no nation has the right to regulate the Internet, and there is no global agency to regulate it, then there shall be no regulation."Furthermore the Internet allows the free exchange of information around the globe. This feature keeps the global community abreast of the conditions and happenings around the world, be they good or bad. This proved vital to the Zapatistas, inhabitants of the forests of Southern Mexico, who, unknown to the outside world were being ruthlessly brutalized by paramilitary forces and wealthy ranchers in the dense rain forests. Several documents and numerous articles detailing their plight reached the outside world via newsgroups, mail lists, chat and web sites.This is a clear example of how the freeness of the Internet affected change in the living conditions and civil rights for individuals. Had the Mexican government been able to censor the information flowing through, then perhaps nothing would have changed. (Lull, J. 2000).Whilst these arguments are prime examples of why regulation would defeat the purpose of the Internet, there is no escaping the fact that the Internet can also be a deadly weapon when used by the wrong hands.John Abbot, National Criminal Intelligence Service, put it best when he said:"It brings us all together but it also brings together people who are better kept apart..."This is quite true, just this year saw Armin M, sentenced to eight years for manslaughter after advertising on the Internet for a man to torture, dismember and eventually eat. Over two hundred homosexuals replied.The Internet in itself is a human computer interface where users can communicate with fellow users via e mail and chat rooms anonymously. In recent times chat rooms have caused major problems in society. A chat room is an on-line meeting place. Users sign on using anonymous sign-on names. The upside is that users do not have to reveal their details immediately; however the downside is that anyone can pretend to be anyone - enabling a 65 yr old man to pose as a 14 yr old boy and therefore posing serious consequences. This argument in itself plays a major role in the demand for Internet regulation.The reality is that 1/3 of British households are now online and six million children aged between 7 and 16 yrs old, surf and use chat rooms. Many parents are familiar with chat rooms, yet many more are not. Many parents fear what they see as an unknown danger, and so are unaware of their children's activities. Most children will come to no harm; however the anonymity that chat rooms offer provides a cover for some of the less admirable members of society.A recent study (N.O.P Family Group, 2000) suggested that almost 2/3...

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