Does the Internet Need Rules & Regulations? [We Ask You]

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I previously wrote an article detailing 5 of the commandments that govern the Internet. These are more like adages than laws; more a form of etiquette than hard rules. Still, it set my mind to thinking about the actual rules and regulations which govern what we all do online.

To be honest the Internet is a fairly lawless entity. Mainstream use of this amazing tool sees people still apply a moral and ethical code to the Web; in other words they approach the online world the same way they approach the real world. But there are clearly avenues people explore online they would never dream of doing so offline.

So, do we need to toughen the laws associated with the Internet?

This Week’s Question…

We want to know, Does The Internet Need Rules & Regulations? I guess more accurately the question should be, Does The Internet Need More Rules & Regulations? Because there are obviously already existing laws in place that apply to the online world as well as the real world. Such as those pertaining to certain types of pornography, or copyrighted content, or defamation.

However, the nature of the Internet, the way it sprang into life, and then grew exponentially into the behemoth it now is, means that rules have had to be applied in a random manner. Many don’t work in an online environment, while others cannot possibly be enforced.

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The public reaction to SOPA and PIPA was overwhelmingly negative, but while those laws were clearly wrongheaded, that doesn’t mean the politicians won’t try again. But that is just one avenue that some people feel needs exploring. You may have your own ideas.

We want to hear your views on Internet rules and regulations. Are you happy with how things are right now? If so, how do you counter the thoughts of those who wish laws governing the Internet were tightened? If not, what rules and regulations would you like to see brought in?

Should the availability of pornography be tackled? Should the use of social networks be more stringently policed? Should the right to free speech be curtailed when online in a public forum? These are mere suggestions, but we’re hoping you have others to explore in the comments section below.

Drawing Conclusions

All comments will be digested to form conclusions in a follow-up post next week where we will detail what You Told Us. One reader will be chosen for the coveted Comment Of The Week, getting their name up in lights, and the respect of other readers. What more motivation than that do you need to respond?

We Ask You is a weekly column dedicated to finding out the opinions of MakeUseOf readers. The questions asked are usually open-ended and likely to necessitate a discussion. Some are opinion-based, while others see you sharing tips and advice, or advocating tools and apps to fellow MakeUseOf Readers. This column is nothing without you, as MakeUseOf is nothing without you.

Image Credit: Richard King

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