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

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We Ask You   Does The Internet Need Rules & Regulations? [We Ask You]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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internet rules   Does The Internet Need Rules & Regulations? [We Ask You]

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, the respect of other readers, and 150 MakeUseOf points to use for MakeUseOf Rewards. 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

106 Comments - Write a Comment

Reply

Imesh Chandrasiri

Internet should be a free place to express anything! no rules or regulations! since internet is not owned by any one, why let some one put rules & regulations on it! Internet has become the most popular place to share ideas by any one! some may like those ideas, and some may not! Most probably the people who don’t like those ideas are the politicians.

Austin H

The internet may not be owned by anyone, but that doesn’t mean that their should not be rules or regulations to guide it. A person isn’t “owned” by anyone accept by that person, but still there are rules, laws, regulation, etc. set in in place to govern a person.

I’m not saying that the internet shouldn’t be a free place, most definitely in terms of expression and freedom of speech, but I do believe that it’s important to remember that rules and regulations are inherently negative or bad.

Kirby

“rules and regulations are inherently negative or bad.”

Why do you say such? Rules can be good if for the protection of our rights, right?

Austin H

In short, no I don’t think that the internet needs rules and regulations. However, I am a bit particular in what I mean by that.

For one, I don’t think that outside/governmental laws can practically and fairly enforce many of the laws that people would deem necessary. In that same vein, I think most federal governments have interest in only protecting law (themselves) and money (corporations), and most laws passed would be in the interest of these entities and not the people. It is for these reasons, and others, that I also think that governments should not attempt to govern the internet in their countries beyond a few basic things like protecting children from pornography, guarding against identity thieves, and things like that.

I do think that people using the internet need to be guided by tenants, not necessarily “laws”. But this sort of thing is already in place, in that people should theoretically be acting on the internet as they would in person. Of course this gets largely ignored, especially in places or forums where one can hide behind anonymity or there is not a large, positive community with moderators who ‘crack’ down on misbehaved users. Many people forget that even though it is digital, the internet is very much a real thing in which we as human beings need to behave in a manner in which is considerate to others just like in “real life”.

Like in life, where morals –good or bad– guide an individuals actions, ‘rules’ and guides for appropriate online behavior. These should be few and largely agreed on.

Jaxx D

” In that same vein, I think most federal governments have interest in only protecting law (themselves) and money (corporations), and most laws passed would be in the interest of these entities and not the people.”

Completely agree to you on this point.

Dave Parrack

A moral code is different than rules though, which tend to be written down and enforced. For example, you don’t need to be religious to follow the 10 commandments. It’s just that you follow them because you’re a good person and not because they’re written in an ancient book.

Dave Parrack

That’s part of the problem with governing the Internet. Unless some sort of consensus between countries is found there will always be different laws and different interpretations of laws around the world.

You would keep the Internet completely free from rules and regulations?

Reply

Jeremy Garnett

The internet as collaborative communication tool should not have rules or regulations put forward by a governing body representative of a single state or culture. Should we get to the point where the planet comes under the control of a single entity, then as long as their are a variation of viewpoints, rules and regulations need not apply. I do, understand and support the need to enforce local laws (national or state) in regards to the interactions the use of the internet may have with the physical world. However, a planet-wide (I hesitate to say universal) collaborative resource, the rules and regulations of the internet should be – and are to some extent – defined by the community as a whole, not through the bias of individuals.

Dave Parrack

That’s an interesting point. Perhaps rules related to the Internet should be decided by those who use it rather than those who think they know better.

A universal vote on Internet laws would be an interesting experiment.

Jeremy Garnett

I am imagining a highly encrypted site – to which every single person has an unique login – containing a set of criteria or questions relating to the governing of the internet. Depending on the responses, a range of rules would be put into operation, at any given moment and adjusted according to popular opinion. A user would gain access at a set point in their life, ie. when born / going to school/ gaining independence of their caregiver / or when first accessing the internet. The user could from then, access and change their responses at any time, should their perception or opinion change. This would allow for the automatic adjustment of the governing of the internet as per world opinion.

Reply

Anukul Sangwan

The internet as collaborative communication tool should not have rules or regulations put forward by a governing body representative of a single state or culture. Should we get to the point where the planet comes under the control of a single entity, then as long as their are a variation of viewpoints, rules and regulations need not apply. I do, understand and support the need to enforce local laws (national or state) in regards to the interactions the use of the internet may have with the physical world. However, a planet-wide (I hesitate to say universal) collaborative resource, the rules and regulations of the internet should be – and are to some extent – defined by the community as a whole, not through the bias of individuals.

Jeremy Garnett

Mate, if you like my comment, just agree. Add something, don’t copy everything.

Kirby

So does this break the rule on plagiarism? hehe

Jeremy Garnett

If it were on another site, maybe. But directly after my post, I don’t reckon. It just looks odd.

Dave Parrack

If I had the power to delete the comment I would!

Jeremy Garnett

Good to know. Thanks, mate

Reply

Steve Wisser

The only thing needing regulation is the US Government, especially Obama.

Jeremy Garnett

It has regulations, but many of them haven’t been reviewed in the past century

Kirby

I think for regulations to be effective, they should evolve in sync just as the internet evolves.

dragonmouth

“I think for regulations to be effective, they should evolve in sync just as the internet evolves.”

While that would be the ideal, in practice, laws, rules, regulations are always playing catch-up. By the time rules covering the present situation are created, the situation has changed and new rules are necessary.

Kirby

True true… That was the idealist in me speaking.

Dave Parrack

This is a debate about rules governing the Internet, not an excuse to score cheap political points.

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Bal Mukund Agrawal

In open culture society we don’t need such kind of rules and regulations for internet. Our country laws are sufficient to torture us.

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Angi Grayham

It should stay open and free for everyone to use. Rules will mean more impositions on people’s privacy by government. We have enough of that!

Dave Parrack

Do you think normal rules that apply offline should also apply online?

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G Zapiec

Being an international entity, the Internet shouldn’t be limited by the rules of one of its members. Those members already have rules which are enforceable at their borders. Should their enforcement exceed those borders? Absolutely not.

Dave Parrack

So, each country’s laws should apply only within their borders? The problem is when something produced in the U.S. (for example) is consumed in another country. Whose laws apply?

Kirby

I think the country of the consumers should apply, since they would be the client, and if an uneventful situation arises, the victims. At least the government or the law in that area could give protection / compensation to them.
However, with this being said, the producer /. host could easily escape with their criminal acts if the laws in their area would allow them to do such things.

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Pijush Gupta

Internet should be free for all and for everything! Recently, google.com omitting some result from their search page, may be for sopa.

Internet was fun but its nomore. So i turned my head from google.com towards duckduckgo.com.

I felt that google.com was my girlfriend, i was loyal to her , but she wasn’t!

Kirby

Ouch. It is hard being i arelationship where your partner doesn’t reveal his / her true colors.

Dave Parrack

Unfortunately Google is, and always will be, the first target when it comes to legal requirements. Duckduckgo will get away with things purely because of its small stature.

Reply

Márcio Guerra

I’m not fully into the regulations USA tries to implant, but I must say this:
a) culture should be free for all (at least like the access to a book in a library), so movies, series, books, whatever, should be «access free» to all in the internet or other yet-to-be-invented network
b) the regulations only serve capitalism, not people, and because I’m «a people guy» I address the question to my first point.

Cheers!

Márcio Guerra

Dave Parrack

Do you consider everything to be culture though? Even Hollywood films, some of which are dross? The problem with making it free for everyone is there will be less people willing to produce it if they’re not going to make money from it.

Márcio Guerra

Hi! I don’t have a problem regarding what people thinks in matters of money. Despite not the place to speak about this, but I’m communist and I feel that culture, well, everything, must be set into a society in other terms. This would be a nice, and long, discussion (which I’m happy to have if you feel ok with that), but I have a major consideration of what a community, a country, a city, a town, whatever, our world, should be like! And money, well, not saying that it shouldn’t exist, but it should exist just to makes have a «leverage» regarding an exchange process, not in order for some to over-accumulate at others’expenses…

Cheers!

Márcio Guerra

P.s.- Despite «cheesy», for me, all of them are culture, yes, some Hollywood movies!

Reply

Pijush Gupta

If you think, i’m ugly, just don’t see me! don’t try to kill me!

Reply

Chinmay Sarupria

I don’t think Internet should be free. Internet must be guided by rules & regulations.
Copyright violations are the main problems on Internet. There is no value of hard work done by different Companies & individuals.
Every now and then pirated softwares float around on the Internet. Today there is 1 pirated software, tomorrow another would be up.
And this doesn’t means that Internet is all about negative things. Internet can be treated as a sea where all useful information sinks and anyone who wants has to dive. So hard work cannot be omitted. For success, hard work is required.
Internet can be used for noble causes also. Every noble cause creates global applause.

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susendeep dutta

Each and every country wants to rule and control the internet.We cant do anything for it.The governments always wants to snoop our lives and it gets to do this.So,any sort of regulation won’t prevent them from doing such things.

So,any regulation won’t be helpful for anybody.

Reply

Maxi3w

My immediate feeling regarding the implementation of Laws for the Internet was ‘No’.

The Internet is ‘Freedom’. In this world there is so much censorship, oppression, out-casting, being ignored, not listened to which is global. And finally a platform comes along where we can pretty much say what we want, say what we feel, join with other like-minded groups and individuals and we are free to express ourselves whether it’s verbally on an issue or creatively like showcasing our artistic work.

If this is ‘another’ thing that is taken away from us, restricting us, all it will end up as is more of the same that is already going on in the world.

Pornography exists and is not going away, it’s been around for years in one form or another. So what? What is so wrong with pornography? We all know that children shouldn’t be able to see it – that’s what parental controls are for. But for adults, it is their choice and it is most certainly their right.

Piracy – not condoning it, but again, it’s always been there – a seller of fake DVD’s offering you films while your in the pub; just now it is accessible in another form.

Comments: Obscene ones can be moderated by the websites owner. Offensive comments on social networking sites can be deleted and blocks implemented. If more of this was done by the sites’ owners then that would be a better way than to get authorities involved and creating a Law.

There is no way I will agree with any official Laws being put in place on what we can say or do. The only one I will agree with and welcome would be those out there that are being ‘cyber-stalked’, bullied, harassed and abused and pushing for sites’ owners to allow information on the perpetrators to be made available to the right Authorities.

I am very passionate about the freedom the Internet allows us to have and to have Laws put in place to block our freedom to explore, interact, express will definitely be just ‘another’ way to take away from us what governments, agencies, groups and more already have.

The last thing I want to say is to add the word ‘Responsibility’ into this discussion. All of us have the power to take responsibility for what we watch, read and do. Kids, again, it’s down to the parents to protect their children. Creative work, it is down to the owner to put every measure in place to protect his/her work. Again, plagiarism existed before the Internet came into being. Kids could get hold of things meant for an adult as well way before the Internet came along.

Rather than Laws and Policing put in place – Get people to understand, use and put in place the noun ‘Responsibility’ and then we can protect one another plus keep our Freedom.

dragonmouth

While I agree with you in principle, I must question some of your statements.

Of course you realize that those in power do not want us to “pretty much say what we want, say what we feel, join with other like-minded groups and individuals and we are free to express ourselves” /grin/

Maxi3w

Yeah definitely. Those in power I think cannot stand that the internet has become somewhere we the people – who they wish to perpetually control all the time- are having freedom for once. It just makes me so, so mad that they want to control everything.

I believe it’s a fear on their part. God forbid should us ordinary folk have a voice and the internet allows us to use it.

I feel sorry for those that are in countries where content is already restricted. I just hope we don’t end up in that situation. Even better the ban by those governments can be overridden.

Who knows how this is going to end up.

slywlf

Will said, and I agree. The biggest stumbling block to this ideal version of the web, however, is the last paragraph. If the anonymity the web provides was properly paired with a sense of responsibility it would be great – no trolls. no pervs stalking unsuspecting kids etc. Sadly it is the same anonymity that seems to make people feel it is OK to flip each other off on the road. Can you imagine how the incidences of road rage would diminish if the license plate was replaced by a picture and real name of the current driver?

Another issue entirely is who sets the ‘rules’ and how are they to be enforced. Without enforcement rules are merely guidelines – and in a space as international as the web, consensus should be the only rule, IMO. I am firmly against any government having the right to set and enforce rules, control access and/or censor content. The current CISPA plan looks way too much like Big Brother – and would effectively eradicate online freedom of speech. Sure, I hate trolls, but I’d rather take the time to block them than have some monolithic governmental body deciding who can say what. The whole incident in Egypt shows how governments feel about the freedom we share online, and it will take serious resistance on all of our parts to keep it from happening again, there, here in the US and elsewhere. Governments like it when we agree with everything they say and do, but not so much when we voice grievances, point out gaping flaws and demand answers.

As for porn – as a woman approaching 60 I have seen my fair share, generally not been impressed, but it is as much a part of human nature as breathing and eating, and has been around since ancient history. I don’t see it disappearing, and I’d rather have online porn readily available to those who enjoy it than allow the Right extremists of any flavor telling folks they can’t. As long as the viewers are of whatever the legal age is where they live – have a good time.

Maxi3w

RE:Internet Porn – exactly. It’s not hurting anybody (the regular run of the mill stuff), it’s peoples decision – and sometimes a necessity for some – if they wish to watch it. I believe with many who say it reduces sexual crime.

Yeah, my idealistic dream for the web is a little wishful thinking but like what you thought too that site owners can moderate and block trolls and pervs. And I too don’t like the idea of the whole ‘Big Brother is watching you’ enforcement the gov’s ideally want to use.

Part of me though can see it eventually happening. I’ve heard so much talk about Google’s prying eyes that it is disconcerting. But…I like the fact that there is always someone in the tech industry counteracting things like this with software that can wipe your data.

I think there are too many of us that are fighting to protect the web that maybe the authorities won’t be able to fully get their hands on what we have. they have a fight on their hands that’s for sure!

Dave Parrack

The good thing about the Internet is there will always be an alternative. So if Google ever became the eyes and ears of government those who weren’t comfortable with it could switch to something else.

slywlf

and of course that first word was supposed to be Well – danged typos :-(

Maxi3w

I didn’t even notice!! :)

Dave Parrack

I tend to agree with you that the Internet is nothing more than another platform for things that already existed: porn, piracy, etc. But then all of those things have had rules assigned to them offline, so shouldn’t the same rules apply online?

Maxi3w

In a sense they already do to a degree. Like in a country with a certain torrent site, they have cracked down on that like the story of the school girl who had her laptop confiscated by authorities. Ok, it’s more of a ‘moral’ regulation than a Law elsewhere but this would end up into a completely different discussion.

Porn just stated that you had to be over a certain age to view it, but it wasn’t illegal – the top shelf in Newsagents for example. I just don’t know why they are making such a big deal about it. It wouldn’t personally affect me whether it was on the internet or not, but I do think it keeps sexual crimes down, but again that’s another discussion.

This discussion of your article is a pure example of what I was originally saying – we have the freedom to voice our opinions in a way we were limited without the wonderful net!! Where else could we do this? – unless one is at University and in a debating class – but not everyone can afford to even go to Uni. The Internet is cheaper!!

Reply

Pooky Joralyn

IMO, the Internet should have some level of rules (but no too much). Anyone should be allowed to use it, but not in harm’s way.

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Alan Wade

A person could write a book of their views and ideals for the internet. The internet is accessed by all countries yet some Americans cannot think outside of America and Canada. Many times, I get adverts or junk mail stating if I buy this then you can have that or buy today for only so and so then the offer goes on to say “Only valid in America and Canada”. I mean come on, you want me to buy your products but you dont want to give me the same discounts or bonuses that an american would get, why?
There should be a rule that if its available on the net then they should standardize the prices and offers.
I know when I beta tested Windows 7, all the american beta testers got a free Windows 7 key, yet when I asked I was told sorry, this offer is not available in Europe, why? Its a licence key for gods sake. So there’s a rule or regulation for you – Standardise the internet for everybody not just for one nation!
And please dont say that companies can and should be allowed to restrict offers to one country, if thats the case then resist the junk mail they send out advertising their products to that country.

Dave Parrack

U.S.-centrism is a sad fact of the InterWebs. It’s easy to see why it’s the case though; every site I write for get more traffic from the U.S. than anywhere else.

Alan Wade

Very true Dave, but I still dont get why the rest of the world has to be inundated with offers that are only valid in the US or Canada.

Dave Parrack

Oh, I agree. Making companies honor offers in all territories if it appears online is a great idea. It’ll never happen but we can keep on dreaming :)

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Adrian Skelsey

The internet is far from being perfect but for any body to place rules and regulations on it would firstly be unworkable and secondly would ruin a tool that has brought the world together. I have mad many friends from all cultures throughout the world and I believe that the sharing of knowledge from the great collective of the internet is helping people understand others. Yes there are those who will travel outside societies moral boundaries but that happens anyway. Common sense and caveat emptor should apply simply check the voracity of the people with whom you are dealing, just the same as off line. Leave the web alone!!!!!!

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Arron Walker

I think very few of us really know what we’re on about. I hate the feeling of being oppressed and censored, but the freedom to so and say anything, is the freedom to be a criminal. And I don’t just mean pirates, pedophiles and terrorists can all use the internet to share information and anything else they desire.

If on an easily publicly accessible server… shouldn’t we have the right to censor such content? But then, don’t other countries have lower ages of consent? What if that video has no one underage in the country it was filmed in, and uploaded? What if the server it’s on is in a different country, or if someone is accessing it from another country? What if a file is copyrighted in nation B, and passes through it from nation A on it’s travels to nation C, where it’s legal in both countries in all capacities?

The fact of the matter is I really have no clue. I want the freedom to be able to express myself as I wish, and I don’t want to be held down by laws I find idiotic. But then, I also recognise that other people could abuse the same freedoms I want for myself. And if the internet has traditionally been a free place, who has the right to take those peoples freedoms away? And do those people have the right to hold onto those freedoms, when others can use them to massively ill affect? I don’t know. All I know is the current way this is trying to be handled is just as ill intentioned as the people it’s trying to stop, if not more so. At the very least, we needs laws regarding the internet, one way or another.

Maxi3w

Hi. We all have our views and strong opinions that matter to us each regarding the net which really is Ok. But you’ve raised a very valid point about the balance between freedom of expression and union amongst us honest and decent folk against those that use the net for criminal activities. But how can this be policed? I don’t think any of us can answer that. One of the points I was trying to make was that all that is illegal/wrong on the net has been around long before its existence anyway. And criminals will always find a way to conduct their affairs net or no net. Many just want it to be a place for freedom in a world where there is little of that.

Dave Parrack

You’ve asked some of the important questions, many of which I have myself. It’s fair to say this is a complex issue, so none of us should feel bad about not having the answers :)

Reply

Vincenzo Castrogiovanni

Free speech and less monitoring by authorities as long as you keep an ethical behaviour on the net!

dragonmouth

“as long as you keep an ethical behaviour on the net!”
Please define “ethical”.

Your “ethics” and morals may be different than mine. Which one of us is right?

Kirby

Ethical behaviour is a vague term specially considering all the people using the internet with different upbringings, cultures and perspectives.

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Gourav Kumar

Things like restricting pornography or simply controlled use of social networks would not put rules & regulations on the internet if you really put rules & regulation it should be on thing like privacy on social network and things like age verification and restriction of access to internet to children below the age of 13 . But these restrictions are not at all good neither they are appropriate .As earlier told by Imesh Chandrasiri I too agree to his point that internet should be a free place to express anything !! And our new generation is using it like this only they express anything and everything which they want to in the in the internet and mostly in social networking websites and if there are some rules & regulation put to internet it would like stealing our birth right !!!!

Dave Parrack

“a free place to express anything” means we’ll have to put up with extreme views and even more extreme pornography then. Which is a tough ask.

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Scott M

I hope that it has a few rules as possible.If there are any needed they should be just basic enough to ensure smooth running of the net.

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Pratish Rao

after the invention the interner, it is best thing 1 cud ever have with do with……
its like everything you need to know is in your hands…
Rules are jus as important, this days copyrighted things should be protected …
social networks also, should be governed properly,n maintened regularly… so as to avoid dangers of hacking.

Dave Parrack

Do you believe these should be a set of rules as applied by one government , several governments, a universal agreement, or what? With no one owning the Internet it’s as much about where these rules should come from as about what they should be.

Pratish Rao

yes of course there should b a group of nations …. and they shud make international laws.. for internet … in case it goes out of control who vil b there to govern it???

i m on the positive side to form a group of nations for internet rules and regulations

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Howard

The real question is whether those rules and regulations come from state mandates on voluntary association or whether the rules and regulations come from a spontaneous order based upon voluntary interactions on the internet.

I oppose state mandated/coerced rules of “manners” other than those we probably already have regarding all human interactions (i.e. theft, fraud, etc)

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dragonmouth

Yes, the Internet should be free of any encumbrances and in a perfect world, it would be. However, we are not perfect and we do not live in a perfect world. So right up front let’s realize one thing – Free, unfettered Internet is not in the interest of politicians, governments and religious groups. Therefore, no matter how much we object, those entities WILL establish rules, regulations and laws to govern the Internet according to their vision of what is “right”.

Let us also not forget that humanity is made up of many different societies/cultures, each with its own customs, rules and regulations. In many cases what is acceptable in one culture is against the law or completely abhorrent in another one. Our “leaders” will insist on protecting our provincial customs “for the common good.” Until we reconcile those different customs, the Internet will be straight jacketed by rules and regulations.

On a daily basis we are told by politicians, religious groups and pressure groups what we must and must not do. Why should the Internet be different? Being the enlightened individuals we are, we must give up our parochialism and reconcile our provincial differences, and start thinking and acting as citizens of the world instead of just the inhabitants of a little corner of it. Only the will we achieve an Internet with minimum of constraints.

Maxi3w

Can’t add much more to that. You’re right. There will always be some group or culture that thinks they know whats best and right. And the Internet is just a new aspect for those disagreements.

Dave Parrack

I can’t see a time when the world will reconcile its different customs and beliefs. Which I guess means the Internet will always be fragmented and ruled by someone on high.

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Harshit Jain

Yes, there must be some more rules governing internet as criminals and other bad people are using internet as their weapon to harass millions of people.Only things that must be blocked are pornography and piracy websites, particularly torrents. And names of those people should be made public who engage in these bad things. Internet is not for wasting your life and becoming shameless without any accountability. Pornography is a curse for humanity and must be stopped as it is eroding moral values of people who are addicted to it.

Dave Parrack

That’s a very particular point of view, one which others are sure to disagree with. It’s your opinion that pornography and piracy is bad, but it’s not necessarily fact. This means that introducing rules outlawing those two things wouldn’t be the will of all.

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Ms Hanson

As made popular by the NRA, “when guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns” seems applicable here…

Dave Parrack

You don’t think rules would make any difference then?

Ms Hanson

Only to those who abide. And to the litigators. Schemers and scammers will always abound.

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Nermal

The ‘net needs to be as free as possible – but existing laws also need to apply.

E.g. Paedophilia is wrong in real life, it should be wrong online, and so on.

?

What I have come to despise is this trend of trying to force everything online to be ONLY what’s suitable for a 13 year old to see or hear.

Also, I see the yanks trying to apply their laws to the whole world – e.g. SIXTEEN is the legal age here, the yanks have 18.. they have no right to impose their 18 limit on me!

?

At any rate, this is all a waste of time – the politicians will do whatever they want to regardless of what the people think or want..

Dave Parrack

That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have the debate though. I find it interesting to hear other people’s opinions on these things.

In other words you think the same rules should apply online as they do offline… nothing more, nothing less?

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Chris Marcoe

Personal opinion is there should be some oversight. Its not like we should let the surface net degrade into the Deep Web. Not that it would, but…

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dc0de

As one who started on computers and BBS’s back in the late 1970’s, I have always enjoyed the freedom of expression that exists in the ‘online’ forum.

I would be sad to learn that those freedoms could be limited. The internet has grown into a place where freedom, anonymity, and expression are not only encouraged, but openly welcomed. While there are some websites, services, and limits, removing those places where that freedom can still be expressed, would be a significant move backwards.

Think about those who live in repressive countries, who have used the internet to show the rest of the world how they are living, and then enacting positive change to gain more freedoms? How would limiting the internet be beneficial?

As a parent, I agree, that Pornography is a minor problem. However, I also have the responsibility as a parent to ensure that my children understand the difference between sexuality and sensuality. Nudity is not offensive, it is artistic. There are tools that allow me to block pornography sites and other offensive content, without impacting the internet community at large. It is easy to find, and easy to use… if people simply look.

In the United States, limiting the internet is tantamount to limiting free speech. I don’t agree with any reduction in our rights, so I feel that any move in this direction is a misguided one. We should be spending our legislative dollars on fixing existing legislation; removing old, outdated legislation; and updating laws for this new environment.

I’d much rather see legislation that protects my personal data, and a law that requires full disclosure of ALL personal data that is stored by anyone, including the government. My information is not a commodity to be bought and sold.

Dave Parrack

You make a good point on parents’ responsibilities. I personally don’t feel it’s fair to limit the Internet just in case a child sees something they shouldn’t do. Otherwise the same rules should apply offline… there goes horror films and music with swearing in it.

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0c6892ade2f19fb5ad6953033450ad0b

I’d like to see the “rules & regulations” remain pretty much as they are now. #1. They would be very hard to police. #2 How long would it take to get enough people to agree on any one regulation, let alone multiple ones and then you’ve got to figure out “punishment” for breaking them. #3 As in so many other things, once the rules get set, only the so-called law abiding citizens will obey them. The “outlaws” will still ignore them and find ways around them.

I believe most people try to live by the Golden Rule even in a “lawless” place like the internet.

Dave Parrack

I have to ask, what’s the “Golden Rule?”

Sandra S

Treat others as you want to be treated. It’s that simple and that complicated at the same time.

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Bud

The internet should only be controlled by PROHIBITING online pornography and sex sites and not allowing individuals to pose obscene photos of themselves on Facebook, along with violent videos !
“Show me what you see and read, and I’ll tell you what you are……..”

The real world does not allow this garbage to be shown or allowed in public !!!

dragonmouth

Please define “pornography” and “obscene”.

When we can all agree on the definitions, then we will block the offending material.. In some societies a woman showing an ankle is considered “obscene”. In others a woman wearing a string bikini is quite acceptable.

Is Kama Sutra “pornography”, “obscene” or art?

Dave Parrack

You’re entitled to your opinion. But there are sexual and violent videos available offline, and it’s not hard to find adverts for sex services offline either. So this would be bringing tougher laws to bear on the Internet than exist elsewhere.

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Jaxx D

Everything including free speech is quite controlled in this world by rules and regulations. The internet has survived this long without any particular body to govern it. There are rules and regulations, as you mentioned, in place for defamation and copyright and pornography. Apart from that, all other online forums, blogs etc. have their own terms and conditions and are moderated by people to see that things don’t get messy.

I feel the internet should remain how it is now, not governed by politicians who think they own us and rule us or for that matter, regulated by anyone.
If it does happen then the only thing happening will be more innocent people being arrested on the whims and fancies of those who hold the power. Free speech will no more exist.

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Marcelo Velazquez

Internet doesn’t need more rules, but people have to realize that posting your life to it, is like letting the Windows open when you’re naked.
About copyright infringement, I think we have to promote open licenses to reduce it, and incentive the people to work more efficiently and teaching them to actually refer to the original owner of the idea.
The day all of this happen, we’ll have an open and democratic internet.

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Larry Johnson

The internet doesn’t need any more rules. The owners of websites should be free to run their sites as they see fit. Of course untruths, lies and slanders should be treated like any free press. But ideas should not be regulated but free flowing expression allowed to grow.

Dave Parrack

Is this another vote for the same rules to apply online as offline?

Larry Johnson

In short, essentially yes.

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Kirby

This is a very sensitive topic to deal with. I believe that there should be rules enforced and with the way the internet evolves, there WILL be rules enforced. But how do we do that? Where do we draw the line between our right to free speech and our right for security and safety? Tightening laws on internet could provide such security, but at the same time it also shackles us as well. A double edged sword for both the user and those it is used against.

I take my stand against child abuse, pornography, identity theft, hacking into bank / corporate accounts, terrorism and the like. Rules and regulations should definitely be present against these crimes without targeting innocent users.

How I wish that there aren’t any rules governing the internet but it seems it’s just not possible. There are and will be bad guys out there and there have been/are/and will be attempts to commit crimes. All we can hope for is that the laws being made will prevent these from happening while at the same time not obstructing our thirst for knowledge, creativity and expression when not used malevolently.

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Tecno

Oh what a tangled “web” we have weaved.

I agree we need some regulations and I’m not that picky about what people have on the internet, except child porn, that should be wiped off the face of the earth.

The problems we face? Sure there are threats galore out there in this “virtual world”. It’s not real but is used for reality purposes isn’t it? It doesn’t give us money but allows us to do online banking which in turn allows criminals “Cyber Criminals” to attack the accounts. We then have tighter laws put into place to “protect” us. “Ahem, cough, choke!”

On a larger scale, you hear of our national security threats. While I agree they can use the internet for their own purpose, most of us know the Government will take full advantage of such a topic and use it to further control, not just in our best interest. Suddenly it becomes a take over.

Just as the RIAA or MPAA has been “fighting copyright infringement” , the lengths they have gone through to control not just Google, but most anything that has to do with media or images is beyond ridiculous. Oh the Chilling Effects indeed, of a movie and record industry that is GOVERNING us. No one really looks at it this way and it’s easy to blame the scary pirates who are causing these billion dollar industries an imaginary collapse when in fact all numbers showed the industry sales to be higher than ever. Simply put, some crime “supposed crime” gave these billion dollar buffoons a right to run things how they wanted. Agree or disagree with pirating, doesn’t matter, the extent of the acts against it has far exceeded the necessary need.

Can I ever do a search and actually find anything but ads these days? Anyone remember what the internet used to be before it was taken over by corporate sponsors, media industries and government? Yes, you could find content and I don’t mean pirated either. You could click on a link and not get an ad boxes riddling the page. Don’t tell me it helps to keep software and web sites going, they did fine before the ad attacks. Everywhere you go, it’s in software free or paid, it’s on every damn web site, blog, phone, everywhere. Who is truly benefiting from this? Corporate giants.

I also recall when you could say how you felt about a web site, or game, or software. An example would be Alien Arena, or League of Legends, just examples of a couple of forums where negative attitudes about the game are NOT welcome and will be removed (or warned) if necessary. I’m not talking swearing, flaming or major attack, just if you don’t agree with the way the game is being “handled” or the methods of the whole. It’s not the only site, there are many where if you speak out against anything, it can be removed to keep the supposed “positive” outlook going, tech sites, you name it. Ok, I’ll name it… I call it censoring. So if the support cheerleaders of a site don’t beat you to death, the censoring will.

What really cheeses me off is the fact that Google has more piracy linking to it’s Youtube than most sites but they have no Chilling Effects attached to them specifically. Kiss ass corporation, kick ass rights to do what they want. Either way, this is the corporate web now, not one made up of the people any longer. It’s mainly about Facebook, getting your personal info out there for the world and FBI to see, to make your virtual friends, take your virtual throne in the social circle, or on YouTube so you are loved by millions. It’s real love too right? Not virtual?

Corporate nor Government own the internet. Unfortunately technology doesn’t include intelligence. Many believe Google IS the internet, not a joke, it’s completely true. They think they HAVE to install toolbars and other idiotic corporate ad ons. There are many who use all of today’s technology but have no idea what it really is or does but Isn’t this the sort of crowd they hope for though? The same ones who think they HAVE to use Internet explorer just because it’s there? Or Norton is the “best antivirus” or “has to be purchased when expires” because it comes with many OEM systems? Using technically disadvantaged people to their own benefit, that’s fair game, that’s not against the internet law, that rakes in the $$$, all legal like.

Chilling Effects, that name alone should have made most of us taste our lunch just one more time.

Finally, we do need regulations to some extent, what we don’t need are Government and Corporate takeovers. Hey RIAA, don’t forget, it costs millions and millions more to battle piracy than it does to let people pirate. Oh wait, I forget, the power over the internet was well worth it… duh , my bad. Maybe you could have put that money to better use like you know, the little things in life like starving children.

Is my view of this too grim for some? If so, those who are even old enough to remember years back, say even 1998, if we were to be thrown into what the web is now, we would have puked on our keyboards and WTF would become a new keyboard key.

The further in the generations we go, the less hope we have on this internet being anything other than a moronic playground for social web addicted twits. More rules and regulations? We’ve already lost.

Dave Parrack

Great comment, though I don’t agree with everything you say. It will probably come as no surprise to find I don’t agree with your view on ads. MakeUseOf needs ads to exist. Without them there would be no content and no site. We’re hardly corporate giants.

Tecno

You are correct, you are not a corporate giant and yes, that was hardly a specific enough statement on my part and doesn’t cover every scenario, every company, ad or web site.

To be clear, I am talking about web sites that “no matter where you click” you are taken to another page, a different download, can’t find the damn download, have far too many linked words and so on. It’s that type of ad ridden pushy behavior, including but not limited to toolbar installations, home page take overs and not just in freeware, paid for versions as well.

Someone is benefiting greatly from this and I doubt it’s the little guy, if they are it’s only a small percentage. We all know advertising hikes sales and is any company’s no.1 means of bringing in the bucks but when is it too much?

My point, no you are not a corporate giant, many aren’t and some ads don’t hurt, they keep sites and small software going but there is an over abundance of this nowadays and in many scenarios, has gotten out of hand, too pushy and just plain sickening.

So no, not every site is like that, not every software is like that but anyone who browses the internet or uses software knows, it’s quite extreme and getting worse.

Dave Parrack

Of course, when we make money so does whoever controls the ads, whether it be Google or A.N.Other. Thanks for making your point clearer :)

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Stephan A

Governments should not be involved in internet governance. That’s always trouble. Peer pressure and collective conscience usually find a way to sort things. Parental involvement and responsibility for children is more important than having some nanny in the form of imposed rules and regulations.

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pd

Absolutely, unequivocally yes. The IT industry and the Internet are amongst the least regulated in the world. Despite the hype, the Internet is not a magic wand for the world’s ills/ Therefore, just like societies all over the world have been regulated into some reasonable (yet imperfect) and peaceful status quo for a large percentage of the World’s population, the Internet needs laws as well.

The major problem? Who and/or what entity should develop and manage the laws? The UN? Probably a better option than some less representative telco body like the ITU or ICANN.

Great examples of Internet regulation have come from the EU with the browser ballot being the top case in point. The web industry may have become so comfortable with the current competitive state of the browser market that they have started dismissing the importance of the browser ballot, but this is an industry that has no perspective beyond what is trending within the next few months. Not all of us easily forget the evil that Microsoft’s browser monopoly forced on the world (and continues to do, all be it in a reduced sense).

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Joel Thomas

Internet should have some international rules not country based
as many sites are ripping off people of their money

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Carol Oddy

Yes I believe the internet should have rules and regulation in place, especially for the young people out there who can get into a lot of trouble do things on the internet that they shouldn’t.

Tecno

**especially for the young people out there who can get into a lot of trouble do things on the internet that they shouldn’t. **

Funny, it used to be called… Parenting.

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Pratish Rao

and yes ofcourse there should b a group of nations …. and they shud kmake international laws.. for internet … incase it goes out of control who vil b there to govern it???

i m on the postive side to form a group of nations for intenet rules and regulations….

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Maria Bull

I am a strong believer in the saying that “there should be rules for everything” – Mostly I believe that the majority of the “rules” inplace are basically just common sense, but in all honesty, most people have different views on what rules should or shouldn’t be in place. As a mother (and now a Grandmother), I believe that child abuse (in any form) should not be allowed and stringent rules put in place. I also believe that the internet is a portal where people will freely express their views etc, but as most things, there may or may not be backlash – especially from people who may not support the views of others. Rules are generally seen to be suppressive, but then it depends on whom the rules affect. If we were all of the same opinion, we wouldn’t need rules, but alas, we’re human!!

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Ramesh Krishna

Internet should free Like Air to Breath

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ROKY DEY

internet should be free from any kind of Govt. censorship.most of the website have their own policy i think that is enough.

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Chetan Chandgothia

Should Be Free! Only a bit regulation to protect the Privacy.

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Jeff

Freedom to express one’s self is a wonderful thing. That being said, there will always be those that push the limits of that freedom. They will take advantage of others, lie, cheat and many have no moral compass to guide them through life. For this reason there always needs to be rules and regulation, for everything that humans are involved in. People can not be left to their own devices. This is not news. just a fact that has been proven by history over and over again!

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