This week I would like to discuss the overall idea of government regulation of the Internet. This topic is highly controversial, as there are many conflicting ideas on what is in the best interest of the public. One side favors government regulation to provide a safe, inclusive environment for all Internet users. While the other argues for more personal freedom and privacy. There are various concerns and because the Internet is a worldwide phenomenon, it is imperative that the issue is addressed. Should the government regulate the Internet? Should they enforce net neutrality? How much involvement is too much and is this involvement in the best interest of the public? There are so many questions regarding government regulation of the Internet, making this debate relevant and important.
One concept I would like to address is net neutrality. Often referred to as “Open Internet,” The Federal Communications Commission introduced these regulations on February 26, 2015. According to the FCC this means that “consumers can go where they want, when they want.” This also means that these rules “protect and maintain open, uninhibited access to legal online content.” They work to ensure that Internet access providers do not allow faster Internet speeds for certain content providers and not for others. In my opinion, these regulations are necessary to provide equal Internet access to everyone. However, some people argue against net neutrality. Josh Steimle, a contributor to Forbes online explains that he wants more competition, more privacy, and more freedom. Government regulation diminishes the ability for their to be strong competition among telecom giants. Regulations act as barriers to entry and can add to an already struggling economy. Further, in order for the government to regulate the Internet, they must view the content. To many this is seen as an invasion of privacy. Less regulation would provide more freedom when using the Internet.
However, having no regulation comes at a price.Without it, illegal activity can go unnoticed and unmonitored. There is the constant threat of terrorism, hacking, and sharing illegal content. For example, child pornography is something that should absolutely be addressed and legal action taken against those who are responsible. In today’s world we are facing the threat of terrorism online, and in the real world. ISIS and other major organizations often recruit online, regulating their activity can help save the lives of many. In my opinion, there should be some form of regulation. Regulation is necessary for the Internet to remain a safe, open, and fair place for all users, but the argument should lend more towards the type of regulation and to what degree.
I hope to continue developing this argument in the coming weeks and to suggest policies that the government could enact to best regulate the Internet.
“Open Internet.” Federal Communications Commission. FCC, 25 Aug. 2016. Web. 26 Oct. 2016. <https://www.fcc.gov/general/open-internet>
Steimle, Josh. “Am I The Only Techie Against Net Neutrality?” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 14 May 2014. Web. 26 Oct. 2016. <http://www.forbes.com/sites/joshsteimle/2014/05/14/am-i-the-only-techie-against-net-neutrality/#44419aa8352e>.
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