Free Essay

Government Intervention and Internet Regulation

In: Computers and Technology

Submitted By malikmfarrukh
Words 2255
Pages 10
Government Intervention and Internet Regulation Internet is a global network that connects millions of computers together and allows people to communicate and share information with each other in an effective and easy way. It has become the most widely used means of communications of recent times. “The number of U.S. homes with one or more personal computers increased by 16% (in 1995) to about 38 million households, up from 33 million in 1994 and 25 million in 1993” (Fox 9). “Along with that staggering stat, the National Commission on Libraries and Information Science has reported that 95% of the public has access to the Internet” (“Free Essay”). Internet is filled with a lot of information on almost every topic in the world and anyone can access that information anytime he or she wants and most often that information is available for free. The very fact that everything is so easily available over the internet has become a cause of great concern because people can access information that they are not supposed to view. This has given the rise to a great debate over the use internet regulation versus the concept of net neutrality. “Internet regulation is basically restricting or controlling access to certain aspects or information” (“Internet Regulation”). The proponents of regulation argue that some form of government intervention is necessary to keep a check on the information people access over the internet because that information might be a source of harm for the society in general. Whereas on the other hand, the proponents of concept of net neutrality state that if a person pays for his internet access, then there should be no restrictions on the content that he can view. Because internet is filled with all sorts of information and anyone can access unsuitable information at anytime, some sort of government intervention is necessary in the form of internet regulation to uphold the morals of the society.

There are several ways through which internet can be regulated. Government can make use of the “state control approach” to “intervene directly and place technical controls on the content that can be accessed by their citizens” (Darlington). “A classic case is Saudi Arabia where all of the country's Internet service providers have to go through a central node where the Saudi authorities block access to sites hosting pornography, those believed to cause religious offence, and web sites containing information on bomb-making” (Darlington). Another form of regulation, “the self regulation approach” is based on “voluntary initiatives by the Internet Service Providers (ISP) industry” (Darlington). As per this approach, the ISPs try to control the type of content available to the customers and they keep a check on information being accessed over the internet. “Classically this is the approach in Britain where there is no written constitution and government has shown no wish to legislate” (Darlington). And perhaps the most commonly used and widely accepted form of regulation is the use of filtering techniques through which access to some parts of the information can be controlled for some particular users. For example, parents can use filters to restrict their children from viewing inappropriate explicit content.
One of the arguments for having regulation is that internet can be accessed by anyone. Initially, it was supposed to cater to the needs of the American military establishments. Then its uses spread over to the academic communities and today it can be accessed by any individuals from any country and belonging to any age group. For example, a child can easily view inappropriate content from his bedroom at any time he wants. This should not happen because that material can corrupt the mind of that child and can have some serious negative effects. “As the speed of the Internet increased dramatically with the development of broadband access in the late 1990s and early 2000s, not only has more of this type of information become more available, but also users have been able to access this information in greater quantity” (“Internet Legal Definition”). So in such circumstances, “we must have some procedures for tackling illegal content on the Internet and some mechanisms for allowing end user control of what is accessed on the Internet” (Darlington).
“It is argued that the genesis of the Internet was such that it embraced and fostered a new spirit of freedom, openness and experimentation and that these values must remain an integral feature of the Internet” and if any form of regulation is introduced then the whole essence of the internet will be lost and people would not be able to access the vast resources of information that it has to offer (Darlington). The opponents of regulation also argue that any form of internet regulation is against the individual’s rights to freedom of expression and the concept of net neutrality because in such a scenario a person may not be able to choose the content he wants to view. However, it should be clearly understood that society is greater than a single person and if such rights of freedom cause harm to the values of the society as a whole, then it is perhaps the responsibility of the government to intervene and restrict the rights given to every individual in order to maintain those values.
“There is offensive content on the internet”, so this justifies the use of internet restrictions (Darlington). Internet is filled with explicit content. There are thousands of websites that contain pornographic materials which is considered inappropriate for minors and mostly this content is available for free, so there is no additional cost of viewing it besides the charges paid to the ISP. “Also there are some sites which propagate extremist views, often of a racist nature” (Darlington). Though such explicit material is legal to be viewed by an individual of a certain age which in most countries is set at 18, there is no one particular way of making sure that it is not viewed by anyone under this age because individuals can mislead the system and hide correct personal information. So in such a scenario, the most effective way for individuals who have responsibility of the children, like parents and teachers, is to limit the access to such material through the use of filters. These filters allow censorship of inappropriate material using the ratings provided by the websites. However, it should be kept in mind that this censorship technique “enable adults to control their own access to material so they do not stumble across things (advertising, violence, erotica/pornography, religious or political material etc.), which offend them” (“Internet Regulation”). So in a way it is a matter of personal choice and responsibility which gives an individual the power to choose what he views because one can easily change filter settings to control the type of content available to him.
Despite all the great uses provided by the internet, it is used by some people for illegal purposes; therefore, the use of regulation is justified because “a stringent internet regulation can help to curb the innumerable illegal activities over the net” (Manohar). Examples of such criminal activities include “copyright theft, credit card fraud, financial scams, money laundering, hacking, industrial espionage, cyber terrorism, actual terrorism, bomb making instructions, prostitution, certain forms of gambling, drug use, drug smuggling, suicide assistance, defamatory allegations, cyber stalking” (Darlington). In recent times, people have started to complain about the ever increasing number of spam emails that are sent over the internet. “The number of spam messages sent increased nearly 300 percent from 2001 to 2002 -- from 14,078,511 to 55,683,103, according to e-mail filtering company Brightmail” ( Kornblum). “Spam refers to submitting the same message to a large group of individuals in an effort to force the message onto people who would otherwise choose not to receive this message” (“Spam”). In order to ensure that people do not indulge in such criminal activities and the society remains unharmed, the government must intervene to stop any of these activities from taking place by imposing restrictions.
Some people argue that the internet is an enormous network which is growing rapidly as time progresses, so it is not possible to regulate the internet. The argument provided here is flawed because the fact that the internet is so large makes regulating it more difficult, but because it is difficult it does not mean that it should not be regulated. Some also argue that because “internet is different in operation from other communication networks”, so it should not be regulated (Darlington). “Whereas radio and television is pumped into millions of homes simultaneously (push technology), the Internet is an interactive medium and requires a particular user actively to seek a particular site or application (pull technology)” (Darlington). The very nature of the way in which the end user consumes the internet makes a good argument for having some sort of formal restrictions. In the case of radio and television, there are certain restrictions on the amount of violence and sex that goes through. So even if an individual wants to see something “special”, there is absolutely no way in which he can do that if nothing such is broadcast at that time, but the case of internet is quite different. A person can view anything, anytime and anywhere he wants. Therefore, regulation acts as a great measure to ensure that a check is maintained over the usage of the internet.
Some people even argue that it is not the responsibility of the government to protect the children against the inappropriate content that is available over the internet because it has got other tasks to take care of and instead “those responsible for them at the time – parents, teachers, guardians, supervisors – should control what they access on the Internet” (Darlington). “While children and teenagers need a certain amount of privacy, they also need parental involvement and supervision in their daily lives” (“Free Essay”). One way suggested by these people requires the parents to spend time with their children when they are online so that they can keep a check on what their children are accessing. But this kind of total control can not be exercised by those responsible for children because they can not be present at all times. Furthermore, internet can now easily be accessed on mobile devices so it can be easily misused and in the case of a school where a teacher has to look after a lot of students, it is practically impossible for her to monitor the activities of each student at the same time. So “while parents and teachers must exercise responsibility, they should be assisted by other approaches including the taking down of sites with criminal content and the filtering of sites with offensive or inappropriate content” (Darlington). The debate over the topic of internet regulation versus the concept of net neutrality has become a great issue these days because of the ever growing increase in the usage of the internet and its implications on the society in general. There is no doubt that internet has served the humanity as a source of vast amounts of information and as a reliable means of communication, but the negative aspects of it can not be ignored. Each country has its own definition of what is considered inappropriate based on the accepted values of that particular nation. Therefore, each country should come up with a set of standards by which access to the internet can be restricted. For example, it may happen that “in the liberal countries, people can enjoy more or less the same services of the internet as in most of the Western countries. But, in conservative countries, internet services are restricted substantially to some comparatively harmless services like e-mail” (Shuji) Perhaps the self regulation approach can be used to regulate the internet. This approach makes use of common standards like Platform for Internet Content Selections (PICS) which “works by embedding electronic labels in text or image documents to vet their content before being displayed or passed onto another computer”. (McCosker)
Word Count= 1989 words

Works Cited
Fox,Robert "Newstrack", Communications of the ACM, vol. 39, no. 7, Jul, 1996, p. 9 McCosker, Chris. "Internet Censorship - Regulation and Responsibility - M/Cyclopedia of New Media." Main Page - M/Cyclopedia of New Media. 26 Oct. 2004. Web. 10 May 2010. http://wiki.mediaculture.org.au/index.php/Internet_Censorship__Regulation_and_Responsibility Shuji, Hosaka. "The Internet and Middle East Studies." AT&T Business Internet Services. Japanese Institute of Middle Eastern Economies (JIME). Web. 10 May 2010. http://pws.prserv.net/hosaka/shuji/internet/The%20Internet%20and%20Middle%20East%20Studies.htm

Manohar, Uttara. "Pros and Cons of Internet Regulation." Buzzle Web Portal: Intelligent Life on the Web. Web. 10 May 2010. http://www.buzzle.com/articles/pros-and-cons-of-internet-regulation.html

"Internet Legal Definition of Internet. Internet Synonyms by the Free Online Law Dictionary." Legal Dictionary. Web. 10 May 2010. http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Internet

Darlington, Roger. "Regulation of the Internet1." Roger Darlington's Homepage. 25 Feb. 2010. Web. 10 May 2010. http://www.rogerdarlington.me.uk/regulation.html

“Internet Regulation” 123HelpMe.com. 09 May 2010. http://www.123helpme.com/view.asp?id=36242

"Free Essay Internet Regulation." ECheat - Free Essays, Free Term Papers, Custom Essays. 31 Dec. 2005. Web. 10 May 2010. http://www.echeat.com/essay.php?t=28353

Kornblum,Janet. "Spam Continues to Increase," Newsfactor.com, January 13, 2002
"Spam: What Is Spam?" Spam – Antivirus - Identity Theft - Scams and Fraud: STOP IT. Web. 10 May 2010. http://www.spamlaws.com/what-is-spam.html

Similar Documents

Free Essay

Csec 620 Individual Assignment 1

...There is a reason for government intervention in many cases. We citizens need certain...

Words: 2894 - Pages: 12

Premium Essay

Public Policy in Economics

...The team also analyzed the effect of government interventions, taxation, and regulations on economic behavior. Effect of externalities on market outcomes When discussing the effect of market externalities, we are discussing how an organizations activity evolving around production or consumption may affect the well-being of personnel not involved. The term "externality" is derived from the reality that something or someone external of the action or transaction becomes affected by the production of consumption of the good. An externality can be negative if an organization generates costs, such as harm or distress for uninvolved people. Some examples of negative externalities are pollutants from tobacco smoking (second- hand smoke) and industrial facilities have a negative effect on the health and well-being of others. Smoking in restaurants has caused alarm such that smoking is banned from many eating establishments. A beneficial activity to uninvolved personnel is known as a positive externality. Professional sports, or sports in general tend to play an important role model for young athletes. Celebrity athletes influence young children to train hard, compete well, and strive to be the next superstar. Unforeseen, and third party influence, are the keywords; externalities can be positives or negatives on the market and consumers....

Words: 911 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

Understanding the Business Environment:

...CHAPTER 21 UNDERSTANDING THE BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT: THE ECONOMICS OF REGULATION CHAPTER SUMMARY This chapter focuses on the economics of regulation. It starts by discussing why it is important for managers to understand the regulatory process. Three potential reasons for government intervention are presented (defining and enforcing property rights, redressing “market failures,” and redistributing wealth). The primary focus is on the “economic theory of regulation” which posits that regulation is demanded by special interest groups and supplied by self-interested politicians. Rational free riding on the part of voters allows well-organized coalitions to pass regulations that redistribute wealth in their favor. The chapter ends by discussing the managerial implications of this analysis and by presenting a case study World Motors....

Words: 2088 - Pages: 9

Premium Essay

Csec Ia1

...In this paper, Part I addresses how government intervention justifies telling private industry how to set up or improve their cybersecurity with its policies. Part II addresses the impacts on national security due to government regulation by private industry’s compliance. Part I. Government Regulation of Private Sector Cybersecurity Cyber criminals always look for vulnerabilities such as unsecured network to gain backdoor access to attack critical infrastructure or collect...

Words: 3978 - Pages: 16

Premium Essay

Econ Wk 4 Chap Outline

...Nobody wants to pay taxes, and there are usually large political fights about whom government should tax. For example, should the Social Security tax (mandated by the Federal Insurance Contributions Act, or FICA) be placed on workers or on the company that hires them? The supply/demand framework gives an unexpected answer to this question. Burden Depends on Relative Elasticity The person who physically pays the tax, however, is not necessarily the person who bears the burden of the tax. In reality, the tax burden is rarely shared equally because elasticities are rarely equal. The relative burden of the tax follows this general rule: The more inelastic one’s relative supply and demand, the larger the burden of the tax one will bear. elasticity is a measure...

Words: 5612 - Pages: 23

Premium Essay

Cinemas • Hold Monopoly Power over Customers Because If People Have Come to See a Movie They Must Likely Want Food to Go with It • Because of This Cinemas Such as Foot Stores Sell Drinks , Popcorn , Hotdogs. • as

...In a capitalist system, the primary role of government is to support the marketplace by removing obstacles such as trade barriers. A market economy offers incentives, such as competition and the profit motive, to produce more. The constant demand for new goods and services encourages entrepreneurship. The problem with a market economy is that owners and producers reap the most rewards. Another problem with a market economy is that unskilled workers and older adults are often unable to afford basic needs such as health care. Another problem with a market economy is that a small number of large companies can join forces to...

Words: 887 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

Mergers and Acquisitions

...Government regulation plays a role in the economies of businesses using the Anti-trust Law. With origins around 1890, the Anti-trust laws are intended to promote free competition in the marketplace by outlawing monopolies. A monopoly occurs when one group has exclusive control of the means of producing or selling a commodity or service (Transactions and Strategies, 2011, p 168). To explore the world of merging retailers in our industry, we will look at government regulation in the retail industry and why...

Words: 1805 - Pages: 8

Premium Essay

Market Overview of Caruthersvile

...(Amacher & Pate, 2013, p. 11.4) Internet providers would fall into this category; they seem to offer the same service at relatively the same price level. There seems to be obstacles of government regulations and licensing that help to deter new competition from entering the market. The two providers are Mediacom, with cable Internet, and AT&T, with DSL or phone line. Satellite Internet companies say that the signal is weakened in this area and do not recommend its use. The use of these barriers have provided the Internet providers to become very profitable at the expense of its customers, possibly even discouraging some people from using the Internet...

Words: 1662 - Pages: 7

Free Essay

Eco 550 Assignment 2

...Explain why government regulation is needed, citing the major reasons for government involvement in a market economy. The consolidation of U.S. industry into increasingly powerful corporations spurred government intervention to protect small businesses and consumers. In 1890, Congress enacted the Sherman Antitrust Act, a law designed to restore competition and free enterprise by breaking up monopolies. In 1906, it passed laws to ensure that food and drugs were correctly labeled and that meat was inspected before being sold. In 1913, the government established a new federal banking system, the Federal Reserve, to regulate the nation's money supply and to place some controls on banking activities. The largest changes in the government's role occurred during the "New Deal," President Franklin D. Roosevelt's response to the Great Depression. During this period in the 1930s, the United States endured the worst business crisis and the highest rate of unemployment in its history. Many Americans concluded that unfettered capitalism had failed. So they looked to government to ease hardships and reduce what appeared to be self-destructive competition. Roosevelt and the Congress enacted a host of new laws that gave government the power to intervene in the economy....

Words: 3731 - Pages: 15

Premium Essay

Marketing to Children

...With regard to previous studies about drawbacks, beneficial sides of existing restrictions related to marketing to youth, this paper will evaluate whether food and beverage marketing to children should be regulated by government or within the industry. The evaluation will be made first of all regarding literary review about the reasons for targeting children, marketing techniques used to appeal to kids and the linkage between...

Words: 3002 - Pages: 13

Premium Essay

Is Google a True Monopoly?

...If the government focuses on these numbers along with Google’s unprecedented growth each year, it could be deemed a monopoly. The question then becomes whether regulation or breaking up the company would be a wise decision. Historically, government intervention has tended to backfire. For example, in the early 1900s, Standard Oil, owned by John D. Rockefeller, was deemed a monopoly. The Supreme Court ruled in...

Words: 771 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

Keynesian Economics

...Keynesian Economics, Helping the US Economy Keynesian philosophy states that in order to manage economic downturns, government intervention in the economy is imperative. It was Keynesian Economic Philosophy that kept America out of another depression during the Great Recession due to the fiscal and monetary stimulus (Seidman 32-53, 22p). By examining the government’s need for spending money on welfare, cutting taxes, regulating and monitoring the financial markets, and government spending on military, America sees how a Keynesian approach is a necessity. The American Government needs to continue using the Keynesian model in order to enhance the performance of the economy. Keynesian Philosophy provides government assisted programs to those who qualify. One form of assistance is Welfare. Welfare provides benefits and economic assistance to low or no income Americans. With the dismal economy, there are now over 100 million people on welfare according to the Census Bureau; and this doesn’t include those receiving Social Security or Medicare (GOPUSAStaff). Food Stamps are one of many divisions of welfare. The food stamps program, also known as the Supplementary Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), helps low or no income citizens buy food. There are over 46 million people on SNAP as of June, 2012 (Luhby). That is more than one in seven Americans and more than 25% of eligible Americans do not participate in the food stamps program....

Words: 2071 - Pages: 9

Premium Essay

Isys100

...6) Throughout the world there has been an increase in discussions regarding “Censorship of the Internet”, explain how Censorship can work in some instances but in others it can be a detriment to society. Introduction Since electronic devices such as computer, smart phone and tablet have generalised and the number of internet users is getting bigger, internet contains tremendous amount of information from trivial one to even significant information that could occur a social problem. Every information is exposed through the internet and people could touch those information easily. As these reasons, government wants to control and monitor the internet access in many nations, including North Korea, Iraq, China, Myanmar, Syria, Turkey, Vietnam, Uzbekistan, Maldives, and Tunisia so on. This, government control or suppression of what can be gain access to, distributed, or watched on the internet, is called internet censorship. The definition of internet censorship is a way used by government or religious institutions to supervise or regulate the public access to offensive or harmful materials (Turban, 2012) This topic is very sensitive subject to decide whether it should exist or not. There is a sharp division of belief between people who approve and disapprove....

Words: 2055 - Pages: 9

Premium Essay

Csec

...Government Intervening To Protect Our Cyberspace University of Maryland University College Table of Contents Introduction page…………………………………………………………………..3 Justification to Regulate Private Industry Cybersecurity………………………3-4 Real World Threat…………………………………………………………………4-5 Methods for Government Intervention:…………………………………….……5 Government’s Intervention Impacts on National Security………………….….5-6 Real World National Security Breaches…………………………………………6 Arguments of the Private Sector to Take Responsibility.................................6-7 Failure to Take Responsible Action................................................................7 Conclusion…………………………………………………………………………7-8 References.....................................................................................................8-9 Introduction In 1969, the first ever network was born into existence (ARPANET) also called advanced research projects agency network....

Words: 1747 - Pages: 7

Free Essay

How Financial Overhaul Could Put the Ftc

...With vastly expanded powers, the FTC could impose sweeping new regulation touching virtually every sector of our economy. The current FTC chairman, Jon Leibowitz, has made clear his determination to step up regulation of online data use, advertising, “blogola,” and child protection, just to name a few of the hot topics in...

Words: 567 - Pages: 3