Staredit Network > Forums > Lite Discussion > Topic: Should the Internet be Regulated?
Should the Internet be Regulated?
Dec 20 2010, 3:27 am
By: rayNimagi  

Dec 20 2010, 3:27 am rayNimagi Post #1

For my English class, I'm making a documentary about Internet censorship in China. One fact I stumbled upon is that 80% of Chinese citizens believe that the Internet should be regulated, and 85% believe that the government should be the ones who do it.

This contrasts sharply with American views. Most Americans advocate freedom of the "electronic anarchy." They believe that freedom on the Internet is a central part of free speech.

So my question is this: Should the Internet be regulated by the government? How much legislation and authority is necessary, if at all? Should every country have total control of the Internet within their borders?

(Yes, I know it's impossible to completely control the Internet, but China does a pretty good job at it.)

Win by luck, lose by skill.

Dec 20 2010, 3:35 am Centreri Post #2

Relatively ancient and inactive

I think that yes, it should. I think that every person on the internet should have an electronic passport to keep the spam and such from the internet. You can say whatever you want, provided it doesn't violate the laws of your country - but having the ability to say so much on the internet without possible repercussions is bad.

As for China, I don't believe they do a good job, though I haven't researched it extensively. From what I understand, China simply oversees a system of censors, which is not what I'm advocating.


Dec 20 2010, 4:37 am DavidJCobb Post #3

Quote from Centreri
I think that yes, it should. I think that every person on the internet should have an electronic passport to keep the spam and such from the internet. You can say whatever you want, provided it doesn't violate the laws of your country - but having the ability to say so much on the internet without possible repercussions is bad.

As for China, I don't believe they do a good job, though I haven't researched it extensively. From what I understand, China simply oversees a system of censors, which is not what I'm advocating.
Hackers would find ways around it, and the governments themselves might not be trustworthy enough for this.

For the former point, it's like gun control. Outlaw X, and then only the bad guys will have X.


Dec 20 2010, 4:38 am Centreri Post #4

Relatively ancient and inactive

Aaaaand what will you be outlawing?


Dec 20 2010, 6:01 am DavidJCobb Post #5

In your case? Accessing the Internet without an electronic passport, or with a forged one. In other words: using the Internet with anonymity, keeping your identity separate from your deeds. With your proposal, only those seeking to break the law would obtain that privilege; those who could use it for good are barred from it.


Dec 20 2010, 7:16 am BeDazed Post #6

And what would be the point of 'Internet Passports'. Especially, we already have a free passport. And sites with regulations usually disallow such. And given the past point of view, it would be outrageous to impose any kind of regulation.


Dec 20 2010, 7:32 am MillenniumArmy Post #7

If Americans ever need to be reminded how blessed, great, and fortunate they are to have all the freedom/rights/liberties/etc, they only need to look at countries like China.

Yes China does a pretty good job at regulating the internet, it's called the "Golden Shield Project" or "The Great Firewall of China". My cousins live in China and they always talk about this. The way the government runs in China will make even the Patriot Act seem like child's play.

The reason Chinese people believe in such censorship is because of the way they were raised. Walk into any school, it's *literally* a brainwashing facility. They teach children that China is the greatest country ever, Communism is the perfect system out there, and much more. Everything that is taught becomes immutable in their very lives. It's also because of such "brainwashing" that China seems to have such jingoism and unity. Unlike here in America, you won't find anyone bitching about his or her country, you won't find anyone stirring up conspiracy theories, you certainly won't find anyone publicly denouncing their country's leader (well if they do, they're probably in jail/dead/silenced by the government), and you won't find people trying to act smart with ingenuous "facts" about anything. Noticed how all of these are easily kindled via the Internet.

As for what I think about internet regulation, I honestly don't know. While the internet is cardinal to freedom of speech and has a plethora of beneficial attributes (finding help/information, gaming, etc), it is also the same vessel that spreads false/myopic information, creates disunity among people, allows illegal distribution of commodities, allows one to stir up trouble while safely hidden behind the blanket of anonymity, and more. The real question is which one's more important: allowing such freedom no matter the ramifications (because afterall it is one of our inalienable rights), or using perspicacious judgment to arbitrate what's overall better for the welfare and common good of the people (there will always be a good and a bad but will the good far outweigh the bad)?

I believe the latter is more important, but the internet is not necessarily the problem

Post has been edited 1 time(s), last time on Dec 20 2010, 7:38 am by MillenniumArmy.


Dec 20 2010, 9:51 am Vrael Post #8

Absolutely not. As soon as regulation of internet access or use begins, companies will begin charging differently. The eventual outcome, is that poor people would end up with dial-up speeds, and rich people would be getting 1GB/sec speeds because they pay more. Bullshit.


Dec 20 2010, 10:02 am Decency Post #9

South Korean style regulation wouldn't be terrible. I don't know much about it but from what I know the majority of sites require users to enter basically their Internet-SSN and then it's not anonymous and easily linkable.

People tend to be less obnoxious when they have to own up to their actions; the internet can just be a big mob at times.


Dec 20 2010, 2:39 pm poison_us Post #10

Back* from the grave

Personally, I think we should be held accountable for our dealings on the Internet, but my views are like DJC's...if we make something illegal, then only a small group will have it, and that group will become far more problematic than it ever was before.

All of this would be void if we, as human beings, were genuinely out for nothing but each other's benefit, but because we are not, we both need and cannot honestly believe that Internet accountability will ever be forced. It's needed because of the asscrack of the Internet (chans), but can't be forced because people that are given the illusion of freedom will always rebel against things forced upon them.

Dec 20 2010, 2:44 pm NicholasBeige Post #11

Companies such as Twitter, Google and Facebook want to put a name behind every number.

Others such as 4chan, pirate bay and IPREDator are 100% for anonymity.

The problem with anonymity lies with crime, in particular, copyright infringment and software piracy. If you can happily sign on to the internet, and the internet will act as a barrier, separating your online-self from your real-self... obviously a 5 year old can see the problem with this.

I personally would argue for some middle-ground. A grey and undefinable utopian policy which will make everyone happy, and therefore never exist. It would go something like this: Online, you are 100% anonymous, there is absolutely no link between your online-identity and your real-world identity. Whenever you access the internet, you are required to enter your own biometric data, an 18 character pass-code (generated arithmetically and kept on a credit-card like device, unique to yourself), and a memorable phrase. So, it will be YOU on the INTERNET, but no-one on the INTERNET will know that it is YOU. If this makes sense. So, sounds a bit pointless? But, basically if your internet-self commits crime (define crime here: paedophilia, drugs/arms/human trafficking, treason etc), then your real-self will be banned from the internet. Your ability to log into the internet will be revoked, either indefinitely or for a period of time.

I suggest you read into the companies and organisations I have mentioned for your paper. Sounds like an interesting topic. or write a dissertation on my utopia theory


Dec 20 2010, 3:27 pm rockz Post #12

ᴄʜᴇᴇsᴇ ɪᴛ!

Not sure how much "regulation" needs to be done, but everyone should probably authenticate through their ISP properly to use the internet, so that they can be tracked. Ad services would probably love this because you are no longer anonymous, and the ISP can sell the data so the internet is cheaper. The best part is that it could still be theoretically anonymous (how many people have an MVP or VIP card?). Better prices and zero intrusion on your life that you can tell, other than 1 gram of weight you have to carry around.

The ISP will still hold on to this data, and sell it without names attached (probably only demographics). What would be really cool is if ISPs offered cheap advertising for local services. I'd love to see a commercial for the red house pop up when I'm watching a video rather than some ginormous company. ISPs would also keep a record of your activities for legal use. Not sure how long this is, or what, and not sure if they don't already do this.

Google is already doing this if you have a gmail account/use chrome/use google. And 4chan isn't "fighting" for anonymity. It's too busy gibbering about worthless and pointless crap.

When you have a good government, there is no reason not to entrust your livelihood to it, which is what China does. Stagnation is a problem in governments, where they don't DO anything. Actually it's a problem in a lot of things. Here in the US, we prize freedom over all things (even though it's somewhat hypocritical, what with victimless crimes). Much like when people are banned at SEN for causing mental anguish to make SEN a better place for everyone else, the internet can be regulated for the same reasons. I just don't want to spend more money, because the internet is a necessity now. Paying $30 a month is still awfully steep for access.

"Parliamentary inquiry, Mr. Chairman - do we have to call the Gentleman a gentleman if he's not one?"

Dec 20 2010, 3:47 pm Centreri Post #13

Relatively ancient and inactive

Global regulation of the internet can literally wipe out spam. If every e-mail sent requires a valid identity behind it to get through, spammers can't send out their crap. The valid identity doesn't need to be a physical passport - something like simply entering a username/password when opening a browser can work, and it can be secured similarly to how credit card companies operate. That single identity could then be used as a global account for various forums, social networks, etc.

This trend is happening already. Facebook is being integrated everywhere. Google has their own account for their services, Microsoft has theirs. Gawker is a commenting system that allows the same account to be used for commenting on different websites. While a few years ago, you'd have to reregister to every single website you want to participate in, this is no longer the case (and I yearn for the day that common forum software switches over to the new model). The thing is that it isn't currently mandatory, which is what I'd like.

I don't see how an internet identification can increase costs for provider companies (and thus the consumer).


Dec 20 2010, 6:08 pm Sand Wraith Post #14


No thanks, I like being able to wear any face I want. As convenient as a global account is, I would rather not be an easy target for tracking. I'd rather not let people Google up my name (or username) and find results on questionable websites (SEN included). As it is, most of my accounts share a username, and where it doesn't, it's because I'd rather be anonymous. I enter the DWIGHT programming contest with a different username because I participate in it with a club after school, where the border between the Internet and real-life is dangerously thin, and, again, I wouldn't want some bored person actually Googling my username or name to find something I didn't want them to find.

I wouldn't want to inflict this upon anyone whose activities may even be remotely surreptitious; depending on one's community, it could break lives.

Now, if I could have a global master account that could spawn anonymous (and superficially independent) sub-accounts, I would accept. If I, to register to a website, only was required to pick which pre-created sub-account I wanted to use (or create a new sub-account on the spot), and I could change that at any time, I would accept that.

However, if I had to pick between the two extremes, I would rather take a few seconds of inconvenience than to put my future at risk of destruction.


On the topic of China; having a top-level government like that with already so much power has the potential to do a lot of good. If outside factors persuaded it to go in one direction, China could go in that direction quickly. If the Golden Shield Project is working (I'm not saying it is; I haven't done any research on it) for China, then there is no point in trying to fix it. Having such a country also helps to frame one's own position in the world, so I'd rather have a system like China's exist rather than a void.

Dec 20 2010, 6:18 pm Fire_Kame Post #15

a left leaning coexistence nut

Technically speaking its the crisis of red tape. Someone has to issue the passports, then regulate their use and the database holding information, update it as needed depending on access changes, and so on. Then of course there is exploit issues and resistance to change. sure these are to an extent like services that OpenID offers but right now the only people who use it want it. there's much less risk to manage.

I don't like Facebook being able to access everything I do on the internet. I'm afraid I'll not be paying attention and I'll post something stupid for all on my list to see. Its annoying and keeps me from things that would probably help my mental/physical/emotional wellbeing. Then again, I've nearly perfected the art of multiple online personalities and I know some of you look down on that. Not that this should make anyone here worry...none of them are dangerous or mean (hell the meanest I act irl I act here) more like ways to vent or get help with issues while remaining anonymous.

You can have safety or freedom, never both.

Dec 20 2010, 6:38 pm The Starport Post #16

The web isn't a "physical" thing. I can't think of a non-retarded reason that validates "regulating" it.


Dec 20 2010, 7:47 pm UnholyUrine Post #17

The views of the people in China are quite unbelievable at times.
Propaganda is everywhere, and since media is regulated by the Chinese Gov't, it isn't hard for them to make their people think they're the greatest. It is probably one of the most horrible things.

Media should be free. Period.


Dec 20 2010, 8:02 pm Fire_Kame Post #18

a left leaning coexistence nut

You guys are forgetting the big picture with China. The country has suffered immensely. This is the closest thing to prosperity and not starving to death most of them have ever encountered (or ever will). I am not supporting regulation in any way, but maybe what the people of China need most is safety, not freedom, right now. And when they become restless that will change.

inb4 economic ransom argument.

Dec 20 2010, 8:20 pm Centreri Post #19

Relatively ancient and inactive

Lol. Kame, that's one of my pro-USSR arguments. Wewt.


Dec 20 2010, 8:28 pm Fire_Kame Post #20

a left leaning coexistence nut

Quote from Centreri
Lol. Kame, that's one of my pro-USSR arguments. Wewt.

I would imagine so.

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