Thursday, 02 July 2015 11:28

Internet Regulations

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Internet Regulations refers to limiting user’s access to information on the internet. This control on internet information is a highly deliberated topic, and the possibility of internet regulations resulting in internet neutrality has been greatly debated around the world. Forms of Internet regulation include domain registration and IP address control that could lead to censorship of data or media. The purpose of such regulations is to restrict and control certain aspects of information and access to them.

Most of the Internet control is levied by a country’s government when they are concerned with issues relating to censorship, in their effort to protect the best interest of the general public. By imposing such regulations, a governmental agency can track anyone who puts up unacceptable information on the internet.

Advocates and critics of internet regulations present sound arguments for and against such regulations.

People supporting the introduction of internet regulations argue that the best way to continue with the investment and innovation in broadband service is to introduce regulations. President Obama, also a supporter, said that this was necessary to preserve the “free and open internet.” According to the proponents, regulation would discourage the service providers from limiting the speed and access to the customers who pay for their service. This would bring greater equality in the internet usage.

The internet as a community should mirror the society as a whole. While free speech is important, there are certain rules and liabilities applied in a society. These rules and liabilities allowed in society should be replicated in the online community,hence calling for internet regulations. Such parameters can significantly reduce the amount of spam, fake websites, cyber crimes and online theft.

However, historically previous regulations have resulted in slower service, imposed market entry barriers, and suppressed innovation. Such barriers have also introduced price discrimination within the market with the absence of a free market, causing more inequality in the internet usage instead of greater equality. There have even been breakthroughs in the internet without the supervision of the government, therefore it is safe to assume that the innovations will continue. 

Freedom advocates also heavily oppose internet regulations while some others say that it should be regulated in a similar manner to other media, such as TV. TV, for instance should be regulated for children and to protect individual rights. However, with this kind of censorship, an internet user might miss out on information that would be useful to him, and that he intends to use for a productive purpose. This could in turn lead people to resort to unlawful means, and look for loopholes to bypass the censorship.

There are also some users who are particularly concerned about taxes. They believe with a regulatory body, probably the government, watching over the internet, taxes will be introduced. Progressive Policy Institute economists Litan and Singer did a study, in which they concluded that regulation imposed on the internet would result in an average annual increase in taxes between $51 and $83 per household. Users are concerned about taxes especially on the major traffic generating sites such as Wikipedia, Youtube and Facebook. However despite concerns, Kim Hart from FCC has assured that such regulations will not increase any taxes, under the Internet Tax Freedom Act.

Many people are of the view that internet usage will be compromised as a result of controls and regulations. It will not only be more expensive, but also there is a strong possibility that it will be slower. Involvement of increased red tape rarely does any good, and hence in this case as well it might not be beneficial. However, the government has repeatedly assured that this won’t happen, and regulation is better for freer internet and continued innovation. 

 

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