I have searched the forums and found other threads which are closely related to my above question. My objective is to put the question out to you all as unbiasedly as possible and raise some further issues which have arisen from abit of my own research and a genuine interest.
I feel that my question is more general than the posts that have gone before it; however I hope that it will be regarded as a seperate issue which warrants an intelectual debate as it raises ethical, moral and political issues.
I will be posting my notes focusing on net neutrality, piracy and liability; however I'm aware that this is not exhaustive and I do not intend to restrict other users input in answer to these questions. I just want to see what happens.
The internet has brought freedom of information to billions of people; it has changed the way we communicate and interact, the way we think, the way we organise our lives, the pace of life, our economy.... the list geoes on. Since it was first started it has stayed relatively neutral with regards to it's content (with some obvious exceptions.) The Open Internet Coalition is an example of an organisation that supports net nutralitiy, but currently the issue of regulating the internet is being looked at very closely and it looks like there will be reform to the web as we know it.
The problem with any resource like the web is that it's open to violation and exploitation, in terms of the service that has become engrained in our day to day lives and our privacy in social networking sites; to the effect of piracy and credit card fraud etc. But where does the liability for the unlawfulness that occurs on the internet lie? How would reform on the net take place. What processes have already been implimented and where is the ship headed?
Liability itself is sometimes not as clear cut as catching the criminals that steal bank details to fund organised crime and prosecuting them.
Take web piracy for example;
Who is as fault? The entertainment and record companies making the availability or thier products unaffordable for less privileged people?
What about the person who is behind the hosting of the pirate websites, or the person that commits the initial act of piracy in the cinema or the intial seeder on a P2P network? Is it the ISP themselves who should take responsibility for thier customers actions, or perhaps the goverment should have thier say?
Would disconecting users from the internet be an effective deterent?
Can the criminal justice system cope with the reality of taking action against the vast number of instances where piracy happens?
What happens if an individual user has been wrongly identified as a pirate? If thier computer has a backdoor and is being used for illegal activity?
Who is responsible for maintaing the current regulations? What if any, amendments should they be implimenting with regards to enforcing the regulations, to better protect all of the different areas that the internet influences in our lives? What can be done to make it better? Could we start afresh now that we have a better understandinf of the effects of the internet? Would starting afresh be a catastrophe to our current progress thus far?
Perhaps this is a seperate issue now, however while we consider reform we must also look at the way that the internet is currently working and how it has changed; ISP's have seen internet traffic increase in recent years due to the popularity and lower start up costs for using the web. They realise that compaines like google and facebook etc are making vast quantaties of money from using thier services and they feel that they have a right to protect thier industry and have a cut of the success that they are providing for. They are the backbone that holds the net together, so are they entitled to share in the revenues that the multi billion dollor/pound companies make using thier services?
What would happen if ISP's were to give favoured prefernce over certain websites and content; for exapmle if they controlled the flow of information to meet thier own needs?
Considering that these compaines are the backbone on which the internet currently operates, what is stopping them from pulling the plug or monopolizing the internet?
What is stopping them from doing exactly that?
How could they do this?
Regulate download speeds, targeted marketing, charging websites for prioritising traffic, holding back traffic from sites that pay less revenue to the ISP's
Shoud all information on the net be treated equally? If not why?
Would this hamper individuals and startup companies with little or no capital ivestment behind them from reaching the mass market?
Bigger companies allready profiting from sucess support net nutrality, but don't want ISP's controlling thier exsisting clients access to thier sites.
Taking this revenue directly from customers is unpopular i.e unlimited service for one monthly fee so they have tried other methods such as tiered pricing.
Should the ISP's be allowed to impose higher prices as thier right to providing the services
Is this shift in power on the net already happening without the consumers realisation?
Shifting bandwith avaiability from consumers that are constantly downloading vast amounts of music, or streaming many movies,to allocate this bandwith to other users whom do not do so? Is this fair on consumers? Is this fair for ISP?
How does this issue effect our economy, future growth, our indivdual rights?
Is the regulation of the internet, realistically viable? If so how could this be done to make it a level playing field and address all of the issues
that it might raise?
Is the regulation a necessity which has failed to have been implimented due to the scale of the numbers of users, or are the current status of affairs acceptable? Can we prevent the reform which looks likey to take place? Should we, the user have say in how it is implimented to protect our own personal rights?
Or should the internet be left as it is due to it's present sucessful achivements in advancing our economical growth, social interaction, organisational benifits and ease of access to information?
I'm just asking questions, I have tried really hard not to state my opinion but I knew that it would be impossible to be completely on the fence....... Yet I still have not made my mind up I understand that this is a truely complex issue and I haven't covered all the bases. (In fact I might of made it more confuzing! ) But I know that there are many of you out there that would be better qualifed than I to give an answer and opinion...........
Should the internet be regulated?
Yes or No
Edited by m@d_max, 14 February 2010 - 01:56 AM.