Recent reports indicate that governments are trying to pass technology-related legislation in an ever-increasing manner. What effects will this have on the Internet? Or will the government be completely helpless against such an unwieldy opponent like the Internet?
The first point that needs to be discussed is whether governments even have the right to regulate communications over the Internet. If they don't, who is going to stop them from trying? Ordinary people are largely unqualified to decide on the matter; even people who dedicate their lives to the computer industry find it hard to keep up with the vast amount of changes occuring. How can we expect someone whose focus is law or politics to rule on events that they simply don't understand?
This brings up another question. If an individual government does have the right, do they even have the power to regulate an ever-increasing, global network? Or will the current regulations in Australia and the UK fail miserably, much to the great shame of the respective governments?
Let us not forget the USA and it's plans for a massive "Computer Monitoring System" called Fidnet. Is Fidnet the government's feeble attempt of a backlash aimed at the cracker community due to recent intrusions on several government sites? If the government's plans for Fidnet are approved and it is constructed what will happen? Will malicious hackers finally unite to fight for something they value most, their privacy? Even if it means direct opposition to the government? If so, who will end up on the winning side?
I'll be the first (and maybe the only) to admit the Internet does need regulation. Privacy and anonymity were fine for the past, and even most of the present day. But as technology such as E-commerce and online banking becomes mainstream, privacy must give way to regulation. I don't believe that a single government has the power or the means to force Internet regulations. Companies and other private parties must willfully submit to any regulation of their networks if the idea of having "regulated sites" is expected to work at all. Also I believe that a single government is incapable of providing the amount of protection needed, even in it's own country. The simple fact is that until the governments from around the world begin to act as one entity the Internet, and all it's shortcomings, will continue to elude the government's reign.