Social Question

anam's avatar

Do you think the Internet as we know it is in danger?

Asked by anam (147 points ) May 14th, 2012

I know SOPA is old news, and maybe ACTA too, but do you believe we should remain on the lookout for this kind of legislation? How do you think the Internet should be treated? Do you think there should be more or less Government control over it? If you believe it’s in danger now, how do you think we should protect it?

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25 Answers

Cruiser's avatar

In danger? No. Set up for some significant change? Yes! The internet has exploded and I know the politicians are scrambling to analyze all that is happening and how of even if they should begin to regulate this monster. At face value it is an interesting dynamic of self governing and self policing. Just to ponder the what the internet is all about is interesting. It is organic and dynamic and in the shape and form it is out of sheer ingenuity of the pioneers behind it’s magical growth. The one are and a sensitive one is how to regulate commerce where internet business don’t have nearly the overhead of brick and mortar stores and that effect is already very real and the visible results with all the shuttered small businesses that litter our streets. What to do….

zenvelo's avatar

It’s under continual pressure. SOPA, PIPA, ACTA, it’s like a game of whack-a-mole, now there is CISPA, it’s hard to keep on top of them and stay informed on good or bad (mostly bad) legislation.

elbanditoroso's avatar

The internet has been going downhill ever since I began using it in 1985. AOL (and mass market internet) mean that all of the good things – survivability, serious use, went out the window.

The whole government involvement and spying and ACTA and SOPA are perfectly predictable consequences of the ‘democratization’ of the internet. Where people are, the government wants to regulate, and big business wants to own.

Five years from now, we will all need personal internet licenses.

AshlynM's avatar

Less government control, more respect from the people. If people respected the internet more, the government wouldn’t have to babysit us. (i.e. selling illegal copies of music and movies, hackers, perverts, pedophiles, the list goes on)

flutherother's avatar

I’m surprised they haven’t taxed it yet by the megabyte downloaded.

ETpro's avatar

Is freedom ever left to be free? No. The Internet is no exception. The forces of authoritarianism want to control everyone and to do that, they absolutely must control the flow of information between people.

marinelife's avatar

I think the Internet is fine and will survive commercial challenges just as it did SOPA.

mowens's avatar

I love how the polititans are litterally 20 years behind the curve. Regulations for the internet should have happend in 1992, not 2012.

Even 1992 is kind of late.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

Look for sites whose freedom to function within the USA become too constrained to migrate their site where they can operate on servers in countries where freedoms once protected in the USA can still be exercised and enjoyed.

ucme's avatar

Other than the occasional virus, it seems to be in rude health, no need for alarm.

Charles's avatar

“as we know it”? I hope so. Most people it seems are addicted to that cesspool of narcissism Facebook and other wastes of bandwidth.

wundayatta's avatar

Life as we know it is in danger. If the Republicans get in, we can expect one disaster after another to come down the pike. Legislation to protect business and security will drastically strip away our right to privacy and our freedom to engage in behaviors that do not hurt anyone else. Our economic power will be stripped. The internet will be turned over to whatever business provides the most campaign contributions. The people with the guns will start running a police state. It’s going to be very scary.

Cruiser's avatar

@wundayatta What are your thoughts about the net as it stands today? It is fairly unfettered and frankly the wild west right now. So whether it is the Dems or Repubs who attempt to jump in to establish continuity and a sense of fair play wouldn’t you think the needs and responsibilities of a governments involvement would be essentially the same? IMO something needs to be done and frankly pretty fast as a 28 yr old kid will soon have 100 billions dollars to spend on his version of the internet and then I am afraid we or the government won’t have much of a say in what Mr. Zuckerburg does with his money. It will be the internet as Mark see fit.

wundayatta's avatar

Since I don’t personally use Facebook, that really isn’t going to affect me. And contrary to popular belief, Facebook does not control the internet and is not the only thing there is on the internet.

I want the internet to stay big, so that there is always a way to subvert the powerful guys. Cryptography is our friend.

jerv's avatar

Very much so, if for no reason than it is new technology being legislated by people who are too old to have the mental flexibility to learn, and who are stuck in at the latest the 1980s.

And yes, there is CISPA; yet another attempt to restrict our internet just like China, North Korea, and Iran.

@wundayatta Tor is also your friend ;)

jerv's avatar

@Cruiser The internet is not a country. It is not really even a place. That is why legislators have so much trouble with it. If someone steals a file, did they really steal it? The owner still has the original copy. Yet the law hasn’t caught up to computers in over three decades. Hell, Kevin Mitnick was imprisoned without even being charged long before 9/11, much to the chagrin of Amnesty International, and the judge ordered that Mitnick was not allowed to use a telephone because the judge said that Mitnick could whistle into the phone, hack into the Russian defense computers that way, and launch a nuclear strike, and people believed him! US law is so far behind technology that it’s scary.

Until they grasp that the internet is nothing like the physical world, that it has no boundaries (at least not the same way geographic locations do), the government should just keep their hands off of it… or let us return the favor by destroying their structure and stopping them from doing anything.

Also note that there are alternative networks being thought of right now, and not all of them are big-buck operations. Look at how successful Linux is despite being free, combine that with low-cost hardware like the Raspberry Pi, and you can see how a new network could start at little cost by grassroots efforts.

AngryWhiteMale's avatar

A lot of questions. I’ll start from the top.

…[D]o you believe we should remain on the lookout for this kind of legislation?

Yes. Never trust politicians, especially politicians who try to “fix” something that isn’t broken. The legislation that’s been emerging the last few years has been the dangerous kind, like SOPA and now CISPA. You probably have already seen this Wired article, but a government building a center like this is a government that is out to monitor and control the Internet, along with everything else.

I know SOPA is old news, and maybe ACTA too, but How do you think the Internet should be treated?

There needs to be some legislation or updating of existing laws to some extent, to deal with criminal investigations and the like, but we are way behind with this, as many have already said. However, given the collective IQ and ethics of our current “lawmakers,” I don’t trust them to do the right thing here. The internet, as others have said, is not a physical place; it’s a whole new reality. I’m not sure that the rules we have necessarily apply there.

Do you think there should be more or less Government control over it?

Less, overall. As I said, there are some protections that need to be put in place (child pornography, more protections against identity theft, etc.), but on the whole, leave it alone.

If you believe it’s in danger now, how do you think we should protect it?

Educating yourself about what the government is doing, what the government wants to do, what the government is trying to do, and then fighting it tooth and nail. SOPA was successfully shelved, but CISPA looms, and if that effort fails, they’ll keep trying. The internet is information, and the government distrusts the internet for exactly this reason. The availability of information produces an educated public and electorate, which equals trouble for repressive governments. If you want the internet as it is to remain, or the potential for a relatively free internet to remain, be on your guard.

However, the internet was originally a government/military creation, so maybe we’re already screwed. :-p

Cruiser's avatar

@jerv I guess I am simply trying to weigh the commerce end of it where I have to tax all Illinois sales no matter where they originate but out of state over the phone or off my web store are tax free. My experience is one of a million and represents a healthy jolt of lost tax revenue in my book that only favors on line ghost stores and penalizes brick and mortar stores.

ratboy's avatar

SOPA, ACTA, and such are yet more schemes to transfer more wealth from ordinary people to the ultra wealthy. Intellectual property owners acquired much of said property via theft—buying legislation to pervert the notions of patents, copyright, etc. History suggests they’ll win in the end.

jerv's avatar

@Cruiser Illinois is a geographical place, therefore irrelevant.

Cruiser's avatar

Ummm @jerv since when are state sales tax irrelevant especially juicy 10% Cook County Sales tax??

ETpro's avatar

@Cruiser Why is it GOP dupes voters are convinced the Government can’t do anything right—except control what & whom we are allowed to read, say, exchange, mate with, give birth to, buy from, sell to… The party of limited government. Shrink it down till it fits inside every vagina, penis, bedroom, book, and brain.

Cruiser's avatar

@ETpro I can’t answer for all of them but for me it is that peculiar habit of theirs of spending more money than they have. Something that would put any free market company out of business. Why on earth in the worst economy EVER would a company/business/Government spend more than it has to the tune of adding 5 trillions more dollars to the deficit in just 3 short years??

Who here can raise their hand and tell me their own town or business they work for has not cut employees, services and benefits over the last 3 years?? Just tell me why this current administration cannot do the same?

Spike my water and give a pair of your rose colored glasses so I too can pretend that all is hunky dory.

jerv's avatar

@Cruiser States and the internet are about as related as kumquats and the sound of one hand clapping. If you don’t get that, then you have the same issues that government does.

And what of those that spend the money of generations as yet unborn and those lest able to pay? What company leaves 3 trillion dollars on the table then complains that it’s too expensive to feed the people that they put in the position where they are dependent on aid, just so their cronies can have a few more million that they are neither investing nor spending?

If you want to tell me that Republicans are even core to more fiscally responsible, I cannot take you seriously any longer. I know you are not stupid though, so I must assume mental illness (or drug use).

ETpro's avatar

@Cruiser The US deficit is pretty far afield from authoritarian control and censorship of the Internet, even for a Social question. But since you bring it up, you claim the economy is piss poor now. We were losing almost 800,000 jobs a month when Obama took over and shortly after the stimulus passed, that turned around. We’ve now had 26 months of private sector job growth. The stimulus wasn’t big enough, but OMB estimates are that it will have created or saved 7 million jobs by the end of 2012.

Obama wanted to help GM and Chrysler go through a managed bankruptcy and the GOP said no way. Let private equity do it (there was none—the government had already tried. Even Mitt’s Bain Capital said no way). Obama pushed it through and now GM is the number one car company in the world again. If we’d followed Romney’s advice, both GM and Chrysler would have gone permanently bankrupt with the loss of over 1 million direct jobs. The loss of business for auto parts suppliers would have taken them down too, with another 1 million jobs gone. That would have ended Ford and probably even foreign auto manufacturing in the US. Another million jobs gone there. Final GOP toll on “Jobs, jobs, jobs” if they could have killed the stimulus and the auto bailouts? 10 million more unemployed. How would that have helped the deficit?

Some day the GOP is going to have to face the fact that Keynes has not been discredited, he’s been proven right over and over. But his economic theories are up against a group of right-wing ideologues that don’t evaluate any facts except those that support the conclusion they wish to impose on reality. When you fight reality, it always wins.

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