The Efforts to Regulate the Internet

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The Efforts to Regulate the Internet


“Cyberspace is both the popular media's new darling and new demon, revealing a new, expansive intellectual horizon but simultaneously providing easy access to an infinite, virtual Pandora's box” [1].

This paper shall discuss the situations that have raised the need for the Internet regulations, and in particular, Internet content censorship. Then, it shall review the regulatory efforts worldwide, with respect to the local cultures and governmental systems. Also, technological tools for regulating the Internet contents shall be presented. The ethical discussion shall focus on the right to regulate the Internet content, in light of the implications this restriction may have on the individual and common good of the cyber community.


The popularity of cyberspace is growing. As more people gain access to cyberspace, unpleasant elements are getting more media attention, and there is a growing population of supporters for regulation. Some of the concerns of regulation supporters are pornography, pedophilia, vulgar language, and cyber scams. Pro-regulationers hope that a structured form of monitoring and policing will prevent such occurrences online. The idea that policing is imminent in cyberspace is quickly becoming a part of the cyber culture. Though currently self regulation is the main mode of practice, counties are beginning to take steps, which will define what is and is not acceptable online content. [2]

The following headlines related to a child pornography case in Britain is an example that can serve as a good argument for those who are pro-regulations [3]:

- Launched after FBI passed credit card details of 7300 alleged British subscribers


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...] North Park University, “Adam Smith writes The Wealth of Nations: 1776”

[14] Pontifical Council for Social Communications: Ethic in Internet, John P. Foley.

[15] “Case studies in Information and Computer Ethics”, Richard Spinello, Chapter 2

[16] Privacy Initiatives, Federal Trade Commission.

[17] Positions Based on Ethical Principals and Values, Chris S. Show.

[18] Pornography and Ethics, Free speech or Civil rights, Muhammad Hozien.
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