Alas poor internet freedoms I knew thee well…
As we saw in the past few weeks the public backlash to SOPA and PIPA was swift and strong, even online entities such as Wikipedia, Reddit and Anonymous (which does seem to jump on any bandwagon they can get on) went into SOPA blackout which stopped anyone from accessing and using the websites for 24 hours to show what a “SOPA” world would be like.
The internet was founded based on a principle called Network neutrality which promotes a level playing field allowing internet users unrestricted access to participate in the internet.
SOPA, PIPA, TPP, ACTA are all regulatory initivites created by Governments to try and curb the way in which the internet is being accessed and used. But in restricting its use they are potentially causing global damage.
In the case of SOPA anyone found to be aiding in piracy either directly or indirectly would be shutdown and/or excluded from being accessed from the American section of the internet! For example if a YouTube user uploaded part of a Simpsons episode to YouTube without the Fox networks permission YouTube could be shutdown or would be removed from the American internet access.
The main purpose of these regulation initiatives is to reduce or control piracy better on the internet however all it really would have done would be to fragment a global network and force file sharing onto private networks.
So what it really comes down to is the age old question of “Who owns the internet”, Does regulation sit with the country that the server sits in or does it sit with the website owner?
This is something that has haunted government since the internet boom of the mid 90’s and is something that is not going to go away anytime soon while Government attempts to restrict a “localised” country based regulation to a global network the question of internet boundaries is still left up in the air.
To that end the only way to deal with a global network is to have a global body govern its use. There already has been many calls for the United Nations to step up and take regulatory control.
With this in mind and with so many countries with so much business vested on the internet would this then create a global Government?