Regulated or Unregulated Internet, what are your opinions on this subject?

To regulate the Internet or not? The whole Internet or just parts? Who do we give such power to? How do we know they are neutral and to whose standards?

Culturally, religiously, gender, elderly or young generations, etc all have their own ideology and what they think is the truth so regulating something so huge is impossible or open to abuse just as having the Internet ‘open’ / unregulated is also open to abuse.

Web 2.0 opened up the Internet for individuals who have never met come together to share information or express their ideas but who is to say that some ideas are better than others?

The web 2.0 heralded as the user generated content is suppose to be bout more depth of information, more global perspectives, unbiased news but Andrew Keen says that his hasn’t happened but the web now consists of less culture, less reliable news and a chaos of useless information – even breaking up the whole concept of truth!

Are academics and journalists the only people who are reliable? But with some Authoritarian states this can take people’s freedom away and some say that the Internet can actually bring democracy to such areas (who… see video for ref)

Tim O’Reilly says Web 2.0 is anything you want it to be but Andrew Keen response is that people are using it wrong. Perhaps just like the early days of Wikipedia which started out as experimental and chaotic just needs time to mature into something that has some merits even if there are still some negative aspects. All new technology and ideas need time to mature and for users to recognise experience and expertise in people rather than just notice the extremist or egotistic types who just want to give their own personal view.

‘information at any given point in time can be wrong, but in the end it turns out to be right more often than not’

by Erick Schonfeld

Andrew Keen is concerned that the amateur individuals are only about their own wants and desires peddle ignorance but some people do recognise that there are good and bad sides to everything, it is up to the individual to be responsible for their choices and if somebody can learn to look up information and then seek out alternative sources, books, papers and even other internet sources then doesn’t this improve their intellect rather than some governing body babysitting people?

Before such sites as Wikipedia people still either assumed they were knowledgeable on a subject or listened to gossip, they didn’t necessarily research their subject. This seems to be part of human nature, to avoid the hard work of sifting through information and thinking for themselves. Perhaps if others pointed their fallacy then perhaps they would learn from their mistakes. Creating a world where people never have to think or do any work for themselves can only bring terrible consequences to future generations?

The former editor in chief of the Encyclopedia Bob McHenry states that Wikipedia only publishes drafts and there is no way to tell the difference but how true is this in regard to Newspapers before the Internet? Tabloids especially (The Sun for example sell 2,972,763 copies a day in February 2010) were not always correct as they prefer sales statistics and nowadays they feature Jordon or posh spice on their front pages, are these still considered reliable sources for information?

The whole concept of Wikipedia is that people from around the world can come together to share the sum of all human knowledge, but with a lot of human knowledge it is not always intellectual:

One Wiki entry for plumbing was edited by one person who decided to add a ‘slang’ description with a very detailed sex act and Lester Haines of the Register asks people to ‘raise their game’ as children use Wikipedia as an online resource for their school projects. Perhaps children and older people need to learn about more reliable sources of information so that they can make an informed choice. But again today’s culture want quick easy answers – which brings back the need of having experts organising and sorting information for people that cannot be bothered to it themselves and expect others to do it for them!

It’s is generally agreed that younger children do need protection from unreliable sources of information and such research as The Byron Review try to address these issues by teaching schools and parents on how to avoid unsavory sites and to protect personal information so more education on how to look after each other on the internet is needed. This is information has been widely available for years but yet people still ignore these messages.

There will always be a need for parental control software and security type software but there is no way to regulate such things, only to tear them down when there are first seen, Hackers and others who profit from such sites will always be ahead of the companies that make these computerized nannies just like the banking and personal virus protection software. Plus savvy children pass 18 and over graded games to their younger siblings or download from torrent sites no matter what their parents/guardians wishes are. Just like before the Internet came along such things were common places before, it’s just that the Internet is so huge and it’s easier to find disturbing images and the contents of corrupt minds than ever before.

The Internet is a fantastic source of information and knowledge but the user needs to be prepared to sift through and use their own intelligence in order to utilise it for the good. Unfortunately, today’s society is about looks, quick money and sounding knowledgeable rather than being and if they have an error pointed out tend to react like a spoilt child.

This issue of spoilt children, no matter their age is an issue that needs looking into as people are rewarded for being nasty, judgemental and selfish but who dares to do that?

Bibliography:

Keen, A. The cult of the Amateur (2007),
Nicholas Brealey Publishing (2007)

Zittrain, J. The future of the Net, [internet]
<http://futureoftheinternet.org/media>
[assessed March 2010]

The Truth According to Wikipedia, by Erick Schonfeld on April 8, 2008, [internet]
<http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/04/08/the-truth-according-to-wikipedia/>
[assessed March 2010]

(warning: explicit language)
Wikipedia plumbs the filthy depths of plumbing, ‘A sexual act involving a
man and a female…’ By Lester Haines ,Bootnotes, (2008), [internet]
<http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/10/14/wikipedia_plumbing/>
[assessed February 2010]

Byron, T. Do we have safer children in a digital world? (2010)[Internet]
<http://www.dcsf.gov.uk/byronreview/>
[assessed April 2010]

The Sun Newspaper statistics, [internet]
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Sun_%28newspaper%29>
[assessed April 2010]

Note: i appreciate that most of my bibliography seems to be mostly internet sources but as I’ve forgot to note the names of the other books I read it means that I cannot add this information!

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