[LINK] Calls for regulation following Internet suicide

Stephen Wilson swilson at lockstep.com.au
Sat Nov 22 12:40:22 AEDT 2008

Yes, but -- and I am certainly not taking a position here in favour of 
knee jerk regulatory responses -- plenty of people seem to be 
comfortable referring to the Internet as a coherent "thing" when it's 
seen as a force for good.  For example, it is often said that the 
Internet is transformative, that it is responsible for forging new 
communities, that it is a change agent, that it has changed the world. 
These are all reasonable abstractions in which we treat this system of 
great complexity and heterogeneity as if it were a thing.

So -- and now I am being provocative -- I think some people like to 
champion the Internet when it does good, but they make excuses for it 
when it does bad.  If we all believe that the Internet really has 
fundamentally changed the way we live and work (usually for the better), 
then we have to concede that it may well have caused qualitative (not 
merely gradual) changes in long standing issues like bullying, spying, 
fraud, and youth suicide.  We must with the good and the bad.


Stephen Wilson.

PS.  The telephone system is in fact highly regulated.  It even has its 
own legislation.

Lockstep Consulting provides independent specialist advice and analysis
on authentication, PKI and smartcards.  Lockstep Technologies develops
unique new smart ID solutions that safeguard identity and privacy.

Stilgherrian wrote:
> I must admit, I'm getting pretty sick of references to "The Internet"  
> in stories like this as if "The Internet" is some central, coherent  
> place where The Internet People decide what will and won't happen.  
> This is a tragic case, sure, but it wasn't "The Internet" which turned  
> the camera on, it wasn't "The Internet" which watched, and it wasn't  
> "The Internet" which downed a mouthful of pills  -- it's US, people,  
> the human race, communicating with each other. Or, in this case,  
> tragically failing to.
> Calling for "The Internet" to be regulated because someone used it to  
> do something tragic or stupid or illegal is like calling for "writing"  
> to be regulated, or "talking" or "the telephone", because someone  
> wrote a suicide note, or someone used speech to insult someone.
> Stil

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