Government Control of the Internet



During the past decade, our society has become based solely on the ability to move large amounts of information across large distances quickly. Computerization has influenced everyone\'s life. The natural evolution of computers and this need for ultra-fast communications has caused a global network of interconnected computers to develop. This global net allows a person to send E-mail across the world in mere fractions of a second and enables to access information worldwide. Software that allows users with a sound card to use the Internet as a carrier for long distance voice calls and video conferencing is the key to the future of our society. Our democratic government sensing the growing power of the Internet that is not so easy to control is doing all it can to get on the top of the wild horse. The government is dreaming to have the control: to view all the information circulating the web, to read our private e-mails, to peek into chat rooms, and to restrict us, the Internet people, in any way possible. The government wishes to be the next big brother who will be watching you! No matter how small, any attempt at government intervention in the Internet will stifle the greatest communication innovation of this century.
At present, the web is the epitome of the first amendment of the constitution: free speech and right to privacy. Every American values freedom of the speech and their privacy as something essential. ďFreedom of speech is one of our most precious rightsĒ (Ferry 356). The key to the worldwide success of the Internet is that it does not limit its users. The web is a place where people can speak their mind without being reprimanded for what they say, or how they choose to say it. Jim Exon, a democratic senator from Nebraska, wants to pass a decency bill regulating the Internet. Exonís bill apparently would criminalize private e-mail. Why is it that government has the need to read our private e-mails? If I call someone on the phone I can say anything, but if I say it on the Internet, itís illegal. Censorship threatens to destroy freelance atmosphere of the Internet that the majority of us treasure so much. If we allow the government to interfere with our lives so much, sooner or later it will turn into Communism or Dictatorship.
Our government wants to maintain control over the new, greatest form of communication: the Internet. They are trying to use the protection of children as a smoke screen to pass laws that will allow them to regulate and censor the Internet. Currently, there is software being released that promises to block children\'s access to known X-rated Internet newsgroups and sites. However, since most adults rely on their computer literate children to setup these programs, the children will be able to find ways around them. This mimics real life where these children would surely be able to get their hands on adult magazines, alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, etc. Regardless of what types of software or safeguards are used to protect the children of the Information age, there will be ways around them. This necessitates the education of the children to deal with reality. Altered views of an electronic world translate easily into altered views of the real world. Parents should teach their children that the Internet is just like the real world, and show them how to enjoy the positive and avoid the negative. Censorship is less important issue than good parenting. Raising well-disciplined and intelligent children isnít the government\'s responsibility; itís ours as parents.
Congress, in their pursuit of regulations, seems to have overlooked the fact that the majority of the adult material on the Internet comes from overseas. Although many U.S. government sources helped fund Arpanet, the predecessor to the Internet, they no longer control it. Many of the new Internet technologies, including the World Wide Web, have come from overseas. There is no clear boundary between information held in the U.S. and information stored in other countries. Data held in foreign computers is just as accessible as data in America; all it takes is the click of a mouse to access. Even if our government tried to regulate the Internet, it has no control over what is