France wants better regulation of the Internet. Google’s executive chairman says policymakers should tread lightly and avoid “stupid” rules.
Bridging such differences about how the Internet could or should be more regulated took center stage Tuesday at an “e-G8″ meeting aimed to parlay the digital world’s growing economic clout into a cohesive message for world leaders at the Group of Eight summit later this week in Normandy.
The e-G8 comes amid concerns in the industry that some countries – including several in Europe such as France – have taken measures or enacted laws that could curb Internet freedoms.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy, kicking off the conference, said governments need to lay down and enforce rules in the digital world – even as they need to foster creativity and economic growth with the Internet.
It’s unclear whether he’ll win over digital executives with this argument, or whether the G-8 summit – which doesn’t include countries such as China, a major source of online activity and online regulation – will agree on a single policy going forward.
Sarkozy said he faced mistrust over his push for the “e-G8″ when Japan’s earthquake, fiscal troubles in Europe, and the Arab world revolutions are likely to dominate the G-8 summit in Deauville on Thursday and Friday. Conflicting visions about the Internet – notably about how regulated it should be – has pitted companies such as Amazon.com and Google against governments about how to protect privacy and copyrights online.
“We need to hear your aspirations, your needs,” Sarkozy told hundreds of business executives, creative minds and journalists at Tuileries Gardens in Paris. “You need to hear our limits, our red lines.”
Policymakers such as Sarkozy say the blistering pace of growth has often left regulators behind. He said a “balance” needed to be struck to prevent misuse of the Internet – such as to protect children online – while boosting its potential as a driver for economic growth.”
- Source: Huffingtonpost.com
This issue really gets underneath my skin! Governments worldwide are afraid of the Internet. They pretend as though they care about online predators, illegal file sharing, and internet safety. However, they could care less about any of that. The real reason they fear the Internet is because it levels the playing field.
Information is freedom. Nobody knows this better than former African slaves in America. There’s a reason why the slave master forbid his slaves to read. He knew that by keeping his slaves illiterate, he would have complete control over them. They would only know what he told them.
This is what France and other Governments would like to do. They want to keep their people illiterate of the world around them by suppressing and controlling the Internet so that we remain unaware of the political corruption that goes on behind closed doors. Thanks to Wikileaks, we have this information now and Governments are panic-stricken.
The Internet also allows community and conversation. Millions and billions of people now have the ability to reach out to others all across the globe to communicate and congregate and this is the Government’s biggest fear. It’s a direct conflict of interest for any Government that has disgruntled citizens, because the Internet is the place where people can gather and take their frustrations online offline and affect change in a radical way. Need an example?..
EGYPT! This is what the world’s top Governments fear; public protesting generated and propelled through the Internet.
I am really afraid of the future. I fear that eventually the Government will concoct an elaborate scheme to convince us of their necessity to control the Internet for our safety and security. They will position the Internet as a dangerous hazard that only the Government can protect us from.
Then they will sign in new legislation that meters our Internet usage and restricts damn near all websites. Basically… Just imagine living in Communist China.
I am slightly hopeful though because we’re living through an age in which Internet companies like Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn have become such a huge factor in our daily lives and our culture, that they could not sustain themselves with Government-sanctioned Internet control.
The good thing as much as I hate to say it is that these Tech Top Dogs are so financially entangled with politicians that there’s no way they could pass legislation that threatens their business practices. I never thought I would say I support corporate lobbyist, but in this case… I LOVE THEM!