A New Law Regarding the Regulation of Internet Content
Regulating the internet can be complicated. However, if we accept the proposition that accessing the internet is wrong, illegal, and offensive, then we have to think about ways of regulating internet content from a broader perspective. The internet content can be regulated from the constitutional approach. In this case, the constitution of the country should be changed to define “acceptable” content on the web. This approach can help regulate what can or cannot be accessed on the internet. For many years, the legislative approach has fallen to control the internet content, although there have been strong efforts to amend the freedom of expression.
Internet content can also be regulated using the state-controlled approach. The government should approach the issue of acceptable web content by taking responsibility to intervene directly in order to control what citizens can access. The government can implement technical controls on the amount and content that can be accessed by the citizens. For instance, Saudi Arabia has implemented an internet provider center with a central node where they block all sites associated with pornography, information on how to make bombs, and beliefs that encourage extremism. Moreover, in some countries such as China, cybercafes are required to keep a database of all the links they have visited in order to prevent access to sites containing pornography or any content that can result in a loss of territorial integrity.
The government can also use a statutory regulation approach. It involves the introduction of new legislation that determines what is acceptable on the web. This method has been applied in Australia, where the Broadcasting service Act 1999 is responsible for regulating online content. The introduction of this Act allows internet service providers to ban websites that are considered inappropriate. The US can also introduce such kind of legislation in order to discourage inappropriate website access. The state has the power to intervene in the web content if it considers some site unacceptable.
The self-regulation approach can be used to prevent unacceptable web content. It relies on the willingness of internet providers. For instance, Britain has adopted a self-regulation approach where there is no written law on what is acceptable content on the web. Internet providers in the UK established a watch foundation, which regulates acceptable web content across the different internet service providers. In the US, Internet service providers can also introduce a foundation that will control what can and cannot be accessed. Since most Americans value the freedom of expression, internet providers can determine what citizens can access on the web without infringing on their rights. This will help to control the unethical content on the web effectively.
The US government can also use the filtering and rating approach. This strategy can be employed by the government, parents, and teachers by using filter software to control what can be accessed on the internet. Filtering software can be used in conjunction with self-rating to prevent access to unacceptable web content. Filter software is one of the best mechanisms that can be employed to ensure ethical web content because it is easy to use. Moreover, the software is effective in blocking certain websites that have unacceptable content.