Do you want to live in an unpoliced world?

My previous post of today leads, inevitably, to another area of discussion; that is: the ‘policing’ of the internet. I flagged up the possibilities which ‘geolocation’ software and web services offer to governments and big-business. The internet, especially in its early stages, was strongly shaped by (mainly American) libertarianism. Early internet occupants relished the freedom to communicate, without barriers, which it offered. When hard-line communists attempted, in August 1991 to stage a coup d’Etat by kidnapping Gorbachev and holing Boris Yeltsin up in the Moscow White House, it was the primitive internet links to the White House which allowed Yeltsin and his allies access to the wider world. The plotters weren’t up to speed with the new technology. That would now not be possible.

But these days, especially given the very unsavoury use sometimes made of the internet, we should ask the question, ‘do we want the internet to be entirely un-policed?’ In the most recent discussion, is it right that civil authorities should have a way of tracing the immediate whereabouts of all users of the net? And if the net is an extension of the wider world (which I believe it truly to be) then do we want to live in an un-policed world? Or even part of the world? And what is the implication of saying ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to that question?

This is one of those posts which is an attempt to provoke some kind of discussion (and, in the process, try to work out who, if anyone, reads this blog!)

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2 replies on “Do you want to live in an unpoliced world?”

  1. i read your blog but not sure how to answer that at 10.30pm on a saturday after g n t!! 😉
    is it appropriate to mention china’s temporary withdrawal of making all their computers without the green dam – which arguably would have been about censorship?

  2. Unfortunately the rough aspects of the internet, which used to be merely mischief and playful, are now a simple, solid, serious business–organized crime. So there cannot be any doubt that the net needs policing (or at least that police will be among those we might encounter online).

    The danger of over-policing comes quickly as well. My employer, for example, now prevents me from opening (and of course on the basis that it’s humor–heaven knows we need more humor, not less!

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