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Friday, April 01, 2005

It is too late to close Pandora's box

Michelle Malkin wrote earlier this week about how file-sharing is being used to spread child porn, among other things. Michelle notes that she isn't sure what the solution to this is other than increased vigilance by users of file-sharing software. She makes clear that she isn't calling for more legislation or regulation.

However, I am sure that there will be some who will call for legislation to regulate this type of internet usage. As a father of two, I am obviously disgusted by much content on file-sharing networks and other parts of the internet. However, I believe that efforts to increase regulation will not and cannot work.

The idea of regulating the internet is flawed because of a lack of understanding of the nature of the internet. By its very nature, the internet is decentralized. Short of monitoring everyone's connection to the internet from their home/business, there is no way to tell what people do on the internet. (and I would even argue that people could get around that) File sharing has already gone underground to the extent that those who choose to share files illegally have no worry about being caught.

The key here is the continuing rapid advancement of technology. Those who want to surf the internet anonymously can do so easily. Even efforts by content providers to copyright protect information is in vain. There is no stopping the illegal sharing of music, video, etc.

So what is the solution?

Daniel Henninger of the Wall Street Journal suggests one possible solution here.

At the end of the day, self-regulation is all we can count on as it relates to media and internet content. I do not look to the government to protect my children from the effects of media. That is my job. It is an abdication of responsibililty that causes many parents to look to the government to filter media that is appropriate for their kids. I think that this not only applies to the internet but to television and radio as well.


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