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We Need to Regulate the Internet

The internet has been around for more than 20 years, but it has only matured in the recent years with the cementing done with the introduction of extremely mobile lifestyles through smartphones & ultra-thin go-anywhere computers. We’re all connected now more than ever and no one would have seen this coming 20 years ago.

No one was prepared for this.

No one was prepared for the internet. No one expected us to talk to computers and get instant answers by the really early 2000s. Some of our governments have just started forming, and some constitutions were only relatively newly revised. Top companies that time like Nokia, BlackBerry, Yahoo! & even weren’t able to keep their positions, and all of the sudden, we were in a tech boom.

Our businesses aren’t prepared for the internet. Our governments & laws aren’t. When 9/11 happened, the PATRIOT Act that followed soon allowed a lot of loopholes in mass surveillance & privacy concerns.

Most of our schools aren’t. Some try, but online quizzes with searchable answers are not a good way to go. Information dissemination towards student bodies is messy. Some might do great, but again, most aren’t.

Our families aren’t. No parent knows how to exactly deal with the new generation because this is entirely new. Nobody initially understood that sometimes teachers give out follow ups & homework digitally. Some kids find R18 material over their new iPads.

We need to fight online propaganda.

Our minds aren’t. You know that from the spread of misinformation happening everywhere. People get into things because it has traction. Because it aligns with their current belief system. Because it seems to have a reliable source anyway.

People judge based on headlines, a few characters on a Tweet, and most people won’t open articles because it involves using data that you need to pay for. (see Net Neutrality)

And then you share without reading. In essence, you became a tool for spreading something that we’re unsure of.

That’s a simple way of looking how basic things might work, so look at it large scale. Imagine if a huge entity had the resources and the underground political machinery to fuel internet propaganda by hiring keyboard warriors, elect leaders, push legislation to sign into wars.

The world isn’t ready for the unregulated power of information.

We need to filter out lies. Facebook, Google, Twitter and other huge tech companies need to fix their algorithms. People have to develop an attitude of fact checking. Our government agencies have to push for net neutrality and limit services that are becoming too powerful.


I lift this from one of my previous articles to summarize net neutrality:

If Facebook is free, then the rest should be as well. If 500 MB of Spotify is Php100, then any form of 500MB data should be Php100

No, before you scream censorship, freedom of speech, I must say this isn’t the type of censorship that you’re thinking. We shouldn’t suppress unacceptable forms of media because it’s offensive; we should suppress them because they’re destructive.

It’s up to us to educate the people around us, and at the end of the day, vote for leaders who are well-informed about technology and would listen to its people. Or be the well-informed leaders ourselves.

Regulation is how we’ll fight this. Regulation on our small platforms, and regulation on the macro scale soon.

Cognitive dissonance is the mental stress or discomfort experienced by an individual who holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values at the same time.

But before we become leaders of information & technology, we must remove any form of cognitive dissonance in us. Let’s block out lies from our platforms, and we need to be platforms for truth.

This isn’t a problem exclusive to my country. This has caused many political upsets in other countries, people who are misinformed about the US Elections, Brexit, the PHL elections, Senate Hearings, killings & even ISIS.

The entire world has to prepare an organization that will regulate the internet.

It’s a far shot, and in the wrong hands, it shall backfire; it only takes one wrong appointment. The agency has to be fully independent & neutral, and should not be in any way connected to the interests of the government, or internet and publishing companies. This way, content and control remains objective & factual. Ultimately, it’s a quick fact-checking court for digital content. Movies, literature and other fictional elements should remain untouched.

The composition would be quite tricky, since elections and appointments would not mean that they are qualified. We need people who are well-versed with history, technology, and maybe even lawyers. It has to be a council composed of a small percentage of individuals from different tech platforms to advise, but ultimately a lot of those who have experience with the academe. Again, it’s tricky to create such a complex body to watch over such a complex idea, but it’s one way to go.

The internet is a platform for all. Let’s not divide it, and hear out the opposite side. Be consistent. Your beliefs are not the only things that matter in this world.

Do you have other ideas on how we can prevent misinformation? We welcome that in here. Drop us your thoughts.

Bob Freking occasionally contributes articles to the website. He is a UST Graduate of Commerce & Business Administration, Major in Marketing Management, and a full-time Sith Lord with three dragons.

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15 Responses

  1. Easy E says:

    i support you bes :D

  2. nah says:

    Should we regulate the internet or should we just educate ourselves? Hoax, propaganda, misleading news are just like “tsismis”. You can go after the one who started the “tsismis”, but It’s really up to the people if they will believe them or not. These things have been happening in the past, the internet has just become the new medium for it.

    “The internet is a platform for all. Let’s not divide it, and hear out the opposite side. Be consistent. Your beliefs are not the only things that matter in this world.”

    The internet is a platform for all. But you just can’t force people to listen and hear your opinion if they don’t want to. Respect is all we need.

  3. Miss Call says:

    It’s already regulated in China. Try searching for Tiananmen man from China. Try Facebook and Twitter from China.

  4. pong says:

    no we don’t. do you really want a china like internet policy? I’ve been in china and I used their internet and I don’t like it

  5. Brad says:

    Good read. I really felt the part where parents of the current generation is barely capable of handling the effects of unregulated internet. Sad truth.

  6. Huhu says:

    A lot of convoluted ideas, badly needs proofreading.And what’s with the patriot act, 9/11 when you’re talking about our govt? Unless you live in the US…im stumped

  7. Huhu says:

    Change title to: “We (Badly) Need to Regulate Yugatech Writers”

  8. anokamo says:

    You should probably join Raissa Robles’ crusade to own the internet.

  9. neil davidson says:

    This is simply censorship!

  10. Do it says:

    Online activities need to be regulated in this country as the internet is used to spread propaganda and other unacceptable forms of content. It can be done by blocking access to websites deemed as inappropiate. This is the first step. Second and third: regulate and monitor the media and all forms of wired and wireless communications. A lot more can be done but it should start with these three.

    • gab says:

      who will do the regulating? im betting you’ll answer “people who think like me”. in that case, you’re not regulating, you’re FORCING your view unto others.

  11. I don’t know where you got this idea but this is plain ridiculous. There is no need to regulate the Internet, and if you did, who the hell would regulate it? The government? Brilliant idea! *sarcasm*.

    At best, we should improve access nation-wide. So what if answers to quizzes can be found online? Improving access to information would educate a lot of people. I’m really not sure if this article is serious or not.

  12. NotASheep says:

    Easy, “Remove Anonymity”. That way anyone that carelessly creates a lie are too afraid to do so.

  13. roiji says:

    Let’s start by being informed with history and definitions.
    The Internet has been around for more than 45 years already.
    The world wide web (the websites/pages as you know) is yes around 20 years old, 25 years to be exact.
    The terms are not interchangeable.
    Source: google “how old is the internet”

    On another note, IMO:
    1) We, as users, are prepared for the Internet, but not the governments and I believe they shouldn’t since the Internet should not be regulated by any political governing bodies. They also have other priorities.

    What we are not prepared for is terrorism. If this was the point of this whole regulation thingy, then don’t blabber about anything else. Regulate and monitor the Internet in the Philippines for illegal activities/cyber crimes. But that brings us back to the problem of “privacy”. haha

    2) “Imagine if a huge entity had the resources and the underground political machinery to fuel internet propaganda by hiring keyboard warriors, elect leaders, push legislation to sign into wars.” — no need to imagine, it already happened.

    3) It’s up to the parents to be responsible enough to learn new techniques in parental control. Our parent’s generation had TV parental controls (even the old CRTs had them) that manufacturers implement to regulate the screen time of children. It’s up to the parent being responsible enough to use that. Now iPads are equipped with parental controls as well and should be setup before handing the device to the child.
    This should be the responsibility of the individual at hindi na lang iasa sa gobyerno or sa firewall or sa regulators…
    If not, then the parent is irresponsible.

    4) I think it’s a waste of time and effort for the government to implement the idea of regulation and a ‘fact-checking court for digital content’ as much as it doesn’t regulate (to a certain extent) the contents of movies, literature, and other fictional element. Again, it’s an individual’s responsibility to fact-check not anyone else’s.

    5) And finally, a problem has been raised by no concrete solution has been suggested.

  14. gab says:

    sounds like bob is advocating for a dictatorship.
    any form of censorship, for ANY reason, be it against offensive or, in your words “destructive” content, is still censorship. it also removes the right of choice, by limiting the “views” that a person can choose to believe in, similar to what happens in a dictatorship.

    also, who exactly, is going to do the regulating? it has been proven time and time again that ANYONE, or ANYBODY, can be corrupted. truth can be subjective. it’s better to just leave it to the person to regulate themselves, instead of forcing (or regulating, since that’s your term) SOMEONE’s view of what’s RIGHT OR WRONG unto others.

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