Online ethics
The Internet has been likened to the Wild West of the USA in the 1800's. The Wild West was characterised by some people making huge fortunes, and everyone was an entrepreneur, adventurer and raconteur. The similarities are clear.

Unfortunately, where people try to make their fortune in new areas, be it physical or virtual, laws are often ignored, abused or broken. These also include the rules of moral decency and ethical behaviour.

Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the so-called inventor of the modern Internet said, "The web is used by humanity, and humanity has a dark and a light side. I'm an optimist — I think the light side wins. The web is supposed to be a blank sheet of paper, and you can write dark things on that paper as well as light. If you tried to control the web, you would end up with engineers deciding what the truth is, which is worse. But, if we see nasty things happening, we should try and tweak [the web]. If you look at any protocol anywhere, there are technical and social restrictions."

I would agree with this - just as in the Wild West, the Sheriff and Cavalry won through in the end. The problem is, it took time to win the war (and some would say it was never really won). The same will happen for the Internet, and we should all be aware that the Internet of tomorrow will not look like today's web, there will be increased restrictions, more security checks, etc.

Some say that will kill the Internet off, but I am more optimistic about its future - after all we all want secure browsing, more accountable information and messaging services, and more relevance to our world. I very much doubt that there are many users out there who are delighted to receive offers of Viagra, pornography sites and dubious finance deals - let alone the offers of huge wealth by providing your own bank details to help others, supposedly, embezzle money from third world countries.

If regulation provides us with a more ethical framework in which many of us work, study and play, then I am all for it.
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