I am in favor of reasonable internet regulation. Unmonitored and unregulated web sites contribute to threats on American security, the promotion of anti-American views, and deaths due to published instructions on how to build weapons of mass destruction. In addition, the lack of oversight of internet activity allows bullying, the promotion of pornography, and sexual abuse of women and children. Internet fraud is becoming common; identity theft, phishing, spamming, spyware, and malware result in financial and security losses for innocent victims.
First, let us examine the role of internet regulation on threats to American security. Last year, Army Private Bradley Manning leaked military and other government documents to the web site WikiLeaks. “Among the documents leaked were sensitive battlefield reports from Iraq and Afghanistan, hundreds of thousands of diplomatic cables, and a video of a deadly 2007 Army helicopter attack that WikiLeaks shared and dubbed ‘Collateral Murder’” (Gresko).
This is a prime example of the need for internet regulation. This leak of classified military documents provided America’s enemies with materials that have the potential to cause the deaths of our American soldiers, compromise military tactics and plans, erode the trust of our foreign allies, and fuel hatred of America among radical groups. The Boston Marathon bombing last year is an example of destruction brought about by men influenced by radical anti-American internet sites. A growing distrust of Americans and the military action they take to promote democracy and the well-being of citizens of foreign countries is fueled by hate groups who use the internet to spread anti-American views. “The Tsarnaev brothers learned to build explosive devices from an Al Qaeda magazine accessed online. Mark Bederow, a New York based criminal defense attorney, said simply accessing pro Al Qaeda websites or publications is not enough for arrest. But he conceded that monitoring a website’s traffic could be a valuable tool for law enforcement agents seeking to protect the public from terror plots” (Corbin).
“The ease with which hate groups can reach impressionable youth and provide propaganda and instructions for carrying out violence and murder is frightening. Within the confines of homes across America, our citizens are being radicalized and used as weapons against fellow citizens. Material that has no purpose except to cause hatred, violence, and destruction should not be readily available on internet sites. Access to sites from foreign countries noted for their hatred of America should be prohibited or at the very least strictly monitored by government agencies. Regulating the internet would mean putting a stop to content and activities linked to social unrest and racial hatred” (Pros and Cons of Internet Regulation).
Second, let us explore bullying over the internet. Social media has made it easy for cowards to post obscene, mean, or...