IPcentral Weblog
  The DACA Blog

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Troubling poll regarding attitudes toward Net regulation
(previous | next)

A new Zogby/463 Internet Attitudes poll finds that:

“More than half of Americans believe that Internet content such as video should be controlled in some way by the government. Twenty-nine percent said it should be regulated just like television content while 24% said government should institute an online rating system similar to the one used by the movie industry. In contrast, only 36% said the blocking of Internet video would be unconstitutional. The older you get, the more likely you are to support government restrictions. Only 33% of 18 to 24 year-olds supported government stepping in on content, while 72% of those over 70 years of age support government regulation and ratings.”

This is really troubling to me because almost all my public policy work is devoted to the proposition that the Internet should not be regulated like broadcasting and communications. As the Net continues to rapidly erode the legitimacy or practicality of traditional regulatory systems and institutions, it will increasingly prompt an obvious response from policymakers: We must grow regulation! We must expand the tentacles of the regulatory state to include all those new technologies of freedom! We cannot let people think and act for themselves!

But while we know that's how policymakers will respond as they see their traditional power over media and communications slipping away, it's always been less clear to me how average Americans will respond. Will they begin calling for the renewal and extension of the old regulatory standards to new technologies? This new poll suggests that many of them will. That's troubling because it reinforces what many policymakers want to do. And that's how we'll end up with a heavily regulated Internet (taxes, speech controls, Net neutrality regulations, etc, etc.).

As Tom Galvin, a partner with 463, notes: “Some view the Internet as their new best friend, others as an increasingly powerful tool that can infect our youth with harmful images and thoughts and therefore must be controlled. Our challenge as a society is to let the Internet flourish as a dynamic force in our economy and communities while not chipping away at the fundamental freedoms that created the Internet in the first place.”

Amen, brother.

posted by Adam Thierer @ 5:04 PM | Free Speech , Mass Media

Share |

Link to this Entry | Printer-Friendly

Post a Comment:

Blog Main
RSS Feed  
Recent Posts
  EFF-PFF Amicus Brief in Schwarzenegger v. EMA Supreme Court Videogame Violence Case
New OECD Study Finds That Improved IPR Protections Benefit Developing Countries
Hubris, Cowardice, File-sharing, and TechDirt
iPhones, DRM, and Doom-Mongers
"Rogue Archivist" Carl Malamud On How to Fix Gov2.0
Coping with Information Overload: Thoughts on Hamlet's BlackBerry by William Powers
How Many Times Has Michael "Dr. Doom" Copps Forecast an Internet Apocalypse?
Google / Verizon Proposal May Be Important Compromise, But Regulatory Trajectory Concerns Many
Two Schools of Internet Pessimism
GAO: Wireless Prices Plummeting; Public Knowledge: We Must Regulate!
Archives by Month
  September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
  - (see all)
Archives by Topic
  - A La Carte
- Add category
- Advertising & Marketing
- Antitrust & Competition Policy
- Appleplectics
- Books & Book Reviews
- Broadband
- Cable
- Campaign Finance Law
- Capitalism
- Capitol Hill
- China
- Commons
- Communications
- Copyright
- Cutting the Video Cord
- Cyber-Security
- Digital Americas
- Digital Europe
- Digital Europe 2006
- Digital TV
- E-commerce
- e-Government & Transparency
- Economics
- Education
- Electricity
- Energy
- Events
- Exaflood
- Free Speech
- Gambling
- General
- Generic Rant
- Global Innovation
- Googlephobia
- Googlephobia
- Human Capital
- Innovation
- Intermediary Deputization & Section 230
- Internet
- Internet Governance
- Internet TV
- Interoperability
- IP
- Local Franchising
- Mass Media
- Media Regulation
- Monetary Policy
- Municipal Ownership
- Net Neutrality
- Neutrality
- Non-PFF Podcasts
- Ongoing Series
- Online Safety & Parental Controls
- Open Source
- PFF Podcasts
- Philosophy / Cyber-Libertarianism
- Privacy
- Privacy Solutions
- Regulation
- Search
- Security
- Software
- Space
- Spectrum
- Sports
- State Policy
- Supreme Court
- Taxes
- The FCC
- The FTC
- The News Frontier
- Think Tanks
- Trade
- Trademark
- Universal Service
- Video Games & Virtual Worlds
- VoIP
- What We're Reading
- Wireless
- Wireline
Archives by Author
PFF Blogosphere Archives
We welcome comments by email - look for a link to the author's email address in the byline of each post. Please let us know if we may publish your remarks.

The Progress & Freedom Foundation