What is so bad about Internet regulation?

John Weckert


Recently legislation was introduced into the Australian parliament to regulate the Internet. This created something of a furore from within the computer industry where arguments against the legislation ranged from those based on technical difficulties to those based on moral considerations, particularly of freedom of speech and freedom to access information. This paper will be concerned with the moral aspects of Internet regulation, and will be based on the speech act theory of John Austin. It will compare the Internet with other media, particularly print, television, and telephones. It will examine arguments both for and against Internet regulation, and argue that such regulation is not all bad, and in fact exists to a considerable extent already in a way which meets little resistance.