Internet regulations: Pros and Cons


Rahul Singh and Yatish Pachauri

Rahul Singh

Assistant Professor at Jaipur National University.

Phone number: +91-8860982973

Email ID: srahul5394@gmail.com


Yatish Pachauri

Assistant Professor at Jaipur National University.

Phone number: +91-8860982973

Email ID:  pachauri.yatish30@gmail.com


Introduction

“The Internet is like a knife which can be used either to kill or to carve a beautiful sculpture.”

–Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad

Internet regulation is one of the current debate topics. The question before the society is whether the internet should be regulated by the government or it should be left free for the purpose of any use made by public. Nowadays every persons’ life revolves around the internet as without internet many tasks cannot be completed. The dependency of people has increased as many tasks are performed with the help of internet. This rapid increase in usage of internet and growing number of users of the internet has also raised the need for regulating the internet.

 Internet is a source from where one can get all the information of the world. Though internet is useful for gaining the information but there are many people who misuse the technology by harming the society. There are many crimes nowadays which originate from the internet. Though government is taking steps to regulate the use of internet but the technology is giving ideas for breakthrough. There are various websites on internet which are blocked but the users make access to those sites by using different software.

There are many legal issues related to internet which need to be addressed such as spamming, online harassment, pornography, sex trafficking, copyright infringement and many more. These crimes are proving to be a curse for the society; mainly it is causing harm to the women and children. On the other hand, regulating the Internet would automatically mean restricting the flow of information, as well as its exchange. It would suppress people from being communicative and expressive; changing the way information is dealt with over the Internet. It is also debated that any system controlling the content of internet represents the breach of one’s right to freedom of speech and expression.

The research will try to ascertain the issues which make the internet regulation necessary and will also try to find the answers of following research issues:

  • What are the issues which makes internet regulation necessary?
  • If regulation of internet is the need of hour, if yes then to what extent internet must be regulated by the government?
  • What are the liabilities of internet service provider in regulating the internet content?
  • What are the methods adopted of the government for regulating the use of internet?
  • What are the various forms of internet regulation?

This research objective is to analyze the benefits and disadvantages of internet. The purpose of the research is basically to ascertain whether the use of internet needs to be regulated or not. The research will be aimed to analyze the steps taken by the government to regulate the internet and to what extent this regulation should be done.

Internet regulation: Need of the hour

The internet is the latest breakthrough in the field of communication technology. It has been proven to be the greatest invention of the 20th century. Internet is the name for the vast, worldwide system consisting of the people, information and computers. It is so huge and complex that it is beyond the comprehension of a single human being. The very name internet comes from the concept of inter networking, where multiple computer networks are joined together.[1]

The internet has become the most important infrastructure of this world. There is no such period in the history of mankind and no such innovation that has produced such incredible and significant changes in the world’s economy, personal communication, and nearly every field of our age.

Internet regulation basically means to control the access of information on the internet by ways of internet censorship and controlling the access of internet. Most of the regulations which the government applies are for the interest of general public. The internet today can be considered as a huge web of computer networks and databases which are interconnected across the world.

Through its user interface, known as the World Wide Web, the Internet gives users access to a vast amount of information, including typewritten text, tabular and graphic material, sound recordings, video images, pictures, and computer programs, which are stored at locations called Web sites. The internet also facilitates its users to communicate with each other through e-mails, messaging apps, chat rooms etc.

Many users make access to the internet indirectly through an Internet Service Providers (ISPs). All users, whether commercial or individual, connect to their ISPs via communication lines- typically telephone lines. Slower connections use modem, while the faster connections use other types of connectors such as network interfaces. All the data on the internet travels in small bundles called packets and each packet includes a header with address information. These ISPs charge fees from the users for the services provided to them. Apart from providing internet connection to the users some of the internet service providers also offer the content of their own which can include video games, personal banking, home shopping, research services and many more. The users can connect to these ISPs in many ways such as cable modems and satellite uplinks.

The internet regulates the flow of information which helps the general public in many ways but at the same time some information can be harmful for the users. And thus the need to regulate the flow of information arises. Though the users gain a lot of benefits from the information and facilities provided by the internet but at the same time there is some content on the internet which can harm the interest of the general public. Thus the government takes the initiative to regulate the internet for the healthy interest of the general public.

The internet regulation done by the government has both pros and cons. Where on one hand it is advantageous for the public by safeguarding them from the dark side of the internet at the same time on the other hand it stops the general public from the access of various information on the internet.

The internet has brought revolutionary changes in every sphere of human life. The most notable uses have been in the field of communication and exchange of information. Thus, internet is the global resource interconnecting million of users based on the standard set of protocols, mutually agreed upon method of communication between parties.

The 21st century is now faced with the challenge of combating the crimes, which are being facilitated by the internet. Since the internet’s strength and purpose is facilitation of communications, traditional crimes such as conspiracy, solicitation, securities, fraud and even espionage can be committed via internet. Internet has now become the integral part of the life of millions of people; however it has also being transformed into a heaven for criminals. In fact as the internet grows develops and opens up to more people, we could be seeing many types of other crimes. The inability to trace the identity of the users of internet, which makes it susceptible to crime. Also, the wide variety of information that can be transferred through the open, unregulated nature of the internet and the irrelevance of geography means that the internet provides fertile ground for criminal enterprises.[2]

Various uses of the internet are:-

  • Communication: The internet has enabled very fast, efficient and effective communication. Communication with people around the globe has become as easy and fast as with people nextdoor. This is possible by use of tools such as e- mails, newsgroups, chat rooms etc.

These communication tools allow us to share ideas, collaborate on projects, and ask questions and request information from experts, researchers, professionals and enthusiasts in a wide variety of fields.

  • Education: Internet has become very good source of imparting education. Today more educators are taking advantage of this effective means of distributing information to students. In the field of research too internet has been extensively used since its inception to share computer resources, to communicate and to collaborate on research projects.
  • Employment: The employment through the internet has become abundant over the internet and jobs are offered through this medium very effectively in every field. The internet has acquired the position of the most important source for locating job opportunities and finding right people for ones organizations.
  • Entertainment: The internet has become a great place to learn, grow and have fun. One can find out about current events and sports and read electronic journals and newspapers. There are weather reports from around the world travel information on a wide variety of destinations and from all the top resorts.[3]
  • Public Relations and Marketing: Public relations and marketing mean the activities which have become a necessity for every organization. Internet has become an excellent source for the same. Marketing has become much more effective for selling any product as the public relation job is very effectively carried out by the internet.[4]
  • Business: Internet has many uses in the field of business and there is no business in the world, which does not make effective use of this mode for a number of uses. As a matter of fact internet has changed completely the way of business carried out today.

All the above mentioned points are boons for the society but none had anticipated that one day development of internet, a great opportunity of communication and data transfer could also become curse for mankind in a number of ways and internet could be misused for criminal activities.

Anonymity of users on internet makes it easy to engage into a variety of criminal activities. The field of cybercrime is just emerging and new forms of criminal activities in cyberspace are coming to the forefront with the passing of each new day. Cybercrime is a matter of great concern in today’s networked world. While cyber terrorists and cyber criminals continue to disrupt businesses and governmental interests, the law struggles to catch up with an increasingly complex cyberspace, processing at an exponential rate. Governments, the military and the world economy cannot operate without computer automation today.

Cyber crime is the most dangerous of all crimes because of the magnitude of the loss it is causing today and the potential of damage, the ease with which it is committed; its invisibility and the disregard for geographical boundaries; the difficulty in investigation, collection of evidences and the successful prosecution of the cyber criminal; and the costs of dealing with cybercrime by law enforcement and protective technology. Once the internet becomes the integral part of the common man, which is not far away, cybercrime, if not checked, would be destructive to civilization itself. Therefore the growth of internet should be directly linked with the growth of the protective technology and other means to check cyber crime. Thus the need for the regulation comes into existence.[5]

Nowadays internet is open to everybody but initially it was limited to certain groups but today internet has its users in every country in every age group. Today a young child can also access internet at any time. In these circumstances, One must have some procedures for tackling illegal content on the internet and some mechanisms for allowing end user control of what is accessed on the internet.

Another issue is the harmful content which is present on the internet especially child pornography. There is a massive amount of pornography of all kinds on the internet. Also there is offensive content on the internet which can harm the various groups of the people. The Internet is an effective power for spreading data and leading business be that as it may, similar to each other human undertaking, a few people utilize it for an extensive variety of loathsome movement, a lot of which is illicit in many locales.

Such action incorporates copyright robbery, Visa extortion, monetary tricks, illegal tax avoidance, hacking, mechanical undercover work, digital fear mongering, real psychological oppression, bomb making guidelines, prostitution, certain types of betting, drug utilize, drug carrying, suicide help, defamatory charges, digital stalking. Again society is qualified for insure itself by implementing the criminal law in connection to on-line action similarly as thoroughly as it would if comparable action happened disconnected and, it might be said, this implies regulation of the Internet.

Internet regulation and Government

In June 2000, the Indian Parliament formulated the Information Technology (IT) Act to give a real framework to oversee Internet use and business, including modernized imprints, security, and hacking. The act condemns the conveying of indecent data electronically and grants police powers to glance through any premises without a warrant and catch individuals ignoring the show.

Web sifting can moreover be requested through approving requirements. For example, ISPs searching for licenses to outfit Internet organizations with the Department of Telecommunications (DOT) “should square Internet goals and moreover solitary supporters, as recognized and facilitated by the Telecom Authority once in a while” considering a real worry for “national security”. License attestations also require ISPs to keep the transmission of obscene or for the most part sketchy material.

In 2001, the Bombay High Court assigned a board of trustees to oversee issues relating to online express diversion and cybercrime. The Court requested the specialists, Jayesh Thakkar and Sunil Thacker, to make recommendations on digital laws. The advisory group conveyed a report which assessments the key issues and made proposals seeing domains, for instance, the approving of digital bistros, putative character cards for digital bistro visitors, which minors use PCs out in the open spaces, and the upkeep of IP logs by digital bistros. The Committee moreover recommended that web master centers keep cure time logs and records.

The report kept an eye on the confirmation of children from grown-up destinations and provoked web pro associations to give parental control programming to every Internet affiliation. The board of trustees moreover perceived nonappearance of particular data in the police as an issue. The report was by and large invited by the courts, and its recommendations are being completed the police and digital bistros. The Cyber Crime Investigation Cell was set up as per a proposition made by the board.

In 2003, the Government of India set up the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-IN) to ensure Internet security. Its communicated mission is “to update the security of India’s Communications and Information Infrastructure through proactive movement and convincing joint effort”. CERT-IN is the association that recognizes and reviews requesting to piece access to specific locales. All approved Indian ISPs must agree to CERT-IN decisions.

There is no review or demands process. Various associations, including the Ministry of Home Affairs, courts, the knowledge benefits, the police and the National Human Rights Commission, may move toward it for ace expertise. By expanding the forswearing against dispersing disgusting substance to join the isolating of Web districts, CERT-IN was locked in to review disagreements and go about as the sole expert for giving blocking rules to the Department of Telecommunications (DOT). Various have battled that giving CERT-IN this power through legitimate solicitation harms built up resolution holding that specific order must be passed before the administration can encroach on particular rights.

“I am perplexed by our administration’s methodology both to the web and to a huge number of Indians utilizing it. It doesn’t hold fast to the estimations of our republic and vote based system. This issue should be tended to critically, for which I propose to document a PIL in the Supreme Court. Try not to slaughter the ability to speak freely, change the IT Rules”,[6] says Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Member of Parliament.

N Vijayshankar, a digital law professional in India stated, “It is hard to scrutinize the Government’s thought process behind having these checks when they refer to national security chance as the explanation. Be that as it may, the oversight bans must be utilized for the said explanation as it were. Be that as it may, the very way the areas of the law are composed is vague and gives discretionary capacity to the police. Something else, the manner in which these laws are utilized can be disregarding our essential right to free discourse. Additionally, the administration is utilizing these represents restriction of substance in agreement to whichever ideological group is in control.”

In March 2012, Reporters without Borders added India to its rundown of “nations under observation” are expressing that:

Since the Mumbai bombings of 2008, the Indian specialists have ventured up Internet observation and weight on specialized specialist co-ops, while freely dismissing allegations of control. The national security approach of the world’s greatest majority rule government is undermining opportunity of articulation and the assurance of Internet clients’ close to home information.

Opportunity on the Net 2016 report gives India a Freedom on the Net status of “Somewhat Free” with a rating of 41 (scale from 0 to 100, lower is better). Its Obstacles to Access was appraised 12 (0–25 scale), Limits on Content was evaluated 9 (0–35 scale) and Violations of User Rights was evaluated 20 (0–40 scale).India was positioned 29th out of the 65 nations remembered for the report.

The Freedom on the Net 2012 report,[7] says:

  • India’s general Internet Freedom Status is “Halfway Free”, unaltered from 2009.
  • India has a score of 39 on a scale from 0 (generally allowed) to 100 (least free), which places India 20 out of the 47 nations worldwide that were remembered for the 2012 report. India positioned 14 out of 37 nations in the 2011 report.
  • India positions third out of the eleven nations in Asia remembered for the 2012 report.
  • Prior to 2008, control of Internet content by the Indian government was moderately uncommon and sporadic.
  • Following the November 2008 psychological militant assaults in Mumbai, which executed 171 individuals, the Indian Parliament passed alterations to the Information Technology Act (ITA) that extended the administration’s oversight and checking capacities.
  • While there is no continued government arrangement or procedure to square access to Internet content on an enormous scale, measures for expelling certain substance from the web, here and there for dread they could impel brutality, have gotten progressively normal.
  • Pressure on privately owned businesses to expel data that is seen to imperil open request or national security has expanded since late 2009, with the usage of the corrected ITA. Organizations are required to have assigned workers to get government blocking demands, and allocates as long as seven years detainment private specialist organizations including ISPs, web crawlers, and cybercafés that don’t conform to the administration’s blocking demands.
  • Internet clients have sporadically confronted indictment for online postings, and privately owned businesses facilitating the substance are obliged by law to hand over client data to the specialists.
  • In 2009, the Supreme Court decided that bloggers and mediators can confront slander suits and even criminal arraignment for remarks posted on their sites.
  • Prior legal endorsement for interchanges capture attempt isn’t required and both local and state governments have the ability to give mandates on block attempt, observing, and decoding. All authorized ISPs are obliged by law to consent to an arrangement that enables Indian government specialists to get to client information.

Impact of internet regulation

The extent to which government direction impacts the Internet part relies upon the nation and the level of control. Governments around the globe control different parts of Internet content, for example, child erotica, slander and sensitive data to national security. As of February 2014, the nations whose governments banned the most Internet content were North Korea, Burma, Cuba, Saudi Arabia, Iran, China, Syria, Tunisia, Vietnam and Turkmenistan. The civil argument proceeds in the matter of what could happen if the U.S. government starts to manage the Internet all the more vigorously by actualizing the guideline of unhindered internet, or open Internet.

Monetary examinations have demonstrated that in a few nations, open-get to controls have had a tendency to discourage investments. The individuals who bolster this view guarantee that where open-get to rules exists, there is less motivating force for telecommunications and link organizations to contribute. Different examinations have demonstrated that broadband control and investment now and then have a positive relationship and that broadband direction can adversely influence a general investment atmosphere. In different cases, analysts have detailed uncertain outcomes.

There can be positive as well as negative impacts of internet regulation done by the government as internet regulation has both its advantages as well as disadvantages.

The Internet’s conduits can’t be bolted and observed to a point where it influences the way we get to information off the web.

Upside

  • Terrorists utilize the Internet as their significant purpose of-contact medium where it is controlled and controlled to do their business. With regulations on the Internet, there would be an approach to control and in this manner limit the risk that the Internet causes as a result of fear based oppressor movement. Regulating the Internet would mean putting a stop to substance and exercises connected to social distress, and racial discrimination among men and women.
  • Child explicit entertainment is an industry that is blasting in the porn type, essentially in light of the fact that we face a daily reality such that rationally wiped out men and women that have a missing inner voice with regards to youthful children exist among us. The Internet has material everywhere, where the specialists have possessed the capacity to follow/restrict these sites from open survey. However, the issue is that it can in any case be seen through gushing porn sites where these are visible for nothing with no sort of enrollment with a charge.
  •  The manhandling of ladies and kids with regards to human trafficking is a serious issue that we need to look on the planet today, and the Internet doesn’t shield them from such demonstrations of infringement and mishandle. Regulating the Internet would keep beware of such movement, narrowing it down monstrously with stiffer laws.
  • Fraud and defamatory exercises spread like out of control fire, all through the Internet, where organizations and people would be ensured against such violence if regulating arrangements were passed.
  • Piracy which acts like a danger to the individuals who see free material as a method for hurting their odds of being compensated monetarily, is at an unsurpassed high in our day and age. Forbidding or limiting such sites would direct customers towards really purchasing items, rather than getting these for nothing.
  • Email spamming would be put to a stop, where harmful content like malware is much of the time sent to others inbox. It would likewise check away deceitful acts where individuals attempt and access your own information like financial balance numbers et cetera, to pick up your information illicitly and utilize it against one. Another prime case is when individuals tend to succumb to messages conveying cry stories about how they require cash for surgery. Indeed, even lottery cash is evidently won by you, however is open simply after a specific expense is paid by one before the exchange of the said sum can be made.
  •  Plagiarizing copyright material would be put to a stop since numerous organizations that run their work over the Internet have illicit gateways replicating their substance, without giving due credit to the source they acquired the information from.

Drawbacks

  • Regulating the Internet would consequently mean limiting the stream of information, and also its trade. It would stifle individuals from being open and expressive; changing the way information is managed over the Internet.
  •  Information would be withheld from general society and not uninhibitedly accessible as it is as of now. The information we get to is priceless, and for a strategy or act to come in and grab that away, could be the finish of the Internet as we probably am aware it.
  • Those who enjoy demonstrations of mishandling and unlawful movement would just be compelled to conceal their tracks better or remain in isolation, if approaches/acts came up to control Internet content.
  • Information when not available in one nation is effectively feasible through intermediary servers that tricks the framework into trusting that you are in another nation through a phony IP address, in this way enabling you to get to information through its software.

The Internet is a powerhouse of information and visual substance that we as a whole requirement for changed purposes. Utilizing these in ways that aren’t worthy is the thing that bothers authorities, constraining them to think of approaches and acts that will undoubtedly make a craze. We can never say what tomorrow will convey with regards to Internet regulation.

Conclusion and suggestions

There are both advantages and disadvantages of Internet regulation. Web oversight, would not be the best thing for us. We utilize the web to associate with others and watch content on sites, for example, YouTube. Web restriction would resemble somebody appropriate beside you observing each and every thing you do on the web. The burden of web control would be that clients would pass up a major opportunity for data that could be extremely valuable to them, on the grounds that the administration doesn’t think it’s a put stock in site.

Having Internet oversight would profit individuals and it is great to have. As explicit entertainment is progressively aggressive, however in the meantime it would obstruct the sites we adore, they have to believe on the Internet. The internet has its own peculiarities and nuances and with time will evolve its own set of homogenous laws that will exclude application of any traditional conflict of law principles in online disputes.

Self regulation through industry initiatives will certainly be important such as developing netiquette as settled best practices for protecting free speech and privacy of citizens, however reasonable government surveillance measures will also be necessary to combat e-crimes such as cyber terrorism, cyber warfare and activities which could jeopardize national health, safety and public interest. Combination of efforts from individual level to global level, particularly, promoting technological innovation, self regulation, industry initiatives, strong legal enforcement framework, and international cooperation can pave way for a dynamic yet balanced development of cyber laws. Hence we need a multipronged approach involving technical, legal, industry and social initiatives to create a sound legal regime for cyberspace.


[1] Gerald R. Ferrera, “Cyber Law Text and Cases”, at 3 (2001)

[2] Gauri Manglik and Vandana pai, “Internet Crimes: Effectiveness of the laws in force” Supreme Court Journal Vol. 1 2001 at 40.

[3] EDN STAFF, Top 10 uses of Internet, https://www.edn.com/top-10-uses-of-the-internet/ access on 18 Dec, 2019 at 04:03PM.

[4] VIJAY K SHARMA, Uses of Internet in our Daily Life- Everyday Internet Impact, http://www.klientsolutech.com/uses-of-internet-in-our-daily-life-everyday-internet/ access on 18 Dec, 2019 at 04:11PM.

[5] Crime on Internet,  https://www.hg.org/legal-articles/crimes-on-the-internet-40714 access on 19 Dec, 2019 at 12:14 PM.

[6] Speech by Rajiv Chandrasekhar, https://www.medianama.com/2019/07/223-bjp-mps-rajeev-chandrasekhar-and-amar-sable-talk-algorithm-bias-and-privacy-in-parliament/ access on 18 Dec, 2019 at 12:30PM

[7] Freedom on Net, https://freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-net/freedom-net-2018 access on 19 Dec, 2019 at 10:12AM.

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