Our news editor, Jane Lytvynenko, voices her opinions in her column, Next Stop.

AS VARIOUS INTERNET-RELATED CRTC hearings begin and conclude, I got thinking about Internet regulation. Aside from being used for porn, the Internet is an information and communication portal. This brings to mind a couple of questions. Firstly, what’s your favourite type of porn? But I’ll leave that one for Dear Di. Secondly—and the question I truly want to answer—should the Internet be regulated?

On one hand, definitely. The Internet breeds anonymity, which, in turn, can turn even the nicest people into ruthless bullies or mean commentators. If you have ever written a comment online that you wouldn’t have said in real life, then you can consider yourself a victim of the anonymity curse.

When one considers the never-ending stream of online predators, bullying, assisted suicides, and other harmful things the anonymity of the Internet enables users to do, the question “should we?” turns into “how do we?”

On the other hand, no! The Internet is an open forum. The beauty of it is you can voice your opinion without being judged by people you know in “real life.” For example, projects like [PostSecret][1] wouldn’t exist without the Internet—a project that contributes to saving lives. Some of the secrets are crude or graphic, but if the site were regulated by a set of strict rules, its impact would be diminished.

That being said, I don’t think the Internet can be regulated. Even the Great Firewall of China, one of the largest and most complex Internet-governing systems in the world, has seen users work around strict rules and blocked websites. As the world population gets more tech-savvy, defences will be harder to put up and offenders will be harder to catch. So what do we do now?

We try to self-regulate. Remember that on the other side of the screen there is a person just like you. Before you lash out because you had a bad day, ask yourself if you would do the same to his or her face. Sure, it’s cheesy, but the Internet is the future and we need to learn how use it responsibly. Otherwise we risk becoming porn-addicted, antisocial bullies who never leave the basement.

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