Does the Internet have any regulative laws?

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belarafon | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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Because it is still an emerging area and relatively new compared to other institutions, laws covering the Internet are foggy at best. Recent attempts to establish strict rules about Internet activity -- SOPA, ACTA, et al. -- have been met with resistance from the Internet community and with doubts as to their actual efficacy.

Most proper laws covering Internet activity concern what may and may not be shared or made available. For example, duplication of media for the purposes of sharing with others is illegal, but downloading the material for personal use is not; similarly, the BitTorrent protocol is fully legal because it does not store any copyrighted data, but the files it makes available are often "protected" under copyright law.

Another important area of Internet law is personal privacy; many people do their banking and other personal transactions online, and are susceptible to identity theft and fraud. While most identity theft is covered under existing law as established by precedent, it is easier to steal information without being caught, and so some Internet companies are now claiming the right to personal information as part of their own protection; this is in itself seen as an invasion of privacy.

As of now, government involvement is generally limited to specific websites, hosting services, and companies. Aside from schools and other institutions which place blocks on their available Internet activity, there is little overall regulation on size, scope, and content of the Internet itself.


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