As the internet is used more and more by brands and people it changes and adapts to the their needs. For instance, with digital convergence people are able to access all different types of media online as well as shop from their homes. However, one area of the internet that has been slow to adapt is governance and user protection. In fact, within these areas website, service providers and government bodies have played more of a reactionary role – making changes after a problem arises.

One major question that is great for discussion is; Who should be in charge of monitoring and regulating online activities?

Do you believe that there should be a government body like the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that should be charged with monitoring our online activities and regulating them? Or, should it be up to the websites themselves to decide what is okay to say or do, and then monitor and regulate their users?

Some important topics that need to be considered when thinking about who’s responsible for online governance are:

  • Livestreaming – When is it a breach of privacy? How can consent be presented? If there is no consent, but people are filmed; How should this be regulated? Since the stream was live, people likely already saw it, even if the recording is deleted.
  • Can the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights ever be outweighed due to safety aspects? (Think in terms FBI vs. Apple encryption dispute over one of the San Bernadino shooters cell phones.)
  • Freedom of Expression – Who should be responsible for regulating this? For instance Twitter went from having virtually no rules to now having rules about what can and can’t be tweeted.
    • How do we determine when freedom of speech turns into harassment and bullying?
    • How do we protect those being harassed in the tangible vs. intangible world?
  • Online Data Privacy – Should it be a “what you pay for is what you get” setup? This article from The Daily Dot does a great job explaining how online privacy has started to create a digital divide between the wealthy and poor.
    • Should internet service providers need your permission to collect basic personal data or cookies?
  • Cyber Bullying – If it occurs over an anonymous platform, when/should it be okay to reveal the identity of the guilty party?
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