With the dust having settled following the recent E-G8 summit in Paris, many commentators have begun to express their concern at comments made by French President Nicolas Sarkozy championing tougher government control over the Internet.
Addressing the summit, Sarkozy argued that internet users must not forget that "governments are the only legitimate representatives of the will of the people".
While we agree with Mr Sarkozy that the internet shouldn't be a "a parallel universe outside laws and morals", the free-flowing nature of internet content doesn't mean it should be viewed as a ripe for government regulation. Indeed, much of the internet's initial success has to do with the fact it was not constrained by state regulation.
It is curious too that a man who has been such an effective advocate for military intervention in Libya would seek to legitimise the power of "government" at all costs. Does this include the same Gadaffi-led "government" in Libya who have engaged in heavy-handed tactics such as shutting down all of the country's ISPs in order to suppress rebel, anti-government sentiments?
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Sarkozy's comments have been echoed by the fascist government of the People's Republic of China who argue that their tough approach to internet regulation (which includes blocking access to the Big Brother Watch website and viewing images of Tiananmen Square massacre) has "protected the Chinese people" from external threats
Of all the articles out there offering reactions to M. Sarkozy's speech, we recommend the observations of Don Tapscott from the University of Toronto.
"Without the Internet — and social media in particular — the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt would have never occurred.
"Sarkozy’s problem is that, like other political leaders, he doesn’t like a medium over which the government does not have final authority. With the Internet’s arrival, lofty concepts such as freedom of speech and freedom of thought are actually gaining traction.
Take a look here.