Based on the current state of the financial industry, one's political party leanings and idealogy and a multitude of other factors, a group of x individuals could be placed in a room and have x very different and equally well supported ideas regarding regulation of different industries in the US.
However, despite the current groundswell of support for regulation in many areas, including the aforementioned financial industry, one area of the economy that I feel should escape the scrutiny of regulators save in very extreme circumstances is the internet.
I have had the privilege since starting this blog a very short time ago to be found by Google search engines, have my page linked to by prominent blog search sites, be cited by a number of blogs and Twitter pages around the world, and consequently be seen as a resource by both friends and complete strangers. This is an incredible phenomenon and outlet for creativity which would not have been viable a relatively short 15 years ago. Yet, this is still not possible under the regulatory regimes of many of the world's nations which stifle creativity and dissent and therefore innovation and progress. Moving even an inch in this direction would, in my opinion, be an incredible, and incredibly difficult to remedy, mistake.
There are of course some areas where I believe that the internet should be regulated for content. For example, child pornography is a serious crime which warrants as much attention from law enforcement in web-based formats as it used to in the VHS format. Additionally, libel can be just as injurious, if not much more so, on a chat page with its availability to millions as a newspaper article or slanderous remark.
However, there are incredible societal and economic benefits that stem from the free-flow of well considered ideas that should not be stifled. I understand that this view may be seen as self serving as my thoughts reach you courtesy of the blogosphere. However, I do not believe that impeaches their validity or absolute truth.
Although it is not apparent that the current administration seeks to change the current state of the internet in any specific ways, its recent battling with cable news stations and braggadocio claims that it controls news flow make the free exchange of ideas all the more important. However, I would like to make it clear that this is not a politicized issued from my perspective. Those who were not particularly happy with the previous eight years would agree that the internet was a beneficial forum for idea sharing when the Bush/Cheney team was in charge of news flow from Pennsylvania Ave.
Additionally, more and more Americans turn to the internet as a resource with declining newspaper sales, and the lack of hard news information available on what I like to call the Cable News Entertainment channels. A quick scan of stations such as MSNBC and Fox News Channel during primetime will give the viewer a better primer in petty bickering, vicious insults, and self-serving commentating than politics, the economy, or the long-forgotten war effort. These are important societal benefits which should be afforded the utmost protection.
Aside from these societal benefits, idea sharing via chat rooms and the posting of research including vital scientific study results increases the capacity for learning and innovation in our economy. America is no longer built on the foundation of industrial production, and it is critical that ideas, the lifeblood of a service-oriented economy, be allowed to flourish.
For these reasons and more, I believe that it is critical that the focus of regulators rest not on the internet where it can only prove detrimental, but on other areas where carefully considered oversight could prove beneficial.