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BizReport : Law & Regulation : June 25, 2008

Half of Americans want Government to regulate Internet

As reports of the case against the Missouri woman whose harassment of a 13-year-old girl led to her suicide dominate the news, a poll showed that around half of Americans believe the Internet should be regulated by the Government.

by Helen Leggatt

When Rasmussen Reports asked “Should the Federal Communications Commission regulate the internet like it does radio and television?” 49% of the Americans polled said yes.

Considering the Internet thrives on freedom of speech, 49% is quite a large proportion and worrying to those who fight to keep the Internet free from regulation.

Some people believe the results of the poll were skewed. Why? Because the first two of the five questions posed were about the respondents' awareness of the current case of Lori Drew, the Missouri woman accused of causing the suicide of a teenage girl via harassment on MySpace.

Just 35% of respondents said no, the Internet should not be regulated and 16% were undecided. Women, it seems, feel more strongly than men when it comes to government regulation of the Internet with 55% in favor compared to 46% of men.

However, when it came to whether it should be made a crime to harass someone online, the vast majority, 73%, agreed this should be the case.


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