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Posted on April 11th, 2014, by

What is meant by ”˜Internet Cultures’? Why has it proved to be so difficult to regulate the internet? Use Australia as an example of the problems faced by regulators when considering convergence and content regulation. Internet cultures are relatively new in the contemporary society. They emerged in response to the fast progress of internet and information technologies. In contrast to the conventional cultures, internet cultures emerged as the product of virtual communities. Internet opened larger opportunities for individuals to develop their virtual communities, which have stimulated the rise of specific internet cultures. However, the rise of internet cultures raised the problem of the regulation of relationships within virtual communities. For instance, the emergence of diverse internet cultures in Australia raised the problem of internet predators, whose online communication could be offensive in relation to children. In addition, internet cultures raised the problem of the illegal use of internet. Internet cultures have their specific norms and rules, which could come into conflict with existing legal norms. For instance, some internet cultures involve music sharing which may raise legal issues concerning the possible violation of the intellectual property right. Similarly, new internet cultures raised the problem of the spread of porn and violence via internet. The existing legislation has come unprepared to the rise of new internet cultures and new regulations are needed to regulate existing issues. In addition, the elaboration of the ethical code of conduct for internet cultures is also important to prevent the spread of offensive information online. At the same time, the emergence of internet cultures raises the problem of the effective regulation of the content shared within internet cultures. On the one hand, any attempts of the government and government agencies to regulate and control the content confronts the opposition of the public which perceives such regulation and control as the limitation of the freedom of press and speech. On the other hand, the lack of regulation and control from the part of the government leads to the spread of offensive content, including sexually explicit materials or violence. In such a situation, efforts of Australian government to regulate and control the content of internet communities need the public support. In addition, legislative changes are essential to implement the regulation and control policies developed by Australian government. Today, the Australian Internet Safety Advisory body is one of the bodies that aim at the regulation of the content of internet. At the same time, the Australian Communications and Media Authority has the power to enforce restrictions on internet content hosted within Australia. However, the scope of regulations is, to a certain extent, limited, when internet content hosted abroad becomes available to users in Australia. Therefore, further improvements of internet legislation are needed for Australia.

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