There is no doubt that the internet has revolutionised communication and information-sharing in the same way that the telegraph and the television did before it. However, societies have had to cope with unanticipated new problems, including crimes which traditional laws are powerless to prevent. This essay will address some of the illegal acts enabled by the internet and propose solutions.
To begin with, the global scale of the internet means that national laws are no longer adequate to control what happens online. Take restrictions on legal reporting, for example. In some countries, the media is prohibited from revealing details of a defendant’s past in case this prejudices a fair trial. However, such restrictions are no longer enforceable now that information may be freely published in other countries and accessed by all. The only solution here, it seems, is to adopt global standards. Since the internet traverses national borders, the flow of information can only be controlled if all nations agree on what can and cannot be shared.