In Brief

To argue for controls over the internet may not be cool, but Martin Kettle argues that it's right.

This article titled “To argue for controls over the internet may not be cool, but it’s right” was written by Martin Kettle, for The Guardian on Thursday 26th May 2011 19.41 UTC

Depending on how you see these things, you can argue that the prominence of a subject like global regulation of the internet on the agenda for the G8 leaders this week is proof of the Deauville summit‘s compelling importance. Or alternatively, that it testifies to its abject irrelevance.

The Anglo-Saxon temptation is to say that putting the internet on the agenda is a Deauville diversion conjured up by the incorrigibly dirigiste French state. Nicolas Sarkozy has always wanted to make the internet a frontline political issue. This week in Paris, he has hosted an “eG8”, where he told an audience of online grandees, Rupert Murdoch among them, that the internet could not be a parallel universe without rules and that governments must not allow the internet to remain unchecked. Given France’s top-down traditions and its complexes about the Anglo-world, David Cameron smells a rat. “We will not be regulating the internet any time soon,” Downing Street announced prior to the summit.

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