Invariably the viewpoints offered are:
- Regulation is needed
- Regulation is not needed
- In an ideal world we should regulate, but the nature of the internet makes regulation impossible/impracticable
And by fear I'm not just talking about those who fear harm (personal, economic or national) may come through an open internet, but also those who fear the positive power of the internet will be ruined if regulation is enforced.
But can we even start to propose a model, a rational approach, to assessing harm, risk and benefit of digital technology and various regulatory approaches in such a complex domain?
Can we quantify harm from loss of privacy and balance against the benefits brought by linked and accessible data? Or set the perceived risks to political discourse from blocking and censorship against the perceived benefit from limiting access to harmful content?
Your first instinct may be to say "no!" But if we don't explore new ways of understanding the problem domain we risk stalemate; debates lead by human instinct - great for so many of life's problems, but wholly inadequate for some complex, chaotic social problems when the answer sometimes proves to be counter-intuitive.