As our newest form of communication and connectivity grows and surpasses the traditional fourth estate; the Internet or the “interconnected estate” as Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen have so appropriately dubbed it in article ‘The Digital Disruption”, has grown tremendously over the past couple of decades. People around the world have been given the power and opportunity to make a difference to their communities locally, countrywide and even in some cases in a global scale. Where once such vast amounts of information and connectivity was limited to only those privileged enough to have access too it, today anyone with a cell phone or internet access can promote their own ideals as well as contribute to those individuals or parties who are working towards a similar goal. Due to this fact it is understandable when governments put forth great efforts to try and regulate, manage and even control what goes on within their countries borders digitally. Despite many efforts of controlling the masses, completely shutting down and breaking the connections made by these groups and individuals is nearly impossible.
Proof of this can come from the instance that happened here in the United States with SOPA and PIPA, the Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect IP Act. In January of this year these United States Bills were introduced to the House in the attempt to start controlling what went on within our virtual borders. Through the power of our interconnectivity, people all over our country quickly jumped up in protest. All over the Internet web pages of all varieties started full day blackouts. Ultimately after all the digital attacks and protests these Bills left the limelight and have disappeared for now, but for how long?
As the power of the Internet and its relative technologies grow, the amount of control on them lesson making fear in those who want to regulate what goes on increase. I believe this will only make the desire to control and police what goes on digitally in our country and in others grow. I’m sure the concern on how to obtain control over these virtual powerhouses has grown with each new innovative bit of software and hardware that is released. It is only a matter of time before this fifth estate in our country obtains its own set of regulations from those in the government who fear its power.