The Instigator
Pro (for)
7 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
0 Points

Resolved: The government should be able to regulate the internet

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Post Voting Period
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after 1 vote the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: Select Winner
Started: 2/18/2015 Category: Politics
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 642 times Debate No: 70306
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (4)
Votes (1)




Thank you in advanced for accepting this debate.

Here is the structure:
Round 1: Acceptance only, save definitions for your case
Round 2: Opening cases, no refutation of arguments in this round
Round 3: Rebuttals, do whatever you want
Round 4: Second Rebuttals, do whatever you want
Round 5: Final words, no new arguments or sources

This debate will be judged based solely on who won the debate, prior opinion doesn't matter. There will be a select winner vote instead of a 7-point system.

In the case of contradicting definitions, the one that is best supported (either by source or by logic) should be chosen by the judges as the best definition.

Good luck.


Best of luck to my opponent. Let have a great debate.
Debate Round No. 1


I am affirming that the government should BE ABLE to regulate the government.

Observation 1:
Having the ability to do something is different from doing the action. For example, the ability to own a gun is different from the ability to shoot it.

Let's begin.

Contention 1: the government needs the ability to regulate the internet in case of emergency.

In the case of cyber terrorism, the government needs to have the ability to regulate the internet for the safety of the people. In recent years, cyber attacks have exponentially increased in quantity and magnitude. President Obama himself cites cyber terror is this country's greatest threat. The oil industry, one on which we have great dependence, is often the target of these attacks. For this country to thrive, we will need to defeat cyber terror. In order to combat this threat, the government needs to have the ability to regulate the internet, even if it doesn't constantly regulate. [1]
1: Saving the oil industry
2: By not constantly regulating the internet, but simply having it as a stand-by option, all of my opponent's impacts can be flowed to my side as well,

Contention 2: Promoting economic equality.

Government regulation can make the internet free. This is called net neutrality. In the status quo, the internet is set up so that it provides much more to the rich than the poor. When in just a year, the richest 1% will own 99% of the wealth, reducing the areas where the rich have more access can make for a more balanced society. In addition, online education is more accessible to the rich, furthering the gap of potential future income. The internet needs regulating to reverse the great economic inequality of our country. [2]
1: Reviving economic equality, reversing the current trend

Contention 3: Maintaining what is important about the internet.

The internet is a place of ideas and a place of learning, not a business. In order to maintain this Net neutrality, government regulation is needed. As large corporations intend to turn the internet into a business, the internet becomes a matter of money instead of a place for sharing ideas. Whichever idea had the most money behind it is seen by more people. This is not what the internet is for! In a world where companies have more power than some countries, the last thing that would be beneficial is letting them steal money via the internet. Regulate to prevent this! [3]
1: The internet goes back to what it was supposed to be.
2: People have an easier time using the internet. This includes cheaper and not being overshadowed by large companies.
3: Maintaining Net neutrality.

Contention 4: Maintaining privacy.

Privacy to information is important to many people. The only way to prevent large companies from stealing information from people is internet regulation. Companies have many more incentives to steal information than the government, so we need to trust our privacy in the hands of our government. This is especially important as large companies and other individuals are this day stealing information from people nationwide. Regulate the internet, have our privacy protected. [4]
1: Privacy is maintained. Instead of large corporations making money off peoples' information, privacy can be maintained through internet regulation.

What we're seeing in this debate is two things. First, there are a wide array of benefits that are accessible by regulation that outweigh any potential harms. Second, even if my opponent convinces you that the harms are worse, I still win this round. This is because having the ability to do something and doing it are different. The government should have the ability to regulate in case of cyber terror emergencies without needing constant regulation. Through these two points, I either access all of my impacts or all of my opponents, depending on how you view the round.

thanks and good luck to my opponent.




Given that the Internet is used as an international[1] and public space[2], the government has no right over the information which may be presented via the Internet. In Western liberal democracies, governments are elected on the basis by which they can serve their own country " how they will create or maintain laws that pertain specifically to that nation, and how they will govern the population. The Internet is not country-specific, but international and free. As such, no individual government should have a right to the information on it. Asserting false authority over the internet would paint the government as dictatorial and a "nanny state"[3], demonstrating a lack of respect for its citizens by assuming that they cannot protect themselves or recognise the nature of extremist or potentially harmful sites and take the individual decision to distance themselves from such sites.

[1] Babel, "Towards communicating on the Internet in any language",
[2] Papacharissi, Zizi, "The virtual sphere", New Media & Society, Vol. 4 No. 1, pp 9-27, February 2002, on 09/09/11

[3] BBC. "A Point of View: In defence of the nanny state". Published 04/02/2011. Accessed from on 09/09/11.


In countries that do currently practice censorship of Internet information, their citizens often interpret this as suspicious and dictatorial behaviour. For example, in China growing discontent with the government"s constant censorship has led to public outrage[1], and political satire which heavily criticises the government[2]. Censorship can easily be used malevolently and is not always in public interest; this motion supports the ignorance of the population by hiding information and the reality of the situation. Therefore the cost of suspicion by the population of the state makes censorship of any kind less than worthwhile and it is better to allow individuals to make their own choices.

[1] Bennett, Isabella, "Media Censorship in China", Council on Foreign Relations, 7 March 2011, on 09/09/11
[2] Bennett, Isabella, "Media Censorship in China", Council on Foreign Relations, 7 March 2011, on 09/09/11.


Censoring particular material essentially blinds the public to a complete world view by asserting the patronising view that ordinary citizens simply cannot read extreme material without recognising the flaws in it.It is paradoxical for a government to assert the general benefits of free speech and then act in a contradictory and hypocritical manner by banning certain areas of the Internet. Free speech should not be limited; even if it is an expression of negativity, it should be publicly debated and logically criticised, rather than hidden altogether.
Debate Round No. 2


I'll begin with a few statements and then refute my opponent's arguments.

Statement 1: I'd appreciate a conduct vote due to the excessive use of caps in my opponent's argument.
Statement 2: It is important to remember that the ability to regulate doesn't mean active regulation. This is more of a broad argument that should be carried through the debate.

Specific responses:

Op argument 1: The government has no place in internet regulation.
Response 1: Extending statement 2, the government should have the ability to regulate without constant regulation.
Response 2: As important as freedom is, net neutrality should not be compromised. The government has the responsibility to do what is right for its citizens. If that means sacrificing some freedom for protecting the freedom of the less-rich, that is what the government should do.
Response 3: The government has the responsibility to protect its citizens. This can mean online as well as not online. A key way to do this is regulate. This prevents information theft by large corporations.

Op Argument 2: Poor reaction to censorship.
Response 1: Extending statement 2, the government should have the ability to regulate in case of terrorist attack without necessarily exercising it.
Response 2: Exterior opinion (and even interior opinion) should not prevent us from making the right decisions. What is the right thing to do is the right thing to do however people view it. For example, look at the show "The West Wing". President Bartlett is forced to decide whether or not to bomb Palestine (instead of peace talks). Despite everyone, even his own advisers, telling him he needs to grow a pair, Bartlett does what is right and eventually makes a peace deal. Now, sure, this is just a TV show, though the message can be cross-applied to everyday life.

Op Argument 3: Free speech.
Response 1: Again, extend statement 2, the government doesn't need to actively regulate for a pro victory.
Response 2: Free speech isn't whole. In some cases, the government has suspended free speech for the purpose of the safety of its civilians. For example, for the people's safety, shouting fire in a movie theatre is not allowed. Is free speech violated? Maybe. Is it right? Yes. Free speech only goes so far as civilians aren't being put into danger, and government regulation of the internet can ensure the safety of the American people.

Accordingly, I affirm


I am going to rebut my opponent's point one by one.
OK let's start with the rebuttals.
1. I will just right the motion again "The government should be able to regulate the internet".As pointed out by my opponent this motion is about whether the government should have the right to censor the internet.But a big assumption on his side is that the government is a always a good entity(which is not always the case ).Further more their is no way you can ensure that the government is doing it for the right reasons.

2 The pro bring about the point of "promoting economic equality".
How does censoring internet promote equality.I don't think government regulation is required to make the internet free.It can just fund the internet servers and make it free.So his entire contention 2 is fallen .As regulation of internet is not required to make internet free.

3.Coming to contention 3-" Maintaining what is important about the internet".
The government is in no position to decide what is important about internet. It is the people who have to decide this.And internet is no longer a place in which people just share ideas .It has developed further more there is an entire e-market created.And it does make the life of people a lot easier.Now people have access to products from different places in the world.So we don't want the internet to go back to the way it was supposed to be.It is much better developed the way it is.

4. Contention 4:-"Maintaining privacy"
Firstly how can we trust a government who is already know for spying on it's on people.When it is allowed to censor internet it will only increasing it's spying ,as now it can hide any allegation which come on the internet as it censors it.
Debate Round No. 3


In my second rebuttal, I will simply refute my opponents refutations of my arguments. I shall also point out that none of my responses have yet been responded to.

Argument 1: Right to regulate.
Op response: The government is not always good.
Response 1: In the case of a real threat, not always good is better than definitively bad. Even if you accept my opponent's argument that the government is not always good, when choosing between definite bad and only sometimes bad, you are going to choose the government every time. The government needs to be able to regulate in the case of cyber terror.
Response 2: As citizens of the United States, we are the ones electing who will make the decisions. For this reason, we must give trust to the government as we decide its contents. The government is built on a checks and balances design. If the executive branch acts based on the wrong reasons, the legislative branch, the people we actively elect, have the power to impeach. This means that we need to trust the government to do right.

Argument 2: Econ.
Op response: "I don't think government regulation is required to make the internet free."
Response 1: My opponent clearly lacks sources. This is not a debate of opinion; this is a debate of facts. My source clearly shows a need for government regulation for maintaining net neutrality.
Response 2: Net neutrality isn't just about making the internet free: it's about making it so people with more money don't have visibility on the internet. This, in fact, cannot be achieved without government regulation as it would be the large companies such as Google making these decisions, companies that have invested interest in no net neutrality. Government regulation is important for maintaining net neutrality.

Argument 3: Purpose of the internet.
Op response 1: People should decide the importance of the internet
Response: I agree. I happen to be a person, and I believe that that is what is important about the internet.
Op response 2: Online business is important.
Response: Net neutrality in no way harms online business. Net neutrality would only make more fair for the smaller online business with less money. I would agree that online shopping is beneficial, though regulation in no way prevents that.

Argument 4: Privacy.
Op response: We can't trust the government because it spies on people.
Response 1: Go back to my second response concerning my first argument. As we are the ones electing these officials, we need to trust them in order for them to do their job. If they are spying, we must trust that it is for good reason.
Response 2: This is similar to my first response concerning my first argument. The companies have real interest in breaching privacy via the internet, whereas the government does not. We need to trust this government because it can protect us against people that are actually trying to harm us, whether or not the government is perfect.

Accordingly, I affirm.


Okay now I am just going to rebut my opponents rebuttals.
US government does not censor internet . And I don't see any treats of cyber terrorism .I will just define cyber terrorism for pro" Cyber terrorism is the use of Internet attacks in terrorist activities, including acts of deliberate, large-scale disruption of computer networks, especially of personal computers attached to the Internet, by the means of tools such as computer viruses."I don't see have government's internet regulation which means"Internet regulation is restricting or controlling access to certain aspects or information. Internet regulation consists of: Censorship of data, and controlling aspects of the Internet such as domain registration, IP address control and more."If there is treat due to some virus the government can inform people about it.

2.The pro said" As citizens of the United States, we are the ones electing who will make the decisions. For this reason, we must give trust to the government as we decide its contents." firstly as US citizens we did vote for the government that spied on us .That doesn't give them the right to spy on us right.
What happens when a government has access to such power is that now when anything against the government comes up on the internet it can take it down right.Now the people become less informed right .Cause any of the wrong doing of the government can be taken down from the internet .this is exactly what china and north Korea do .As a result people in north Korea don't even know of the wrong doings of the government .

3.How is the net neutral when the government can take down anything on the internet .Internet regulation highly favours the people who can regulate it .Its just taking some of the power form the rich and giving all of the power to the government.

4.When I vote for a candidate I don't give my right to privacy to him right.Not matter who invade my privacy it is wrong right.The point to privacy was that we can't always trust the government ,even though we elect them as shown by the example of US government.
Debate Round No. 4


Argument 1: In case of emergency, it is important to have the ability to regulate.
Op. Argument: "I don't see any threats of terrorism"
Response: First, there is a difference between regulation and censorship. Regulating has to do with net neutrality as much as censorship. Second, it doesn't matter if you don't see the cyber terror threats. The fact is that they exist. It was exemplified by Sony, and there is proof in my evidence. Third, if you don't understand how government regulation would help, follow the link I gave in round 2 for more information.

Argument 2: Net neutrality, econ
Op Argument: they spy on us
Response: Again, if you don't want someone spying on you, it is your duty to elect leaders who will produce anti-spying legislation. It is important that we deal with the real threat over my opponent being paranoid. My opponent has shown no evidence that the government's goal is to spy via or heavily censor the internet.

Argument 3: Net neutrality, ethically
Op argument: Governing isn't neutral
Response: We need to look at what is definite. Right now on the internet, there is definitely a lack of net neutrality, more money equates to a larger internet presence. However, the government is an uncertainty. I think it is important to not treat the government like a foreign entity. We are electing them from us. They are not out to harm us. Additionally, when my opponent says "It's just taking some of the power from the rich and giving all the power to the government", he/she is mistaken. Maintaining net neutrality is about giving the rich and the poor equal opportunities on the internet.

Argument 4: Protecting privacy
Op Argument: Government can't be trusted with privacy.
Response: Business have real interest in taking information whereas the government does not. We again need to look at what is certain. Although I disagree with this, we can call the government a maybe in terms of privacy for the sake of argument. We should trust a maybe to protect us instead of letting companies that are with certain trying to get our information succeed. Stepping back, it remains important to not treat the government like a foreign entity. The government consists of people we have given our trust by voting into office. We need to put our safety in their hands.

These are the four voting points in this round, I urge a pro ballot.


the_untold forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by bluesteel 1 year ago
TheAdamb99. Voted for Con (choose winner). Removed because: This RFD merely recited *that* Con had good arguments in each round. It didn't explain *why* Con's arguments were *better.*

Reasons for voting decision: Even though Con forfeited in the last round, he/she provided a very good response for every other round and used reliable sources.

TommyB12. Voted for Pro (choose winner). Removed because: This RFD merely stated *that* Pro had better arguments. It did not explain *why.*

Reasons for voting decision: I don't agree with Pro's position but pro was more skilled in this argument

--bluesteel (Voting Moderator)
Posted by KonstanBen 1 year ago
Hey, I appreciate you voting against your belief. Thank you.
Posted by KonstanBen 1 year ago
Yup, that's the plan!
Posted by Atmas 1 year ago
Yes, let's let the most progressive, inventive, and intelligent collection of minds be censored and controlled by one of the most conservative, uncreative, and dim-witted collection of morons.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Wylted 1 year ago
Who won the debate:Vote Checkmark-
Reasons for voting decision: Pro had a few points unchallenged, such as the government needing to regulate in case of cyber terror. Pro failed to show how exactly regulation would prevent or help against cyber terror so it wasn't a hard point to overcome but it was completely ignored. Con also went quite a bit off topic and for some reason equated censorship with regulation. Con failed to show why regulation would mean censorship. Pro please work on your premises or "warrants". A lot of the stuff you say, you expect to kinda be taken as fact, but you need to make arguments as for why those statements can be taken as facts.