The difficulties you find when trying to govern the internet

  • Laws governing the internet face several challenges, reflecting the complexities of regulating a global and constantly evolving medium.
  • Because of transnational nature, technical complexity, differences in understanding among various stakeholders and freedom of information vs. personal data protection, governing the internet is challenging.
  • Internet governance is important for maintaining the internet as a global public resource that serves the interests of all its users while promoting innovation, economic development, and the protection of fundamental rights.

Regulating the internet requires a collaborative effort involving governments, tech companies, civil society, and users to develop comprehensive and adaptive (nd legal) frameworks.

But laws struggle to effectively regulate new online phenomena due to the rapid advancement of technology, often lagging behind. Additionally, issues such as the necessity to protect personal information, the need to regulate harmful content while maintaining a free environment, and the challenge of transcending borders in internet usage further complicate matters, making them difficult to address.

7 difficulties

1. Jurisdictional issues

The internet transcends national borders, making it challenging to enforce laws uniformly across different jurisdictions. This can lead to conflicts of laws and difficulties in holding perpetrators accountable.

2. Rapid technological advancement

Technological advancements often outpace the development of relevant laws. New technologies like artificial intelligence, blockchain, and quantum computing pose unique regulatory challenges that lawmakers struggle to address effectively.

3. Privacy concerns

The collection and use of personal data by online platforms have raised significant privacy concerns. Laws such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in Europe attempt to address these issues, but enforcement and compliance remain challenging.

Also read: What is the Youth Internet Governance Forum?

4. Freedom and harmful content

Balancing the protection of freedom of expression with the need to combat harmful content such as hate speech, misinformation, and online harassment is a persistent challenge. Legislation attempting to regulate content risks censorship and stifling legitimate discourse.

5. Intellectual property rights

Protecting intellectual property rights online, such as copyrighted content, is challenging due to the ease of digital reproduction and distribution. Copyright laws struggle to keep up with the rapid sharing of content on the internet.

6. Cybersecurity threats

The internet is vulnerable to various cybersecurity threats, including hacking, malware, and data breaches. Laws addressing cybersecurity often lag behind the evolving tactics of cybercriminals, making it difficult to ensure adequate protection.

7. Platform liability

Determining the liability of online platforms for user-generated content is a contentious issue. Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act in the United States provides platforms with broad immunity from liability for content posted by users, but debates continue over whether and how to amend this law.

Why internet governance is crucial?

Global connectivity

The internet transcends borders, connecting people worldwide. Effective governance ensures that this connectivity remains open, accessible, and equitable for all users regardless of their location or background.

Also read: What is internet governance?

Digital economy

The internet has become the backbone of the modern digital economy. Governance frameworks help in fostering innovation, enabling e-commerce, and ensuring fair competition in online markets.

Data privacy and security

With the proliferation of personal and sensitive data online, governance mechanisms are needed to protect users’ privacy and ensure the security of online transactions and communications.

Content regulation

The internet hosts a vast amount of content, ranging from educational resources to harmful and illegal material. Governance frameworks are necessary to address issues like hate speech, misinformation, and illegal activities while upholding principles of free expression and cultural diversity.

Cross-border issue

The internet transcends national boundaries, posing challenges for legal jurisdictions and enforcement. Governance frameworks facilitate international cooperation and coordination on issues like cybercrime, intellectual property rights, and data sovereignty.


Rita Li

Rita Lian intern reporter at BTW media dedicated in Products. She graduated from University of Communication University of Zhejiang. Send tips to

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