[Martin Caton in the Chair] — Intellectual Property
Eric Joyce (Falkirk, Labour)
Again, I entirely agree with my hon. Friend. Let us consider the propositions that Google polices the entire internet or the realm that it can police, and that internet service providers make their own judgments about what they should close, and let us imagine that they close down domains and that people cannot access all sorts of things out there on the basis of judgments made by commercial entities. There is a trend in the governance of the internet by some countries to want heavily to regulate its use. Looking across the world, such Governments tend to be those who are not particularly democratic. In democratic states, the trend is to say that the internet should have a degree of laissez-faire and, as Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn said—in many ways, they instigated the internet back in the ’60s and ’70s—it should be impartial as to its use and there should be no state governance.
That is the general assumption in theory in western and democratic states. However, we have heard the recent comments by the EU Justice Commissioner on the data protection directive on the right to be forgotten—that people should be able to take down accurate, legitimate data if they do not like having them up there and that they should be able to scrub out bits of history. Commercial interests want ISPs to police the internet and to take stuff down based on their commercial judgments, or that some Government-led body should make judgments about what is on the internet. The general trend is to have a high degree of directorial control by Governments over the internet and that sometimes extends to such corporate arguments.