It seems G8 governments actually don’t really trust the web, according to The Sunday Business Post.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy, host of this year’s summit, was keen to have the internet discussed because of a number of pressing issues, including privacy concerns, how new high-speed infrastructure should be financed, the issue of music and movie piracy removing revenues from artists, protection of freedom of expression and dealing with the threat of the internet being used for criminal activity, such as hacking, fraud and cyber warfare.
It is understood that even before the summit began, Sarkozy was on the defensive. In a speech last year, he described the internet as ‘‘the new frontier, a territory to conquer".
‘But it cannot be a Wild West," he said.
Unsurprising, the web industry this year was unanimous in its rejection of greater government control of its affairs.
Tech disruption and age-old neurosis
The Observer also covered Sarkozy’s imperious views on how the internet can be controlled.
Tech writer John Naughton wrote how Oscar Wilde described fox hunting as "the unspeakable in full pursuit of the uneatable". If Wilde had been able to see the president of France going on last week about bringing the internet to heel, he might have updated his hunting metaphor to "the clueless in pursuit of the unattainable" perhaps.
Sarkozy was speaking at the eG8, a gathering of those whom the French government thinks are the important players in the online world. But in a way, he was just acting as a mouthpiece for the political, judicial, commercial and security establishments which are becoming increasingly hysterical about the way the internet is upending their respective apple carts. In that sense, Sarky was echoing the fulminations of England's lord chief justice that "technology is out of control", by which he meant, as Peter Preston has pointed out, is beyond his control.
Establishment panic about the net's disruptiveness is matched by renewed outbreaks of an age-old neurosis – moral panic about the impact of new communications technology on young people.
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