Letters: Internet regulation at global and local levels

Letters: Of course, Google is too close to both the Obama and Cameron administrations and this is not good, much as it wasn't so good a decade ago when Microsoft was in a similar position

With the amazing legacy we have given the world in computing, mathematics, design and web technologies – viz Charles Babbage, Alan Turing, Jonathan Ive and Tim Berners-Lee – we cannot allow America or France to dominate the debates at the G8 about whether or not some regulation is needed for the internet.

Some regulation is needed and Martin Kettle (To want controls on the web may not be cool, but it's right, 27 May) was right to highlight the need to protect children from online pornography. Extraordinarily, this gets short shrift in the US because they hide behind the first amendment of their constitution concerning free speech. Secondly, America loathes signing international agreements or belonging to international organisations which it cannot dominate.

Of course, Google is too close to both the Obama and Cameron administrations and this is not good, much as it wasn't so good a decade ago when Microsoft was in a similar position. Their speakers speak for Google, not for the rights of citizens using their services. Currently, the internet is the responsibility of a worn-out organisation known as the WTO. We need to give it a new home. Given our legacy and the soft power we wield around the world with our Open University, the British Council and the BBC World Service, it is time we came together to create a similar body for the internet. The world will thank us for it.

Derek Wyatt

Founder, Internet Policy Institute

• Your article on use of Facebook by under-13s (Should kids be allowed on Facebook?, G2, 26 May) makes interesting reading. Here in the north-east, we have the absurd situation where Northumberland county council has banned the use of Facebook and all blogs, including your own Comment is Free site. I believe it is only one of a handful of local councils to do so. I have been in a situation where I cannot access work-related material as it is on a blog and is filtered out. While I would not want my seven-year-old accessing Facebook, it is absurd that just down the road in Gateshead, Facebook, WordPress, etc, are freely available to adult users.

Rob Turnbull

Haltwhistle, Northumberland

• Google is offering an electronic payment system for smartphones (Google unveils digital 'wallet' for Android phone users, 27 May). Every payment, the location, time, amount, retailer and possibly other information will be tracked and held by the company. While loyalty card schemes are not dissimilar, the breadth of information Google gathers will increase the surveillance of our everyday lives. No doubt Google profits from this/our information. To quote one supermarket: "Every little helps." We might well retort: "Helps who?"

Andrew Wood


The GuardianTramp

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