49% Americans Think Government Should Regulate Internet

Nearly half of Americans (49%) believe that the federal government should regulate the Internet the same way it does radio and television, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national survey. Thirty-five percent (35%) disagree, and 16% are undecided.

The findings come as a Missouri woman faces an unprecedented federal prosecution for allegedly setting up an account for a fictitious 16-year-old on an online social networking site to harass the 13-year-old daughter of a neighbor. The girl, Megan Meier, ultimately committed suicide after being viciously rejected by the made-up boy.

Seventy-one percent (71%) have some awareness of the Drew case, with only 25% saying they know nothing about it at all. Women (79%) more than men(67%) think Internet harassment should be a crime. Age is also a factor, with support for criminalizing such behavior higher the older the respondent.

Women also feel much more strongly about federal regulation of the Internet, with 55% in favor, 25% opposed and 20% undecided. Men reject federal regulation by a small margin – 46% to 42% — with 12% unsure.

Race also is a factor, with 53% of whites saying they use the Internet every day or nearly every day, as opposed to only 28% of blacks. Twenty-one percent (21%) of whites and 39% of blacks say they rarely or never use the Internet.

Source: Ramussen Reports

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