Defenders of the idea cite numerous problems of an uncontrolled and uncensored Internet. Some of these range from nuisances like spamming and trolling to cyber-bullying, which is capable of being more than a mere nuisance, to bona fide dangers such as viruses, spying (by corporations or government agencies), identity theft, child pornography, solicitations for prostitution, and organized crime generally.
The blogosphere is buzzing about the idea, with one discussion describing its advocates as control freaks promoting a system more worthy of totalitarian China than the still somewhat-free West.
One defender pressed the claim by arguing from analogy that just as human societies breed lawlessness if they grow without the establishmnet of explicit rules, the Internet has grown from a very small community of users, most of whom knew each other, to a very large community where "anyone can go online and no one has to say who they are." There are plenty of places in the physical world where you cannot go unless you present an ID; likewise, there are already things you cannot do online if you won't supply identification (collect donations for Haiti earthquake relief, for example, which requires soliciting and encryption of sensitive credit card information). As communities grow in size and anonymity, they supposedly require progressively more rules, and the Internet, argues this blogger, is no different.
There are, of course, significant and fairly obvious differences between driving a car and surfing the Web. And a driver's license hardly prevents irresponsible or even malicious driver conduct. Moreover, driver's licenses can be faked. What is it that advocates of a "license" for Internet use really want? Perhaps a better question would be, Why now?
The Internet has become the scene of a wider range of unregulated reportage and discussion than anyone has ever seen before. This includes, obviously, current events and modern history. By the mid- to late-1990s, websites were springing up devoted to bringing audiences news from points of view not endorsed by carefully vetted editorial boards of mainstream media newspapers or television networks. You could research and read about, for example, the influence of secretive organizations such as Skull & Bones and the Council on Foreign Relations; it became harder and harder for Bilderberg Group meetings to hide from at least some public scrutiny.
Today you can read about how the "Climategate" emails have undermined the idea — very important to those in power — that a scientific consensus exists on global warming, justifying the desired global response.
You can find alternative health information on the Web — alternative, that is, to the “scientific medicine” owned lock, stock and barrel by the multibillion-dollar pharmaceutical industry (Big Pharma); you can read about Big Pharma’s ongoing efforts to destroy its smaller competitor, the dietary supplements industry.
Then, of course, there is information about schemes to dissolve national borders, replace the dollar with a global currency, impose global taxation, etc. Mainstream sources generally ignore such assertions or dismiss them as “conspiracy theories.” Admittedly, plenty of misleading and false information can be found online — but so too can plenty of factual information, including evidence supporting the assertions above. The unregulated and uncensored Internet contains bad information as well as good, and it is up to Internet users to think about what they read including the accuracy thereof. But the very fact that the Internet is unregulated and uncensored means that information and ideas can be found there that cannot so easily be found elsewhere, putting Internet users in a much better position for arriving at the truth (and for presenting their own information and ideas in blogs and comment sections) than those who rely exclusively on the biased mainstream media for their news.
A "driver’s license" to access and use the Internet would doubtless cripple this free flow of information. As with the license to drive a car, it would very likely come with lists of stipulations and requirements that would increase over time until, as with much government regulation today, only lawyers and bureaucrats can figure out what it all means.
At least one blog author suggests that the Wild West lawlessness of the existing Internet, within which thousands of pornographic websites earn hundreds of millions of dollars each year, and within which you can find pedophilia, bestiality, etc., has been cultivated deliberately to provide justification for the prospective imposition of regulations, including the "driver's license" to go online. The process has been called Hegelian dialectic: create or exacerbate a problem; the problem will generate opposition; the resulting clash will elicit a solution that would not have been possible before. Encourage, that is, a de facto crisis or through inaction allow a crisis situation to develop publicly; the crisis eventually provokes a reaction; then those with power can do what they wanted to all along, which usually involves imposing new controls over a population. Moreover, the defender of Internet driver's licenses cited above acknowledges that since the Internet is now a global phenomenon, any effort to impose controls would have to involve a concerted international effort. Such an effort would be impossible without "global governance" or de facto world government.
One drawback is that intelligence agencies — national or international, governmental or corporate — would also find themselves limited by such a scheme in what they could find out about individuals and private groups, which may be one of the key reasons we haven’t seen more aggressive moves in this direction already.