Users in favor of government regulation for social networks, Unisys says

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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Colombia's internet users mostly support local authorities regulating social media sites, which they perceive as turning a blind eye on self-regulation and security standards, US IT company Unisys' (NYSE: UIS) VP and general manager for Latin America, Yolanda Auza, told BNamericas.

"I was a little surprised with the responses because of what has been circulating regarding internet regulation and censorship in other countries like China and Muslim countries," Auza said, referring to the results of the Unisys Security Index.

On average, 81% of respondents said they agreed with social media being regulated by authorities, since these sites have such a broad reach across society and are very influential. In total, 54% said they agreed completely, while 27% said they somewhat agree.

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"I personally believe that it's very dangerous.... The line between authorities governing this and abuse of that authority is very thin," Auza said. "It's hard to determine the boundaries between regulation and restrictions on freedom."

A possible solution is to establish ethical principles. Also, suppliers should have contracts showing how they will protect personal information and, similar to the case of banks, should guarantee that the information is not made public without appropriate justification, according to the executive.

"Measures should be implemented to fight child pornography and bullying, and to protect users from dangerous things. But having the government interfere directly with the information seems to go against freedom of expression," Auza added.

Paradoxically, according to the executive, Colombians seem unwilling to share their personal data with third parties, police forces, public services and across borders to increase national security. Only 42% of respondents said they would share their personal information if needed for security reasons.