The Problem

Problem Summary

Since 1996-97, U.S. Internet policies and technology designs have had one common purpose, an absence of government, the definition of anarchy and unaccountable disorder.

These U.S. ‘Wild West’ Internet policies ensure minimal government accountability for corporate, technology, and individual online conduct on the U.S. Internet that mirrors most everything conducted in the real world.

Practically, this means there are no government duties or market incentives to protect people from online harm.

A stark U.S. conduct double standard of government accountability offline but not online, logically and universally subverts much conduct in America.

Opposing U.S. accountability conduct standards are inherently counterproductive, bipolarizing, and a nation divided.

They also present to the public and bad actors a two-faced U.S. policy of what is right vs. wrong and legal vs. illegal.

Dueling sets of rules are the antithesis of Constitutional rule of law, rights, due process, and equal protection.

A legal double standard also inverts incentives for everyone’s conduct from bringing out the best, to the worst in us.

It is common sense that U.S. Government policy should oppose, deter, prevent, and resolve threats, wrongdoing and harmful acts against people and America, not empower, tolerate, incentivize, and reward them.

Since 1996, five Administrations thirteen Congresses and sixteen Supreme Court Justices together, have neglected to protect people from harms and crimes online.

Government minimizing government to maximize efficiency and profit de-prioritized protecting people and America.

Overall, RUI research shows Wild West Internet policies have yielded self-defeating, regressive, and winner-take-all, macro effects that weaken America and make us less safe, secure, stable, united, prosperous, free, equal, fair, honest, and good.

Key Context

  • Accountable to unaccountable The 1986-96 U.S. Internet was subject to Constitutional accountability. New U.S. Internet policy of minimal government online in 1996-1997 successfully encouraged rapid Internet adoption and buildout of high-speed digital infrastructure.
    • Since 1996-97, U.S. Wild West Internet policies and designs have had one common purpose, an absence of government, the definition of anarchy — unaccountable disorder.
  • Jumpstart to permanent policy: While Wild West Internet policy proved constructive for the Internet frontier, no internet accountability for the mature Internet has proven harmful and chaotic given that everyone can conduct everything everywhere for life, work and play online.
    • Now universal U.S. Internet unaccountability is logically self-defeating and weakening America, by making us less safe, secure, stable, unified, prosperous, free, equal, fair, honest, and good.
  • Global to national policy: 1996-97 free and open Internet policy envisioned maximal globalism and private sector self-regulation online, that practically minimized sovereignty, authority, borders, rule-of-law, international law, rights, due process, and recourse online.
    • In 2013, the leak of top-secret national security information by NSA contractor Edward Snowden exposed U.S. global Internet surveillance. That new public reality was a gamechanger, resulting in most major nations and the EU to shifting their global Internet policy outlooks to national or regional centric Internet policies.

Why Unsolved?

  • U.S. Internet unaccountability is a classic ‘miss the forest for the trees’ problem.
    • The forest here is the American people — 300m Internet users harmed online.
    • The trees here are Government’s piecemeal scrutiny of select companies and issues.
    • The problem is Government is missing the forest cure for the trees’ symptoms & treatments.
  • Extreme U.S. regulatory capture explains why U.S. policy prioritized innovation & profit over people for 26 years.
    • ’The shoemaker’s children go barefootproverb tells us here Govt. treats firms as their client not the people.
  • No one is publicly exposing the obvious uncomfortable truth, as ‘The emperor has no clothesfable teaches us.
    • Govt./people are afraid to criticize Wild West Internet policy for fear others don’t see its many problems.
    • The public does not yet know that a large mindful majority of Americans support Internet accountability.
  • Granting tech unaccountability has cascaded to subvert Government, corporate, and public accountabilities.
    • Government made itself unaccountable for not protecting people from harm online.
    • Government made firms unaccountable for not protecting people from harm online.
    • Government made people rights-less, consent-less, and unprotected from harms and crimes online.

Regulatory Capture

We all struggle to understand what has gone so wrong in America. A RUI hypothesis and research conclusion is that universal U.S. Internet unaccountability policy on autopilot is a leading culprit of ‘America’s Weakening’ in the 21st century.

America clearly has rejected the good lessons of the American Revolution and its American Experiment that replaced royal tyranny with Constitutional authority, limited government, consent of the governed, rights, and rule of law.

President Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address encapsulated ideal government; “This nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

That ideal “government for the people” has perished online. Instead, we’ve surrendered America’s good government ideals to the anarchism of the Internet Revolution and an American Anarchy Experiment of minimal government online.

The absence of America’s good government limits, rights, and rule-of-law online, has practically forfeited Americans to the impunity of technology and corporate self-regulation. ‘We the People’ have no rights or recourse online.

Universal U.S. anarchic Internet policy on autopilot is less akin to ‘government of the people, by the people, for the people’ and more akin to a 21st century dystopian government of technology elites, by technology elites, for technology elites.

President Eisenhower warned against this existential problem of “misplaced power:” “We must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite. 

That five Administrations thirteen Congresses and sixteen Supreme Court Justices have since 1996 all consistently prioritized protection the interests of the Internet industrial complex over protecting the American people from out-of-control harms and crimes online, indicates that there must be extraordinary Internet regulatory capture of government at work here.


U.S. Constitutional authority both empowers, and depends upon, many accountabilities: elections, separation of powers, checks and balances, individual rights, Federal and State government, and rule of law among others. The framers clearly viewed accountability as an essential reciprocal safeguard against tyranny’s unaccountability.    

The original 1986-96 U.S. Internet was de facto subject to U.S. Constitutional authority and accountabilities. In 1996-97, U.S. Wild West Internet policies’ common purpose — an absence of government and its authority online — effectively questioned, confused, and subverted government’s role and authority over illegal conduct online.  

How is Internet unaccountability anti-Constitutional?  

The defining defense of Internet unaccountability is that it is good not bad to deliberately disrupt others. To disrupt means “to break apart” or “throw into disorder.” Only supporters of Internet unaccountability think anarchically disrupting people universally and constantly is OK, because most everyone does not want to be the disrupted because its harmful.

Consider here that the U.S. Constitution’s governing goals in the preamble are the antithesis of disruptive, i.e., “to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.

Also consider that all the U.S. Constitution’s accountabilities exist to protect the people from things they don’t want done to them. They are implicitly based on the Ethic of reciprocity/The Golden rule. The Constitution’s checks, balances, rights, rule of law, etc. exist to foster people working together, not to empower impunity to harm others.   

Another anarchic defense of Internet unaccountability is that it is bad not good to have to ask others for permission.  Supporters of Internet unaccountability call it permissionless innovation & evasive entrepreneurialism and justify it because they self-calculate their interests’ economic gain exceeds others’ social pain.

Permission, meaningful consent, is an essential accountability supporting/safeguarding the Constitution and people.

The framers of the Constitution had to get the permission/consent of the states/people to be ratified. The legitimacy of government depends on the consent of the governed. Elections involve the consent/permission of the people. Constitutional property rights require permission and/or payments from owners. Executive treaties and appointments require the consent/permission of the Senate. Legislative bills can require Presidential consent to become law. Government licenses are permissions to become a citizen, legally drive, own a gun, be married, practice law and medicine, etc.

Consent/permission is one of the most critical accountabilities of the Ethic of Reciprocity/The Golden Rule. Permissions/consent make people reasonable and are essential to contracts, commerce, property, privacy, safety and security. Permissionless and disruptive actions are dehumanizing and also systemic tyrannies empowering treating others how they don’t want to be treated.   

The Moral/Ethical Dilemma

We face a universal moral/ethical problem together. Five Administrations thirteen Congresses and sixteen Supreme Court Justices together, have neglected to protect people from harms and crimes online since 1996.

RUI’s hypothesis here is this Internet unaccountability on autopilot is primarily a failure of humanity, morals, and ethics.

The clear universal purpose of U.S. anarchic policies/designs was an absence of government, i.e., anarchy defined.

The implicit consensus then was government is bad, and ungoverned Internet, technology, and corporations were good.

Their implicit moral/ethical premise was the alchemy of an Internet commons, technology innovation, and profit motive in all aspects would govern better than government, without the meaningful consent of the governed. In other words, implicit consensus was that unlimited technology would govern better than limited government.

Their presumption short-term was correct in accelerating Internet/broadband/mobile adoption and infrastructure.

It was also a long-term failure in not governing people’s conduct to advance what is legal, right and just over what is wrongful, illegal, and unjust; and in protecting people and their rights, from online harm and crime, and America’s safety, security, stability, unity, prosperity, liberty, equality, fairness, honesty, and goodness, from weakening.  

The moral/ethical dilemma here is that inverting the U.S. Government social contract with the American people from real government to no virtual government logically inverted government incentives/disincentives universally for how people would be treated and would treat others.

This means rather than prioritizing good, fair, and just treatment of people, as humans, citizens, and customers, with rights, the U.S. Government empowers others to treat people inhumanely as sub-human users and products.

This also means that rather than advancing the most universally accepted moral/ethic, the Golden Rule/Ethic of Reciprocity of treat others as one wants to be treated that is inherent in the U.S. Constitution, anarchic U.S. Internet policies de facto have advanced a new Rotten Rule of treat others however you want.

RUI asks: Is it humane, moral, and ethical for the U.S. Government to not protect people from online harm for 26 years?

Dehumanized People

Most Internet policies minimize government to maximize efficiency and profit. This technologic and economic absolutism has led to dehumanizing extremes.

It is telling that people online are not routinely treated as humans, citizens, or customers but dehumanized, rights-less and consent-less ‘users’ and ‘products’ to monetize.

Continuously not protecting people online can dehumanize, disenfranchise, and demoralize us. We’re no longer people but dehumanized virtual chattel, not citizens but disenfranchised, and data-indebted, indentured Americans. Worse, minors are defenseless prey for predators. Anarchic U.S. Internet policy is dehumanizing people and decivilizing America.

America’s 300 million Internet users are virtual data products, commercial chattel bought and sold with impunity by data brokers, without meaningful consent, rights, protections, privacy, or security. 

There also are 300 million virtually indentured Americans online abandoned by their government, to become disenfranchised commercial captives of one-sided legal terms and indentures. They do not control their own virtual value, dignity, security, privacy, reputation, or destiny, unlike American citizens who offline are protected by our Constitution, rights, rule of law, a duty of care, and morals/ethics.

America’s 70 million minors tragically are virtual defenseless prey fed to online predators, and minimally protected as lab rats to test, addict, and depress, and lambs to abuse and traffic with impunity.

Anarchic U.S. Policies

Anarchic U.S. Policies

Anarchic Cause-Effects

Anarchic Cause-Effects

Statistical Evidence

What happens when bipartisan U.S. policy bans Internet police, public safety, and borders for 26 years? The American people and minors are harmed broadly and badly online by design.

Cyberbullying/Online Harassment:

70% of young people experience cyberbullying before they hit the age of 18, per November 2021 First Site Guide cyberbullying statistics1.

64% of Americans under 30 have been personally harassed online, per Pew Research.2

53% of US adults personally experienced cyberbullying online harassment with 37% reporting severe online harassment, 22%, physical threats, and 18% sexual harassment, and 17% stalking and sustained harassment, per November 2021 First Site Guide cyberbullying statistics.3

51% of revenge p0rn victims indicated they had considered committing suicide, per the Cyber-bullying Research Center4.

41% of Americans have personally experienced online harassment, 25% severe online harassment per Pew Research.5


64% of Americans have experienced some form of data theft, per Pew Research.6

47% of U.S. consumers surveyed experienced identity theft; 37% experienced application fraud, and 38% of consumers experienced account takeover in 2020-2021, per Aite-Novarica Group’s U.S. Identity Theft: The Stark Reality.7

47% of Bitcoin transactions from 2009-2017 were for illegal activity, per the WSJ8.

23% of Americans have suffered from cybercrime per Gallup 2018 survey.9

0.05% is the chance of being successfully investigated and prosecuted for a cybercrime when the equivalent chance for violent crime is 46%,” per the World Economic Forum.10


90% of U.S. organizations have been compromised by a cyberattack within a 12-month period, per the CyberEdge Group’s 2020 Cyberthreat Defense Report.11

78% of U.S. organizations were affected by ransomware per CyberEdge Group’s 2022 Cyberthreat Defense Report.12

75% of U.S. organizations dealt with a successful phishing attack attempt in 2020, per cybersecurity firm Proofpoint’s 2021 State of the Phish report.13

71% of surveyed U.S. organizations have had a distributed denial of service (DDoS) extortion threat, per Corero.14

59% of U.S. organizations were hit by a ransomware attack in 2020, per Cybersecurity leader Sophos’ 2020 State of Ransomware Report.15

40% of small and medium businesses (SMBs) have fallen victim to ransomware attacks per Datto16

37% of global organizations were victims of some form of ransomware attack in 2021, according to IDC’s “2021 Ransomware Study” per TechTarget.17


85% of teens and young adults, and 71% of adults, who have viewed pornography have done so using online videos, per Barna Group, “The P0rn Phenomenon,” April 2016, The P0rn Phenomenon.18

93% of pastors and 94% of youth pastors say p0rnography use in the Church community is a bigger problem than it was in the past, per Barna Group, “The P0rn Phenomenon,” April 2016, The P0rn Phenomenon.19

75% of parents believe their children have not seen p0rnography online, but 53% of the children said that they had seen p0rnography online; and 78% of 16-17 year-olds, 65% of 14-15-year-olds, and 50% of 11-13-year-olds, report having seen p0rnography in some way,” per Barna Group, “The P0rn Phenomenon,” April 2016, The P0rn Phenomenon.20

56% of American divorces involve one party having an “obsessive interest” in p0rnographic websites and 47% of families in the U.S. reported that p0rnography is a problem in their home; per Barna Group, “The P0rn Phenomenon,” April 2016, The P0rn Phenomenon.21

30% of sex-trafficking victims recruited in federal sex trafficking cases between 2000 and 2020 were on the Internet and most victims were recruited on Facebook; per The Federal Human Trafficking Report.22

1 First Site Guide, Ogi Djuraskovic, Cyberbullying Statistics, Facts, and Trends (2021) with Charts, November 2021,
2 Pew Research, “The State of Online harassment,” January 2021, The State of Online Harassment | Pew Research Center
4 Cyberbullying Research Center, Revenge Porn Research, Laws, and Help for Victims, Sameer Hinduja,
5 Pew Research, “The State of Online harassment,” January 2021, The State of Online Harassment | Pew Research Center
6 Pew Research, “Americans’ Experiences with Data Security,” 2017, Americans’ experiences with data security | Pew Research Center
8 The Wall Street Journal, Justin Lahart and Telis Demos, Why Crime Could Kill Crypto, June 2018,
9 Gallup, 2018, “One in Four Americans Have Experienced Cybercrime,” One in Four Americans Have Experienced Cybercrime (
10 World Economic Forum, William Dixon, Fighting cybercrime – what happens to the law when the law cannot be enforced?, February 2019,
13 Proofpoint’s, “2021 State of the Phish Report,” 2021 State of the Phish report. Proofpoint 2021 State of the Phish 
15 Cybersecurity leader Sophos’, “State of Ransomware Report,” 2020  Sophos State of Ransomware Report 2020.
16 Datto, Datto’s ANZ State of the Channel Ransomware Report, 2019,
18 Barna Group, “The P0rn Phenomenon, 2016, The P0rn Phenomenon – Barna Resources
19 Barna Group, “The P0rn Phenomenon, 2016, The P0rn Phenomenon – Barna Resources
20 Barna Group, “The P0rn Phenomenon, 2016, The P0rn Phenomenon – Barna Resources
21 Barna Group, “The P0rn Phenomenon, 2016, The P0rn Phenomenon – Barna Resources
22 Trafficking Institute, 2020 Federal Human Trafficking Report, 2020,

Tragedy of Anarchy

Tragedy of Anarchy