A good solution seeks to understand and satisfy the key needs of those adversely affected and harmed by a problem.
This summary is our best discernment of what the American public needs after 26 years of U.S. Internet policy of minimal U.S. Government accountability for harmful and criminal conduct online.
The American public needs:
The Universal Policy Solution: Fully restore U.S. Constitutional authority over the U.S. Internet, to universally resolve America’s out-of-control, Internet unaccountability problem.
Practically this means good government doing its duty and obeying its oath of office to ensure same rules, same conduct accountability, offline/online. It also practically restores rights, rule of law, equal protection, due process, and a civil duty of care, online. It’s the only reasonable, universal, duty-based, solution that most can support and defend.
New Research Solutions: The unprecedented U.S. rejection of U.S. Constitutional rights/rule of law for a new virtual dimension calls for relevant, pertinent, and modern MacroInternetic Research and Help-Harm Analysis, that can discover, explain, inform, and document important insights into online/offline, incentive/disincentive dynamics, cause-effects, scale/scope, and problems/solutions.
Inspired Education Solution: RUI’s research-based educational materials, programs, and communications about the problems of U.S. Wild West Internet policy and its solutions, can help seed, lead, and plead a public education campaign and Internet Accountability Coalition, to grow public awareness, scrutiny, and accountability, to address the universal problem with a universal solution, much like MADD, Mothers Against Drunk Driving’s 501(c)(3) pioneered effective public education and public accountability campaigns and coalitions to bring out-of-control drunk driving conduct under control.
Accountability Coalition Solution: There are many good U.S. entities doing good work in trying to resolve various pieces, parts, or segments of America’s Internet unaccountability problem. There also is a clear, uncoalesced, critical mass, of public concern about out-of-control Internet unaccountability. To date, what has been missing until now, is there has been insufficient, macro, Internet research into the universal root cause and solution here policy and strategy-wise. RUI can coalesce a national Internet accountability coalition around shared interests and common a goal, problem, solution, standards, and strategy. All Internet accountability efforts need critical mass; they can be stronger together than separate.
RUI’s universal solution becomes simple in simplifying the universal problem.
The Accountable What: The original 1986-1996 Internet was subject to Government accountability. In 1996-1997 the U.S. legislative, executive, and judicial branches effectively made and mutually-reinforced, bipartisan, U.S. policy that the Internet, ecommerce, and online speech generally not be subject to Government accountability going forward. Given the evidence that universal Internet unaccountability logically and universally proliferates harms of people online, the logical simple solution is to universally restore Government accountability over the U.S. Internet.
The Constitutional How: The U.S. Constitution is America’s universal Government authority, source, and standard for all Government accountabilities. Since U.S. Internet policies universally minimize Government accountabilities empowered by the U.S. Constitution, this universal problem has a logical, simple, universal solution, restoring Internet accountability by fully restoring U.S. Constitutional authority over the U.S. Internet.
The Defensible Why: RUI’s hypothesis is that America’s Internet unaccountability on autopilot is primarily a failure of humanity, morals, and ethics, because five Administrations thirteen Congresses and sixteen Supreme Court Justices together, have neglected to protect people from harms and crimes online since 1997.
Reason dictates the best solution to this indefensible problem is the most defensible solution – fully restore U.S. Constitutional authority over the U.S. Internet. It is the only reasonable, universal, and time tested, Internet accountability solution that most can understand and support with intended consequences.
It is the most defensible because: First, the original 1986-1996 Internet was subject to U.S. Constitutional accountability. Second, in America all government elected officials, employees, law enforcement, armed forces, all lawyers, and all new U.S. citizens must swear an oath “to support and defend the U.S. Constitution.” Third, it has been America’s supreme law for 234 years. Fourth, it is the world’s first single document constitution and the longest lived. And finally, now most nations have a constitution influenced by the U.S. Constitution.
The Legitimate Who: Restoring U.S. Constitutional authority over the U.S. Internet would universally restore the rightful purpose and power of government back to “We the People,” the Constitution’s emphasized” first three words.
President Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address encapsulated the import of ‘We the People’ in the Constitution with his historic characterization of America’s government as: “government of the people, by the people, for the people.”
The American people’s strong concerns about Internet unaccountability and the lack of solutions to date indicate ‘the people’ can become the critical mass public accountability needed for government and corporations to finally protect people from online harms.
These time-tested, bedrock, and broadly accepted, governing standards have been subverted by anarchic U.S. Internet policies, which warrants the U.S. Government appropriately reaffirming them going forward.
Westphalian Equal State Sovereignty
U.S. Declaration of Independence
U.S. Bill of Rights
U.S. Civil Law Precedents
U.S. Duty of Care
U.S. Government Oath of Office
Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Golden Rule/Moral-Ethic of Reciprocity
The evidence below shows the American public is primed to be a public accountability solution here because:
A mindful many of Americans have strong concerns about Internet unaccountability harms.
Americans worry ~twice as much about being victims of cybercrimes than other crimes per Gallup.
A majority of Americans are victims of cyberbullying/online harassment, cybercrime, and/or cyberattacks.
RUI’s public accountability/solution hypothesis here is that the American public (and many in government) are aware much is amiss and harmful with Wild West Internet policy but are reluctant to criticize it publicly for fear others do not have the same concerns. The famous children’s fable, “The Emperor has no clothes,” teaches that one speaking the truth publicly is often voicing what others silently think too. Psychologists call this behavioral paradox ‘pluralistic ignorance.’
What the American people don’t know yet but will eventually learn from RUI research, evidence, education, and broad Internet Accountability Coalition efforts over time, is that most Americans generally agree that there is a serious, and publicly-indefensible, Internet unaccountability problem that has a popular, defensible, solution – fully restoring U.S. Constitutional authority over the U.S. Internet.
The inspiration and model for RUI’s public accountability solution of deploying research, education, and a coalition, to address and resolve a public moral/ethical problem with clear pluralistic ignorance at work, is MADD, Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
MADD’s research, public education and coalitions over time, successfully transformed public and government attitudes and priorities in America to side with the victims of, and no longer the perpetrators of, the indefensible and then out-of-control crime of drunk driving mayhem. That ensured much more government vigilance and public accountability for this unnecessary, preventable crime.
The mindful many of Americans documented below could become the critical mass solution of public accountability, to Internet unaccountability going forward.
Nine in ten Americans are concerned about cybercrime, and data privacy and social media harms.
Cybercrime: 95% of Americans say online harassment is a problem and 55% say it’s a major problem, per Pew Research.1 91% of Americans worry about having their personal, credit card, or financial information hacked or robbed online per Gallup in 2019.2 88% of Americans worry about being a victim of identity theft per Gallup in 2019.3 71% of Americans are concerned about cybercrime per Gallup 2018 survey.4 (“Gallup has previously found that Americans are more concerned about falling victim to cybercrime or identity theft than any other forms of criminal activity.”)5 63% of American voters believe ransomware is a major problem, per a July 2021 Morning Consult Poll.6
Privacy: 94% of Americans are concerned about privacy of personal data online, per 2020 Knight/Gallup.7 89% of American voters want privacy legislation prioritized to protect their Social Security number and banking information, and 88% their biometric data and driver’s license number, per 2021 Morning Consult.8 85% of Americans are concerned about the amount of data online platforms store about them; 81% of Americans are concerned that platforms are collecting and holding private consumer data to build comprehensive consumer profiles, per 2020 Consumer Reports.9
Social Media: Americans believe social media makes it easier for people to: say things that they would not say in person 95%; harass or threaten others 92%; spread extreme viewpoints 89%; and interfere with elections 76%; per 2022 Pew Research.10 92% of Americans are concerned about the spread of misinformation online; and 77% about hate speech and abusive/threatening language online; per 2020 Knight/Gallup.11 76% of Americans distrust what they see on social media; and 70% of Black Americans are the most likely to be concerned about online hate speech and abusive content; per 2022 Pew Research.12
Eight in ten Americans are concerned about Big Tech’s unchecked power and influence.
Online Platform Power: 85% of Americans are concerned about the size and power of large technology companies; per 2020 Knight/Gallup.13 79% of Americans say Big Tech mergers and acquisitions unfairly undermine competition and consumer choice, per 2020 Consumer Reports.14 74% believe companies should be required to take more responsibility for evaluating information before it’s shared on their platforms, per 2020 Consumer Reports.15 72% of U.S. adults say social media companies have too much power and influence in politics today, per 2020 Pew Research.16 68% of U.S. adults believe major technology companies have too much power and influence in the economy, per 2021 Pew Research.17 65% say platforms should be held accountable for the products and services sold on their platforms per 2020 Consumer Reports.18
Seven in ten Americans, a Mindful Many, support government Internet accountability policies.
Internet Policy/Designs Concerns: 78% of U.S. adults support stronger child protections online; 77% of voters support a ban on targeted ads toward children; and 70% support raising the age of eligibility for a social media account, per Morning Consult.19 72% of Americans in 2022 are dissatisfied with America’s policies to reduce or control crime, up 38% from 52% dissatisfied in 2001, per 2020 Gallup Crime Survey.20 72% of Americans think major technology companies can only be trusted to do the right thing some of the time or hardly ever per Pew Research.21 71% of Americans think the Internet does more to divide us than bring us together, per 2022 Knight/Pew Research.22 64% of U.S. adults say social media have a mostly negative effect on the way things are going in America today, per 2020 Pew Research.23 62% of Americans believe elected officials pay too little attention to tech issues per Pew Research.24 56% of U.S. Adults believe major technology companies should be regulated more than they are now per 2021 Pew Research.25 Only 30% of Americans are satisfied with how America’s system of government works, and only 28% are satisfied with the Government’s regulation of businesses and industries, per Gallup in 2022.26