In case you missed it, the high-profile eG8 Forum took place in Paris last week. The two-day forum was arranged by the French President Sarkozy and attended by some of today’s leading digital entrepreneurs and executives (Facebook’s Zuckerberg, Google’s Schmidt and News Corp’s Murdoch to name a few).
As reported by the Wall Street Journal, the aim of the gathering was essentially to advise and inform policy makers such the US Commander-In-Chief Obama and the French President on how to regulate our dear Internet going forward. Industry leaders responded and advised against an over-regulated Web. For example, Google’s Schmidt stated that “technology will move faster than governments, so don’t legislate before you understand the consequences”. O’Reilly Media used the following headline to summarise the event: “At the eG8, 20th century ideas clashed with the 21st century economy – The eG8 shows online innovation and freedom of expression still need strong defenders”.
Another article by O’Reilly Media quotes the American author Tapscott on what he thinks about eG8 and policy makers trying to regulate the Web as we know it:
“Predictably, old style political leaders comfortable with the industrial age are dazed and confused, and many feel threatened. A new communications medium is causing disruption, dislocation and uncertainty. And leaders of old paradigms with vested interests fear what they do not understand, and react with coolness or even hostility. Rather than innovating and opening up they often hunker down, trying to strengthen old outdated rules and approaches.”.
There are definitely interesting times ahead. Will policy makers tighten online regulation? If so, what impact will this have on innovation and growth in the digital space? What’s your thoughts on online regulation? Leave a comment below and let us know.
If you were not invited to attend eG8 – don’t worry. Many of the briefings, interviews and presentations from last week were recorded and are available for the general public to consume on-demand. I have embedded one below featuring my favourite Swedish digital entrepreneur Niklas Zennström on everything from innovation to Microsoft’s recent acquisition of Skype:
More videos are available on the eG8 Forum’s official Web site.