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July 03, 2007

Digital Borders


National boundaries have survived in the virtual world

"... [W]hat we once called a global network is becoming a collection of nation-state networks—networks linked by the Internet protocol, but for many purposes separate.

The bordered Internet is widely viewed to be a dreadful development that undermines the great network's promise. But the Net's promise was not fulfilled by the 1990s vision of an Internet dominated by the English language and the idiosyncratic values of the American First Amendment. People who use the Internet in different places read and speak different languages, and they have different interests and values that content providers want to satisfy. An Internet that accommodates these differences is a more effective and useful communication tool than one that does not. [...]

To understand the virtues of a bordered Internet, consider the opposite: an Internet dominated by a single global law. When you choose a single rule for six billion people, odds are that several billion, or more, will be unhappy with it. Is the American approach to Nazi speech right, or is the French variant? To what degree should gambling and pornography be allowed? Should data privacy be unregulated, modestly regulated, or heavily regulated? A single answer to these and thousands of other questions would leave the world divided and discontented..." From Digital Borders - National boundaries have survived in the virtual world—and allowed national laws to exert control over the Internet, by Jack Goldsmith and Timothy Wu, Legal Affairs.

Posted by jo at July 3, 2007 01:51 PM