Goldsmith, Jack & Tim Wu. Who Controls the Internet? Illusions of a Borderless World. New York: Oxford University Press, 2006.

Law can traverse borders when someone chooses them to
1. Look at Yahoo! and France – fight over the sale of Nazi paraphernalia on web sites accessible to French citizens, pg 6
2. Geo-Identification software: Infosplit, Akamai Look up

EFF – Electronic Frontier Foundation

  • pushed for notions of cyberspace as a separate place that could not be governed by territorial government
  • protection of internet by First Amendment because “everything is potentially speech”

Non profit founded in 1990 to defend users’ rights to free speech and anonymity. This includes development of TOR.

” Tor is a network of virtual tunnels that allows people and groups to improve their privacy and security on the Internet. It also enables software developers to create new communication tools with built-in privacy features. Tor provides the foundation for a range of applications that allow organizations and individuals to share information over public networks without compromising their privacy…Tor’s hidden services let users publish web sites and other services without needing to reveal the location of the site.”
The web site goes on to list all of the people who might be interested in using the tunnels, including journalists with whistleblowers, activist groups who are protecting civil liberties on line, people on content-sensitive sites like rape and abuse survivor chat rooms, the US Navy uses it for open source intelligence gathering, and “[l]aw enforcement uses Tor for visiting or surveilling web sites without leaving government IP addresses in their web logs, and for security during sting operations”.

I’m curious how this is protecting civil liberties if this group which declares that it is upholding First Amendment rights can, at the same time, help destroy them? I feel like i’m missing something here in the equation.
Is this really all about traffic analysis, and, oh yeah, so the government can spy on you without you knowing? At the same time, the program will hide users who can set up hate sites, child pornography sites, etc. I’m not sure i’m understanding the cross-over here…

Back to the book:

1996 – Communications Decency Act – “punish transmission of indecent sexual communications or images on the internet “in a manner available to a person under 18 years of age’. Struck down as unconstitutionally broad, etc…

From the Federal Trade Commission Website (

The CANSPAM Act – Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act, “establishes requirements for those who send commercial email, spells out penalties for spammers and companies whose products are advertised in spam if they violate the law, and gives consumers the right to ask emailers to stop spamming them.”

Back to Book:
ACLU v Reno – recognizes cyberspace as a non-geographical space, but available to everyone everywhere; anything on the internet should receive the highest First Amendment protections

1986 – Internet Engineering Task Force, “founded as the central standards body of the internet”

(LOOK UP: “How Anarchy Works” by Paulina Borsook, Wired magazine, 1995)
runs as a bottom-up program, not top-down; top-down governance is what is practiced by governments in the laws-within-borders kind of way that when laws are broken, the offenses are punishable, therefore, people don’t break laws and order is maintained; bottom-up means that decisions are made through discussion, trial-and-error and consensus. Technological solutions to problems were offered by engineers – they were either taken or not. Those that were good were taken on, and, thus, became standards. Those that sucked were ditched. Hence, consensus.

THINK: did it work because they were a group of like-minded visionaries? Did opening the internet to what it has become to-day mean that it is not possible to assume self-governance will rule? The originals were elite, well-educated white males (dare i add, “nerds”?) — the world is much more colourful and diverse than those first visionaries…

Converse Argument (pg25):
A call to countries to come together to define international standards on things like security, privacy and taxation: by drawing up an international agreement, on par with the likes of the Torture Convention or the Convention on International Civil Aviation (flight safety standards) would mean less confusion. Rather than having what happened with France v Yahoo! (with the end being Yahoo! completely selling out), there could be a limit to how restrictive regulations could be.

I think my paper is too broad and i may have to narrow it down to the very simple notions of understanding the internet as a geographic space and what this will mean to regulation. I’m completely torn. There is a side of me that stands firmly behind the First Amendment and wants to not see our rights diminished. I love the internet. I live on the internet. I don’t want to see it regulated down to a mindless puddle of government-censored panderings. But at the same time, i know that i am a responsible user with a lazy-streak, meaning, i will never get around to building that nuclear bomb or malatov cocktail, nor will i ever venture into pornographic sites (really, people, do you have nothing better to do with your time? i can think of far more interesting things to waste time on the internet doing), but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t people out there creating child porn sites. I think that’s what kills me the most. How do we create regulation that is regulated by citizens? There has to be a happy middle ground — international conventions that are censored and monitored by internet users? Then again, with the direction that our administration is going, i’ve lost all faith in government. Can any regulatory body be trusted? There will always be issues of power-play. People love power. Powerless people don’t know how to empower themselves. In a world that sits on a giant digital divide, how do we make this reasonable, fair and safe? OMG, i’m reminded of my friends accusing me of being the Kindergarten teacher amoung them…*sigh*…my world of fairness, though, is another’s world of pandering, and another’s full of unnecessary restrictions. There is no way to make everybody happy, but the internet is the first time that people have had the opportunity to argue about it BEFORE it’s been shredded by bureaucracy…