Monday, July 31, 2006

Who controls the Internet?

Who Controls the Internet?
Illusions of a Borderless World is a new book by Jack Goldsmith and Tim Wu, published this summer by Oxford University Press. Both authors are of illustrious pedigree: Jack Goldsmith is Henry L. Shattuck Professor of Law, Harvard University, while Tim Wu is Professor of Law in the Columbia Law School.
The publisher writes:
"Will cyberanarchy rule the net? And if we do find a way to regulate our cyberlife will national borders dissolve as the Internet becomes the first global state? In this provocative new work, Jack L. Goldsmith and Tim Wu dismiss the fashionable talk of both a 'borderless' net and of a single governing 'code'. Territorial governments can and will, they contend, exercise significant control over all aspects of Internet communications. Examining policy puzzles from e-commerce to privacy, speech and pornography, intellectual property, and cybercrime, Who Controls the Internet demonstrates that individual governments rather than private or global bodies will play that dominant role in regulation. Accessible and controversial, this work is bound to stir comment".
Law Wire says: We are not convinced either that individual governments will dominate the internet, or that private or global bodies will hold the regulatory trump cards. Nor do wesubscribe to the global free-for-all position. Law Wire thinks that this book's data and constructive analysis supports an alternative theory: there is a creative tension between (i) governmental forces, (ii) the powers of private enterprise and (iii) the users, which ensures that none of these groups ever actually gains the upper hand over the others.

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