• Regulating the Internet

    Regulating the Internet is a worldwide challenge. Developing legislation in this area seems impossible, but is it necessary to regulate the Internet? If yes, to what extent should we do it and what would be the purpose of this regulation? If not, how can we ensure the safety of every person that connects to the Internet and how can we preserve and restore order after various unwanted events?

    It is well known that the Internet knows no material and / or national limits. The sovereignty of states must respect the international dimension of the Internet and regulatory efforts have to be limited to the area reserved for states and to be in compliance with international law. This reserved area is practically limited to the citizens of the state and their connections (internet infrastructure and radio waves which cross the territory of the state).
    Of course, for obtaining the expected results, the state may use other regulatory mechanisms. What are these regulatory mechanisms and how can they influence policy? Through an abstract study we can find 4 regulatory mechanisms: law, social norms, markets and architecture.

    The Law
    Law – because of its binding force and with the aid of the coercive mechanisms of the state – may impose limitations or may establish obligations. For example the prohibition to kill or the obligation to respect contracts.

    Social Norms
    In addition to the law, social norms are part of a mechanism that can be used to influence human behavior, these rules are diferent from laws, this diference stems from the fact that they do not enjoy the support of the coercive force of the state. These social conventions appear, change and dissapear without any formal precess.

    The Market
    Another regulatory mechanism is the market. A vegetarian restaurant dose not have to expressly prohibit access to non-vegetarians, or another example, if we are given 1 RON by X to do something and 100 RON by Y not to do it; one can reasonably argue that we will accept Y’ s offer, and refuse X’s. A specific detail of this mechanism is the simultaneous action of the law through the protection of private property and the mandatory power of contracts.

    Architecture
    Finally we analyze how architecture influences the system and how it can be used as a regulatory mechanism. The reality of the physical space in which the subject acts, rules of the physical (or digital) reality are automatically rules that the subject reports and complies to and is thus bound to respect. These rules of the physical world are non derogable (if they have to be to legaly characterized) and are imposed by the architect.

    I think the idea of regulating architecture has escaped most specialists, some prefer to limit civil and political rights, often useless, all this because it’s a habbit and it’s a more simplethis way. So I will briefly analyze this dimension and I’ll try to present it in a comprehensible way.
    A classic example would be – accessing various social networking platforms (take Facebook as an example) is conditioned by setting up your own profile or get the profile’s holder consent. But, a more organic example is the very important set of HTTP. The regulation of the Internet through architecture enables a number of advantages:
    -regulatory framework generated by technological protocols allow users to choose their browsing conditions in a manner different from classical methods of regulation:
    i) the editor / content manager / owner of the copyright may impose (technically) a read-only format/ entitled to use or give the right to republish the content.
    ii)in networks one may impose specific conditions using network architecture, for example: conditioning access by security clearance or by the delivery of information (sender address in e-mail services); existing standards like HTTP.

    Moreover, with a legal regulatory system different standards, protocols and other technical agreements, conventions etc. are not allowed.
    Differences between regulatory mechanisms:

    - lower costs for technical regulatory mechanisms;
    - self-executory nature of the technical regulation mechanisms (the legal system needs to be imposed coercively / applied);
    - possibility for technical mechanisms to create ex-ante conditions (the user is or is not allowed a operation) as opposed to the legal mechanisms which sanctiones non-compliance;
    - the relationship censorship-filtering (technical protocol – legal text)
    The effect this has on fundamental rights should not be ignored, for maximum efficiency one can use both regulatory techniques; through legal rules applicable to the person (user) one may prohibit the development or use of tools which aim to circumvent standards or protocols. This technique is fallible because it can be applied exclusively to citizens which are subjects to the jurisdiction of the state, and in a informational society this can translate in freezing the innovation process or even the loss of “citizens-ussers”.

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