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Internet Commerce - Ideology and Policy

Internet Commerce - Ideology and Policy

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Published by returncc
This paper looks at governance issues that surround the regulation of the internet and reviews the history of democracy, economics and anarchy from a historical and ideological point of view, and in particular the thinking and history of Alfred Marshall, Keynes, Marshall McLuhan, Proudon, Free Paris
Commune, Kropotkin, Bakunin.
This paper looks at governance issues that surround the regulation of the internet and reviews the history of democracy, economics and anarchy from a historical and ideological point of view, and in particular the thinking and history of Alfred Marshall, Keynes, Marshall McLuhan, Proudon, Free Paris
Commune, Kropotkin, Bakunin.

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Published by: returncc on Feb 17, 2009
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Regulation of Internet Commerce
Ideology and Policy A paper concerning Democracy, the History of Economics and Anarchy.
April 2000The internet is a new and developing technology that embodies anabsence of centralized control but an infinite economy. It is a globalvirtual public space that provides a forum for trade, debate and a place toquestion authority. It creates an arena, allowing for direct participationin public decision making processes, as well as access to almost everyjurisdiction in the world. The policies that regulate the internet will helpto build and shape this new medium.The application of law to new fact situations and technologicalinnovations depends as always on policy considerations, legislativeinitiatives and socially desirable pragmatic results. The policy aspects ofregulation rely on basic assumptions about the nature of our socialorganization such as the role of the state, the promotion of capitalism anddemocracy.The internet is a sophisticated technology of ideas and it will betailored to fit the ideological mould from which it originates. Itsregulation will reflect what ideas we prefer and what limits we require thatmould the shape of an emerging media while conditioning our contact andcommunication with each other.There are many competing ideologies pressuring the internet to conformto specific standards of regulated interaction. The internet poses achallenge to traditional modern regulatory assumptions, a challenge thatsometimes is put forward under the rubric of anarchism. Internet regulationlaw will be responsible to legislate a balance between competing ideologiesand reflect the extent to which these ideas are blended, supported ordenied.The final shape of the internet will reflect either a response toopen debate over various ideological conflicts in democratic internationalforums, or will be the result of global conformity to a unified standardbrought forward under the pressure of economics. The seeming impossibility
of regulating a multi-jurisdictional international space forces us to re-examine our many basic beliefs, such as if we should regulate at all, whatshould we be regulating and to what extent?Throughout this paper, the interplay between technology, ideology andpolicy shall be used as criteria to examine the possible solutions proposedand the merit of internet regulation. Primarily achieved through anexamination of the history of two competing ideologies, economics andanarchism. The hope is that by understanding more about these competingideologies and proposed regulation solutions for the internet, a more soundcomprehension of the shape the internet will eventually form and the impactthat shape will have on us as users will become apparent.This paper will discus topic such as the role of the state andjurisdiction, democracy and constitutionalism, individualism andsovereignty, media studies. This analysis shall be done in the context ofproviding insight for comments on the legal issues of privacy, criminal andtort law, copyright and trademark law, domain names issues, e-commerce, theuse of cryptography, and the apportionment of internet service providerliability.
The Internet
Originally constructed to promote a military agenda, the very form ofthe internet seems to suggest a recipe for the growth of decentralization,direct democracy or anarchy. Yet at the same time it offers the possibilityfor a more efficient, centralized, effective commercial space. Unlike mostother forms of communication, the Internet has no fixed physical location,central control point or permanent intelligence. Instead, all storedinformation and network management is widely distributed, allowing eachremote entity to be in charge of its own area. Each such entity has anequivalent level of authority, priority and control. All work togetheraccording to a common set of technical rules and standards.The Internet is becoming an increasingly prevalent medium for personalcommunication and an essential means of commerce. As this virtual spaceincreases in size so do the unfortunate by-products of fraud and crime. Evermore business deals (ranging from simple purchases of goods to complicated
contracts) are done on the net, but it also provides a new medium in whichto defame or infringe copyright.
 Marshall McLuhan
Understanding Media, The Extensions of Man
. 1964.Marshall McLuhan was a media analyst as well as an English professorat the University of Toronto. He built on and extended the ideas ofpreceding works by Harold Innis. (Innis,
The Bias of Communication, 1951.
)McLuhan's media analysis demonstrates the importance of the role and impactof media on our social and economic organizations."We become what we behold, we shape our tools, and thereafter ourtools shape us." This general idea relates as much to the development ofPapyrus as it does to the printing press and the internet. For McLuhan, thecommon striving of mankind is a search for innovative solutions to ease thelabour of our bodies and transcend space and time. Stone is hard to move butlasts a long time. Cars move faster and serve to replace or extend the reachof our feet but only last a few decades. Typography developed as a landmarkmedia extension of our oral culture, and electricity (the medium of theinternet) resembles an extension of mind and impulse itself. Electronicmedia transcend the barriers of space and time into the realm of thesimultaneous virtually defeating the limitations imposed on us by space andtime. The internet is potentially permanent and mobile.A culture dominated by typography tends to be rational, sequential,linear, authoritarian, while a culture dominated by electricity is similarto a pre-literate society and resembles the oral tradition, non-sequential,mythological, simultaneous, and non-authoritarian."It is the medium that shapes and controls the scale and form of humanassociation and action." According to McLuhan, the history of socialorganization is controlled by media and driven by technological inventions.Every new technological development in the uses of media result in a neworganizational state structure. This idea suggests that accompanying thetechnological development of, for example, papyrus, Rome was able to extendits reach and form an empire relying on the power of the medium of paperused to organize, count and record inventory, stock and population census.The greater flexibility of papyrus over other organization mediums, such as

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