Transnational Culture in the Internet Age
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Transnational Culture in the Internet Age

  • Elgar Law, Technology and Society series

Edited by Sean A. Pager and Adam Candeub

The insightful contributions shed new light on insufficiently examined issues and highlight connections that cut across the many different domains in which such regulations operate. Building upon the framework presented by David Post – one of the first and most prominent scholars of cyber law and a contributor to this volume – the authors address the implications and economics of the Internet’s astronomical scale, jurisdiction and enforcement of the web as it relates to topics including libel tourism and threats to free speech, and the power of global communication to dissolve and recreate identities.
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Chapter 5: Balkanizing the Internet

Kevin W. Saunders

Extract

5. Balkanizing the Internet Kevin W. Saunders 5.1 INTRODUCTION “Bits Without Borders,” the title of the conference on which this volume is based, sounds as though it would have to be a good thing, perhaps totally good with no downside. After all, in a borderless Internet, information is available everywhere. Even in a country such as the United States, where the transmission of information is largely unrestricted, understanding of the news can be broadened through the Internet. Reading news from nonUnited States sources can provide a different slant. Additionally, topics not covered by sources in the United States may draw extensive coverage in countries that, for example, have a colonial era tie to a particular part of the world. There is also a benefit from the borderless Internet in the difficulties it raises for totalitarian regimes.1 People in countries that are less than free and in which more traditional sources of news have been restricted may enjoy access to Internet-based news from the outside world. Events within the country, such as political protest, that might not have been seen on the state-controlled media and the occurrence of which might have been denied by the government, may become widely known from cellphone videos uploaded to the Internet. Disaffected citizens realize that they are not alone in their feelings toward the government, and their willingness to engage in pro-democracy protest may increase. While all this is clearly good, there is also a downside to an Internet lacking borders. It is not only...

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