Edited by David Levi-Faur
Chapter 19: Internet Regulation
Andrew D. Murray Cyberspace is both familiar and foreign. It is a place we are all extremely familiar with, a place we visit often on a daily basis, yet it is a place with social conventions very unlike our Realspace world. While we are able to socialise in both environments, often adopting different personas for different online and offline roles or activities, it is more difficult for regulators to design the correct regulatory response to online regulatory challenges or failures. This is because regulation in Realspace reflects the socio-political ordering of the regulatory environment it seeks to exert control over: in Realspace we discuss regulation in terms of the regulatory state or even the post-regulatory state (Levi-Faur, 2011). In Cyberspace there is no state, only nodes (Shearing and Wood 2003): this lack of social cohesion disrupts political organisation and ultimately attempts at external regulation. If we think of primary Realspace regulation in the form of law we find in the modern environment a multi-layered legal system, but one in which primary legislative responsibility rests with the sovereign government of any territory. This creates a commonality between the regulator and the regulatee based on their shared dependency upon and responsibility for a geographically defined community (Galligan 2007, chap. 5). Thus members of the macro-community of UK citizens share responsibility for social and economic ordering within the UK and, more importantly, share the consequences of regulatory failure. For example, a real-world macro-community collectively shares the consequences of anti-social behaviour such as theft...
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