How do you regulate cyberspace?

Posted by Abdullah Abdul Aziz | Thursday, May 19, 2011

In the often heated debate about what the Internet is permitted and forbidden, sooner or later the topic comes more wonderful than the Internet is not above the law. "No one can disagree. That helps a lot, but no further because this truth is so banal as practical. Banal is because, obviously, theft of money is a crime, whether or not to enter a bank or suppression money line of a foreign account. It is not practical, because they have no indication as to see what the legal rules and competition, then a particular application.

The Internet knows no boundaries of time and space, however, ask the nationality of its users. Our legal system is based on the classic attributes of sovereignty and territorial sovereignty and human resources that limits our past one hundred years increased understanding of the law to its limits.

Internet as a multi-layer

The confusion is not negligible increase by the fact that the Internet does not really exist. The Internet is a network of networks that are connected by the TCP / IP, and other technical standards and codes. And usually these private networks are in turn in different layers. In theory, any of the hundreds of thousands of networks are regulated separately. And for the different layers there are different forms of regulation.

In short, play in regulating the Internet three layers involved:
  1. protocol layers - in the strict sense, "Internet" with its codes, standards, protocols, IP address and domain name system - the global non-governmental institutions such as the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the International Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), or the Regional Internet Registries (RIRs) regulated;
  2. the application layer - these are all services on the Internet through e-commerce to social networking sites - which also is mainly due to national legislation, while even in large part by constitutional law and freedom of expression and protection property and privacy and control.
The three layers are interconnected and interdependent. And here starts the problem. In fact, there are global in cyberspace, not only jurisdictions in the nation-state conflict on the road, but also a variety of standards and rules that are established by non-state actors worldwide. Cultural diversity of the world in understanding the manipulation of the law does not matter.

For the development of legally binding national standards, it is not - at least in democracies - is a legitimate parliamentary procedure based on binding international agreements are negotiated as subjects of international law to governments to act. Internet protocols, standards and codes developed and developing countries, but not "from above" in the discourse of the deputies, but "from below" in the dialogue between those directly affected and involved. While governments and parliaments in the rarest cases are present. More than that, the codes are global, universal and not a physical territory still linked to the nationality of its users. "Rough consensus and running code" is the method used to written since the late 60's the RFC (Request For Comments) for the "Internet Law Book. Now there are about 6,000 such RFC.

The interesting thing is that it is non-state protocols, codes and standards not only across borders but also a lasting work that people expect of state laws and international treaties can not always claim.

Such as John Postel developed the Domain Name System and the top-level domain (TLD) "." Delegates, did this "handshake" on the basis of the RFC. Parliament, government or political parties in the Federal Republic of Germany did not participate in this delegation. From the November 5, 1986, with authorization from the U.S. government, the ccTLD registry made the domain zone files. The IANA database and has Virginia in the United States standing A root server is probably not a single member of the German Bundestag said. And that was good. For. In is working fine. No one could have predicted then that will be in the dozens. Com names 25 years later more than 14 million domains registered. DENIC, not state, as a network that has achieved this growth without any problem and is the world's largest ccTLD now one of the greatest players in the Internet world. So what?

The policies of the Regional Internet Registries (RIR), which (for Europe, RIPE NCC in Amsterdam) to assign IP addresses to the registrars and ISPs, does a solution negotiated by governments, international treaties (such as distribution of telephone numbers with country and city codes), but on the basis of RFCs which are approved by the IETF. And it works effectively.