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Who owns the Net?

Scott Bradner has a very interesting column on the meaning of the World Trade Organization’s ruling that the US cannot prevent US citizens from gambling online at a casinos based in Antigua and Barbuda. As Scott says:

This ruling establishes that the U.S. cannot unilaterally control what people can use the Internet for, even U.S. residents using the Internet from within this country. This is certainly not going to go over well with those people in Congress or other parts of government who think the U.S. should own the Internet because “we built it.”

Of course, the people who actually built the Internet — people like Scott — are the ones who understand best that the Internet is un-owned. At least so far. Pretty much. We hope.

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6 Responses to “Who owns the Net?”

  1. But by extension, this seems to be saying that using of the internet is an automagic get-out-of-jail-free card.

    I hate to bring up the obvious counter-example, but then what of kiddy porn? If a US citizen is sitting in his (or her) living room, using the internet to look at obscene photographs of minors that have been served up from a server sitting in a country where such pictures are legal, the logic behind this decision would suggest that the US citizen would then be free from prosecution.

    Or, to put it another way: does the use of the internet abrogate the right of a nation to regulate the behavior of its citizens?

  2. The internet is clearly a threat to sovereignty, and I’m glad.

    But, as a practical matter, wouldn’t Congress just pass a law that puts the burden on ISPs to block gambling sites?

    You know, the way the Chinese government censors the internet? Of course, our government has far nobler motives than those commies. ;-)

    By the way, I just read an article that says a lawsuit has been filed to hold bloggers responsible for their commentors’ comments. Hope I don’t get you in trouble.


  3. The only way that I can see The US or any Government blocking on line gambling is through the Land Lines and Cables. To block the Airwaves via Wireless Internet that does not use any land based equipment would break long standing Laws and take away our governments ability to send air waves over our enemies air waves. Thats a mountain that will drive some citizens nuts for a while.

  4. Its good to see scot say his piece. After all the IETF has that type of responsibity to oversee fair use of Inet!! No gov has the power to enforce usage of Inet technogies over the enduser, unless of course its harmfull to the greater whole. I wish there were more Bof’s groups which lobby hard !!!

  5. I think the if someone would gambling online, it should be alowed for him to do so.

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