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HumanRights is both a very old and very new concept, in a sense that the particular legal environment we enjoy today to protect our HumanRights has not been in effect for very long, yet they draw upon a long legal history. Specifically, while our current framework was developed and enacted in response to the atrocities from World War II. After the United Nations was formed in San Francisco in 1945, it began to work almost immediately on a universal framework for human rights.

liberalism Enlightenment, Locke, Kant


For a very long time, the Internet was pervaded by technolibertarians (ribbed here as CryptoNauts), who believed in pushing control of the Internet into the hands of the individuals using it. Dominant thinkers of this worldview are most notably JohnPerryBarlow, as well as ChristopherLocke?, RickLevine?, DocSearls?, and DavidWeinberger? (of the CluetrainManifesto and, more recently, the WorldOfEnds?). With control in the hands of individuals instead of "untrustworthy" institutions like the State or Corporations, they believed that individuals would finally be free to do as they wished. This extreme anarchism, they felt, was not a mere rehash of previous anarchies, but based on the wholly new and alien territory of "CyberSpace" (or at least the InternetProtocol). They believed on something like the Internet where resources were unbounded, and control at the "ends", and with strong veils of mediation, individuals could protect themselves simply by viewing MediaAsControl?. No governance is the best governance, though a strong firewall is par for the course.

This may have been more plausible prior to 1993 where regulation of the Internet amounted to contacting the problematic user's service provider (normally his or her employer or institution), although there were large ethical ramifications of this practice. Nonetheless, the commericialization of the 'Net (aka TheSeptemberThatNeverEnded) changed the structure of control drastically. For one, commercial providers were less likely to punish problematic users who were their customers. Second, it provided people with nearly anonymous points of access to the Internet, whereas before even the domain of the point of origin could tell a lot about a person. More philosophically, it severely limited the power of VulnerabilityToCommunity that existed in the pre-commerical Internet.

Consequently, as lay people came online, laws have been erected to help protect them, such as privacy, cyberharassment and cyberstalking laws, pedophilic predation laws, and so on. While these laws have been successful prosecuted in several cases, they still do not address the GlobalJurisdiction?al nature of the Internet to any reasonable degree, leaving the best advice to citizens still to take matters in their own hands. Further, the laws themselves are highly controversial. At the very least we can claim that the proliferation of the Internet has brought to a head several social and moral issues on different levels: how the technology will be designed; which applications will run; who takes responsibility for behaviour and software; who is given access; how access is regulated; and other issues of fairness.

end-to-end actually first described by Jerome Saltzer, David Clark, and David P. Reed in 1981 as "the end-to-end argument".

Individual vs. Collective

AnIndividual vs. TheIndividual vs. TheCollective

Negative vs. positive freedom

Freedoms from the state vs. freedoms for the individual. Restrictions of top-down control vs. enabling bottom-up action.

Hofstaeder's hygiene factors seem relevant.

Equality vs. power

Locke, Kant. One law for all. But still power imbalances.

Power imbalances not a bad thing (bah to Marx) necessarily if there is a BalancingForce to keep them from crossing TheTippingPoint (whatever that may be). We want to give those with ability above others more power to make relevant decisions. The specialization of human endeavour. e.g. PeerPrivilege

Horizontal vs. vertical

Freedom from the state vs. freedom from each other.

Public vs. Private

institutional vs. libertarian

The Internet

Results in backlash, to totalitarian control of "anarchic" network. Original myth of the UniVac? enlivened.

Just as bad: freedom myths entice reductions of freedoms in practice. (e.g. CryptoNauts)

Dialogues of control

White male latté drinkers vs. the world. The 'Net is a Modernist system and it reflects it. GlobalMedia?, the unbearable whiteness of being, etc. Women, ethnic minorities excluded (cf. CyberTypes), even if PostModern myths of PostHuman identity centred in post-feminist discussions (irony). Perhaps there is pushback against this? (how to prove this, though?)

What's going on?

Individual IntellectualProperty laws; privacy laws; libel & slander laws; the ability to subpoena RealNames from ISPs.


What might happen if HumanRights do not balance?

A GatedCommunity network where if you do not play by our rules, we exclude you from our network. NineteenEightyFour?: Oceania vs. Eurasia vs. Eastasia indeed.


Hamelink, C. J. (1999). Human rights in cyberspace. In Leen d'Haenens (ed.), Cyberidentities: Canadian & European presence in cyberspace., 31-46.


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