Uses and Abuses of Cyberspace: Coming to Grips with the Present Dangers

Andrew Murray

in Realizing Utopia

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9780199691661
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191738593 | DOI:
Uses and Abuses of Cyberspace: Coming to Grips with the Present Dangers

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Of key importance to the challenge of cyberspace to all areas of law is the distinction between space and cyberspace. Space is the lawyer's natural environment. It represents our place in the physical environment and is the cornerstone of our legal systems, domestic and international. Cyberspace is the global network of interdependent information technology infrastructures, telecommunications networks, and computer processing systems. How does the rule of law apply in cyberspace? If we are to have any hope of producing effective de facto jurisdiction for cyberspace content, international lawyers must first accept there is a distinction between space and cyberspace. Cyberspace may (when viewed from the space of the physical environment) look like a communications media. There are areas where international cooperation and perhaps even formalization of law through treaty obligations are likely to be successful. They include e-commerce where the UNCITRAL Model Law on Electronic Commerce has been extremely successful in bringing harmony and international recognition; intellectual property rights where a number of the World Intellectual Property Organization treaties and others such as the recently finalized Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement have been or are likely to be effective; and a number of criminal law measures where the Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime has been effective in providing cooperation on matters of illegal interception and computer-related fraud. However, if lawyers want to create de facto control over content it cannot be done through legal documents; it must be done through a web of terms and conditions of service and through Lessigian code-based solutions.

Keywords: international law; space; cyberspace; e-commerce; UNCITRAL Model Law on Electronic Commerce; intellectual property rights; cybercrime

Chapter.  5928 words. 

Subjects: Public International Law

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