Dispute Resolution
Computer Expert Evidence

Internet Self-Regulation


"The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance:
which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime,
and the punishment of his guilt".



John Philpot Curran 1750-1817
  Speech on the Right of Election of Lord Mayor of Dublin, 10 July 1790.



"This bibliography of Internet self regulation was born of many discussions, arguments, and debates about regulating the Internet. In these discussions, it was clear that people were using key terms such as "Internet," "regulation," and most of all "self-regulation," in a variety of different ways, many of them confusing and inconsistent. The recurrent mantra was that, "the Internet should not be regulated by the government, but should be self-regulated instead." Everyone was talking about self-regulation as the obviously preferable alternative to government regulation, but as far as was evident from these discussions, "self-regulation" equaled lack of government regulation. But no affirmative definition or description of self-regulation seemed forthcoming. What is self-regulation of the Internet? What does this look like? Who is the "self" that is regulating itself? What are the mechanisms by which the self-regulates itself? Aren't both national and international governments already regulating the Internet? Are we talking about virtual communities? Filtering software? Does self-regulation really mean no regulation? And just what does it mean to "regulate" something? Does it mean to make laws? Enforce them? Punish people? Who is going to do it? And what part of the Internet are we regulating? The World Wide Web? E-mail? Ftp? The architecture of the Internet itself? Or just what people do when they are logged on?"

From the "Introduction to Bibliography of Internet Self-Regulation"
© 1998 Matthew J. McCloskey. Reproduced from http://www.ilpf.org/selfreg/bib4_18.htm with permission.

The Self Regulatory Process

The objectives above can be achieved through arbitration following an uncodified Law of the Internet. Published Reports on the diverse arbitral awards will evolve into a generally accepted Law of the Internet. One cannot expect to get it right first or even second time. Experience rules. The Reports will be available for comment on the Internet. The Law of the Internet is no more than morally binding but will guide future arbitrators, who will produce case Reports and so on ad infinitum.

If not accepted graciously, each separate arbitrator’s award may be enforced almost worldwide through international treaties. National courts will enforce the arbitrators’ awards under the international treaties without any possibility of appeal. This is an International centric free solution to an International problem.

The mechanisms for developing and enforcing a generally accepted Law of the Internet are explained at:

The author is an "old systems man" (there is always a better way) who is his own webmaster and a fully qualified and experienced arbitrator. He is modest enough to think that the process developed here is what the Internet Community is looking for right now. Rest assured that what is being offered is legal, would be free and effective, and shown to be so on the website, surprising as that might seem.