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Information Technology LawThe Law and Society

Information Technology Law: The Law and Society (5th edn)

Andrew Murray
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date: 25 April 2024

p. 594. Regulating the information societylocked

p. 594. Regulating the information societylocked

  • Andrew Murray


This chapter examines whether the actions of individuals in the digital environment could be regulated. It first considers John Perry Barlow’s 1996 publication of his Declaration of Independence for Cyberspace, in which he asserts that cyberspace was a separate sovereign space where real-world laws and real-world governments were of little or no effect. Barlow’s forceful challenge to lawmakers and law enforcement bodies gave rise to a school of thought known as cyberlibertarianism. The chapter compares cyberlibertarianism with another school of thought called cyberpaternalism, which rejected the notion that cyberspace was immune from regulatory intervention by real-world regulators. It also explains Lawrence Lessig’s modalities of internet regulation, network communitarianism, private regulators of cyberspace, and states’ supranational regulation of cyberspace. The chapter goes on to examine contemporary theories of internet governance and regulation including libertarian paternalism, platform and intermediary regulation and algorithmic regulation.

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