Suppose you wanted to witness the birth and development of a legal system. You would need a large, complex social system that lies outside of all other legal authorities. Moreover, you would need that system somehow to accelerate the seemingly millennial progress of legal development, so you could witness more than a mere moment of the process. The hypothetical system might seem like a social scientist's fantasy, but it actually exists. It's called the Internet.(1)
"Cyberspace", first coined by William Gibson in the 1984 science fiction novel, Neuromancer, is a "culture and society of people who are individually empowered by a digital connection through the use of the Internet."(2) Gibson described cyberspace as a place where people could connect their nervous system to a device that allows them to experience a simulated environment.(3)
Cyberspace has not just grown, it has exploded. Some estimates place its growth at 20 percent a month.(4) Because of its exponential growth, its norms, ethics and values are constantly changing.(5) It is growing at such a rate that the "real world societies" find it difficult to apply formal legal rules to cyberspace. Indeed, applying current law may result in unwanted consequences, such as imposing the standards of the most restrictive American jurisdictions throughout the United States or enforcing rules and policies against citizens of other countries.(6)
In fact, some jurisdictions are attempting to exercise control outside of their boundaries. Minnesota's Attorney General, Hubert Humphrey III, issued a memorandum stating that "Persons outside of Minnesota who transmit information via the Internet knowing that information will be disseminated...
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... the Electronic Frontier,"
22. Eric Hatchett, "The Spam Ban: The Feasibility of a Law to Limit Unwanted Electronic Mail" December 1998 URL <see http://www.ukans.edu/~cybermom/CLJ/hatchett.html >
24. Rowan v. U.S. Post Office, 397 U.S. 728, 733 (1970) < http://www.vcilp.org/fedct/Supreme/Flite/opinions/397US728.htm >
25. Anne Wells Branscomb, "Emerging Law on the Electronic Frontier,"
26. MultiMedia & Web Strategist at 4
28. U.S. v. Freeman, 808 F. 2d. 1290, (8th Cir. 1987)
29. Anne Wells Branscomb, "Emerging Law on the Electronic Frontier,"
30. MulitMedia & Web Strategist, at 5 <see ">ftp://ftp.loc.gov/pub/thomas/c105/h1748.ih.txt>
31. MultiMedia & Web Strategist, at 1
32. < http://www.leginfo.leg.wa.gov/pub/billinfo/house/2750-2774/2752-s_sl_032798.html >
33. MultiMedia Web & Strategist, at 4
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