Family Software

Cyber Space was Born Free..
But is Found every where in Chains.

It is a fact of life that the Cyber space is what it is today because of the instant appeal it created in the "Naturally Freedom Loving" human community. Much like the irony that Sachin Tendulkar the most loved man  in India has to today keep security guards  all around him even when he goes to the beach, the popularity itself has become a threat to the Cyber Space. At the same time, there is no alternative but to take this development in its stride.

On the Internet, it is the Commercial interests that are imposing various kinds of restrictions on Cyber space some justified and many not so justified. Like the proverbial Arabian Camel, the initial accommodation that the freedom loving Internet community gave to the E-Commerce people, has today grown into a monster threatening the very existence of the freedom loving Netizen.

The different  areas of this dispute are,

1.Digital Identity Vs Anonymity
2.Regulation of Cyber Crimes 
3.Applicability of of Meta Society Laws to Cyber Society
4. Regulatory Jurisdiction

Let's look at these points in a little more detail.

1.Digital Identity Vs Anonymity:

The requirements of E-Commerce means that the seller and the buyer should  mutually know the identity of each other so that Trust can be built up and disputes if any can be resolved.

The anonymity or pseudonomity is a freedom that gives a power to the Netizen to express himself freely. On the other hand, identity kills this initiative. Because, for every person who has a good idea and is prepared to stand up and be counted, there are atleast 99 (Or 999?) other persons with good ideas who donot want to stand up and be counted. Most of them if not all, will come up with their ideas if anonymity is assured. 

The dilemma is ..Should the society give up an opportunity to bring these latent ideas to the open by making Internet as the place where you can walk around only with an identity tag hanging around your neck?

Surely there will be some elements in the society who will misuse this anonymity and try to harm the society. The challenge is how to ensure freedom of expression and also eliminate its misuse.

The power of commerce has created a trend for the Cyber Society to move towards the "Identity Tag" system. It is technically feasible and will become economically viable soon when the Digital Certificates become cheaper. But will it be desirable? Will it become the death knell for the system itself?.. are issues that need to be examined in detail before we proceed further.

One solution to this is to move all commercial transactions to a separate network.. call them Internet II or the New Digital Nation. Every body in this community will have a Digital Certificate and the moment they enter this network, every movement they make is tracked. This is the Cyber Space where all business transactions can take place without the fear of  fraud through false identity. Obviously, "Privacy" is not a concern of this "Commercial Club". The laws of this Cyber Society can be rigid and restrictive since this is meant only for one class of the society. 

The existing Internet without the business elements can continue in the footsteps of the early founders of the Internet and the web as a "Free Internet" where there is only anonymity and pseudonomity. Because of the nature of the society, neither Privacy nor Defamation etc are concerns of this society. But the rule would be to strictly avoid cross linking of the activities  of an individual in the Free Cyber Space with the identity of the Digital nation. 

Technically therefore there should a gateway to the Internet which will either anonymize the netizen and take him to the Free Cyber Space or Digitally Tag him and take him to the Digital nation. It should be open for Web sites to allow visitors from one or the other or both parts of the Cyber Space to enter his site. 

By definition the Free Cyber Space will have a low or nil security and therefore it is presumed that all commercial transactions will take place in the Digital nation. Whether this should be made mandatory or left to the choice of the service provider is another point which needs debate. Perhaps the ideal solution is to leave the choice to the service provider but educate him on all the consequences.

To Be Continued
July 12, 2001 

Comments and Suggestions can be sent to  Naavi

For Structured Online Courses in Cyber laws, Visit Cyber Law 

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