Toni Alatalo on 4 Dec 2000 21:50:20 -0000

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[Nettime-bold] Internet/Web naivety? (Re: <nettime> Yahoo, the regulator)

On Wed, 22 Nov 2000, geert lovink wrote:

> According to zdnet "Vinton Cerf of the United States, said at the time that he
> believed the move was contrary to the very idea of a World Wide Web, an
> electronic galaxy where information and ideas were exchanged with no physical
> borders." I really wonder if Cerf is that naive. He should know better that all
> Internet servers, in the end, have a locality. Data can move around, servers
> can't. Even if they could they remain to have a physical location and are
> thereby subject to the law of the place they are at that particular moment.

I wouldn't really be that surprised if that is what he genuinely thinks,
and perhaps what many other Internet enthusiasts have liked to think too.

Thinking of the Web, the actual servers do not matter, but the content,
the data. And that can be easily replicated, mirrored etc. even so, that
the physical location can not be determined (easily). To do this well has
proven increasingly difficult, but systems like from
zeroknowledge have addressed the problem interestingly. Also, the classic
Usenet (perhaps irc to a point too) obfuscates the locality, i.e. there
the content is not tied to a specific server (the content IDs work as
pointers on any nntp server, like the URN scheme is planned for use with
the Web, instead of URLs as URIs)

The very same quote at hand from mr. Cerf indicates where his mind tends
to wonder - he thinks/speaks Star Trek (note the word "galaxy" there).
Internet is the "global frontier" (the slogan of the Inet'97 conference in
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia), like the space is the final frontier in Star

Of the genuine naivety vs. conspiracy theories issue, the question whether
mr. Cerf was actually pulling a trick on media or addressing (what he
considered) relevant issues regarding the Internet, reminds of what
happened in Inet'98 in Geneva. There the Internet Society was really
facing difficult questions, like furthering the by-then-debated IAHC-MoU
(that lead to birth ICANN, or whatever the relation was it was there) and
other (self-)regulatory issues like content (PICS was on the table I
guess). Despite all that, all mr. Cerf brought up at the press conference
was the then recently announced project where they were addressing the
issues to do with the Interplanetary Internet - and the journalist's
bought that, so that all the magazines focused on the space stuff in their
Inet'98 reports. Which was fun, I guess. Mr. Cerf commented afterwards,
that he'd noticed me sitting there (in the press conference) looking
desparate, shaking my head (not believing how the journalists bought it)
but I don't remember asking/telling him what it was about.

Anyhow, what he says there might well be genuine. It might even be true.

> Why is the WWW constantly mixed up with the specific US-American juridiction of
> free speech? Well, there is a historical explanation for that (the Internet is
> an American invention etc.). But how long will that historical claim be valid?
> I think that what is at stake in this case of Yahoo! versus the French state.

This brought to mind another ISOC-related discussion, that Don Heath had
with some US-gov relad people (or something) - seems to me that he was not
really listened to, so despite what he was trying to say this was

U.S. House of Representatives,
Committee on Science,
Subcommittee on Basic Research,
Washington, DC.

Chairman PICKERING. I would like to say, regardless of the legal questions
in this issue or this particular issue, I do think
that there is a larger public trust issue. American taxpayers have helped
build the Internet as well as many of the U.S. companies,
and private sector investors. To now go into a transition plan which would
symbolically move that to another country, off-shore,
whether Switzerland or any other country, I think, will raise a
fundamental question among American taxpayers, the American
public. This is something that is uniquely American, that we have led on,
and we need to maintain that leadership to maintain, I
believe, the registry in our country and to do otherwise, I think, would
be unfair to the American taxpayers and the investors who
have helped build this and made this great opportunity possible. So, we
may have‹again, we want to get the right process but I do
think that, from members on this Committee, that part of the IAHC plan is
not going to sell very well, not here and not on Main
Street and not anywhere that I can imagine. 


siinäpä teille.

+ an +				~ Toni ~ 		: (t	.	!

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