National restrictions of freedom of speech on the nascent global information infrastructure are commonplace not only in the United States, but also around the globe. Individual nations, each intent upon preserving what they perceive to be within the perimeters of their national interests, seek to regulate certain forms of speech because of content that is considered reprehensible or offensive to national well-being or civic virtue. The fact that this offending speech is technologically dispersed instantaneously to millions of potential recipients strengthens the impetus to regulate.... Activists at both ends of the spectrum disregard an integral aspect of the global composition of the Net. Those who advocate unfettered Net communication and those who espouse some form of national Net regulation are similarly constrained in the pursuit of their objectives by the very structure of the information infrastructure. It is the global aspect of the information infrastructure that shapes the debate on freedom of speech and limits absolutists and regulators at the same time. The nature of this conflict and its potential resolution will be outlined in this Article. Therefore, assuming that national policy makers will not want to cede their authority to regulate the information infrastructure, we will suggest a mechanism by which those who elect to regulate speech can begin to deliberate about this objective in a structured, principled, and internationally acceptable manner.
Victor Mayer-Schönberger & Teree E. Foster,
Regulatory Web: Free Speech and the Global Information Infrastructure, A,
Mich. Telecomm. & Tech. L. Rev.
Available at: http://repository.law.umich.edu/mttlr/vol3/iss1/3