July 16, 2003
Geek legislation

Talk about a geeky proposal for a legal principle:

Our thesis is that legal regulation of the Internet should be governed by the layers principle - the law should respect the integrity of layered Internet architecture. This principle has two corollaries. The first corollary is the principle of layer separation: Internet regulation should not violate or compromise the separation between layers designed into the basic architecture of the Internet. The second corollary is the principle of minimizing layer crossing, i.e., minimize the distance between the layer at which the law aims to produce an affect and the layer directly affected by legal regulation

From "The Layers Principle: Internet Architecture and the Law".

I like the idea. It highlights at least some of the ridiculous attempts at legislation in cyberspace, by understanding (correctly) that the basic architecture is not something the individual can change, and that it would not only be unjust, but a downright violation of my basic rights, if the medium in which I express myself (i.e. lower layers of architecture, like e.g. the http based servers and clients this message reaches you through) had built in mechanisms to examine the data I pass around.

Unfortunately (for the principle, but great for us) the nature of simulation and virtual machines means that you can always travel up and down the layer stack via simulation embedded in a layer under your control - as I have previously explained. Cory Doctorow's short story ownz0red covers the same stuff beautifully in the first couple of pages.

Posted by Claus at July 16, 2003 11:22 PM | TrackBack (0)
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