Extraterritoriality and the Internet

After watching Professor Herzog’s lecture, I really thought about the part where he said “if you are not sharing, you are not being social – you are just broadcasting.” This is something I totally agree with but, for some reason, I started thinking about sharing information to other people from other countries and how their countries’ laws may not accept some of the information I may be sharing. So, I wrote this little blurb:

The Internet is the latest and greatest technology dedicated to transmitting and receiving information in various formats; it was created in the United States for the purpose of sharing free information and, today, is one of the most effective as well as controversial methods of communication around the world. On one hand, the Internet has enhanced societies – people are able to research information, socialize, keep up with their friends and family, create and share documents and other works, and purchase goods all at the click of a mouse, anytime and anywhere. On the other, it does not recognize national boundaries – the Internet itself is border-less. Therefore, as the Internet continues to grow, both in number of users and capacity, it also has become enmeshed in a seemingly constant struggle to remain “open.” The decentralized nature of the Internet has created a clash of laws and governments that point to the issue of extraterritoriality. 

As we know, social media is a very powerful tool in today’s world but the idea of extraterritoriality really makes me think that the Internet indeed has borders. THAT can be a bad thing for us digital socialites.

Questions? Comments? Concerns?



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3 responses to “Extraterritoriality and the Internet

  1. I’m not sure the internet is completely borderless. I volunteer for Youth for Understanding, an international youth exchange organization. When we match incoming students with host families, we encourage them to get to know one-another through the great world-wide-web. One of the first things I have to explain to those hosting Chinese students is that they will not find them on Facebook. It’s banned. Many Chinese use FB when they’re here, but have to abandon their accounts when they return to their home country. It’s kind of a bummer, because it feels like a huge loss of touch with our students, since FB is such a widely and often-used social media tool here in the US.

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