Not long ago at the Bilbao Web Summit, Tim Berners-Lee inventor of the World Wide Web came up with a proposal stating that a constitution should be passed in order to protect Internet users. I think the most significant element of this statement is that it comes from someone best placed to know the origin and characteristics of this technology and the fact that his conclusion is a global regulation seems quite logical to me, considering that the resources and services that we find on Internet have no frontiers.
Establishing uniform rules for everyone would not only help protect Internet users, but also would enhance communication within it. Although, I absolutely share this theory, maybe right now it is still too early to know the real scope of this new system in order to establish with clarity what the basic international principles that should direct the cyberspace are, without undermining the technology evolution or creating important gaps or inconsistencies. We do not have to lose sight that laws, constitutions and international conventions, especially those that have regulated certain areas for decades (Human Rights, Security, etc.) are rules that have been shaped through time, customs and experience. The wording came after the understanding thorough knowledge of cause, risks and consequences, knowing full well what was intended to be protected or avoided.
Although the ultimate goal would be to pass an international constitution or principles, it is still too ambitious considering not only the limited experience that we have in this matter that is unusually changeable, but for the differing laws across the countries, strongly marked by a particular historical and cultural evolution. Nevertheless, we should keep in mind that, before constitutions or international conventions are adopted there are always a set of rules governing the practical functioning of society, such as, commercial relationships, transportation, the use of common spaces such as airspace, the sea, etc. These are operating rules to live by in society and sharing common spaces with a certain security.
But how could communication be improved?
- Synthesizing and standardizing the required legal information at any website, App or service,
- Establishing an Incoterms system to facilitate content removal.
- Establishing consequences for misleading legal notices, as already happens in certain countries.
And how should rights and obligations be established?
- Imposing a strong transparency principle. This would permit us to offer convenient information under a uniformed blueprint, empowering consumers to compare with one another the terms offered by providers and choose the best deal effectively.
Establishing uniform rules for everyone would not only help protect Internet users, but also would enhance communication within it.
We cannot ignore that Internet has been a revolution that has deeply changed communications and society, while blurring borders and distance. So that, sooner or later we will have to think big if we want to build more effective regulations and often, less is more. Therefore, starting with this question, why don’t we try to agree with some useful international ‘fair play rules‘ to improve our experience and safety in the Internet and use of technologies, while letting the global principles emerge naturally with the evolution and experience?∗