Date of this Version

February 2007

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Details

Pre-print

Svantesson, D. J .B. (2007) "Imagine there’s no countries...” – Geo-identification, the law and the not so borderless Internet. Journal of Internet Law, March 2007, Vol. 10, Issue 9, pp.1-21.

© Copyright Aspen Publishers Inc., 2007.

Reproduced with permission.

Abstract

Introduction:

Imagine trying to access you favourite website, and when doing so, being greeted by a message along the lines of: “We know you are in Sydney (Australia). This website is only intended for the people of Norway.”

While having gained little attention so far, technologies making such a scenario possible already exist, are already in use, and the spread of their use is rapidly increasing. Although the so-called geo-location technologies that make this kind of geographical ‘borders’ possible can be circumvented, we are doubtlessly witnessing the Internet undergoing a remarkable change - from the world's first and only ‘borderless’ communications medium to something that much more resembles our physical world divided by borders of different kinds. This has enormous consequences as we are losing one of the greatest benefits of the Internet, its ability to allow people to communicate across borders.

This article examines how, and to what extent, these technologies work. Further, the legal implications of these technologies are discussed, and a few observations are made as to the likely effect these technologies will have on the future structure of the Internet.

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