stated in its Position Paper on the proposed dot eu TLD that Europe now
has the opportunity to set up a TLD that incorporates standards and practices,
which will make cSpace, short for citizen's Space, a comfortable, secure
and trustworthy place for business, pleasure and learning using the internet.
a very tall order - but it is necessary to address some fundamental issues
arising from the development of global and regional Internet facilities.
- Legal issues
- Enforcement issues
- Trade names
- Personal names
problem with global or regional domains is that they consist of groups
of sovereign states that have their own separate and distinct legal structure
and law enforcement systems.
This can lead
to the situation that a legal activity in one country is not considered
legal in another.
that service providers that serve the global market or regional markets
can be prohibited from certain activities in one country that are legal
elsewhere. To comply with these national rulings, the service provider
would be required to offer a service which complies with the requirements
of each of these countries resulting in the strictest law of any country
applying to all the world's websites! The result would be a very restricted
service which would benefit nobody.
of enforcement can be considered under three main headings, namely:
Detection of criminal
usually detects the crime or infringement. However, a major difficulty
is that there is no internationally agreed definition of illegal activity
on the Internet, and because of the differences between the laws of every
country, what is legal in one country may not be legal in another. This
can lead to the situation of a "criminal act" taking place in one country
by a perpetrator in another country where the action is legal (or vice
Should an attempt
be made to set up an internationally agreed code of practice for the Internet
which identifies acceptable and non-acceptable activity?
of the perpetrator is mainly a technical issue which has been addressed
(although highly skilled technicians are required to get the necessary
evidence). However, there are instances where the provisions of Data Protection
and Privacy legislation do impeded the process of identification - and
the investigators do not have any special powers or privileges such as
those held by the police.
be given special powers or privileges? If so, what and who do they report
to? Who controls the standards of investigation if at all?
of enforcement involves showing that a crime/infringement has been committed,
punishing the perpetrator and ensuring that the activity is discontinued.
This is usually done via the service provider and is disturbing in that
the investigation, the "trial" and punishment is usually done by the same
organisation. Small companies and individual citizen's have no real opportunity
to challenge any judgements either with the ISPs or via the courts because
of the lack of evidence and the high costs involved.
ISPs and registrars be accountable to an international judicial body for
enforcement? Should all these activities be done by independent organisations?
How can small organisations and individual citizens get redress (at a
price they can afford)? How can effective legal action be taken against
the perpetrators of international crimes (fraud, personation etc.)?
should be able to use their legally registered Trade Names without hindrance.
There is no problem if their domain name is a ccTLD (country code TLD).
However when using international TLDs, then there can be a conflict when
the same Trade Name is legally registered by separate organisations in
more than one country. Rules need to be set up so that it is possible
by adding extra information, to distinguish between similar or identical
Trade Names without infringing the rights of either party. The current
practice of accepting registrations on a "first come, first serve" basis
is unsatisfactory and simply leads to some legally registered organisations
not being able to use their Trade Names in an international domain name
(and of course encourages cyber squatting).
Surely it is
possible to allow organisations to user their legally registered Trade
Names by adding extra information to distinguish them?
should also have the right to use their own names as part of a domain
name. In fact their domain name could also be their life long address
on the Internet - rather like a postal address in cyberspace. The problem
is on a much bigger scale for personal names as there is a much greater
chance of duplication. The use of a number to distinguish between individuals
with the same name is technically very easy but totally unsatisfactory
as it does not helping in trying to identify a particular individual.
It is far better to use another way distinguishing individuals that is
more friendly and useful. Further, citizens should be able to use the
character set of their native tongue in domain names (an issue I believe
is being pursued by China).
Surely it is
possible to define a better method of distinguishing between identical
personal names and to allow international character sets to be used in
CECUA has recommended
that the Citizens of Europe should be able to work in a safe, affordable
and comfortable Citizens' Space called cSpace. As with other issues, this
is an easy concept, readily understood by many but what are the requirements
of cSpace and how can they be implemented and controlled? How do we avoid
the trap of controlling access to obscene, dangerous and illegal material
without being accused of censorship? How do we protect Citizens from fraud,
cyber crime etc. How do we police cSpace? Should the Registry have sole
authority to lay down and administer acceptable standards of behaviour
in cSpace. If not, who should?