[discuss] Boundaries and sovereignty

Salanieta T. Tamanikaiwaimaro salanieta.tamanikaiwaimaro at gmail.com
Fri Jan 31 21:36:53 UTC 2014

Dear All,

Because this thread is on boundaries and sovereignty, I will just add a few

1)The issue of boundary and sovereignty

Depending on how one perceives boundaries, it will differ according to
perception. Differences in perception stem from their philosophical base
that determine things like world view. On one hand, you have a "type of
perception" that "nation states are imaginary boundaries" (Benedict
Anderson) and on the other hand there is another perception that nation
states have real and fixed geographical boundaries inclusive of Exclusive
Economic Zone. Of course, then there are some that argue that theirs
extends beyond what is traditionally defined as their boundary, going into
space, seabed etc. With something as the Internet, the type of perception
matters because it has several direct implications on the degree of law
enforcement, the kind of alliances one has in favour of a "cause" etc.
Boundaries affect a significant number of themes in Internet Governance and
this include but is not limited to Intellectual Property, Cyber Crime, Top
Level Domains (TLDs) etc. It also introduces a number of complex policy
questions that also potentially conflict with existing regimes (referring
to International Treaties) that do not account for scenarios that are
surfacing because of the nature of the Internet. This is *NOT* to suggest
that the solution can be solved by developing a new regime or treaty. Some
hold the view that to each country his own - meaning regulate within your
own "borders". It becomes tricky though when countries break though each
other's boundaries which brings us to a question that is central to the
debate in Internet Governance:

*Q Is the Internet in Country X owned by and can be regulated by Country X?*
If Yes, to what extent?
If No, to what extent?

*What are the limitations of such a regulation? Should the Internet be
regulated? Is it already regulated?*
In most instances, one finds that Internet Service Providers have to be
licensed to provide services. So there is a form of regulation. Some
countries regulate Qualities of Service to ensure that providers guarantee
the provision of these services. Some countries regulate through placing
universal service obligations etc. Some countries place taxes on e commerce
activities whilst others don't. Generally, globally, there is a recognition
that any regulation must be done in a manner that does not restrict growth
and many favour the light handed approach. Of course you will have
countries like Iran who deliberately regulate to slow down bandwidth so
that people cannot go on facebook and start a revolution.  Regardless of
the type of regulation, the issue of Boundary is also one of the core
concepts that cause suspicion, doubt etc. What is Country X's boundary?
What is an IXP's boundary? What is an ISP's boundary? What happens when
Country X encroaches Country Y's boundary? Does it matter? Are all these
boundaries imaginary?

The use of an *open and free internet* can mean different things to
different people and the manner in which debates and discussions are
polarised reflect the divergent views on this.

2) Another facet that boundaries and borders is with the issue of geography
as has been discussed by Carolina, Andres, Jorge, Carlos to some extent.
Histories of colonization, annexures have all contributed to the political
nature of country names and codes. Some to this day still invoke
indignation etc. One rationale of trying to remain apolitical was to adopt
the ISO 3166 mechanism of assigning country codes.

Kind Regards,
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