The Internet at 20: Evolution of a Constitution for Cyberspace

69 Pages Posted: 20 Oct 2012 Last revised: 10 Jun 2013

See all articles by Henry H. Perritt

Henry H. Perritt

Chicago-Kent College of Law - Illinois Institute of Technology

Date Written: October 19, 2012

Abstract

The Internet’s “constitution” is not expressed in a single document. Instead, it comprises the open architecture inherent in the Internet’s technological protocols together with a collection of government policies, legislative enactments, and judicial decisions that seek to protect the basic architectural philosophy, ensure space for entrepreneurial freedom, and guard against the abuse of economic or political power.

This Article looks back over the Internet’s first twenty years, highlighting the crucial legal decisions by the executive, legislative, and judicial branches that have led to the Internet’s success, and which now frame its constitution. I participated in many of these decisions and wrote more than a dozen law review articles and reports suggesting directions for public policy and law. This Article uses this foundation to consider the future, focusing on major legal controversies, the resolution of which will define the Internet’s third decade — either strengthening or undermining its constitution.

Keywords: Internet, constitution, technology, cyberspace, online, network

JEL Classification: K30, K39

Suggested Citation

Perritt, Henry H., The Internet at 20: Evolution of a Constitution for Cyberspace (October 19, 2012). 20 William & Mary Bill of Rights Journal 1115 (2012); Chicago-Kent College of Law Research Paper No. 2013-22. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2164445

Henry H. Perritt (Contact Author)

Chicago-Kent College of Law - Illinois Institute of Technology ( email )

565 W. Adams St.
Chicago, IL 60661-3691
United States
312-906-5000 (Phone)

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