[governance] Twitter to add to Balkanization of the Web

Paul Lehto lehto.paul at gmail.com
Fri Jan 27 08:33:45 EST 2012

On Fri, Jan 27, 2012 at 4:11 AM, Roland Perry <
roland at internetpolicyagency.com> wrote:

> In message <CAD=1Ovf_Er95PUBBnsnZ21=NA_**fYt+36ZAFy-Xpep7BuMQ6mwg at mail.**
> gmail.com <NA_fYt%2B36ZAFy-Xpep7BuMQ6mwg at mail.gmail.com>>, at 22:51:50 on
> Thu, 26 Jan 2012, Paul Lehto <lehto.paul at gmail.com> writes
>  This relates to one big reason Google (via Vint Cerf) would oppose a
>> right to ACCESS the "Internet"
> Isn't there a danger of confusing access to the Internet with access to
> particular content sites on the Internet?
Roland, I never understood the Chinese/Indian approach to censoring the
Internet as creating "access to the Internet" that is the same, just
without access to "particular content sites".  Given people's normal
(adult) expectations, I think the term "internet access" becomes deceptive
and misleading when access to entire classes of sites on the internet are
restricted or forbidden (for adults who are not at work for an employer,

>  -- most people naturally think of the internet as international and
>> various parties, including but not limited to Google and Twitter, and
>> putting more and more structural barriers in place to accessing the free
>> international internet
> To use their own example, they'd respect the law in Germany, regarding
> pro-Nazi content, by withholding it from Germany rather than removing it
> from the whole world.

And here I thought that Internet censorship in China and things like that
were a problem, and now an internet policy expert seems to be reassuring me
that all is well when companies outside Germany, or China, voluntarily give
extraterritorial effect to German or Chinese laws. Isn't this a problem
when the USA gets extraterritorial effect to its laws?  Yes, I realize that
under your example the law has not succeeded in changing the net for the
whole entire world, but the law has had an effect, voluntary or compulsory,
on a business that is likely not within the proper jurisdictional reach of
Germany or China.  (Or if Google is present in both countries, some other
entity like Twitter or something else would not be, and my reply would
apply here with full force because such a company would be giving extra
effect to a nation's laws beyond that which they could obtain in their
courts, at least under our view here that extraterritorial effect to laws,
and censorship, are both problems).

> That retains the individual's right of freedom on *speech*, but restricts
> the right to *listen* in some places (but only because of the law in that
> place).

The right to speak, or scream, in the wilderness where no one has the
correlative right to listen or hear can easily be, and regularly would be,
an empty right.

> eBay has being doing this kind of thing for years - selectively
> restricting prohibited products depending on the country it's offered for
> sale. And all countries (even the USA) have things they wouldn't want you
> to tweet about.

Products are quite distinct from speech.  The advertising of products can
be regulated without implicating free speech rights in the usual case.

Paul Lehto, J.D.
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