Beware: Global Internet Imposes Legal Accountability On Scientists

The emergence and proliferation of the global Internet computer network represents a milestone in increased information exchange and access. Tens of thousands of Internet users now regularly traverse "cyberspace," as the vast assemblage of online data has come to be commonly known. Attending the benefits of these new electronic resources, however, is the prospect of legal conflict. Until recently, the network has been the exclusive domain of a relatively small and homogeneous group of scientis

Dan Burk
Apr 2, 1995

The emergence and proliferation of the global Internet computer network represents a milestone in increased information exchange and access. Tens of thousands of Internet users now regularly traverse "cyberspace," as the vast assemblage of online data has come to be commonly known.

Attending the benefits of these new electronic resources, however, is the prospect of legal conflict. Until recently, the network has been the exclusive domain of a relatively small and homogeneous group of scientists and engineers sharing common goals and rules of conduct. Yet use of the Internet is rising exponentially, and there is a clear trend toward heightened usage by a diverse array of domestic and international constituencies.

These newcomers to the online community are certain to bring with them very different cultural, behavioral, and social expectations from those shared by Internet users of the past. This disparity of viewpoints will surely affect every aspect of Internet usage,...

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