Geo-identification and the Internet: A new challenge for Australia's internet regulation

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Abstract

People interacting online may feel that they are in a different world. However,physically they are still located somewhere at a geographically identifiablelocation. Regardless of how sophisticated our presence in cyberspace becomes,this connection to physical locations will remain. Consequently, even acts carriedout in cyberspace, are carried out by persons physically within the jurisdiction ofsome government. For example, a contract entered into online, is entered into bypersons physically located within the jurisdiction of some governments. Similarly,Internet defamation cases have an offender and a victim, both of which arephysically located within the jurisdiction of some government. Thus, whileundeniably we are witnessing a decline in the significance of distance, thesignificance of location remains constant.Up until recently, it has been widely accepted that the Internet is ‘borderless’ –that is, as a medium for communication, the Internet works largely independentof geographical borders.1 However, as the Internet, and our use of it, becomesincreasingly sophisticated, geography starts playing an increasingly importantrole. For example, businesses want their advertisement to be targeted at ageographically relevant audience, when we use search-engines, we want thesearch results to be geographically relevant to us and the law placesgeographical restrictions on the distribution of content.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)155-177
Number of pages23
JournalMurdoch University Electronic Journal of Law
Volume14
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2007

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