Define: Soon? [DIGC202]



“We will create a civilisation of the Mind in Cyberspace. May it be more humane and fair than the world your governments have made before”. This is the closing statement by John Barlow who wrote the Declaration of Independence of Cyberspace just over 17 years ago, which calls on all users of the Cyberspace to rally against the oppressive forces of governments and the industrial world to leave their legislative control and powers to convict away from the digital construction of Cyberspace.

Take a moment to think back 17 years ago. How old were you and what were your first recollections of the Internet? I myself was nine years old. John Howard had just been sworn in as Australia’s 25th Prime Minister and a Spanish pop group by the name of Los Del Rio were at the top the charts with their global smash hit ‘The Macarena’. At this age very little thought had been given to my legal rights concerning the Internet. However, within the next 10 years that was about to change.

Barlow states in his declaration that “In the United States, you have today created a law, the Telecommunications Reform Act, which repudiates your own Constitution and insults the dreams of Jefferson, Washington, Mill, Madison, DeToqueville, and Brandeis”. Today there are event more legislative controls regarding the Internet and Cyberspace. In America alone these are the Acts that control the freedoms of over 500 million users.

  • Cybersecurity Act 2012. Which maintains the integrity, confidentiality and availability of information shared across the Internet & Cyberspace.
  • Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (H.R. 624), which focuses onInformation sharing and coordination, including sharing of classified information
  • Cybersecurity Enhancement Act of 2013 (H.R. 756), which addresses federal R&D in networking and information technology, including but not limited to security
  • Development Act of 2013 (H.R. 967), which addresses R&D in networking and information technology, including but not limited to security; and Federal Information Security

It is interesting to learn that there are more bills that are being considered by the US government concerning the regulation of the Internet. In fact, of recent time there have been more bills passed by the Obama government regarding Cybersecurity than any other US President.

Barlow references these acts of legislation as ‘guard posts’ and claims ‘they will not work in a world that will soon be blanketed in bit-bearing media”. Now 17 years on from the declaration I am beginning to wonder what Mr Barlow’s definition of ‘soon’ may be.

Margaret Chon, professor from Seattle University School of Law states “almost every area of law that touches cyberspace is forced into the consideration of first principles. Just because familiar boundaries have dissolved does not mean that there are no boundaries in cyberspace”.

This is just a brief explanation of American legislation. Across the globe and even here in Australia governments are trying their best to control the realm of the Internet and Cyberspace. In 2011 Australia introduced the Cybercrime Legislation Amendment, which now enables greater enforcement of Cybercrimes and brings our laws up to standard along side 100 other nations who have also signed the Convention on Cybercrime.

17 years on Barlow’s thoughts and dreams either seem to be shattered or remain on hold. As technologies advance, so to does the legislative control of governments. The strange thing is our Cyberliberties are at stake and hardly anybody knows about it.


What are you thoughts regarding your Cyberliberties? Are you pro or against the controls of government? Feel free to comment below or tweet me at @fluke_aus.


Barlow, J.P, 1996, The Declaration of Cyberspace. Available:, Last accessed 14th Aug 2013.

Congressional Research Service, 2013. Federal Laws Relating to Cybersecurity. Available:, Last accessed 14th Aug 2013.

Legalese, 1999. Learning Cyberlaw in Cyberspace. Available:, Last accessed 14th Aug 2013.


Luke Macdonald
2nd Year Media & Communication & Commerce Student @UOW
Majoring in Digital Communication & Marketing


8 thoughts on “Define: Soon? [DIGC202]

  1. Great post. It an is interesting the point you make about “more bills being passed by the Obama government regarding Cybersecurity than any other US President.” This is the same president that stated in a speech about Internet freedom of speech “I think that the more freely information flows the stronger the society becomes because then citizens of countries around the world can hold their governments accountable.”

    • Thanks Meaghan. Yeah I know I was amazed at just how strong this legislation is and how many future bills are set to be voted on in congress. Thanks for the read.

  2. Nice post mate!.. It does make me question my ideas and principles regarding cyber liberties. I was going to reply on here but will instead write a kind of blog response on the same topic ha.. I guess I feel that some regulation needs to be enforced on cyber crime but the thought of governments taking gradually stronger stances on it is troubling. What is your opinion?

    • Thanks for the read. It seems like a very fine line between regulating the law and control of social liberties. As with everything, there are positives and negatives. I fear that our freedom of speech is being threatened by governments however I can see why they wish it keep a strong watch on us. Does it keep me awake at night? Not in the slightest. No doubt this debate will continue almost indefinitely.

  3. I like how you highlight the various legislation that has been passed in order to regulate and control cyberspace and other technologies, it helps to show just how influential technology is becoming in our lives! Although I still do have to raise the problem of enforcement and jurisdiction – I still cannot see a way in which these laws can be enforced to a space that has no physical location or matter.

    • Well that is defiantly the trillion dollar question isn’t really. It is all well and good to say that governments are creating legislation to control the Internet but realistically how many people can you name that have been held accountable for “crimes” within cyberspace. As I said to another follower this debate will be infinite.

  4. Intriguing post. Thinking back 17 years I was two and half years old therefore, did not understand anything about what the internet was especially since my family did not get their first computer for another 10 years.
    Regarding your question if I am pro or against Government controls in cyberspace, well I am divided. I believe in the collaboration nations and /or Interpol in helping to bring down child pornography rings on the internet. To it is issues such as these where Government intervention and controls are needed and adequate due to the nature of the material.
    Though of-course there are some areas of the internet I believe do not require control, as most controls in these areas are trying to suppress free speech.
    Though my thoughts are cyberspace maybe intangible infinite space where individuals believe due to it not being physical their can be no laws , I believe that there should be as it is not what happens in this space it is what this space leads individuals to do in the physical world.

  5. I really enjoyed your post! I liked how you included the acts in America that have been put in place to control users. Honestly though as hard as Government’s try, I don’t think that they will ever be able to control how people use cyberspace and what people do on it, technology is just growing way to fast for any law to keep up. Although in saying that I do think it is necessary for laws to be continuously introduced and updated to help protect vulnerable users of cyberspace such as children. So I guess my answer to your question is yes I am for Government control to an extent when it comes to protecting individuals, but I am against Governments trying to control all of the activities people partake in, in cyberspace.

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