The Impact of Internet Technology to the Regulation and Control Mechanisms
Yetiskin, E. (2005) "The Impact of Internet Technology to The Regulation and Control Mechanisms", The 3rd International Communication Symposium, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, s.315-328
Ebru B. YETİŞKİN received her bachelor’s degree from Istanbul University, Communications Faculty in 1999. In 2002, she completed the joint MA program of ‘The European Inter-University Association on Society, Science and Technology’ in İstanbul Technical University (ITU) and Université Louis Pasteur, Strasbourg, France. In 2003, she enrolled in the PhD program of Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University, Department of Sociology. Since 2002 she has been working as a research assistant in the European Union Center at ITU. In 2004, she has been selected as the Istanbul Region Coordinator of Turkish Mobility Network (TR-MONET), which is funded by the European Commission.
Since internet is a socially constructed technology, it is possible to assert that the efforts for controlling internet may also represent the endeavours for controlling the society. If the functioning and the institutional mechanism of internet technology are clearly defined, it can be possible to illuminate how different parts of the society is attempted to be organized and regulated. Today, internet is attempted to be controlled and set in a legal framework, nevertheless, when differences and incongruity of national law systems are taken into account, a unilateral regulation cannot be relevant. Therefore, the initial aim of this paper is not to discuss the ways to regulate the internet but to find an answer how the regulation process is realizing. Benefiting from Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari’s “minor politics” and “control societies” theory, this article is one of the primary works which attempts to compare and implement the design, institutional and organisational structure of internet technology to the social dynamics of society focusing on the actual developments of internet regulations. Furthermore, making a comparison between the functioning of internet technology and the society, it attempts to emphasize how gaps, created either by so called “system and code breakers” or minor movements of society are filled so that the control can be realized. The main methodology is based on the literature review and the content analysis of the design and institutional structure of internet technology, The Sixth Framework Program of the EU, popular films about hackers and finally the developments about internet regulations. The paper reached to the conclusion that internet regulation does not merely reflect the control of technology, but it also indicates the control inherited in each part of society. In this process, communication will be vital as to its role for enabling the functioning of control and regulation mechanisms.
THE IMPACT OF INTERNET TECHNOLOGY TO THE REGULATION AND CONTROL MECHANISMS
“…machines don’t explain anything; you have to analyze the collective arrangements of which the machines are just one component”
(Gilles Deleuze, Futur Antérieur I, Spring 1990)
In the transnational arena formed by the fluid capital, deterioration of pre-existing legal, political and social systems are required to be examined owing to the leaking of internet to the each spot of daily life. Today, internet is attempted to be controlled and set in a legal framework, nevertheless, when differences and incongruity of national law systems are taken into account, a unilateral regulation is not relevant. This article tries to present the efforts of controlling internet, which became a vital component of political, economic and social process and this can be considered as illuminating the endeavors of controlling the society.
In this context, this discussion will proceed in three major sections. The first part explains the design structure of the internet technology, as a physical artifact, in order to introduce how centralization can be operated within decentralization. This will also enlighten the institutional control mechanism of internet. In order to evaluate social and political developments with regard to the regulation of internet and society, it is necessary to consider the basic design structure and institutions which enable the functioning of internet. The second part explains how a control society is attempted to be established within a research and development program operating in an internetted manner. The comparison of the institutional and design structure of internet and the 6th Framework Program of European Union will be the base of this part. Each system has some gaps and these gaps constitute a state of uncertainty. The gaps caused by the state of uncertainty can be filled with new regulations and control mechanisms. The position of communications will be the most prominent concern in these cases. The threat of system and code breakers as well as hackers will also be indicated from a contradictory perspective as to their role for re-shaping internet technology and for creating a state of uncertainty. The second part therefore will focus on paradoxical sides of the two control systems and how communication functions to recover the state of uncertainty. The third section addresses a more essential problem: the insufficiency of national regulation systems and the efforts put in action under a global consensus platform. Especially in the last two sections, the role of communications will be highlighted as to its role for enabling a consensus platform and (re)constructing power.
1. Design and Institutional Structure of Internet Technology
In order to evaluate social and political developments with regard to the regulation and control of internet and society, it is necessary to consider the basic design structure and institutions which enable the functioning of internet. Habermas (2001:34) quoted Marcuse stating that, “…specific aims and interests of the power have not been imposed on the technique “subsequently” and “from outside” – they inherently are included in the structure of the technical device itself”. If one examines the current economical, political, and social developments through the internet technology, two key factors can be a way for explaining how the system operates in harmony: ‘Protocols’ and ‘Domain Name Server System’.
These two technologies, which are contradictory in structures enable centralization and decentralization, break the codes of hierarchies and maintain their existence simultaneously. While one is distributing control to autonomous and independent points radically, the other focuses the control to the hierarchies which are severely defined. Ongoing shaping and constant reformation of internet as well as its continuous adaptation and mediation is based on the coexistence of these two technologies.
Protocols can be considered as the rules of communication. For instance, as demonstrated in Figure 1, Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and Internet Protocol (IP) are developed to overcome the incompatibility among different types of computers which are connected to the net and have distinct characteristics as well as to create a common understanding language. They ensure the realization of communication without any obstacles between sender and receiver parties. The very well-known image of internet as “a network without any control” is derived from Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and Internet Protocol (IP). While Internet Protocol constitute the net which enables the data transfer among numerous computers, Transmission Control Protocol checks whether the message is transmitted to each computer without any error. These protocols are the ones which provide the connection and communication of heterogeneous elements containing different modes, volumes and sizes, (C 1, C 2, C3 in Figure 1) in other words, of numerous different users without belonging to a system or to a central origin.
* refers to different types of computers which are connected to the net and have different modes, volumes and sizes.
Figure 1: The Design Structure of Internet
The possibility of a large number of heterogeneous elements’ or users’ interaction by connecting each other depends on the existence and functioning of various entry points. The action of entering is related with location (topos) which determines itself with physical coordinates. Location (topos) provides the functioning of users on the grounds of consensus and synchronicity on the internet. Domain Name Server (DNS) is the other technology which determines topos and enables the central control and hierarchy in the decentralized structure. It is a decentralized database which matches the domain names with the numerical values assigned to domains. For instance, in order to visit ‘www.topos.org’, a computer has to convert “www.topos.org” which is a geographically C* 2 C* 3 C* 1 www topos org 318 ambiguous name to a specific address located in the net. (Fig. 1) These specific addresses are IP addresses and they are numerical such as 156.236.456.211. Since numerical fractions are difficult to keep in memory and to communicate, domain names which are converted from numerical fractions to words and numbers are used as domain addresses. Shortly, the request of a user who wish to enter to the address of www.topos.org is fulfilled by the root server as a consequence of a communication feedback system – which is the request of an approval, the approval itself and the synchronized consensus – among distinct machines that have authorities on the domains of ‘www’, ‘org’ and ‘toposʹ. (Fig. 1)
* refers to the end users of internet.
Figure 2: The Institutional Structure of Internet
Today, one of the hottest debates and researches concerning the internet revolve around how control is attempted to be established. Domain Name Server (DNS) technology is a decentralized database which is a mechanism providing the control, centralization and polycentrism on the internet. All DNS information is controlled in a hierarchical, inverted-tree structure. (Fig. 2.) At the top of this inverted tree are a handful of so-called “Root Servers” holding the ultimate control and delegating lesser control to lower branches in the hierarchy”. (Galloway, 2001) The ultimate control is held by an American non-profit organization: Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). In order to provide the security, all of the data collected at the center is copied and distributed simultaneously to 13 Root Servers located in various locations in 19 ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names & Numbers) COUNTRY x COUNTRY y COUNTRY z BACKBONE Network Access Point Network Access Point Network Access Point Network Access Point Network Access Point BACKBONE BACKBONE BACKBONE U* U U U U U U U U U 13 ROOT SERVERS U 319 different countries. In other words, since internet users require entry points to communicate and coordinate, it is an obligation to enter from the web sites. All the information with regard to the web sites operating in the entire world reaches to these 13 Root Servers and simultaneously to ICANN. Hierarchically, below 13 Root Servers, there are “Network Access Points” and numerous “Backbone”s in each country. Without the technical and institutional support of these 13 Root Servers, it becomes impossible to operate for the lower branches. Those countries who implement blocking or restriction, censor or restrain the access to certain web sites through the filters set in the major backbone(s) of their countries. Surveillance and deleting the messages are other mechanisms governed by the inspection and control authorities.
2. Paradoxical Sides of the Regulation and Control Mechanisms
After emphasizing the design and the institutional structure of internet, which was also considered as a physical artifact, Bimber’s clarification of “technology” will be followed: “…The term is typically defined in several ways. Most restrictively, it is taken to mean ‘artifact.’ Other definitions are increasingly inclusive, incorporating processes for producing artifacts, knowledge about artifacts and process, and even systems of organization and control…” (Bimber, 1998: 87-88) Following the definition of technology as systems of organization and control, it becomes possible to explain the similarities of internet technology and society. However, first, it might be beneficial to stress the correlation between the internet and society in terms of control. This would also give the opportunity to point out paradoxical sides of the regulation and control mechanisms. Referring by paradoxical, it is intended to emphasize while one part of society is operating with an internetted manner, the other attempts to break the codes of hierarchies with decentralized actions.
Despite the fact that the US Department of Commerce provides expertise and advice and cooperates with the Root Servers, accordingly with ICANN (Root Server Operators, 2003), one cannot assert that internet serves to a mere center. Nevertheless, it is possible to state that today internet technology is strongly related to the benefit of coordinated transnational capital. Based on the functioning of contradictory and interlocking technologies, the environment of the internet gives an impetus to the flow of transnational capital. “Contradictions are such that they are interlocked to each other…, if one is absent, the other(s) is (are) not functional.” (Akay, 2000) What ensures this interlocking is on one side the domination over the information and communication channels by the merger of transnational corporations such as Microsoft, General Electrics and NBC, and on the other, the technological and economic dependence of other countries on developed countries, as a constituent of the international capital as potential markets. Based on the report promulgated as a result of the Paris Summit held by Conseil Supérior De L’Audiovisuel in 1999, with the participation of 60 countries, it is stated that the internet is far from being a global village and dominated by certain countries in the north and this situation is defined as “economic imperialism” (McCullagh, 1999).
Deleuze (1990) defined today’s society as “the control societies” owing to the fact that the confinements i.e. schools, factories and army are given way to different forms of power which we have to adopt a better understanding to analyze the actual social, political and economical developments. Today, the production is focused on marketing as well as consumption of services rather than products. The late capitalism dominates the social, economical and political institutions as well as time, actions and minds of individuals 320 with the dissemination and transmission of commodity production and services to the users through the information and communication technologies and in particular via internet. As transnational capital flows, internet technology legitimizes these objectives offering a new environment regardless of any territory. In this process, all confinements are changing having the logic of internet mechanism. In control societies of Deleuze (1995:178-179) ‘modulation’ is fundamental: “confinements are molds, different moldings while controls are a modulation, like a self-transmuting molding continually changing from one moment to the next, or like a sieve whose mesh varies from point to another.” In the late capitalism, the constant modulation of internet technology presents a reciprocal relationship with the on-going transformation of confinements. In this context, benefiting from control and modulation as well as operating in an internetted mode, The 6th Framework Program of The European Union can be considered as an example which also aims to create a new community under control.
2.1. The 6th Framework Program of The European Union
Unifying the strengths of the research potential of universities and the production/development capacity of big industry as well as small and medium size enterprises (SMEs), The 6th Framework Program (FP6) of the European Union (EU) which will be open until 2006, aims to increase its competitiveness against the other powerful economies of the world and for this purpose it gives the first priority to the thematic area of Information Society Technologies with a reserved budget of 3,6 million Euro.
Considering science and researchers as commodities, The European Union intends to buy the activities and sell the services from the participants of the program as in control societies. The thematic area of Information Society Technologies aims at diffusing the information and communication technologies to all means of service sector and accordingly to micro level users. This major objective indicates a strong intention for modulation encompassing all parts of the society. By this way, the new form of capitalist social economic and political system can function and leak to the each spot of production and consumption processes. Breaking the local and national based norms, transnational capital generates new and composite social structures. It accelerates déterritorilization and breaks off the ties with family, society and norms. In this way, it provides legality to the dichotomic dynamics of power which both diffuse the internet technology and strive to take it under control.
Before examining the program, it would be beneficial to present briefly its corresponding and etymological relationship with the design structure of ‘internet’. This would also be a way to present the similar operation logic of internet technology and society. ‘Inter’ refers to ‘between’/‘among’ in Latin. The root of ‘net’ which refers to ‘web’ in Old German is based on the word ‘nezzi’ which implies the meanings of ‘linked, strengthened and connected’. (Wahrig, 2000:918) The 6th Framework Program of EU aims to connect (net [nezzi]) different entities such as universities, research institutions, industry, SMEs, public bodies, private companies and individuals who do not belong to any organization, and strengthen the link (net [nezzi]) among (inter) major and minor parties by promoting network organizational structures. (Inter+net [nezzi]) The control and the regulation of internet can be considered equivalent [≡] to the control of this new community which is in constant motion, mutation and transformation, containing different molds of confinements (private companies, industry, universities, public bodies…). The European Union, as in the design structure of internet technology, provides the connection and communication among heterogeneous elements which have 321 diverse sizes, volumes and characteristics (as in internet’s protocological structure) and also involve the participants to a central control mechanism which is The EU Commission (as in internet’s institutional structure of DNS).
In the construction of this new community of which control is sovereign, there are more characteristics which have a comparable configuration with the design structure of internet technology such as the presence of a new language of the program. In the 6th Framework Program (FP6) of EU, there is a common language consists of vague statements such as ‘freedom of scientists’, ‘the excellence of science’ and special terms as ‘networks of excellence’, ‘integrated projects’ and multitudinous abbreviations such as NOE, IP, STREP, CA, SSA. In order to create a shared understanding and assemble all parties for common objectives, a common language, consists of vague statements and abbreviations is created. Web sites cannot function without the support of Hyper Text Mark-up Language (HTML) as it is required to have a special glossary to conceive the jargon of the 6th Framework Program. By this way, those who have a common language can gather around for the same purpose and apply their knowledge and actions for the pre-determined, given objectives.
Promoting ‘FP6 Marie Curie Actions– Human Resources and Mobility of the Researchers’, FP6 emphasizes circulation and mobility of the researchers instead of brain drain and it also enables the involvement of countries in integration process to the community. For instance, with a debit of 248 million Euros, it involves Turkey as an associate-candidate member and as a developing country. Such debit enables Turkey to reside in the program and under a control mechanism; in addition it stimulates continuous desire for reaching the objectives of the control society. While the European institutions are searching for qualified researchers, financial and academic opportunities offered by the program to the researchers in Turkey, whose facilities for making research abroad is of utmost limited in terms of social and economic circumstances, encourage and increase this desire. In order to prevent immigration these individuals and accordingly to restrict the minors occupying/transforming the place they move, The European Union also fortifies its reintegration mechanisms.
By adopting an internetted manner, it can be asserted that the EU is attempting to benefit from the modulation of the confinements and social change however it also attempts to determine the limits of this modulation by controlling and restricting it simply with its own objectives. Therefore, ‘freedom’ concept can be considered merely as a vague statement that urges desire and modulation yet in a controlled and regulated way. Moreover, it can also be highlighted that the concept itself is used in order to ensure control. As mentioned in the first section, commonly known representation of internet as “the space for freedom” is not valid as in the case of the FP6.
This focal point is also where the communications play a vital role: Although, for instance, freedom concept is promoted, in contrast, those who would like to be a part of this new community have to learn this common language and be active for the specified objectives. Since the control is inherited in the design and the institutional structure of the program as in internet technology, the limits of the participants of the program have to be strictly pre-determined. Therefore, any discourse which would promote the program and attract different parties of the society can be used. However this argument will not be deepened as to its links with different subjects such as the discussion of democracy, freedom and discourse theory other than the core objective of this paper. Bearing in mind that in the design structure and institutional control mechanism of internet, the users of 322 the system (FP6) can communicate, coordinate, interact and change places from one point to another (as in decentralized protocols), it should also be noted that as soon as they enter the system (as in hierarchical Domain Name Server), they are involved in a control mechanism. (The European Commission, National Contact Points…)
The efforts of developed countries for controlling the information and communication technologies are interrupted due to the breaking of security codes of each system or on account of the attacks directed towards the system users. Broadly speaking, The 6th Framework Program has various legal and financial gaps which shall not be discussed here with further details. The main point which is attempted to be emphasized is that these gaps and missing points bring about an area of uncertainty in every system. The uncertainty is on one hand creates a space for taking steps for improving these systems, on the other hand it gives a rise to generate the discourse of insecurity which is used in the regulation and control mechanisms. In the next part, this argument will be discussed in detail.
2.2. System and Code Breakers
In this section, the obstacle to set a unilateral control and regulation mechanism will attempt to be explained. Each system has some gaps and these gaps constitute a state of uncertainty. Legal practices relating to the internet such as operation, normativeness, pressure, prevention, supervision, dissemination of technology and sanctions involve heterogeneous structures bifurcating among nation states and such divergent structures can be given as an example for the state of uncertainty. When the state of uncertainty is broken, the gap is filled in such system. The fundamental issue is related with the “efficiency” of the one/s that would fill the gap. In order to explain what is referred by ‘efficiency’, several questions have to be posed: By whom and for which purposes the state of uncertainty is broken? How and when is it realized? These queries refer to some sub-questions with regard to the use of “efficiency”. Who, among the different social groups will benefit from this efficiency? For which purposes it is accorded to use this efficiency?
When gaps and blanks in each system are considered in the context of uncertainty and power relationship, it indicates two contradictory parties which are indirectly interlocked to each other. While the first one is related with the efforts of the system and code breakers, the second refers to the efforts of the state as well as of those who attempt to sustain the existing systems. This also resembles the contradictory protocols and domain name server system in design structure of internet technology. At this point, it should be highlighted that the term used for ‘system and code breakers’ does not simply refer to ‘hackers’ which are active only in digital space, moreover, the main intention for preferring this term is to encompass the ones who can leak from the gaps of any system, such as the FP6 or the law. Therefore, the internet technology will be used to explain the state of threat which system and code breakers stimulate as well as their indirect impact on the increase of control and the discourse of insecurity.
The security systems in the internet are based on chips, codes and user names. However, users infiltrating through the “missing” fields, gaps, cracks or back doors within the systems may break those codes and cut off the circuit which is under control. According to Foucault, resistance precedes power. The reason for the efforts of control and regulation of the internet is the state of threat posed by the system and code breakers who cut off the circuit. For instance, shopping in the internet by using credit cards can be 323 broken due to the security gaps in the systems of the firms. This situation paves the way for the formation of cases which involve crime factors such as robbery, fraud and embezzlement. Violation of intellectual property rights by copying without license can be considered as another example. This situation which has an impact especially on the global markets, obstructs the routes of the diffusion of transnational capital and decelerates its’ pace. These gaps which cannot be foreseen or filled by those who construct web sites and security systems, lead to a state of uncertainty. Uncertainty prepares the ground for the production of crude information and the occurrence of axiomatic movements within the process set by multiplicity, deviations and possibilities created by divergent actions.
The state of uncertainty is broken as consequences of uncontrollable minor movements and deviations arising from the unknown and fluid actions. Analyzing undesirable and unintended results, it then becomes possible to make determinations, predictions, assumptions and assessments which constitute the “risks”. Risks are capable of being compensated and prevented when they become definable, classifiable and measurable. Defining reflexive modernity in the “Risk Society”, Ulrick Beck (1999) stresses that it is merely possible for industrial society to think about itself and its forms of production as a result of the unintended consequences of the risks which it created itself and in turn which it is exposed to. The impacts caused by micro-level inputs in sedentary spaces, have an incorporating characteristic as much as a destructive/disruptive role in the construction of a system. The construction process realizes by means of distinction, definition, encoding and decoding. As disruptive actors, system and code breakers are involved in the construction process owing to the fact that they are defined and categorized according to the nature of the actions they engage in as well as of their capabilities and purposes. Whenever they are defined, categorized and measured, then it is possible to assert that they merely refer to a state of ‘risk’ rather than ‘uncertainty’, in other words they are taken under control. For example, some of the categories designated for the actions system and code breakers engage in are those called “hackers” who are equipped with a vast amount of information and capability about computers, those called “cyberpunks” who are experts in cryptography or those called “phreakers” who have knowledge about the subtleties of accessing the system in an undesirable way by using the telephone system. Among those classified according to their capability levels and purposes, on the other hand, are those “Curious Joes” who do not give any harm to the system yet discovered that computer networks are larger than the web or those “Black Hats” called cyber spies and cyber terrorists who create viruses, worms and bugs in computer networks. Once a user enters the system, s/he has to be identified and involved in a control mechanism such as in the DNS system.
At this point, it is possible to ask why hacking has become an object of desire and why it is promoted if the system and code breakers can create a state of uncertainty as well as a threat for control mechanisms. This is again where the communication gets on the stage. On a large number of different web sites, hacker programs within access of every user can easily be downloaded which in turn makes system and code breaking actions a marketable commodity. The fact that these programs are usable and learnable at ease further increases the possibility of piracy, and also lead to the increasing of actions described as “crime” by aggravating the discourse of insecurity. Encouraging mechanisms are set up also benefiting from popular culture and as such, system and code breakers become the subject of many films such as “Swordfish”, “Hackers”, etc. This also indicates the ‘commodity production’ and becoming of hacking activity as a commodity. Moreover, dissemination of the discourse of insecurity would increase the concern in the 324 society and support the application of the policies which the governments, companies and other institutions intend to realize. On the other hand, the inspection and control will increase in the name of “security” in contrast with reduction in the quality and “efficiency” of system breakers. In addition, new work areas such as security engineering and establishment of new prevention mechanisms for risk situations become a new subject for many universities, research centers and companies.
Nevertheless, all these developments will not be sufficient to extinguish the area of uncertainty created by system and code breakers and resistance cannot be hindered; Deleuze (1990:175) asserts that “…computer pirates and viruses will replace the actions and strikes which were called “sabotage” during the 19th century”. Therefore, it could be asserted that while the system patches its gaps constructing new security mechanisms and reconstructs itself as a result of the actions of system and code breakers, the mere problem for global markets would be their cost generating characteristics; this would reduce the velocity of transnational capital and global markets. Then, at this stage it would be useful to explore how these obstacles are resolved at an international level in order to understand how minor social movements are also tackled as they are considered as the system and code breakers as well.
3. The Regulation of Internet under a Global Consensus Platform
What ensures the permanence of the state is the alliance formed by the society, family and norms. Deviations and those who break the cycles of society, family and norms create a situation of uncertainty for the state as well. The state has to regulate, organize and enact legislation for these conditions. (Akay, 2002) In order to evaluate the chaotic incidents resulted from the threat of system and code breakers, it is necessary to discuss the governance of internet at an international level. While centers of power reinforce internet’s rapid deployment and penetration into the molecular parts of the society locating in every section of the world, they also strive for its control, regulation and governance in a legal framework. In spite of this dichotomic dynamics of power which also attempts to control the flow of transnational capital, inter alia, the internet can not be controlled or governed thoroughly at an international level due to several reasons.
The insufficiency of the logic of the existing legal and governmental systems which cannot operate flexibly as internet technology and the diverse national regulations and approaches among different countries which create a space for uncertainty and gaps can be considered as the fundamental grounds to enable control mechanisms. The current debate concerning the regulation of the internet is revolving around the argument of “any regulation which will be envisaged within the framework of the international and national law systems can not be effective”. The actual one-dimensional legal regulation which is prevailing and reliable for an approach with a rigid center, location and time is not easily adaptable or applicable within an environment accommodating complex and multicultural factors such as the internet. As in the institutional and design structure of internet, an interface of a common language is required and in that case the main problem would be to compromise on these concepts to set a functioning system. Any legal recourse cannot avoid, control or judge commission of crimes in subjects such as breach of human rights, fundamental rights or freedoms, privacy or business secrets. For example, definitions formulated regarding legal crimes such as “obscenity” and considerations as to which factors should the term “harmful content” refer will vary due to local and cultural differences. (Wall, 1998) As the internet accesses to areas which it has 325 not reached before, simultaneously with transnational capital, the conflict and confluent areas of globalization and localness are formed inevitably.
The digital divide along with the economic and social differences among countries as well as the insufficiency of national regulation mechanisms of law renders the reexamination of supranational order notion necessary. In order to set up a worldwide platform for agreement, decision and action, resolutions adopted under the umbrella of supranational institutions are gaining legality under the sovereignty of the countries dominating transnational capital. This also indicates to the questions of “efficiency” mentioned in the previous section and to a state of uncertainty as well as gaps. In other words, the global consensus platforms laying the groundwork for the making of concrete steps as to “who” will be included or excluded in from this new order –just like the inquiry of user names, chips and codes on web sites– may give a rise to a new mechanism of inequality in the name of “equality”, “security” and “freedom”.
The subject on taking the internet under control was carried to the “World Information Society Summit” organized in Geneva by the United Nations on 10-12th December 2003, with the participation of 13 thousand individuals from 176 countries, 50 international institutions, 37 United Nations Institutions, 481 non-governmental institutions and 98 private sector institutions. This meeting can be considered as the initial concrete global platform due to the number of the participants which is at most among the meetings held up hitherto. When the participants of the policy makers are considered, it is possible to distinguish the heterogeneous parties which have diverse sizes, aims and modes as in protocological structure of internet technology.
If the outcomes of this meeting are examined, the potential of operating as the institutional mechanism of internet can also be observed. By the end of the summit there was a consensus on an action plan as well as a declaration of principles. As the functioning mechanism of Domain Name Server is recalled as to its communication feedback system – a request of an approval, the approval itself and synchronized consensus- it can be asserted that the decision mechanism of the policy making strategy operated in a similar approach. There are three subjects that are striking among these decisions which will be highlighted in the context of this paper. The first one of these is that until 2015, to increase the diffusion of information and communication technologies throughout the undeveloped areas (as initial targets, i.e. Africa) which they have not yet reached. Especially the areas such as universities, research institutions, libraries, schools, post offices where ‘information’/’society’ can be taken under control and where “efficient” use of the information would be available. This also indicates the dissemination of the transnational capital, regardless of any territory, which has not reached yet. The second subject relates to the increase of security, trade and control by promotion, development and application of the cyber-security ‘culture’ by all the stakes and international expert organs. As emphasized in the previous sections, since concepts of “security” and “insecurity” have not been defined within a universal context, which also signifies the state of uncertainty, the control mechanism can be constructed on the discourse of insecurity which is caused by the threat of system and code breakers. This is once again where the communication will continue to have a vital role in the near future. The third subject is about the denial of the requests of a group leaded by certain countries and regions (i.e. China, India and Africa): While the former is with regard to reduce the license fees for the intellectual property rights, the latter is related to the request for assigning the institutional control and management mechanism which is about Domain Name Server System from ICANN (as the institutional center along with the 13 root 326 servers in 19 countries) to United Nations as an supranational organization. As pointed out in the beginning of this part, policies which are made in favor of developed countries under the global consensus platform creates new inequality mechanisms and the denial of these requests emphasizes the efforts of the system and code breakers’ struggle per se.
Internet technology and the endeavors for its control have to be evaluated more in depth, in order to conceive the current social, economic and political developments and struggles. Especially, when the design structure and the institutional control mechanism of the internet technology are considered, it is possible to assess the contradictory and interlocking nature of dichotomic dynamics of power. The subject of internet regulation does not merely reflect the control of technology, but also indicates the control inherited in each part of society. Communication in the new millennium, therefore maintains its importance as to its role for enabling the functioning of control and regulation mechanisms as well as interlocking the efforts of (minor) system and code breakers, either on the web or in the society, with major, sedentary spaces as transnational capital, governmental or judicial systems.
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