Thursday, September 14, 2006

GikII 2.02

The second part of the second day started with Burkhard Shafer talk on whether the "“de minimis"” principle stands in the way of effective regulation, through his "“De minima non cura lex - an obstacle for Internet governance?" There the issue of what happens when a difference in degree within a certain class is so big that might give place to a new class, as it would be an innumerable quantity of legal acts becoming illegal due to the excessive number of them been performed at the same time. When those type of situations may seem only theoretical, the existence of Internet as a large number of interconnected networks with an always increasing number of computers connected to them create the conditions for such situations become reality. For example, the argument was made that the idea of having a server connected to an open network is to be accessed by as many people/users as possible and there is a whole science dedicated to study how to increase the number of hits on a given website. However, when a substantial number of connections is made at the same time, and usually coordinated, we might face a situation where the server stops responding to the access requests, or Denial of Service, DoS. Is a DoS attack really a misuse of a computer? Or defenseence of being doing what the server was designed for, accessing it, can/should work?
Richard Jones made a presentation on "“Spies, Slaves and Cyborgs: the technologies, architectures and cultural meanings of electronic 'tags'"”, in which criminology seemed to meet Blade Runner at the highest academic level. The talk was both entertaining and insightful, and showed to many of us that there are far many more things in the interaction of technology, law and regulation to human behavior that electronic commerce and IP.
The session ended with the thoughtful presentation of Ray Corrigan who using the application of the second law of thermodynamics to economic processes explained that the widely accepted assumption that information is non-rivalrous might not be necessary correct. His talk "“The Second Law and Rivalrous Digital Information (Or Maxwell'’s Demon in an Information Age)"” focused on the fact that once it is digitised the storage and/or transmission of information needs access to energy, and with the current and future energy situation the information's non-rivalry might well be a myth.

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