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The Internet should be governed by a global cyberspace authority, according to a report from this week’s ABA conference. The recommendation follows a study by members of an ABA working party on the best way to create practical laws for cyberspace. Thomas Vartanian, who chairs the Global Cyberspace Jurisdiction Project, suggested a wholesale change in governing the Internet, under a global commission. Says Vartanian, “No one system is better than any other, but we must have a single, universal way of disclosing and empowering in the application of laws for the Internet.” One of the major problems facing the Internet is which country’s laws to apply to a worldwide medium. The ABA report argues that the courts should consider which country a Web site is aimed at, rather than a company being under the jurisdiction of the user’s country. Vartanian also believes the U.S. government should act quickly on the report. However, Andrew Pincus, general counsel at the Department of Commerce in Washington, D.C., is more cautious, saying, “The experience around the world is not high enough for a global commission. We need some time for new alternative solutions to develop.” Adds Vartanian, “We tried to incorporate as many views as possible, but I accept the report is a U.S.-centric view.”

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