The end of the twentieth century was dominated by the extraordinary growth of the Internet as a communications medium and commercial engine. An intrinsically libertarian and democratic technology, the Internet enjoys a rare place in history as a force that revolutionized our economy, our societal structure and the express and unwritten rules that underpin them. It reduces the barriers to entry to the global marketplace of ideas, allowing small startup companies a chance to compete with established businesses for customers around the world, and the high school newspaper the chance to scoop the network news.
At the same time, the unprecedented power offered by electronic media also threatens the previous paradigm of individual privacy, allowing strangers to bombard our electronic mailboxes with spam or track our Internet surfing and purchasing habits. New technologies pose challenges to the purveyors of copyrighted content, as the costs of distribution decline and the ease of unauthorized copying forces new business models. At the beginning of a new millennium, it is clear that electronic media and privacy issues will continue to be of critical concern to companies doing business on the Internet, to individual consumers, to governmental agencies, and to our society as a whole.
This handbook is an invaluable resource for legal counsel and global business leaders, as well as to anyone who wishes to litigate, research or study the issues that arise when law and technology intersect. The handbook is divided into eight substantive areas that provide the greatest impact on companies with an Internet presence:
*Content and Speech Regulation
*Privacy and Data Collection