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JILT 2005 Issue 2 & 3 - Internet Content Regulation: Implications for e-Government

Internet Content Regulation: Implications for e-Government

 

Dr. Mindaugas Kiškis
Department of Legal Informatics, Law University of Lithuania
mkiskis@lpvp.lt

and

Professor Rimantas Petrauskas
Department of Legal Informatics, Law University of Lithuania
rpetraus@ltu.lt

 

Abstract

The article revises Internet content regulatory initiatives and their implications to e-government legal framework. Authors suggest that substantial similarities between Internet content regulation and e-government legal framework efforts may be seen, especially when it comes to principal issues of the interaction of individuals with online environment. Regulatory lessons and principles from current Internet content regulation efforts shall be taken into account when designing legal framework for e-government, especially in respect of self-regulatory principles, privacy related regulations, as well as governmental content online.

Keywords: Internet content regulation, e-Government, Communications Decency Act, Child Pornography Prevention Act, Children's Online Protection Act, Children's Internet Protection Act, Can Spam Act, 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act, Safer Internet Action Plan, E-commerce Directive, Data Protection (Privacy) Directives, Law on Electronic Communications, Law on Protection of Minors from Harmful Impact of Public Information No. IX-1067.


This is a revised conference paper published on: 30 January 2006.

Citation: Kiškis and Petrauskas, ' Internet Content Regulation: Implications for E-Government’, 2005 (2-3) The Journal of Information, Law and Technology (JILT).<http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/law/elj/jilt/2005_2-3/kiskis-petrauskas/>.


1. Introduction

There is uniform agreement among legislators and academia internationally that the Internet provides unmatched milieu for nourishing the fundamental values of the democratic society, such as freedom of speech, freedom of opinion, spreading and availability of information. Moreover, the internet is becoming a growing and powerful source of information On the other hand, the Internet is increasingly becoming means for unlawful activities and a challenge to democratic rights such as privacy, provide new environment for conventional crime and modern forms thereof. Unfortunately, large volume of information available online may be attributed to the types of information, which are extensively regulated in the off-line world or even completely prohibited. These reasons lead the governments worldwide to introduce certain regulation for the Internet content, which attempt to reconcile the two sides of the information on the Internet.

In young market economies countries, such as 10 new EU members, the Internet provides unique tools for encouraging pluralism, increasing transparency and efficiency of the public service, facilitating access and exchange of information. On the other hand such countries face increasing need for regulation of the Internet, along with noticeable unjust or even criminal usage of the Internet, e.g. for facilitating human trafficking, distribution of child pornography or intellectual property infringements. Filling of the socio-economic gap between the new EU members and 15 previous EU members, also requires leapfrog into modern knowledge society, which may be assisted by regulatory means.

Internet content regulation alone strives to address the following issues:

  • Fight against crime (piracy, human trafficking, child pornography, pirated works, etc.), which is facilitated by the Internet;
  • Protecting of society from unlawful information (e.g. xenophobic, racist information);
  • Protection of minors from accessing harmful information (e.g. child pornography);
  • Protection for cultural identity (e.g. ensuring content accessible in national language).

In this article the authors look for implications of the Internet content regulation to the broader e-government legal framework, as well as interdependencies thereof. First part of this article surveys current Internet content regulation efforts from the international perspective, focusing on the United States and the European Union. Second part provides a perspective on the new EU members, particularly Lithuania, while emphasizing the main socio-legal differences and their manifestations. Third part of the article revises the main issues pertinent to the Internet content regulation and e-government legal framework, regulatory difficulties, as well as implications to the future. The authors conclude that substantial similarities between Internet content regulation and e-government legal framework efforts may be seen, especially when it comes to principal issues of the interaction of individuals with online environment. Regulatory lessons and principles from current Internet content regulation efforts shall be taken into account when designing legal framework for e-government, especially in respect of self-regulatory principles, privacy related regulations, as well as governmental content online.

2. International and General Perspectives

Internet content regulation issues have received rather significant attention from the legislators in the last decade of the past century. Not surprisingly the United States, which have pioneered the Internet have been the first country to address the content issues in electronic communications (Lemley et al., 2003). The most notorious legislative initiatives are the 1996 Communications Decency Act and Child Pornography Prevention Act, the 1998 Children's Online Protection Act, as well as the 1999 Children's Internet Protection Act (Knutsen, 2001). All of these legislative pieces have immediately sparked a controversy and challenges on the constitutionality thereof and hence serve the perfect example of the difficult balance act that is attempted by any Internet content regulation. Although Children's Internet Protection Act was ruled constitutional by the US Supreme Court in 2002, significant controversies on the implementation of this legislation remain. Other said regulations are either ruled unconstitutional or are currently suspended pending the final decisions on their constitutionality (Knutsen, 2001).

Main rules promoted by the said regulations are restriction of children’s access to pornographic content online, as well as extension of notions and sanctions of child pornography.

Internet privacy regulations are relatively scarce in the US. Legal system traditionally relies on off-line privacy rules. Can Spam Act of 2003 can be one exception, however is frequently referred as an example of inadequate regulation, since attempted regulation, rather than complete ban of the unwanted commercial communication in real life proved counterproductive (Sullivan, de Leeuw, 2004).

Finally, 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act provides important limitations on the liability of the Internet Service Providers, which are generally considered not liable for unknowingly relaying any content through the networks administered by them.

On the EU level internet content regulation has never been attempted in a coherent way. Internet content issues had only been approached on the level of action plans and recommendations but not as mandatory regulations or directives (except for privacy issues) (Rodrigues, Spaink, 2003). 25 January 1999 Decision No 276/1999/EC of the European Parliament and the Council on adopting a multiannual Community action plan on promoting safer use of the Internet by combating illegal and harmful content on global networks (Safer Internet Action Plan), as well as 5 December 2001 Council of Europe Recommendation REC (2001) 8 of the Committee of Ministers to Member States on Self-Regulation Concerning Cyber Content are the most prominent examples of the EU approach. New Safer Internet Plus Programme for the 25 member EU is currently under preparation.

The said EU documents advocate the following lines of action:

  • fighting against illegal content;
  • tackling unwanted and harmful content;
  • promoting a safer environment (hotlines and other reporting means);
  • facilitating self-regulation and codes of conduct;
  • facilitating of filtering measures;
  • awareness-raising.

The only examples of mandatory regulation are 2000 E-commerce Directive (2000/31/EC), as well as 1995 and 2002 Data Protection (Privacy) Directives (95/46/EC and 2002/58/EC), which relate to Internet content regulation in indirect ways. Firstly, they provide protection of privacy as and personal information if it is provided as or within the Internet content, secondly, Internet service providers are exempt from liability on the content relayed by the users through their networks.

Similarly to the EU, the international organizations, which among other issues deal with the Internet content regulation, also are somewhat unwilling to address the Internet content regulation issues on the mandatory level. Notably, the Council of Europe has put forward a number of recommendations and declarations pertaining to internet content, such as: 30 October 1997 Recommendation No. (97)20 On hate speech, 5 September 2001 Recommendation No. (2001)8 On self-regulation concerning cyber content (self-regulation and user protection against illegal or harmful content on new communications and information services) or 28 May 2003 Declaration on freedom of communication on the Internet. The only firm document approved by the Council of Europe is the 23 November 2001 Cybercrime Convention, as well as its additional protocols, which, however, address only specific substantive criminal law and criminal procedure aspects of the unlawful (but not harmful) Internet content regulation (Petrauskas, Kiskis, 2003).

On the level of the EU member states Internet content regulation expresses itself in a multitude of different approaches and varies quite significantly (Bond, 2001). Unfortunately, the situation has not changed very much to date, what is predetermined mostly by ethno-political, religious and social differences between the EU Member States (Akdeniz, 2001). Accession of 10 new members into the EU has added further differences to Internet content regulation, although the new Member States share some common features (cf. below).

The specific issues of data retention in the context of Internet content regulation have become increasingly important since 11 September 2002 events. Most of the EU countries in the have introduced regulations requiring the service providers to retain data on the users and their access to content, as well as to release such data to state authorities.

Internet industry response to the governmental attempts of Internet content regulation came in the form of substantial self-regulatory measures, which are especially developed in the countries like the UK. Industry associations, such as ISPA, EuroISPA, INHOPE, ICRA and others have assumed broad role in marking and filtering of content, as well as resolving disputes related to Internet content (Petrauskas, Kiskis, 2003). There is growing argument, however, that industry efforts are rather selfish and therefore not adequate for the society at large. Internet industries sometimes may be beneficiaries of the unlawful activities taking place in their networks (e.g. file sharing), therefore they lack incentives to enforce the Internet content rules (Gibbons, 1997; Campbell, 1999; Nas, 2003).

Summarizing the above, the following features may be identified:

  • Reconciliation of freedom of speech and Internet content regulation is an unresolved objective;
  • Internet content is attempted to be regulated through combination of governmental and alternative (self-regulation) efforts;
  • Generally the Internet is attempted to be regulated in greater extent and somewhat differently than other forms of media; and
  • The extraterritorial nature of the Internet largely prevents effective enforcement of Internet content regulations.

3. Regional Perspective: The Case of Lithuania

In 2000-2004 Lithuania has seen explosive growth of the Internet penetration, with the annual Internet user’s growth of ~8% and current Internet penetration at ~30% (27% in III quarter of 20031). Not surprisingly similar patterns may be observed in all other new EU member states.

Although there is little reliable data, Internet misuse has also been rising significantly in Lithuania. Especially notable is Internet use as the media for intellectual property piracy, spread of racist and xenophobic ideas, privacy or simply fraud (Kiskis, 2003). More latent ways of Internet misuse for facilitating human trafficking and child pornography are also present. Recent sociological research also shows little trust of Lithuanian public in the Interned products and services. All these circumstances again are not unique to Lithuania and all suggest that certain regulatory measures need to be taken. Recent research from Poland and Hungary suggests that Lithuanian situation is not unique2.

Another features specific for Lithuania is youth and disorganization of the Internet industry, as well as the need to protect Lithuanian cultural identity on the Internet. Lithuanian Internet industry partially due its relative youth lacks social responsibility, unity and professional consciousness. These issues demonstrate themselves through absence of any bodies, which would unite the industry. As a result there is no common policies on privacy issues and user content, no self-regulation or content-rating systems, little co-ordination on unwelcome content, etc (Kiskis, 2003). National TLD administrator is hardly an example for the Internet industry, with its notably non-democratic approach to domain name issues, as well as lack of open governance of the TLD itself. This rather unsurprisingly contributes to the lack of public trust in the Internet and internet industry.

Regardless of the above conclusions on 26 April 2004 three largest Lithuanian Internet providers have entered into cooperation agreement between with the Lithuanian collecting societies and representatives of copyright and related right holders (BSA, IFPI). The agreement is quite relevant to the Internet content regulation since it aims at tackling of Internet piracy of software and audiovisual works. Although this agreement is a definite step forward in the Internet industry’s engagement to govern its activities, it is hardly a breakthrough. It must be noted that this agreement is kept private and not available to the public. Scarce details releases in few press announcements also reveal worrisome details. In particular it raises major privacy concerns related to releasing of ISP client information to the collecting societies and representatives of copyright and related right holders. Service providers are also obliged to shut-down the parts of the client’s website if the client does not react to warning in 3 days, and the interested parties (collecting societies and representatives of copyright and related right holders) provide reasonable proof of copyright and related rights violation. All website (portals, etc.) shall be closed if repeated violation arises. No external oversight on the establishment of copyright and related rights violation is foreseen.

Other new EU countries have slightly earlier seen a start of internet industry consolidation, however few have an established and organized internet industry associations.

In this situation, the government is the only one capable of adopting industry-wide and mandatory regulations. This argument for governmental involvement shall not however be understood in a way, which would encourage the government to ignore the value of self-regulation on the internet industry. It is very important that the government shall introduce regulations, which would encourage the organization of the internet industry, as well as self-regulation thereof. These objectives and means are supported in the existing international (EU) efforts, referred above.

The challenges of Internet regulation recently were rather courageously met by the Lithuanian government through a series of enactments. Three late initiatives of the Lithuanian government shall be mentioned in particular:

  • 15 April 2004 Law on Electronic Communications of the Republic of Lithuania;
  • 10 September 2002 Law on Protection of Minors from Harmful Impact of Public Information No. IX-1067;
  • 5 March 2003 Resolution No.290 of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania “On procedures for control of harmful information and distribution of restricted information in publicly accessible computer networks”.

The above regulations also significantly rely on the 2 July 1996 Law on Information of the Public of the Republic of Lithuania, which had 15 revisions since enactment, and latest major overhaul in 2000, as well as cornerstones of the Lithuanian legal system in the form of Civil Code, Criminal Code and Code of Administrative Violations.

It is also rather obvious that above mentioned Lithuanian regulations are very recent, hence there is very little practice and empirical data of their application and effect. Likely there is no case law or administrative practice. Short time in power does not allow full assessment of the advantages and flaws thereof, hence only the overview of the existing regulations is provided below.

The general principle of the Law on Electronic Communications is that the Internet service providers are regarded as common carriers. The law eliminates any licensing for the internet service providers; however they are required to comply with rather straightforward notification procedures with the National Communications Regulatory Authority. The Law also contains provisions entitling internet service providers to implement data retention measures for data on content and users transmitted through their communications networks, provided such data is necessary for their business purposes, and they agree to immediately provide them to state authorities according to the procedures established by the government free of charge. Such data may be retained by the service providers for as long as it is necessary to for their business purposes, however not more than 6 months, except cases where the user has issued his/her consent or data is necessary for enforcement of user agreements.

Data retention provisions in the last few years have been subject to major controversy. These provisions are carried over from previous Law on Telecommunications, and originally required the service providers to retain all data on users and content transmitted for unlimited time. Already prior to coming into force of the original provision (which was set for 1 January 2003), these provisions have failed to survive the constitutionality challenge in the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania. By 19 September 2002 Decision3 the Court found that such provisions are unconstitutional to the extent that they require unlimited and unpaid data retention. The Court held that only data retention measures, which are necessary for ordinary business activities of the Internet service providers, may be justified and reasonable. Thus, service provider’s are effectively entitled themselves to decide on the scope and length of data retention, with due regard to data protection laws. Above principles formulated by the Constitutional Court are legislated into the provisions of the new Law on Electronic Communications.

Law on Protection of Minors from Harmful Impact of Public Information attempts to define information, which is considered harmful to minors, as well as establish the prohibitions and restrictions for distribution of such information. The law embodying these provisions was passed only by overcoming the presidential veto. Key definitions on which the law relies remain rather vague and inconsistent, thus somewhat jeopardize the benefits of this law. Definition of prohibited information is referenced to the Law on Information of the Public of the Republic of Lithuania and shall include xenophobic information, criminal information, as well as information invading privacy of the individual, especially minor. Definition of harmful information is even vaguer. An example of harmful information classified so in this law is pornography and sexual information, all kinds of violence, as well as information causing fear and horror. Proposed definition relies on too much subjective considerations and appreciations in order to be effective.

The 5 March 2003 Resolution No.290 of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania “On procedures for control of harmful information and distribution of restricted information in publicly accessible computer networks” is designed as a reference of enforcement means for implementation of the content-control of the Internet. First of all it is not clear why such important issues were regulated in the resolution of the executive branch of the government, as opposed to the legislator. This governmental initiative clearly invades the territory of parliamentary jurisdiction, and hence questionable per se.

The resolution attempts to regulate publishing on the Internet (embracing individual acts of putting information on the Internet), and effectively extends the applicability of the current Lithuanian media laws to the Internet. Although the resolution recites European Parliament and European Council Regulation of 1999 as the basis for this resolution, it hardly even mentions self-regulation and public involvement as the means for internet regulation, there are no means to encourage the self-regulation of the industry, as well as public involvement, as they are prioritetized in the said European Parliament and European Council documents. The government so far undertakes sole regulatory role.

Electronic (or Internet) media is defined in this resolution as “web pages of media entities, providing public information, which is otherwise available by traditional means”, however, “electronic media may be established by any legal or natural person, under procedure established in the law, willing to or factually involved in media activities on the Internet”. Private web pages, which contain information on their principals, their data, works, products and services, etc., are not electronic media. It is unclear though whether private web pages containing information irrelevant to their owners, and especially web pages containing public forums, fall under the electronic media rules or not. This lack of clear separating line between private web pages and electronic media stresses most of the provisions of the resolution. Although electronic media is mandated to follow the rules of the media ethics, it is not acknowledged that some operators of Internet pages, especially private individuals, are not always governed by such professional ethics.

Definitions of restricted and harmful information are not provided in the resolution, and are invoked from the Law on Protection of Minors from Harmful Impact of Public Information, and Law on Information of the Public. The general underlining principles of the resolution is prohibition of publication and/or distribution of restricted information on publicly accessible computer networks (i.e. the internet), as well as prohibition of free accessibility of harmful information. Harmful information is ruled to be subject to mandatory rating system (to be introduced by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania).

The resolution further deals with establishing the instant mandatory content obligations for the legal entities – web-page operators, which have to identify themselves clearly on the title page of their Internet pages, as well as liability principles for the internet content. As a general rule the operator of the internet page is responsible for the contents thereof. Hosting services provider is however responsible for the content of the hosted content, in case or after they learn on the existence of the illicit content. The liability of non-profession operators of internet pages, containing third party content (e.g. public forums) is not specifically regulated, hence may cause improper treatment of such operators.

The resolution again attempts to introduce the provisions requiring hosting service providers to log operations with data and content hosted in their servers and to provide them, along with the personal data of the individual and entities using the hosting services, to criminal investigator and other authorities free of charge. Although the obligation to provide logs is limited to logs saved for normal business operations, it is still difficult to comprehend the democratic reasoning of these requirements, especially in view of the constitutional failure of similar provisions in Article 57 of the Law on Telecommunications of the Republic of Lithuania. The limiting of obligation to provide data necessary for normal business operations also relies on the sole discretion of the service providers.

Rating of information according to the resolution is suggested to be done by the Ministry of Culture. General public is not suggested to be involved in rating of information, and assessment of alleged violations. Investigation of violations is vested in the Ministry of Interior, which shall also maintain e-mail and hotline for reporting such violations. Monitoring of the fulfillment of the above surveyed provisions is assigned to the Information Society Development Committee at the Government of the Republic of Lithuania, which shall also take further means for development of industry and internet users associations, codes of conduct, filtering means. Thus, industry and internet public are left aside in the current resolution, however at least their involvement is not ruled out in the future.

The resolution does not provide any remedies to deal with the violation of the new rules, except for demands to block access to internet service providers and hosting service providers. To a certain extent the government may rely on the remedies provided in the Law on Information of the Public, as well as other laws (Criminal Code and Code of Administrative Violations). Unfortunately, many of such remedies are impractical and or even hardly applicable to electronic media, and especially to individuals. Finally and quite naturally the resolution does not clarify on any enforcement means outside the reach of Lithuanian jurisdiction.

Difficulties of enforcing Internet content regulations are clearly demonstrated in the recent case related Chechen web site “Kavkaz-Center” (http://www.kavkazcenter.net), which was hosted by Lithuanian internet service provider “Elneta”. On 20 June 2003 the provider was requested shut down the web site and the hosting server was seized by the Lithuanian authorities on to alleged accusations of hosting prohibited information – in particular – information related to terrorism and incitement of ethnical and racial discord. The presence of prohibited information was established by single individual expert and is questioned by a number of civil rights activists. Interestingly the media self-regulation bodies referred to by the courts have concluded that no prohibited information was present on the website, however the courts have disagreed with these findings. The case went through the two instances of the administrative courts case with different outcome and no final decision was taken. Currently the case is pending a remand trial in the court of first instance4.

Just a brief insight into current Lithuanian Internet regulation initiatives suggests tendencies of regulation, which has already confronted the democratic virtues and human rights. Alternatives to governmental regulation, such as self-regulation of the industry, also are not yet available and not recognized as the means by the Lithuanian government.

Overall analysis of the above regulations leaves a feeling of erratic attempt to following of the foreign Internet content regulation patterns, with little attention to local specifics. This impression becomes especially viable in view of the complete lack of enforcement of the regulations and global nature of internet. Apart from the said “Kavkaz center” case, which possibly had some political incentives behind it, there are no other cases against the unlawful or harmful content providers, while such content is readily available. Already now, many web sites providing harmful and prohibited content are hosted outside of Lithuania. Moreover, the prohibitions formalized in the said governmental regulations were effectively present through informal settings and policy of most of Lithuanian internet service providers (Kiskis, 2003). The latter is confirmed in the recent Internet user’s investigation of the unofficial blog policy of one of the biggest Lithuanian internet provider, which suppressed freedom of speech and even minority opinions on sensitive political and social issues. Similar situation was recently identified in Estonia ([ ]).

Summarizing the above the following conclusions may be drawn:

  • Internet content regulation in the new EU member states, particularly Lithuania, is mostly driven governmental initiatives, rather that Internet industry;
  • Regulation erratically attempts to follow foreign examples;
  • Democratic virtues, human rights and freedoms are generally shifted to the backstage both by the internet industry and the governments, which are driven by self-defense (i.e. avoidance of any liability) and hyper-reaction to any sensitive content; and
  • The situation is widely predisposed by the lack of long standing democratic virtues and understanding thereof.

4. Internet Content Regulation Implications for e-Government Legal Framework

The Internet content regulation has significant implication for the legal framework of e-government. Based on the simple fact that Internet content regulation touches the broad scope of issues, which are vital for society, in particular – human rights issues, and general democratic values – pluralism, transparency, trust in law and government, it is clear that impact of the Internet content regulation on e-government legal framework is inevitable. Moreover, Internet content regulation may be considered part of the E-government legal framework.

Main interdependencies of the Internet content regulation and broader E-government legal framework include:

  • Internet content regulation deals with the same milieu, where e-government operates;
  • Internet content regulation is intended to increase trust and safeness of the Internet, which are key premises for e-government;
  • The issues affected by Internet content regulation deal with the basic relationship and positions of individuals to the Internet, which are relevant for e-government;
  • Regulatory alternatives and success measures for the Internet content, may also be applicable for e-government;
  • Internet content regulations shall also equally be applicable to governmental content;
  • Any regulatory failure related to Internet will directly or indirectly hurt the e-government efforts.

Regulatory alternatives and success measures for the Internet content regulations are one of the more important spheres, which may have direct implication for e-government, and has already attracted certain academic interest (Galindo, 2002; Kiškis, Petrauskas, 2004).

E-government legal framework initiatives in Lithuania and other European Countries so far have followed several different paths5, which are not always successful. It is therefore necessary to look for and identify the possible features of the e-government regulations, which either lead to their success or failure. Analysis of such features may serve the e-government regulation in two ways – by identifying the issues, which require governmental intervention, and ways in which these issues shall be approached, as well as by identifying the factors, in case of lack whereof, the regulation is not likely to succeed or vice versa.

Self-regulation is lately been gaining momentum as the alternative or even superior form of regulating the digital domain, when compared to governmental regulation (Weisser, 2001; Kiskis, Petrauskas, 2004). Self-regulation is also widely promoted in many regional and national regulations pertaining to e-government legal framework. Most notably the eEurope Action Plan6 calls to reduce government legislative control and instead empower the industry to police itself. Emergence and rapid development of self-regulation, in many cases uninfluenced by traditional governmental regulations, make it a very important and interesting model, against which externally developed governmental regulatory framework may be tested (Galindo, 2002). Self-regulation models also provide success-failure measures, which in the opinion of the authors may serve in measuring the governmental e-government regulation models.

Importance of self-regulation is widely acknowledged in most initiatives aimed at regulating of the digital frontier, including initiatives to regulate Internet content (cf. above) (. At the same time, the Internet content and other e-government issues are regulated through special laws and regulations, especially on the national level. The common argument for governmental intervention is that the government addresses issues of public importance, which are not otherwise addressed by the self-regulation, or that the government regulates activity of public (governmental) bodies in their relationship among themselves, as well as with the economic entities and the general public7. Both these options foresee little involvement of the non-governmental players in the regulatory process.

In this situation two major challenges arise to the governmental regulation. Firstly, it is not clear whether relevant regulation is at all necessary, and does it serve any particular purpose. Secondly, if the regulation is aimed at activity of public (governmental) bodies in their relationship with the economic entities and the general public, or even among themselves, such regulation would inevitably influence the conditions and quality of such relationship, thus, affecting the interests not only of the governmental actors, but of the economic entities, individuals and various communities. Thus, effects of intra-governmental regulation are transposed over the much broader range of players, what clearly indicates the need to consider the interests of all relevant players. One of the ways to assume such interests may be to look for self-regulatory models and elements.

The most commonly emphasized advantages of self-regulation are efficiency, increased flexibility, increased incentives for compliance, and reduced cost (Campbell, 1999). On the other hand, as it was suggested in preceding sections self regulation may be failing when actors of the self-regulation lack the incentives to enforce the rules (Nas, 2003). Good example of self-regulatory failure are administering of copyrighted content on the internet by the service providers.

Self regulation for Internet content is just one of the possible transposition models for the broader e-government legal framework. Another important area where Internet content regulation experience may be applicable is regulation of governmental Internet content.

5. Conclusion

Analysis of current Internet content regulation initiatives provides valuable insights on advantages and failures of the governmental regulation and self regulation of the Internet industry. Due to major interferences of Internet content regulation regimes and broader e-government legal framework it may be argued that lessons learned in Internet content regulation attempt shall also be applied in other areas of e-government. Examples of such areas may be self-regulatory principles, privacy related regulations, as well as governmental content online.

It is important to acknowledge, that conclusions on current regulatory attempts seem to be not unique to Lithuania. Other new EU member states are undergoing similar experiences. For these reasons, it may also be suggested that broader regional/international framework is needed in order to balance the regulation and protection of the democratic values on the Internet and e-government. Such framework may assist national governments in shaping democratic regulations for the digital domain, i.e. provide model for national regulation, as well as ensure certain cross-border uniformity, lastly, facilitate the enforcement, extending the capabilities for addressing the global aspects of the Internet. Existing regional initiatives do not provide sufficient framework and are not fully comprehended by the national governments, especially in new EU members.

Notes and References

1 <http://www.ivpk.lt/main-stat.php?cat=60&gr=1&sub=1&n=65>.

2 Proceeds from Digital Crime and Evidence Workshop, Wroclaw, Poland, 2003. Available online at: <http://www.cbke.home.pl/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=73>.

3 Ruling of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania of 23 October 2002, On the compliance of Article 8 and Article 14.3 of the Law of the Republic of Lithuania on Provision of Information to the Public with the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania // Official Gazette Valstybės Žinios, 2002, No. 104-4675.

4 < http://www.lvat.lt/default.aspx?item=nutart&type=dok&id=fa2b958e-28c6-48e4-a803-f1df3a1f8936>.

5 Legal framework for the information society. Available online at:<http://www.unizar.es/DERECHO/FYD/lefis/index-legal.htm>.

6 <http://europa.eu.int/information_society/eeurope/2002/news_library/documents/eeurope2005 /eeurope2005_en.pdf>.

7 PCMLP-IAPCODE Report. Self-Regulation of Digital Media Converging on the Internet: Industry Codes of Conduct in Sectoral Analysis, 2004.
Available online at: < http://www.selfregulation.info/iapcoda/0405-iapcode-final.pdf>.

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