Reading reflection #1

12 01 2009

In his book, Code 2.0, Lawrence Lessig uses short stories to explain how cyberspace has challenged de facto regulations in the physical world.

One of his stories is related to governing online gambling. In this story, Lessig explains how a citizen of a fictional state can avoid laws against Internet gambling by placing his or her physical server, which hosts the gambling Web site, outside the boundaries of the state. The citizen can still monitor and profit from the gambling Web site from home, within the boundaries of the state.  The story presents the challenge of governing cyberspace and reminds me of my own personal experiences related to online gambling.

While working at a dot com a few years ago, we encountered gambling companies wanting to utilize our services. The companies’ practices were somewhat suspect and their servers were located in the Bahamas. Nevertheless, we couldn’t identify an actual problem with the companies and, because they were based outside of the U.S., we couldn’t find any legal reason why we couldn’t do business with them.

However, we also could not determine if our interaction with them would cause us any legal trouble because we were based in the U.S. The situation was rather confusing because we, a company regulated by U.S. laws (and even those were fuzzy for dot coms), weren’t on the same playing field as these companies that had no restrictions. Ultimately we chose to interact with these companies within our terms of services, which were of course in line with federal laws, to be safe

At the end of the reading, Lessig says he does not oppose Internet regulations by governments. Based upon this experience, neither do I. Especially related to captialism on the Internet, consumers would probably benefit from government regulations to assure that online businesses are legitimate.




One response

23 01 2009

Hi, Paolo:
Essay feedback: nice lead-in paragraph; good balance between “this is what the author said” and “these are my take-aways.” These are going to be graded on punctuation, spelling, grammar – and it looks like you kept that in mind. Structurally, the essay feels “short” (I did not do a word count, just an FYI).

And, it’s OK to focus on just one of the readings, if one has more meaning than the other, as you did here.

Let me know if you’d like additional feedback!

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