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TEDxBuenosAires - Marcos Salt - 04/08/10

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Good morning to you all. Adrián is right; I am a lawyer. Therefore I will start with the day's bad news, I come today to bring some bad news. And I know that this is not quite what TED's philosophy is about to bring bad news, but I am a lawyer And how many lawyers do you know that do not begin a conversation giving out bad news. In fact we are very few There are very few lawyers that do not start by giving some bad news. Regretfully as a lawyer and as a Criminal Law professor of the Universidad de Buenos Aires. Here today standing in a place where according to what Adrián said I should make everyone enjoy themselves I bring to you all bad news. Therefore this talk will have: Bad news It will have a lot of questions and very few solutions. This is also a very common thing about lawyers. We do not provide many solutions. But since I would like to be a different type of lawyer, like Adrián has said, I will try to provide some sort of solution. On an uncertain future framework; because we lawyers never give out certainty as well. We always talk in terms of possibilities, probabilities but we never quite let go of it. What is the bad news? The bad news has already been given to you by Adrián. Internet will change. My opinion, after having taken part in many of these forums, is that the Internet today faces an imminent danger that many of the fundamental principles that all of us are accustomed to when we work with the Internet also what Cyberspace is and all those principles that gave birth to the Web will change. And given how the Internet will change will depend a bit on what can be done and what all of us can do starting now. But that it will change... it will change. The dangers that we can observe today about the Internet are so large that principles like privacy principles like freedom, principles like self-governance are within a process of change that I believe today to be irreversible. To such a degree that it is very likely very likely that if this change is not produced and not produced in the right way, the Internet's own impusle meaning that same impulse that made the Internet what it is today, may make the Internet dissapear the way we know it today, and that new networks will start to close off or countries will begin to close off or institutions will begin to close off. No one can doubt of the benefits that the Interent has had for humanity. A revolution that meant a more substantial change for the world than perhaps the one brought on by the Industrial Revolution. There is no doubt about that. Twenty years since the creation of the Web, there is approximately 25% of the world's population is connected, Interent has generated important changes in economics, it has deepened economic benefits, it has deepened the dispersion of knowledge in the world; it has generated democratization mechanisms that up until two decades ago were unthinkable; today we can see what is happening in another country we can communicate, we can see a bunch of things online; we can work without having to move from one place to another. These benefits are, undoubted. The Internet has also brought cultural changes that our generations may not be able to comprehend. I will give you an example: I thought of myself as a modern person, and that I did understand the cultural changes that the Internet was bringing. The person whom explained it to me, the person whom explained it to me with a real life situation, that this was not so, and that as modern that I would try to be, I would not understand the coming cultural changes for upcoming generations, and not ours, was my daughter. And I will tell you the story: One day my daughter, whom is a lawyer's daughter and therefore suffers many abnormalities, and she tells me very saddened that her Neopoints™ had been stolen. Neopoints™ that she had won in a game called Neopets©. Which is a social network where children play and obtain points according to games they play, they also interact: those points are used to purchase the services of other children that are in other parts of the world, for instance help them build a webpage. Therefore, when she explains the situation to me, what did she want to do? Lawyer's daughter. She wanted to file a report! She wanted to file a report; she wanted to report her friend to the school and also file the report with the police. This is what she wanted. And what was my attitude? Mi attitude was, when she told me what Neopoints™ are, which I did not know, I told her: "Listen to me, if your sneakers had been stolen, if the would have stolen...I don't know your computer, a toy, whatever it was. But these Neopoints™, they're nothing." They do not exist. She looked at me and told me: "You might care about the sneakers, because you paid for them, but I earned these Neopoints™. And for me Neopoints™ are more important than the sneakers." This cultural change, that is happening, that is heading towards the creation of what we can call a virtual world, was absolutely unthinkable. And I though: 'Well, it's a kid's thing.' Up until I in a conference for the Council of Europe, I hear of a real case where an Australian citizen, whom presented himself to the authorities saying: "I have been murdered and I have come to report my murder." Imagine the police, if the guy is there and he had been killed, then how could they have killed him if he's standing there? Obviously he could not have been murdered. Until he explained it: "I was murdered, where?, in a role-playing game." And who had killed him? His virtual wife! And he considered this to be very grave. And well, these cultural changes, that are happening today, will also mean for the future, obviously a new reality. Therefore some of our first questions are: Are we facing the possibility of a virtual world that works parallel to the real world? Will this virtual world work in parallel or mixed up with the real world? And the million dollar question, with regards to what I would like to discuss here with you today: Is it possible for a virtual world, that today harbors 25% of the world population, a larger population than today's most populated countries, be a a world without regulation? That there should be no norms? That all economic and social relations within the Internet, should not be regulated by anyone? Is society ready for principles like liberty and solidarity among people function within the Virtual Web, without any type of regulation? This is a very complicated question. Alongside the large benefits that Internet brought, it also brought with it several problems. These are computer crimes. We will talk about Cyberspace and Crime, in what little time we have, and I can tell you, very briefly, that not only is this about traditional computer crimes, but that Internet has allowed today, being a very powerful tool, to deepen the commitment of other crimes in a much harsher fashion. Frauds are stronger on the Internet; child pornography and human trafficking increases due to the utilization of the Virtual Web. it is no longer about an idyllic vision of that fabled hacker that used to enter a system and be lauded, perhaps due to his intelligence, but that today the Internet is used by criminal organizations. And the first time I ever heard the words "Cyberwar" and "Cyberterrorism", I had an awfully big scare. Because every time they speak to us about terrorism, and about drug trafficking, what comes next is a severe limitation of our guarantees. By the way, there has already been an attack on a nation, Estonia's case, in which an attack was carried out, via cyberspace, a case of already existing "Cyberwar", in which the country's main fundamental structures were attacked, without dropping a single bomb. Then of course, it is an imminent danger, and it is leading to a larger concern worldwide that today is irreversible. United Nations; The Council of Europe, countries, like the USA, France, Germany, today work together to see what to do with concerns to crime, and that is why the challange went from being and individual nation's challenge, and has become a global challenge. Traditional Criminal Law, our criminal systems, do not provide an answer. We could discuss for a while as to why they have not provided an answer, and why they did not advance accordingly with technology. Basically the science of law is conservative. And I will leave that here as a possibility. What is true is that the concepts of traditional law and the way that justice works in general, has not given an adequate response to these grave threats that Internet has brought to the community. Why? Because law is thought of in terms of physical property, for the real world, and not the real world. I will give you a short example: A judge a couple of months ago was very distressed. During a very important investigation, dealing with international paedophilia, human trafficking and also child pornography on the Internet. They enter the home of one of the lead suspects, with a valid search warrant, following every Constitutional provision, they access the computer system, they begin analyzing the computer system, and find the data they were looking for. They find the data, until a computer expert that had been present in the search, says: "Your Honor, we have a problem." What was the problem? "The data is not here, You are seeing them on screen, but they are being hosted in a foreign server." And because they're being hosted on a foreign server, they began searching the Criminal Code, and it this instance is not forseen. Therefore, what had to be done? The judge decided to suspend the search. He could not go on. Because normally, if something is abroad, you have to order it by international appeal. Which is one of the main problems, and because the challenge is global, and not a national one, a global one, Internet has no bounds. And Law has boundaries. Law keeps itself to old principles like territoriality and national sovereignty. When today we face a challenge that is absolutely globalized. Another example that I believe is important to share with you all, Regarding Internet content. There are many people here today that are concerned over this issue of content. In Argentina a person began to be attacked and harassed, through something called "Cyber-harrasment" and started appearing in a bunch of webpages linked to an international crime network. This brought several problems to the commercial life of this person, so the question posed was, how do I stop this? There were not many ways to stop this because in reality, neither blogs, nor contents have any sort of control and there is no such thing as a 'responsible editor', and this was not thought of for this purpose. So this also began to create a crisis, for this idea of absolute freedom of expression on the Internet. The ruling against Google© in Italy, will mean a significant change that today is creating a lot of problems. You know that in Italy, Google was condemned for having published a blog for having published, for having allowed YouTube™, to show a video where a child with Down syndrome was being abused, physically abused, not from a sexual point of view. And this has generated a huge discussion about what is the responsibility that Internet service providers have. This challenge is present today. There will be certain norms that will begin to regulated the Web. There is no longer a discussion that this will happen. International organizations are trying to do this in a cooperative fashion, with nations, but this generates a ton of risks. Risks of: With the digital divide that exists in the world, what place will countries like ours occupy in this international cooperation. Meaning that there are International Law problems in between, and problems like the relations between countries, that the risk should not come up, that the controls that will exist in the Internet, will mean a dependence of some countries with relation to others. This is a huge risk. What will the relationship be with the private sector? Because in these type of crimes, the private sector's participation is fundamental. If I have to investigate an account that works inside a firm, an email account that works, in a multinational firm's server that has commercial offices in the country. But does not have its servers in Argentina, I will have to work with the private sector, and there are cases where this has happened, cases of kidnappings have been discovered in Argentina, through informal means of collaboration with foreign enterprises and without any of this figuring in any written Code. But it is a risk to see how we will regulate this problem. And then, the bigger risk, the one I would like to point out, is the big challenge and solution that I come to propose for all these types of problems. In actual fact, what we need is to find mechanisms that allow us to have: A safe Web, but a Web where individual liberties are protected. And this is a large paradox. Because we are talking about, when we speak of the security of providing tools, giving States the tools, the States or international organizations, or to whomever, so they can persecute, so that they can comb the Web, so they can prevent crimes on the Internet. But at the same type we wish to protect individual guarantees. This paradox brings us to the idea that we need to control, but also to control whomever controls us. And this a great difficulty. This brings us to a century-old discourse of Criminal Law. Which is the false dichotomy between security and guarantees. Badly transfered to our country to the argument between guaranteers and non-guaranteers. Now transfered to a virtual world. A global world. How are we going to regulate this in an adequate fashion in this global world? And I would like to finish by telling you all something that I believe is important: This problem, the one I am posing, it is necessary that society takes conscience. It is too complex for us lawyers to solve. Neither lawyers, neither politicians. It is perhaps the first opportunity to demonstrate that the Internet has the strength to act as a democracy as well, the possibility to create a new type of social covenant through the means of virtual networks. A way for there to be a larger democratization of the Internet and of work in creating this dichotomy between security and guarantees. Must come from the bottom to the top, with the all the citizenry's participation, in achieving that these two principles in some way wont have to contrast and that we may have an Internet that can keep on working in the freest way possible, but with guarantees. This is my challenge, this is my project, and this is what I wanted to share with you. Thank you.

Video Details

Duration: 15 minutes and 11 seconds
Country: Argentina
Language: Spanish (Spain)
Genre: None
Views: 107
Posted by: rukh on May 25, 2010

Marcos Salt delivers a lecture on Cyberspace and Crime on the May 8th 2010 in the TEDx Buenos Aires rounds.

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