Does the globalisation of Communications undermine State autonomy or more importantly...state control?
We will go about this by exploring some historical and current case studies:
b) emergence of'neo-liberal' economic provision of
c) following on from last week, we will look at the IR approaches to internet governance and its singificance especially with the work of Joseph Nye in mind.
We saw last week that the founders of the net had a decentralised if not outright lieratarian view of the net that began to be compromsed by the beginning of state imposed regulation in 1996 in the US. The first assmption had been tha tthe net was outside of state control but clearly this was not the case. However, just as there has been increased multi-stakeholder regulation and control of the net as a technical structure (ICANN/IANA) after the US DoC left it to a 'not for profit' system of regulation to emerge in 1997/8 (White paper), there has been a decrease in states ability to control the perceived and real threats that both content as well as open network structures pose.
These threats are either absolute - all states take them seriously e.g. cyber-espionage; or relative - the socio-political and moral values of individual nations are threatened by net content or its 'liberal' operational regime.
What we want to do today is to evaluate the senses in which comunications systems have provided a challenge or otherwise to 'state autonomy' - inasmuch as states have tended to presume that communications are primarily a province of state determination.
By this I want to use these cases to test out the applicability of our old IR theory friends:
Realism & Liberalism
and a theory common to both of these: regime theory
because this is the preferred theory of Nye (whose ideas of soft power of which the net is a form are so influential) which he uses recently to evaluate the global politics of the net.
It seems to me that the validity of regime theory as a theoretical generalisation about the behaviour of states, sub-state, or non-state actors turns on the degree to which the emrgence of stabilised cooperation based on the gradual acceptance of rules systems fits the development (for our purposes) of media-communications systems.
As such I will take 1) the
One of my key crits of this shared theory is that it does not account for the relationship between accumulating degrees of knowledge (or ignorance) and relevant or judicious behaviour. (We ve seen that over the SOPA/PIPA issues in Congress where ignorance of how the net worked led to congressman trying to push through bills that would have destabilised the fndamental structure of the address structure of the net)
Equally when you either have igorance or 'left-field' initiatives - the unexpected + ignorance, the market invents unilateral systems and imposes them and then, the political regime plays catch-up but has to give way to changes in the established regime structure even if those changes have a single outside source (rise of cross border satellite prvision in the 80s and 90s in Europe)
Let us rehearse the ideas of Regime Theory:
....a regime is defined by Stephen D. Krasner as a set of explicit or implicit "principles, norms, rules, and decision making procedures around which actor expectations converge in a given issue-area." This definition is intentionally broad, and covers human interaction ranging from formal organizations (i.e., OPEC) to informal groups (i.e., major banks during the debt crisis). A regime need not be composed of states.
Main approaches to regime theory: the dominant, liberal-derived interest-based approach, the realist critique of interest-based approaches. Within regime theory, because regime theory is by definition a theory that explains international cooperation (i.e., it's a traditionally liberal concept) liberal approaches prevail within the literature.
Realist regime theory argues that regimes merely reflect the distribution of power in the international system, and that any cooperation that occurs under a regime would have occurred anyway. (Powerful states create regimes to serve their security and economic interests; regimes have no independent power over states, especially over great powers; as such, regimes are simply intervening variables between power, the real independent variable, and cooperation, the dependent variable). For example, realist Susan Strange argues that institutions such as the World Bank, General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, International Monetary Fund, and other organizations established after World War II are only tools of American grand strategy.
Liberal interest-based approaches to regime theory state that cooperation in anarchy is possible without a hegemon because there exists a "convergence of expectations." Regimes facilitate cooperation by establishing standards of behaviour which signal to all other members that individual states are in fact cooperating. When all states expect the other participants to cooperate, the probability of sustaining cooperation increases dramatically.
Keohane (a neo-liberal theorist of IR) argues that international regimes can increase probability of cooperation by:
A. Providing information about the behaviour of others by monitoring the behaviour of members and reporting on compliance.
Regimes clearly define what constitutes a defection and often clearly prescribe punishments for defection.
This reduces the fear that the state is being exploited by other members of the regime and minimizes the chance for misunderstanding. Prescribing sanctions reduces the incentive to covertly defect.
B. Reducing transaction costs.
By institutionalizing cooperation, regimes can reduce the cost of future
agreements. By reducing the cost of reaching an agreement, regimes increase the
likelihood of future cooperation. For example, each round of
C. Generating the expectation of cooperation among members.
By creating iteration and the belief that interaction will continue for the foreseeable future, regimes increase the importance of reputation and allow for the employment of complex strategies.
Either the liberal or the realist version of regime theory entails that cooperation is about convergence upon the cooperative system even if it is primarily swayed by a hegemon - a powerful player. But this assumes that all players have a grasp of the rules of the game and can anticipate where things are going (though no need to have perfect knowledge) - that is they have a generalised map of the space and time of an emergent or set up regime and their key form of knowledge is foresight/predictability of the system.
But where you get rapidly developing technology that most politicians do not understand, challenges to the control of the flow of information and thereby its fall-out in terms of the distribution of knowledge which often politicians would rather not have the public know become difficult.
Regime by Cooperation is slow - externalities problem
Techno stuff is complex and thus difficult to grasp and its consequences not immediately obvious thus, gaining control is often too late
Regime response is related to politico-cultural frameworks in place - belief in freedom of speech inhibits the imposition of control systems
Regime response is related to economico-cultural frameworks in place - belief in freedom of markets inhibits the imposition of control systems
Market imperatives of the radio manufacturing industry
Control system objections of Military and of Press obviated by legal work-arounds
In ignorance, Govt leave it up to the industry who do know stuff, to design a broadcasting service though overseen by the Post Office (a government department in charge of communications)
Appointment of powerful leader - John Reith who has a vision of a
By acting responsibly, the
Abandonment of control make it difficult to regain control (even in war - WW2/Suez)
European satellite..albeit reluctantly:
ISSUE HERE IS
EU now beginning to discuss a ‘cultural and Audio-Visual common market’
1984 – GREEN PAPER FROM EU: “A Common market in Broadcasting”
As to the setting up of satellite cross-border services....
far back as 1978 Brian Haynes who had made a documentary for Thames TV on
Turner decided to have a go himself at launching a European service. He gained
space on the European Space Agency’s transponder but he struggled to gain the
agreement of the necessary one signature of a member of Eutelsat
– the regulatory body overseeing telecomms in
needed a downlink point and since all Eutelsat
signatories had refused to permit a downlink point in their countries from
which a linkage to cable could be made, Haynes eventually persuade
The immediate success of what was called the TV5 service led to a new German based service in late ’84 called 3Sat. that was backed by ZDF (FDR) ORF (Austria) and SRG (German speaking Switz)
clear that Sat TV and moreover trans-nat Tv in
TVWF: the original draft of it by the
Council of Europe (inter-country meetings of Ministers) in 1987 sought to
control the new boys. It wanted restrictions of all aspects of transfrontier broadcasting e.g. no sponsorship of progs by demanding that ad ere only within ad breaks; no
targeting of specific markets and that the satellite channels comply with each
and every countries national media policies.
Control of the Net - Regime theory and multi-stakeholders.
In its earliest days, the Internet was like a small village
of known users — an authentication layer of code was
not necessary and development of norms was simple in
a climate of trust. All of that changed with burgeoning
growth and commercial use. While the openness and
accessibility of cyberspace as a medium of communication
provide valuable benefits to all, free-riding behaviour in
the form of crime, attacks and threats creates insecurity.
The result is a demand for protection that can lead to
fragmentation, “walled gardens,” private networks and
cyber equivalents to the seventeenth century enclosures
that were used to solve that era’s “tragedy of the commons”
(Ostrom 2009, 421; Hurwitz 2009). Internet experts worry
about “balkanization” or fragmentation. To some extent
that has already occurred, yet most states do not want
fragmentation into a “splinter-net” that would curtail
Providing security is a classic function of government, and
some observers believe that growing insecurity will lead
to an increased role for governments in cyberspace. Many
states desire to extend their sovereignty in cyberspace,
seeking the technological means to do so. As Diebert
and Rohozinski (2010) put it, “securing cyberspace has
definitely entailed a ‘return of the state’ but not in ways
that suggest a return to the traditional Westphalian
paradigm of state sovereignty.” Moreover, while accounts
of cyberwar have been exaggerated, cyber espionage is
rampant and more than 30 governments are reputed to
have developed offensive capabilities and doctrines for the
use of cyber weapons (Rid 2013). US Cyber Command has
announced plans to employ 6,000 professionals by 2016
(Garamone 2014). Ever since the Stuxnet virus was used
2010, the hypothetical use of cyber weapons has become
very real to governments.
....These differences were dramatized at the December 2012
World Conference on International Telecommunications
(WCIT) convened by the ITU in
meeting was ostensibly about updating telephony
regulations, the underlying issue was the extent to which
the ITU would play a role in the governance of the Internet.
Authoritarian countries, and many developing countries,
feel that their approach to security and development
would benefit from the UN bloc politics that characterize
the ITU. Moreover, they dislike the fact that ICANN is a
non-profit incorporated in the
partially accountable to the US Commerce Department.
Western governments, on the other hand, fear that the
cumbersome features of the ITU would undercut the
flexibility of the “multi-stakeholder” process that stresses
the role of the private and non-profit sectors as well as
Interference with the central regime of domain names and standards could fragment
the functioning of the Internet, and it might make sense to consider a special treaty limited to that area
However, trying to develop a treaty for the broad range of cyberspace as a whole could
The loose coupling among issuesthat now exists permits cooperation among actors in some
areas at the same time that they
have disagreements inothers. For example,
the Internet for economic cooperation even as they differ on human rights and content control. Countries could
cooperate on cybercrime, even while they differ on laws ofwar or espionage.
What regime complexes lack in coherence, they make upin flexibility and adaptability. Particularly in a domain
with extremely volatile technological change, these characteristics help both states and non-state actors to
adjust to uncertainty.
How widespread is the behavioural adherence to a set of norms? For instance, on the sub-issue of domain names
and standards, compliance is high; on issues of privacy itis mixed; and on human rights it is low.
Human rights is a cyber sub-issue that has many of the
same problems of conflicting values that plague content
control, but there is an overriding legal structure in the form
of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Moreover,
in June 2012, the UN Human Rights Council affirmed
that the same rights that people have off-line must also be
protected online. Within the declaration, however, there is
a potential tension between Article 19 (freedom of opinion
and expression) and Article 29 (public order and general
welfare). On the other hand, different states interpret the
declaration in different ways, and authoritarian states
that feel threatened by freedom of speech or assembly
make no exceptions for the
has proclaimed an Internet freedom agenda, but has not
explained whether this includes a right of privacy for
foreigners. This agenda has also been complicated in the
wake of the Snowden revelations. In
held a conference that launched a Freedom Online
Coalition, which now includes 22 states committed to
human rights online, but the disparities in behaviour led
to the conclusion that the normative structure in this subissue
lacks depth, breadth or compliance. Nonetheless,
the loose fabric of the issue allows ample opportunity for
non-state actors to press for human rights in cyberspace.
For instance, the civil society organization Global Network
Initiative has been pressing private companies to sign
up to principles that advance transparency and respect
human rights (