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Proceedings Paper

Outline of a national information policy: a constitution for cyberspace and an electronic bill of rights
Author(s): Winn Schwartau
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Paper Abstract

"In order to form a more perfect Union . . The Constitution of the United States of America, September 17, 1787. "We remain unwilling to impose any discipline upon ourselves that demands a change in lifestyle." David Halberstam, The Next Century, Avon Books, 1992 On May 14, 1787, George Washington, James Madison and Benjamin Frauklinjoined 52 other men representing twelve of the thirteen states, to in the words of Alexander Hamilton, "render the Constitution ofthe Federal Government. "ThroughSeptember ofthat year, the Constitutional Convention sought to write the instructional manual on how to run the United States of America. Two hundred years ago, the world was a very different place. The War with England was over and the United States (plural) were preparing for peace. They needed to forge unity amongst them selves, establish the new country as a viable international partner and build a strong defense for a secure future. Weaknesses in the original constitution, the Articles of Confederation, prompted the new nation's leaders to Philadelphia for four months of debate, emotional speeches and the honing of the Constitution. What they sought was a balance between monarchy and democracy. Despite the vast difference between the participants, their diverging views of how to fashion a new nation and by what rules it should operate, they succeeded at their task. Signed by only 39 of the original 55 delegates, on June 21 , 1788, the Constitution of the United States became the supreme law of the land with its ratification by 9 of the thirteen states But due to deficiencies in state and individual rights, the First Congress in 1789 submitted to the states twelve amendments to the Constitution. The ten surviving amendments are known as the Bill of Rights and are in many ways viewed as the bastions of personal freedom and liberty; perhaps more so than the original body of the Constitution itself. These two documents - The Constitution and the Bill of Rights -have carried this nation forward for over two hundred years suffering only 17 changes. Guided by its principles, America and its citizens have been able to navigate through good times and bad. Who would have thought it could have survived two centuries? Today, however, we see that our national migration into Cyberspace represents such a fundamental O-8194-1980-X/96/$6.QQ change in national lifestyle and culture that the existing tentacles of laws and legislation do not automatically apply.

Paper Details

Date Published: 12 March 1996
PDF: 5 pages
Proc. SPIE 2616, Information Protection and Network Security, (12 March 1996);
Show Author Affiliations
Winn Schwartau, Interpact, Inc. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 2616:
Information Protection and Network Security
Viktor E. Hampel; Clifford B. Neuman; John Perry Barlow, Editor(s)

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