In the early 1990s when Internet culture was coming together there was a lot of excitement that we were creating a new space free from the stupider rules and laws of our home countries. We even declared independence. But now the Internet is far too vital to our world economy and culture to remain free of traditional jurisdiction. But the question remains: how do countries enforce rules on a space that is both everywhere and nowhere?

The American approach is to extend its jurisdiction throughout the world. In the case of online gambling, by arresting people when they change planes in your country. David Carruthers (former CEO of BetOnSports) was arrested, held without bail, and charged with racketeering along with several of his staff. His company seems to have folded completely, promptly firing him and not appearing to support his not guilty plea.

Countries need to enforce laws on the Internet. But of all the things the US could worry about, why online gambling? And nabbing people while they're in transit through your country seems awfully authoritarian.

  2006-08-01 16:00 Z