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1 Introduction and Context 1.1 AIMS OF THIS REPORT Global telecommunications particularly the Internet can in prin- ciple change the ability of national governments to preserve their nations' values. The ever-increasing bandwidth of communications technologies, and their diffusion internationally, makes it possible for large volumes of information to cross national borders much more easily than in the past. And because information depending on its content and who receives it can enhance or detract from a nation's ability to govern itself, we may reasonably expect that information technology will have a nontrivial im- pact on the conduct of national policy. Clearly, no easy generalizations can be made in advance about the social and political effects of most technological developments. The influ- ence of a new technology on a society is seldom determined solely by its technical characteristics alone. The innovations it spawns the systemic changes it promotes or makes possible depend on interactive, bi- directional, and iterative processes that constitute the society's social, po- litical, economic, and cultural life. Indeed, much has been written on this subjects describing the intricacies of those interactions. Global information networks are no different in this respect, although their very breadth and transformative nature make the challenge all the iSee, for example, Merritt Roe Smith and Leo Marx, eds., 1998, Does Technology Drive His- tory? Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press. 15

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6 GLOBAL NETWORKS AND LOCAL VALUES greater. As the very term implies, they are not developed by nor are they contained within a single, homogeneous, or even coherent society. Much of their power and potential derives from the connectivity they provide across large distances, geographic barriers, time zones, and political boundaries. The effectiveness of global information networks depends on some uniformity in technical standards, agreed-upon rules and operating pro- cedures, and compatibility of hardware and software. In each of these respects, choices have to be made that are based primarily on technical considerations and the values held by the technology's first developers and users. But although uniformity or interoperability may be technically desirable, it is much less clear that it is socially desirable, at least to the extent that it limits the accommodation of local needs and values. Moreover, as the global network diffuses more and more widely within each nation, the values, needs, and desires of a much broader spec- trum of people have to be considered. The target is a moving one in sev- eral respects: the increasing level of penetration brings additional groups with different characteristics into contact with the new technology; the groups themselves evolve in their adaptation to the network; and the tech- nology continues to develop, offering new potential uses as well as new challenges. Taken together, these considerations suggest three kinds of questions that define the aims of this report: What can be said about the interactions between information networks and different social/political/cultural sys- tems? How are these interactions affected by the global nature of the net- works? What changes in these relationships can be expected over time? The last question is particularly troublesome and, in a report focused on the future, particularly important. Because of the iterative and interac- tive nature of technology development, analyses of the present state of affairs may be either irrelevant to or misleading about the future. Who would be willing to predict with confidence that the so-called "digital divide" the seriously skewed access at present to the benefits of infor- mation technology among different nations and different socioeconomic groups will be a transient phenomenon or, alternatively, an embedded condition that will only intensify in the future? Are the perceived threats to civil society, local businesses, or government-taxation authority inher- ent in the technology or will they disappear as societies adjust to the dy- namics of a new system? To what extent can one expect that, over time, there will be technological fixes for the tensions or conflicts created by the introduction of global networks? The working hypothesis in this report is that each country is affected differently by global networks, depending on its own local values. Even when the nominal effect is substantially the same in different countries,

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INTRODUCTION AND CONTEXT 17 they may perceive the impact differently; that is, their governments or their people may find it more or less disruptive. Finally, countries may react in different ways, in accordance with the structures and traditions of their governance systems. Although it is difficult to provide answers to the questions posed above, this report attempts to explore them in some detail. The premise is that by raising the issues at this early point in the development of global networks, societies and policymakers will be encouraged to monitor de- velopments. And they will have a framework for doing so, thus position- ing themselves to take action as the dynamics of the interactions between these new global networks and local values become clearer. The discus- sion also highlights the importance of incorporating, both through insti- tutional and technological design, as much flexibility into the system as possible, thereby allowing for salutary changes to cope with tensions or conflicts as they arise or are recognized. In this respect, technological "lock-in" is something to be studiously avoided. 1.2 BACKGROUND This report focuses on and compares the United States and Germany. That choice grew out of an interest in both countries to pursue the study on which the report is based. As noted in the preface, the German- American Academic Council asked the U.S. National Research Council and the German Max-Planck-Project Group on Common Goods, Law, Politics, and Economics to undertake the task as a joint venture. Both in- stitutions saw this as an opportunity not only to explore an issue of mu- tual interest but to do so in a way that could draw on scholarly strengths in both countries, provide greater clarity about the issue itself through the comparisons and contrasts that would be possible, and build a model for possible future collaborations. In this last respect, it was not lost on either institution that developing models for collaborations of this kind is one important social/political response to the very changes being brought about by the globalizing influence of information technology. A study limited to the United States and Germany has obvious short- comings. To be truly comprehensive in addressing the interactions between global networks and local values, one would have to examine the entire spectrum of countries. It would range from the Scandinavian nations- which are extensively penetrated by the Internet and have the greatest homogeneity and the least rigid political and social systems to those, like North Korea, Myanmar, or certain countries in the Middle East, that tightly control or even attempt to seal themselves off from global networks. On the other hand, comparing two industrialized, relatively wealthy, and extensively networked countries with similar but not identical politi-

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8 GLOBAL NETWORKS AND LOCAL VALUES cat systems and similar but not identical value systems can yield insights for policymakers in both countries. The United States and Germany obvi- ously meet these criteria. In addition, they are countries whose languages are primarily English (in one case) and primarily German (in the other), and they are sufficiently large that each has already made practical choices in deciding how to react to the influence of global networks. Their simi- larities serve to control the number of variables; their differences make clearer how global networks can affect and be affected by relatively well- identified local values. Furthermore, it is hoped that the comparison will offer some guidance as to how differences in judgment or reaction in the two countries might be resolved or accommodated, given the constraint that the networks must operate globally and harmoniously. This reasoning suggests, in fact, that although a study of a broader range of countries might provide greater insight into the interactions be- tween global networks and local values, it could actually be of more lim- ited use to policymakers. Countries with vastly different cultures or po- litical systems will certainly be challenged by global networks in very different ways, but there may be less to be learned that is applicable to policy choices through an explicitly comparative study of the kind under- taken here; that is, there is likely to be little in the way of policy approaches that is adaptable to one country from the other when the two are widely different and there are few options available that would harmonize poli- cies across the much broader cultural and political gaps. 1.3 THIS STUDY The U.S.-German committee that was assembled to plan and carry out this study (see the appendix) covered a range of disciplines, including economics, law, political science, sociology, engineering, and science and technology policy. In addition to its several planning and writing meet- ings, the committee organized two symposia one in Dresden in Febru- ary 1999, and another in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, in tune 1999, to which individuals with an even broader range of professional, academic, industrial, and public-policy backgrounds were invited. The Dresden symposium focused on the numerous ways in which global networks are affecting local institutions and values, or are likely to do so in the future. Commissioned papers addressed conceptual ques- tions such as the meaning of values and the several ways in which val- ues are embedded in political, social, and economic institutions as well as analytical questions concerning actual or potential impacts. The values that inhere in the global networks themselves were also considered. The Woods Hole symposium focused on potential responses by gov- ernments, other institutions, and less structured groups to the new con-

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INTRODUCTION AND CONTEXT 19 text, potential conflicts, and other changes that the penetration of global networks into local societies may likely bring about. The papers commissioned for the two symposia have been published in their entirety.2 These papers and related discussions also provided the committee with much of the background material on which this report is based, although its organization and content were separately determined. 1.4 GERMANY AND THE UNITED STATES: SOME CONTRASTS The similarities between Germany and the United States are fairly apparent. The question is, How do they differ? Obviously, any attempt to describe two complex cultures with a few brief comments based on a lim- ited number of characteristics is bound to lead to oversimplification. How- ever, if one views the exercise as merely an attempt to identify political, social, and cultural differences that might give rise to different kinds of interactions with global networks, it can provide a useful starting point for this study. The following descriptions should be viewed in that light: Political/social organization. Many observers would contrast Germany and the United States by describing the former as somewhat "hierarchical" in a number of respects and the latter as rather "horizontal." Germans are more willing to delegate authority for many kinds of societal decisions, to believe in and rely on experts or on those formally charged with decision- making responsibility, and to expect that social and political problems can be approached using an orderly, rational, and formal process. Americans, on the other hand, are increasingly impatient with rep- resentative democracy, as evidenced by the growing use of ballot refer- enda in many states and the number of issues that have moved from the agendas of specialized agencies to the forum of public debate. The advent of the Internet has caused many to envision a return to a style of gover- nance much like that of early New England town meetings. Americans are now much more likely than most Europeans to turn to the Internet as a source of information rather than to designated experts. Much has been written in recent years about the demise of citizen involvement in the United States fewer people voting in elections, reduced Participation in civic groups, and a loss of public support for a "social safety 2Christoph Engel and Kenneth H. Keller, eds., 2000, Understanding the Impact of Global Networks on Local Social, Political and Cultural Values, Law and Economics of International Telecommunications, Vol. 42, Baden-Baden: Nomos; Christoph Engel and Kenneth H. Keller, eds., 2000, Governance of Global Networks in the Light of Differing Local Values, Law and Eco- nomics of International Telecommunications, Vol. 43, Baden-Baden: Nomos.

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20 GLOBAL NETWORKS AND LOCAL VALUES net."3 Some have argued that the concern may be overstated (or they have questioned some of the explanations offered for the phenomenon), but poll- ing data show increasing numbers of Americans responding in the nega- tive to a question asking, "Do you trust your neighbors?" On the other hand, one explanation offered for the willingness in German society to delegate authority is the relatively high level of trust among citizens with respect to government. The trust appears to be re- lated to the expectation that individuals in and out of government will fulfill their responsibilities. Moreover, the reaction to abuse of that trust may be all the greater in Germany, as evidenced by the strong backlash to recent revelations of fundraising improprieties in the Christian Demo- cratic Party. Social cohesion. The United States is a highly mobile society with little attachment to place. University students often choose schools with- out regard to where they have grown up, routinely moving hundreds to thousands of miles to do so. Workers expect to relocate to other parts of the country several times in the course of one or several careers. Extended families do not expect to live close to one another. The country's popula- tion density is relatively low, single-family dwellings are the norm, sub- urban communities continue to grow, and city life is the exception rather than the rule. With place a less important factor, the Internet offers a par- ticularly viable organizing link. E-mail is now a common mode for family communication. And with distances from home to work a major problem and public transportation very limited, new ideas such as "telecommut- ing" offer an attractive possibility. Germany has a higher population density, shorter commuting dis- tances, and relatively stable attachment to place. City life is a central fea- ture of social structure, personal marketing, and living generally. Thus there are fewer needs for and attractions to a Web existence, and more to be sacrificed in choosing that alternative. Nationalism and internationalism. Germans, like most Europeans, have a strong sense of history and geography. They also have an interna- tional perspective: their educated classes are multilingual; their television programming is polyglot; their economic interdependence with other countries is evident in everyday life. Indeed, Germans have been leaders in the integration of Europe. Within their own country, their awareness of history and the relative homogeneity of their society create a sense of tra- dition, which leads to skepticism about change. At the same time, their history has sensitized them to the dangers of nationalism and led them to 3See, for example, Robert Putnam, 2001, Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community, New York: Touchstone Books.

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INTRODUCTION AND CONTEXT 21 the pragmatic view of the nation-state as a rational construct rather than a divine or natural order. Americans, on the other hand, generally have little sense of history or geography. Moreover, separated by oceans from both Europe and Asia, they have an impatience with internationalism that manifests itself today as either neo-isolationism or unilateralism. Their lack of knowledge of other languages is well known. Unconstrained by an historical perspec- tive, and ethnically heterogeneous, they are unusually open to change. It is a society with great social mobility, a widespread entrepreneurial spirit, and receptiveness to technological innovation. One observer has noted that Americans tend to look first at the opportunities presented by change, while Germans look first at the risks. At the same time, Americans create unity by promoting a shared pride in the idea of their country as a nation of immigrants and the values it repre- sents. That very heterogeneity saves Americans from the worst aspects of nationalism, but they do not have a sense of proportion about their role in the world. Combined with their population size and economic power, this omis- sion often leads them to be inadvertent agents of hegemony. Technical/economic factors. In a number of ways, the efficiency of German society, its trust of government, and its commitment to narrow- ing economic gaps and class distinctions provide an impetus for the spread of new technologies in everyday life. Magnetic insurance cards, automated videotape rental, and information-technology-based systems for regulating and monitoring traffic have all penetrated German (and European) society more than they have that of the United States. On the other hand, the local telecommunications systems remain de facto mo- nopolies. This creates a pricing structure that slows Internet penetration and use by raising the cost of broadband "last mile" communication links and by failing to make flat-rate access schemes available. The more decentralized governance and market orientation struc- tures in the United States have facilitated deep penetration of a Web cul- ture in several ways. Competition in telecommunications has led to sub- stantial reductions in the cost of Web connection, to flat-rate access schemes being the norm, and to the availability of many competing high- bandwidth systems via telephone lines, cable systems, and satellites. De- centralization, market orientation, and a somewhat lower level of concern for uniformity of access have led to a faster, if inhomogeneous, spread of Internet connections and use. Religion. Both the United States and Germany nominally separate church and state, but the role of religion is different in the two societies. Americans, far more than Germans, attend religious services and are in- volved with church, synagogue, or mosque activities on a regular basis. This is a source of perennial political conflict in the otherwise secular United States whether it be on prayer in public schools and at public

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22 GLOBAL NETWORKS AND LOCAL VALUES events, or the teaching of evolution, or stem-cell research. These conflicts extend to the Internet world on issues such as pornography and free speech. In German society, on the other hand, the overlap of religious and secular life appears to be relatively modest. 1.5 STRUCTURE OF THIS REPORT In examining the influences of global networks on the two countries, this report attempts to be specific but not exhaustive. It looks at pornogra- phy and hate speech, at privacy and freedom of information, at cultural diversity and hegemony, at the local values associated with democracy, and at electronic commerce. In separate chapters, it puts these specific issues into a general framework that addresses global networks, local val- ues, and their reciprocal influence. In so doing, it singles out issues for examination in order to illustrate how diverse the relationship between global networks and local values can be. The body of the report is divided into three sections. The first deals with contextual issues: how the technology evolved to its present form, how that form may affect its future growth and regulation, and how we can come to an understanding of values that would be useful in this as- sessment. The second section uses these concepts to examine the effects of global networks on a number of specific issues, including privacy, free- dom of information, free speech, and the political and commercial struc- tures in which global networks are embedded. It also suggests alternative approaches to network governance. The third section the penultimate chapter raises a number of cultural issues not discussed elsewhere; it provides an opportunity to raise questions that cannot easily be ap- proached in the U.S.-German context, and so it is more open-ended. The final chapter summarizes the high points of the report and offers conclu- s~ons. Clearly, some very important issues are not considered here in any detail. The most obvious among them are intellectual property, electronic cash, consumer protection, and the impact of global networks on financial markets. Two factors led to the decision not to include them. First, much has already been written about these issues elsewhere.4 Second, they ap- pear to be sufficiently far-enough removed from the other issues consid- ered in this report that there would be no great gain in treating them here. Given the practical limitations on the report's length and comprehensive- ness, it seemed better to exclude them than to address them superficially. 4See, for example, Computer Science and Telecommunications Board, National Research Council, 2000, The Digital Dilemma, Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press.