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Internet Legal Issues

Currently the United States government drives the majority of legislation on the Internet, but is seen as only a "local ordinance." Constitutionally, states' rights supercede national laws, but a fragmented and political atmosphere has caused the legal environment of the Internet to fall ever behind the technology, and this applies to privacy rights. U.S. cryptography export controls have kept encryption technology from developing faster. Ironically, as SET (secure electronic transactions) standard adoption grows, the ability to digitally sign and encrypt documents may have issues of non-repudiation and authenticity that ultimately protect privacy. (See the later section "Senator Unveils Net Privacy Bill" for details on recent submission of legislation by Ernest Hollings for the Consumer Privacy Protection Act.)

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