Just like we saw earlier in the session the formation of the early stock exchanges in the squares and streets of Amsterdam, so too the Dutch may have developed the future of online regulation. As outlined by Harvard Internet Law Professor (I swear it’s a thing) Jonathan Zittrain, in the Dutch city of Drachten, after removing almost all forms of traffic signage and regulation, traffic accidents actually decreased (Zittrain, 2008. p. 127). Of course, the implication is obvious. Zittrain then goes on to equate the ‘unsafe is safe’ experiment to, in particular, regulation on Wikipedia. The idea being that, ultimately, self regulation would lead to a more honest, open and constructive environment.
I see the logic and I understand the sentiment behind this, but I’m as yet ready to accept it completely. As Zittrain suggests it is possible that when a security protocol is removed, a citizenry may carry on undisturbed, choosing to respect rules and boundaries, but I believe that it’s difficult to translate this notion to a situation, in this case the internet, which provides almost guaranteed anonymity.