Asserting National Sovereignty in Cyberspace: The Case for Internet Border Inspection   [open pdf - 785KB]

National sovereignty is a fundamental principle of national security and the modern international system. The United States asserts its national sovereignty in many ways including inspecting goods and people crossing its borders. However, most nations including the United States have not implemented any form of border inspection and control in cyberspace. This thesis builds a case that national sovereignty inherently and logically gives a sovereign state, such as the United States, the right to establish appropriate Internet border inspection stations. Such stations would be used to inspect only legally vetted inbound traffic, and block contraband, in a fashion analogous to the current system for inspection of people and goods that cross U.S. borders in the physical world. Normal traffic crossing the border would have no content inspected and no record would be kept of its passing. This thesis answers key questions about feasibility, proposes a high level structure for implementation, and describes how such a system might be used to protect reasonable and legitimate interests of the United States including both security and individual rights. One chapter will build the logical case for Internet border inspection, and others chapters will discuss technical, legal, and political feasibility.

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