Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Network Law

This is an image taken from a discussion about emergent networks, terrorism and open source (it does make sense after you've read it). However, I found it interesting because it follows some research that I have been conducting regarding the application of complex network topology to the law. This graphic displays an emerging online community. Each dot is a node, in the community context it is an individual. There are super-nodes, or hubs; which are the nodes that have the larger number of connections and hold the community together. This core of nodes is joined by less connected active nodes, and then an ever-decreasing number of connected nodes until we reach the lurker, the individual dot that does not have active links.

What does it have to do with the law? This model describes all sorts of communities, from online fora to P2P networks, passing through child pornography circles and online gambling. One of the results of complex networks is that they tend to be very difficult to attack, which has all sorts of consequences to law enforcement online. If you wanted to bring down a child pornography network, you could spend a lot of time picking individual nodes without bringing down the entire network. However, if you knew who the hubs were, then the network could be attacked in an easier manner. Pick out the hubs, and the network may follow.

I think that this explains the tactics against P2P networks. There seems to be a concerted effort from the copyright industry to eonforce rights against individual users. It is my theory that they may want to provoke a collapse of P2P networks by picking out the hubs.

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