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Part II - A New Social Contract – Constitutionalizing Internet Governance

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  22 June 2019

Nicolas P. Suzor
Affiliation:
Queensland University of Technology School of Law and Digital Media Research Centre
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Summary

In 1215, on a floodplain on the bank of the River Thames, King John of England met with a group of rebel barons to negotiate a peace treaty. The meeting at Runnymede, about halfway between the fortress of Windsor Castle and the camp of the rebels, became one of the most significant events of Western political history. After raising heavy taxes to fund an expensive and disastrous war in France, King John was deeply unpopular at home. He ruled with might and divine right; the king was above the law. He regularly used the justice system to suppress and imprison his political opponents and to extort more funds from his feudal lords. The peace charter promised an end to the arbitrary rule of the king, guaranteeing the liberties of feudal lords. The document became known as Magna Carta (the “great charter”), described by Lord Denning as “the greatest constitutional document of all times – the foundation of the freedom of the individual against the arbitrary authority of the despot.”1

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Chapter
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Lawless
The Secret Rules That Govern Our Digital Lives
, pp. 103 - 104
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2019

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