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Piece Treaty?

Global interests may soon discover that breaking up the Web is hard to do.

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This story appears in the July 2001 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Are borderlines on the Internet unthinkable? A French court hasbeen studying the feasibility of requiring Yahoo! to block auctionsof Nazi items from French Web surfers' view. China is workingto implement a separate national Internet that some analysts fearwill both block international sites and prevent access byoutsiders. The compartmentalizing of the Internet could bode illfor small businesses that, by virtue of the Web, have become globalenterprises.

John Patrick, vice president of Internet Technology at IBM andchairman of the Global InternetProject, isn't worried. "There probably are ideas invarious parts of the world to in some way fractionalize theInternet. Technically it's possible to do something like that,but in the long term I don't think efforts of that nature canbe successful. It's also technically possible to defeat thosekinds of efforts, and to the extent that there's value toaccessing the borderless Internet, people will find a way to getconnected to it."

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