The article examines shifts in the role of the State in the information environment, and focuses on the recent, innovative, cooperation between the State and private parties. We argue that while assuming the role of a regulator, the State allowed private nodes of control to emerge and develop in the information environment. We describe how the regulatory regime of the 1990s facilitated this process. When the State now seeks to seize control in the information environment it utilizes these private nodes of control to combat terror. The invisible hand turned out to be very useful for the State, and it is now replaced with a handshake between the State and the private sector. It too, is invisible. The article seeks to make the invisible handshake visible, identifying the legislation that enables the State to seize control in the decentralized borderless information environment. The article traces this intriguing process of recruiting private parties for governing tasks, and analyzes its ramifications for the Internet.
Date of this Version
Michael D. Birnhack and Niva Elkin, "The Invisible Handshake: The Reemergence of the State in the Digital Environment" (January 2008). Tel Aviv University Law Faculty Papers. Working Paper 54.