Big tech accountability? Read how we got here in  The Closing of the Net 

Internet Freedoms

Since 2008, I've been concerned about how free speech and privacy rights can be protected when governments try to legislate for blocking or taking  content. The principles of protecting freedom of expression applied then, as now. 

The right to privacy and freedom of expression apply online just as they apply offline. These are very precious rights because as well as protecting individuals, they also protect society as whole. Democracy, culture and access to knowledge are safeguarded because we have these two rights. These rights online are threatened by any proposals to block content or conduct surveillance.  Such threats can come from governments or from private corporations.

This section is concerned with how human rights online can be valued and protected i the face of measures that threaten them.

If you are interested in how Internet freedoms may be influenced by policy,   you may like my book The Closing of the Net .


If you are interested in copyright policy, you may like my previous books A Copyright Masquerade: How Corporate Lobbying Threatens Online Freedoms and The Copyright Enforcement Enigma - Internet Politics and the ‘Telecoms Package’

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression  backs up the European Parliament's position on the Telecoms Package which calls for due process where Internet freedom of expression is to be restricted.


A United Nations report released today has a stern message for democratic governments that want to impose meaures to restrict the Internet. He says that restrictions applied to the  Internet must be limited to issues such as public security, and that cutting off access - for copyright enforcement or any other reason -  is a disproporationate measure. Singled out for special reprimand are the UK's Digital Economy Act and France's Hadopi law, which the report considers ‘alarming'.


The report is entitled Report of the Special Rapporteur on the   promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, Frank La Rue.  It addresses freedom of expression on the Internet from a global perspective. What's interesting is that it does not just focus on autocratic regimes and dictatorships that restrict political speech. Instead, it widens the brief to  investigate other restrictions imposed by liberal  democracies, including those in the European Union. 


The UN report is concerned about liability for content being

Read more: UN report says freedom of expression trumps copyright

The European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS), Peter Hustinx, has today  issued a call for radical changes to the directive which mandates ISPs and phone companies to store users' traffic data.


In a public statement, he says that the Data Retention directive does not meet the requirements imposed by the  rights to privacy and data protection, both of which are guaranteed as fundamental rights under EU law. 


Mr Hustinx was commenting on a report by the European Commission, released in April,  which evaluates the implementation of the directive.  Whilst he understands that retained traffic data is sometimes needed, for example, in criminal investigations, he  says

Read more: EU privacy chief slams data retention directive

Members of the European Parliament are calling for the Commission to draft a new directive on media freedoms and pluralism.  If taken forward, the idea is that the directive would set out the minimum requirements for all EU countries, to guarantee freedom of expression and media pluralism.


---Update  - the joint motion has been published - see link below ---


The call  has been issued by the Socialist,    Liberal  and Left groups.  It   comes in the context of internal European Parliament negotiations regarding a Resolution  on the Hungarian Media Law. This is  the controversial Hungarian law which threatens to censor all media, including the Internet and websites.


The European Parliament  Resolution is   effectively a political statement which will send a message from Brussels to the Hungarian government, thus its content  must reconcile the views of the different Party groups. As I write this, they  are haggling over



Read more: MEPs call for European media freedoms law



States v the 'Net? 

Read The Closing of the Net, by me, Monica Horten.

"original and valuable"  Times higher Education

" essential read for anyone interested in understanding the forces at play behind the web."

Find out more about the book here  The Closing of the Net


FROM £15.99

Copyright Enforcement Enigma launch, March 2012

In 2012, I presented my PhD research in the European Parliament.

Iptegrity in brief is the website of Dr Monica Horten. I’ve been analysing analysing digital policy since 2008. Way back then, I identified how issues around rights can influence Internet policy, and that has been a thread throughout all of my research. I hold a PhD in EU Communications Policy from the University of Westminster (2010), and a Post-graduate diploma in marketing. I am on the Advisory Council of the Open Rights Group.  I’ve served as an independent expert on the Council of Europe  Committee on Internet Freedoms, and was involved in a capacity building project in Moldova, Georgia, and Ukraine. For more, see About Iptegrity is made available free of charge for  non-commercial use, Please link-back & attribute Monica Horten. Thank you for respecting this.

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The politics of copyright

A Copyright Masquerade - How corporate lobbying threatens online freedoms

'timely and provocative' Entertainment Law Review


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