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Freedom of Expression

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'

As policy-makers on both sides of the Atlantic seek to curb the power of the 'big tech' leviathans, is anti-trust the best tool to address speech online?

When the four titans of tech testified at a recent hearing in the US Congress, it was meant to be about anti-trust and market abuses. The technology companies were indeed put on the defensive about their monopolistic practices, but some of the most difficult exchanges were about content and censorship. It raises the issue about their power over speech, which presents a far more complex question for lawmakers than

Read more: Big tech and anti-trust: an ill-fitting suit?

In the face of over 50,000*coronavirus-related deaths in the UK alone - potentially as high as 60,000* - why should we care about digital rights?

Beside the grave risks to life posed by Covid-19, your rights in using Internet services may seem like a lower priority. However, as lockdown measures make entire societies digitally-dependent, it has never been more important to safeguard people's activities online.

The coronavirus public health emergency - and specifically the lockdown measures - changed the 'normal' way of life overnight as entire societies were obliged to stay at home. These measures created an environment where digital systems became the arteries of social and economic life for entire populations. The situation created a universal dependence on digital communications that has arguably not been the case previously. While lockdown is easing, the digital dependence is likely to remain high.

Read more: Digital rights - why they matter in a time of coronavirus

Culture Committee of the European Parliament in session 2019

Will they dump the upload filter? Moves are afoot in the European Parliament to protect free speech and reject the imposition of upload filters in two key pieces of legislation before the current sitting of the European Parliament. The Copyright Directive has been stalled by the Council, with a scheduled trilogue cancelled. Meanshlie, amendments to delete requirements for proactive monitoring in the Terrorism Directive are being tabled in two committees.

Read more: EU lawmakers seek to protect free speech in online content rules

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About Iptegrity

Iptegrity.com is the website of Dr Monica Horten. I am an  independent policy advisor, with expertise in online safety, technology and human rights. I am a published author, and post-doctoral scholar. I hold a PhD from the University of Westminster, and a DipM from the Chartered Institute of Marketing. I cover the UK and EU. I'm a former tech journalist, and an experienced panelist and Chair. My media credits include the BBC, iNews, Times, Guardian and Politico.

Iptegrity.com is made available free of charge for non-commercial use. Please link back and attribute Dr Monica Horten.  Contact me to use any of my content for commercial purposes.