Platform responsibility? Get the backstory - check my book The Closing of the Net - only £15.99!

Internet Freedoms

The right to privacy and freedom of expression apply online just as they apply offiline. 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 will discuss ways in which human rights online can be valued and protected.


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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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." ITSecurity.co.uk

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

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Copyright Enforcement Enigma launch, March 2012

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

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Iptegrity.com is the website of Dr Monica Horten. I am a policy analyst specialising in Internet governance policy and European policy, such as platform accountability. I am a published author & Visiting Fellow at the London School of Economics & Political Science. I served as an independent expert on the Council of Europe Committee on  Internet Freedom. I have worked on CoE, EU and UNDP funded projects in eastern Europe and the Caucasus. In a voluntary capacity, I have led UK citizen delegations to the European Parliament.  I was shortlisted for The Guardian Open Internet Poll 2012. Iptegrity  offers expert insights into Internet policy (and related issues on Brexit). Iptegrity has a core readership in the Brussels policy community, and has been cited in the media. Please acknowledge Iptegrity when you cite or link.  For more, see IP politics with integrity

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