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

Internet Threats

In 2022,  the open and neutral Internet is under threat more than ever as policy-makers seek to rein in the bit tech global platforms, some of which did not exist when I set up this website in 2007. 

We have seen several different groups of stakeholders lobbying for blocks to be placed on websites,  user access to be suspended or content filtering. It all started with copyright, but now many other lobbying interests are leading the charge. Many are non-governmental organisations representing vulnerable people or children, others are big industrial corporations whose motives are less likely to represent a public interest. A worrying development is how law  enforcement have themselves become a stakeholder in this debate, seeking to get the private corporations to carry out enforcement on their behalf. 

The issues also have moved on. Over the time that I've been writing on this field, we've seen  calls for Internet blocking arising in respect to libel and defamation, and  now there is very long list. One of the more worrying developments, especially in the UK since Brexit, is the matter of abuse of individuals. Those who oppose government policy tend to experience high volumes of very unpleasant abuse, and in some cases violent threats. This is not acceptable.  It does raise a very difficult question, from a policy and human rights perspective. How to balance the need to protect free speech against malicious or arbitrary restrictions against the need to tackle the those who engage in this unpleasant and anti-social activity. 

This section address  a range of threats to the Internet from 2008 to the present day. 

If you like the articles in this section and you are interested in Internet policy-making in the EU, especially with regard to copyright policy, you may like my books A Copyright Masquerade: How Corporate Lobbying Threatens Online Freedoms and The Copyright Enforcement Enigma - Internet Politics and the ‘Telecoms Package’

If you are following  discussions around telecoms and technology policy and content blocking ,  you may like my book The Closing of the Net which covers the British copyright blocking orders, as well as the Megaupload case.


Lord Mandelson has written to the Financial Times about the photos of Prince Harry’s  antics in a Las Vegas hotel room.  His point is not however, about the ethics of  playing strip-billiards. No, he was commenting on the effect of the Internet on privacy and freedom of expression,  and on the profitability of  news media. His comments apply equally to todays publication of photos of Kate Middleton.

It was Lord Mandelson, you will recall, who forced in the Digital Economy Act  with technical measures  to block access to copyright-infringing  material.   In Lord Mandelson’s opinion, the Internet is unleashing a flood of ‘uncorroborated, undigested and unmediated news’. If you ignore the tone of the letter, which is a bit like a rant by a no-longer-important ex-Minister,  it does raise  some questions for policy-makers concerning the Internet.

Read more: Lord Mandelson, Prince Harry and closing the Internet floodgates

Can Britain slide in a filtered Internet by the back door of so-called 'parental controls'? It’s not a consultation, it’s a survey.  It has been speeded up so that the government can implement the policy by October. It’s run by a failing department that cannot do its day job.

Read more: How Britain could sneak in the filtered Internet

 A political row is brewing in Germany over an Internet filtering system that is blocking the Pirate Party.  Note, not the Pirate Bay, but the Pirate Party. The blocking was discovered by a schoolboy trying  to read its election manifesto and has emerged in the run up to todays poll in the German State of  North-Rhein Westfalia, which covers the big cities of Cologne and Dusseldorf, as well as the industrial Ruhr. With the Pirate Party getting serious votes in Germany, the blocks look rather like political censorship.

Read more: German 'shitstorm' brewing over Pirate Party school blocks

copyrightenforcement.enigma.book.launch.european.parliament.2012.jpg

 

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.

Iptegrity in brief

 

Iptegrity.com 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

Iptegrity.com 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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