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.


Will Germany save us from the upload filter?

Tomorrow – Monday 15th April – the EU  Copyright Directive goes to the Council of Ministers. It has been anticipated that this would be the final stage of its legislative journey and that it would be rubber-stamped into law.  However, the controversy over the upload filter  (Article 17 – ex-13) has not abated and six countries have already announced that they cannot vote in favour. That means there is  a blocking minority, but it is not quite sufficient yet to stop the Directive from getting into law.  Crucially, the position of the German government hangs in the balance.

Read more: EU upload filter - Germany’s crucial deciding vote

The Copyright Directive was passed in the European Parliament butthere is still one  final hurdle  before it becomes law. It must be adopted by the Council of Ministers. This article issues a reminder to Member State governments of the reasons why it is problematic.

A controversial provision being inserted into EU copyright law is causing consternation after the European Parliament voted last week to accept it.  This is the so-called upload filter  - a proposal to check all content uploaded by users for copyright compliance. However,  it’s not yet final and there is a small group of Member States who have said they will withold their consent when the law goes to the Council of Ministers. They may not yet have the numbers, but it's an interesting move.

Read more: Copyright Directive upload filter - why EU Council should block it

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Social media companies and content sharing apps could have to foot the bill for a vast automated copyright protection scheme under the most recent EU proposal to update copyright law. For those who remember, this is Hadopi on steroids.   It’s a proposal that, history tells us, is unlikely to be workable.  

The battle over social media content sharing is moving up a gear as the the European Parliament goes for a major vote on new copyright legislation this September.  A single, controversial provision in the propoosed EU Copyright Directive has brought the matter  to a head  in this latest round of the Hollywood vs Silicon Valley conflict.  As currently drafted, it could mean that social media platforms and apps would have to restrict content via an automated copyright protection system – dubbed the “upload filter” -  and they could be asked to fund the entire system.  

Read more: EU Copyright Directive - who pays the bill for the upload filter?

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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.

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’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. I am currently (from June 2022)  Policy Manager - Freedom of Expression, with the Open Rights Group. 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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