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.


 Estonian Presidency (EU) building 2017

The latest 'compromise' from the Estonian Presidency on the EU Copyright Directive,  cuts right across a  fundamental balance in EU law. It seeks to embed  hosting intermediaries into copyright law and to impose  an onerous and heavy-handed form of prior restraint on Internet users.  Moreover,  in 10 years’ of working on EU policy,  I have rarely  seen legal drafting as  repetitive,  wordy and muddled as this. The problematic text is

Read more: New EU proposal writes Internet hosts into copyright law

A new political battle over the Internet has just commenced in Brussels. The battle field is a set of proposals from the European Commission about content platforms – for which, you should understand to be Google, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, eBay etc. These companies are at the centre of a conflict that is raging politically about what role they should play, if any, in regulating content. And if they do have a role, how should they carry it out?

The Communication on Online Platforms and the Digital Single Market – opportunities and challenges for Europe sets out

Read more: Social media, video & clouds in firing line as EU sparks Internet content battle

A highly-respected German website is to be investigated for treason after publishing leaked documents relating to  mass Internet surveillance.

 The German Internet policy website,  Netzpolitik.org, has been put on notice for  treason after it published two articles revealing government plans to expand intelligence capabilities for Internet surveillance. The website received the notice yesterday from the German attorney general,  following a complaint from the Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz – this is the  internal intelligence service,  the German equivalent of MI5. The matter has sparked a media storm over freedom of the press, in a country where Internet surveillance issues are household knowledge.

Read more: Netzpolitik.org: treason inquiry over German blog and leaked spy plans

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States v the 'Net? 

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

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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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