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cyberlaw:private_power [2015/08/06 12:29]
nic
cyberlaw:private_power [2019/01/25 13:56] (current)
witta
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-# Regulating ​private intermediaries+# Regulating ​Private Intermediaries 
  
-<WRAP help round third> 
 Help needed! Help needed!
-This section is a [[:​wiki:​stub]]. Please help out by filling in some details and fixing some disjoint ​prose. +This section is a [[:​wiki:​stub]]. Please help out by filling in some details and fixing some disjointed ​prose.
-</​WRAP>​+
  
-## Freedom of speech online 
  
-<WRAP round third right> +## Freedom of Speech Online 
-**Overview of freedom ​of speech issues online ​by Nic Suzor** + 
-{{youtube>-HTCDLty87s}} + 
-</​WRAP>​+**Overview of Online Freedom ​of Speech Issues ​by [Nic Suzor](https://​www.youtube.com/​watch?​v=-HTCDLty87s)**
  
 According to John Perry Barlow, the internet is the ‘new home of the mind’. The great potential the internet brings is to democratise speech. It provides the ability for ordinary people to be heard by massive audiences. ​ According to John Perry Barlow, the internet is the ‘new home of the mind’. The great potential the internet brings is to democratise speech. It provides the ability for ordinary people to be heard by massive audiences. ​
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 Here comes everybody: When Time Magazine named ‘You’ the person of the year in 2006, it showed a sense of great optimism in the democratic potential of the internet. The optimistic view is that the internet provides the ability for ordinary people to be heard by massive audiences. This was never the case with broadcast or mass media. Here comes everybody: When Time Magazine named ‘You’ the person of the year in 2006, it showed a sense of great optimism in the democratic potential of the internet. The optimistic view is that the internet provides the ability for ordinary people to be heard by massive audiences. This was never the case with broadcast or mass media.
  
-Information wants to be free: Article 19 of the ICCPR protects the freedom to seek and impart information. In many cases, the freedom that the internet provides seems almost unlimited. Stewart Brand famously said in 1984, ‘information wants to be free’. Dan Gilmore explained that regulating speech on the internet was extremely difficult - ‘the net treats censorship as damage and routes around it’.+Information wants to be free: Article 19 of the ICCPR protects the freedom to seek and impart information. In many cases, the freedom that the internet provides seems almost unlimited. Stewart Brand famously said in 1984, ‘information wants to be free’. Dan Gilmore explained that regulating speech on the internet was extremely difficult - ‘the net treats censorship as damage and routes around it’. However, there are conflicts and a series of difficult issues that we will explore below.
  
-But there are conflicts. There are a series of difficult issues: +### State Intervention
- +
-### State intervention+
  
 There are serious problems with direct state intervention and abuse of state-created rules. There are ongoing debates about the extent to which states should regulate speech online. In Australia, the Federal Government sought to introduce a filtering system that would restrict access to speech that was ‘offensive’,​ including speech that was not illegal. In many countries around the world, governments are requiring online intermediaries to censor information in ways that likely violate Art 19. Russia, for example, has leant on Twitter to block pro-Ukranian activists; Turkey has required Twitter to block content within Turkey from anti-government protestors. There are serious problems with direct state intervention and abuse of state-created rules. There are ongoing debates about the extent to which states should regulate speech online. In Australia, the Federal Government sought to introduce a filtering system that would restrict access to speech that was ‘offensive’,​ including speech that was not illegal. In many countries around the world, governments are requiring online intermediaries to censor information in ways that likely violate Art 19. Russia, for example, has leant on Twitter to block pro-Ukranian activists; Turkey has required Twitter to block content within Turkey from anti-government protestors.
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 There are also serious problems with Notice-and-takedown. Notice-and-takedown is a state-created response to a need to provide effective ways to police the internet, but it leaves open massive potential for abuse. There’s a serious procedural problem here: intermediaries are threatened with liability if they don’t remove infringing content, but they’re not in a position to know whether the material is protected under law. They’re not courts, and can’t really legitimately make this decision. There are also serious problems with Notice-and-takedown. Notice-and-takedown is a state-created response to a need to provide effective ways to police the internet, but it leaves open massive potential for abuse. There’s a serious procedural problem here: intermediaries are threatened with liability if they don’t remove infringing content, but they’re not in a position to know whether the material is protected under law. They’re not courts, and can’t really legitimately make this decision.
  
-### Private ​regulation ​and the power of platforms+### Private ​Regulation ​and The Power of Platforms
  
 Private organisations are largely responsible for determining what information we can communicate and seek. Intermediaries like Google control what information turns up in search engines. Social networks like Facebook make important decisions about what information we see. So, for example, Facebook has admitted to manipulating the content of news feeds to drive changes in mood. Because Facebook’s goal is to sell advertising,​ they have a strong incentive to show us the most profitable content. This is a huge amount of power over human thought. Private organisations are largely responsible for determining what information we can communicate and seek. Intermediaries like Google control what information turns up in search engines. Social networks like Facebook make important decisions about what information we see. So, for example, Facebook has admitted to manipulating the content of news feeds to drive changes in mood. Because Facebook’s goal is to sell advertising,​ they have a strong incentive to show us the most profitable content. This is a huge amount of power over human thought.
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 These private organisations are increasingly important in how we access information,​ but they are not bound by constitutional protections of free speech. ​ These private organisations are increasingly important in how we access information,​ but they are not bound by constitutional protections of free speech. ​
  
-### Platform ​responsibilityimposing obligations ​on private intermediaries+### Platform ​ResponsibilityImposing Obligations ​on Private Intermediaries 
 + 
 +**Video Overview of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights by [the Danish Institute for Human Rights](https://​www.youtube.com/​watch?​v=BCoL6JVZHrA)**
  
 The new gatekeepers are private actors who have the power to control speech but no real responsibilities. So we don’t know when they’re censoring speech, on the one hand, and on the other, there is a lot of abusive speech, hate speech, and vilification that is difficult to respond to or control. The new gatekeepers are private actors who have the power to control speech but no real responsibilities. So we don’t know when they’re censoring speech, on the one hand, and on the other, there is a lot of abusive speech, hate speech, and vilification that is difficult to respond to or control.
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 If we think of freedom of speech not just as a negative right to be free from overt state interference,​ but as a thicker substantive right to maintain and express one's opinions, there is a real conflict here. Minority voices are being drowned out by abuse((For an interesting overview of hate speech in online gaming platforms, see this video by GAMBIT: http://​video.mit.edu/​watch/​gambit-hate-speech-video-7031/​)) or silenced by algorithms, filters, and moderators with inbuilt majoritarian biases. ​ If we think of freedom of speech not just as a negative right to be free from overt state interference,​ but as a thicker substantive right to maintain and express one's opinions, there is a real conflict here. Minority voices are being drowned out by abuse((For an interesting overview of hate speech in online gaming platforms, see this video by GAMBIT: http://​video.mit.edu/​watch/​gambit-hate-speech-video-7031/​)) or silenced by algorithms, filters, and moderators with inbuilt majoritarian biases. ​
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- 
-<WRAP round 460px right> 
-**UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, by Danish Institute for Human Rights** 
-{{youtube>​BCoL6JVZHrA?​small}} 
-</​WRAP>​ 
  
 This represents a key tension between the right of freedom of expression, and the ability to actually enforce legal rules and social norms. Private intermediaries are increasingly being asked to do more, but they don’t have the legitimate authority of courts. If they don’t do more, though, people get hurt. Finding a way to balance these tensions is one of the key challenges for regulating the internet. This represents a key tension between the right of freedom of expression, and the ability to actually enforce legal rules and social norms. Private intermediaries are increasingly being asked to do more, but they don’t have the legitimate authority of courts. If they don’t do more, though, people get hurt. Finding a way to balance these tensions is one of the key challenges for regulating the internet.
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