Five years, eleven months and some 5 days or so after my very first lecture on law, I have handed in my final contribution to my six years of legal studies. As it is a work of some importance, both academically and personally, I publish it here.
Here’s the non-legal intro to show you what it’s all about. Or you can omit reading it here, and read it in the document itself: Legal Implications of Internet Filtering.
Alexander turns on his computer, smiling as he hears the familiar chime. Colours fill the screen, a feast for his eyes, and he clicks on an icon, his gateway to the Internet. As he submits two words to a search engine and chooses the first result, as if advised by an old friend, Alexander is unaware of the underlying processes.
His computer converses with a network provider and asks whether Alexander may access the website.The network provider turns to a domain name server, to find out on which server the website is located, before finally connecting to the hosting provider to obtain transmission of the website data. Meanwhile, Alexander blinks. The Internet must be unhappy with him: he is denied access to the website. Alexander sighs, and goes back to the search results. He does not pause to consider whether access was blocked rightfully or whether this limits his freedom; he does not even contemplate complaining to anyone. After all, it’s the Internet, and he doesn’t understand it. How could he, a normal web user?
In this simplified tale of daily Internet use, Alexander is confronted with access denial to a website that appeared in search results. As he shares the general population’s lack of understanding of the technology underlying the Internet and the World Wide Web, he does not know why the information embodied in the website is not being transmitted to him. He is unable to assess whether the problem lies with the website owner or with any of the intermediaries between him and the website.
One possible explanation may, however, spring to the mind of an observer with some degree of technical knowledge: this access denial may come from a filter.
Once again, here’s the link to the dissertation: Legal Implications of Internet Filtering. Happy reading…