While the world discusses Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize (I’m on the “what has he done so far?” side), I wish to draw your attention to something entirely different: law and technology.
I am in the process of finding a topic for the 15,000-word dissertation that I shall write during this year, and therefore wish to lay out my current ideas, in the hope that one or two might give their opinion.
When using the internet, most of us feel free: we can type anything in Google, and find our way to a million different results. We can go to Amazon or eBay, search for anything, and probably find one or two things of interest to us. We can read a blog, click on a link, and find ourselves reading articles of diverging points of view. A seemingly infinite realm of information is available at our fingertips.
However, all is not golden in this world of apparent freedom. In many States (from China to the UK), users are limited in their use of the internet by “filters”, which are meant to block access to specific (categories of) websites. Certain items of information are blocked in a more specific manner at the level of websites, when the website owner/administrator/moderator applies censorship. All in all, these intermediaries control available information.
As such, when user tries to access content, such access may be denied. Sometimes, the user is fully unaware of the existence of the information in question, but not all the time. Does this hinder freedom of access to information? Does this hinder the information creator’s freedom of speech? Whence does the right to censor/block information come? Is the creator or intermediary liable to the user if illegal/offensive/… material isn’t blocked? Is the intermediary liable to the creator or to the user for information wrongfully blocked? Does the creator not have a right to access the information created by himself?
This is the kind of question that I believe I would ask and try to answer. Concerns of legitimacy and effectiveness must be addressed, though the focus would be the legal point of view.
Any thoughts on the matter?