Free speech on the internet: The road ahead

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My review of Timothy Garton Ash’s Free Speech: Ten Principles for a Connected World, here:

1. The United States has created a global “First Amendment” space for the internet, in the sense that Americans tend to assume that the default position is freedom rather than control. “For the hours you are online, you have virtually emigrated to the United States”. Recent loss of US control means loss of this default position, which is likely to be keenly felt elsewhere.

2. “When it comes to enabling or restricting global freedom of expression, some corporations have more power than most states. Were each user of Facebook to be counted as an inhabitant, Facebook would have a larger population than China.”

Ash divides the world of the internet into dogs (government), cats (IT companies), and mice (users). He says, “The biggest cats are more powerful than all but the very biggest dogs.” A telling incident: … More.

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