Online Liberty and Freedom of Expression

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Tuesday, 2:00-3:30pm
Format: Lecture, featuring guest respondents
Lead: John Palfrey
Potential Participants: Bruce Etling, Rob Faris, Ethan Zuckerman, and others

Led by John Palfrey, this session will focus on online liberty and freedom of express and expand on some of the core themes introduced in the preceding sessions by providing an overview of the different phases of content regulation on the Internet. It will engage the audience with questions regarding the ways in which different political contexts shape different methods of and motivations for government control, and how various approaches in different countries inform each other. Respondents will be invited to reflect on key issues, including different forms of government controls and online speech regulation: China (a mix of “traditional” technical filtering with legal and informal regulatory mechanisms); the Arab Spring (just-in-time filtering combined with the arrest and intimidation of bloggers and digital activists); Russia (mostly non-technical, second and third generation controls rather than technical filtering); and US/Western Europe (mostly focused on child pornography and the illegal spread of copyrighted content). They will also grapple with hard questions related the role of intermediaries in response to government requests for user information, content removal or account deactivation and the implications of the current phase of control for free expression and privacy worldwide.

Required Readings


Arab Spring

Digital Tools

Recommended Readings


Arab Spring

Second- and Third-Generation Controls

Russia Project

Related Cases