E-Elections: Law in Asia & Online Political Activities
Matthew J. Wilson
University of Akron School of Law
January 3, 2012
Wyoming Law Review, Vol. 12, No. 1, p. 237, 2012
The Internet has had a profound influence on our global society. Widespread and affordable access to the Internet has facilitated a proliferation of “netizens” around the world. The Internet is accessible through a broad range of conduits including desktop computers, laptops, mobile phones, smart phones, televisions, and even game consoles. Easy access to the Internet and World Wide Web has generated a wide-sweeping societal transformation across the globe. In fact, the Internet has altered the way people exchange information, communicate, socially network, transact business, and seek entertainment. Electronic mail, texting, instant messaging, and online chatting have become staples in the realm of societal interaction. In addition, technological innovation increasingly focuses on new and useful applications of the Internet and World Wide Web.
The impact of online interaction, however, extends beyond social functions. Increased reliance upon the Internet has given rise to a plethora of legal and ethical issues in both domestic and international contexts as well. Legal issues in the online world involve commercial relationships, personal rights, criminal acts, and nearly every area of the law. This essay focuses on one particular important legal issue involving the Internet — namely, the clash between online electioneering restrictions and freedom of expression in select countries in Asia, particularly in China, Taiwan, Singapore, South Korea, and Japan. It also suggests that the democratic countries of South Korea and Japan need to relax their strict restrictions regarding online campaigning activities and fully recognize the importance of freedom of expression.
This essay is an edited version of a speech given by Professor Matthew J. Wilson at the Second East Asian Law and Society Conference, Dialects and Dialectics: East Asian Dialogues in Law and Society, at Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea on October 1, 2011.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 16
Date posted: January 3, 2012
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