The Dissenting Values at the Heart of the Internet: How Child Protection and Freedom of Expression Advocates Negotiate Shared Values and Shape the Future Internet
23 Pages Posted: 16 Sep 2011
Date Written: September 15, 2011
In much of the world, the internet is now an expected everywhere-always-on utility used for information gathering, communication and social networking. Yet along with its incredible power to increase access to knowledge and opportunities for expression, the same characteristics that make the internet so unique as a tool for freedom, including the openness of its architecture, its facilitation of anonymity, and the proliferation of content across its platforms also create concerns that undesirable and even illegal content is ever-more available. Particular concern is raised in regard to children and vulnerable users and their potential exposure to specific risks (content, interactions) that may prove harmful.
This paper explores these issues by examining the debate between two long-established strands of digital advocacy: child protection and freedom of expression. It provides a new descriptive and analytic framework that acknowledges how values contribute to the negotiations of different perspectives within a policy development ecology. This builds upon and nuances the sensitizing concept of 'ecologies of games' revealing that in this policy field, winnable regulatory games are less important than relational negotiations based on values.
Keywords: Internet, ecology of games, child protection, freedom of expression, free speech, policy, rights, values
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