The Internet, User Autonomy and EU Law
Private Power, Online Information Flows and EU Law: Mind the Gap (Hart 2016)
33 Pages Posted: 22 May 2016 Last revised: 2 Apr 2017
Date Written: May 17, 2016
This chapter examines the Internet’s origins and development as a ‘freedom-enhancing’ tool, alongside the contemporaneous evolution of EU law and regulation governing private economic power. The concept linking these two streams of discussion is that of ‘user autonomy’, which is implicated by the Internet’s affordances for individuals, and which, it is argued, should also be the legal and regulatory framework’s goal when governing Internet matters. However, the trends influencing EU law and regulation from the 1980s, especially neoliberalism, have resulted in these frameworks - competition law, sector-specific regulation, data protection and fundamental rights - not being well-equipped to advance user autonomy in the Internet sphere.
Keywords: internet, freedom, regulation, users, autonomy, EU law, neoliberalism, competition law, consumer choice, data protection, human rights
JEL Classification: K20, K21, K00, K23
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation