A Method to Assess Regulatory Measures Designed to Limit Access to Harmful Content on the Internet

Smart(er) internet regulation through cost benefit analysis - Measuring harms to privacy, freedom of expression and the internet ecosystem (Presses des Mines, Paris), 2016

235 Pages Posted: 16 Apr 2020

See all articles by Winston Maxwell

Winston Maxwell

Telecom Paris - Institut Polytechnique de Paris

Date Written: October 4, 2016

Abstract

Regulators increasingly ask Internet intermediaries to limit access to harmful content. These actions can create negative externalities that are not fully taken into account when the regulatory decision is adopted. Drawing on law and economics literature on better regulation and cost-benefit analyses, the thesis proposes a system to help regulators take better account of the costs and benefits generated by measures affecting Internet intermediaries, and choose the measure that maximizes social welfare. The thesis identifies the various ingredients of a cost-benefit analysis, including a consideration of the different Internet intermediaries involved (search engines, ISPs, etc.), different content policies to be enforced (copyright, fight against terrorism, etc.), different institutional and regulatory approaches (self regulatory, co-regulatory, etc.), and the effects on various fundamental rights. The thesis proposes that any regulatory proposal designed to limit access to harmful Internet content be subject to an initial questionnaire, a cost-benefit analysis, a public consultation and a peer review before being adopted, and that these steps would increase the quality of regulation by, among other things, making the direct and indirect benefits and costs more visible, and trade-offs more explicit. The steps will also facilitate international benchmarking. The thesis points to the European framework for regulation of electronic communications as a source of inspiration for "better regulation" methodology that could be applied to Internet content issues.

Keywords: better regulation, proportionality, internet, harmful content, copyright infringement, filtering, cost-benefit analysis, notice and takedown, right to be forgotten, internet intermediaries, liability

JEL Classification: K23, K29, K42, D61, D62, D63

Suggested Citation

Maxwell, Winston, A Method to Assess Regulatory Measures Designed to Limit Access to Harmful Content on the Internet (October 4, 2016). Smart(er) internet regulation through cost benefit analysis - Measuring harms to privacy, freedom of expression and the internet ecosystem (Presses des Mines, Paris), 2016, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3558490

Winston Maxwell (Contact Author)

Telecom Paris - Institut Polytechnique de Paris ( email )

19 place Marguerite Perey
Palaiseau, 91120
France

HOME PAGE: http://telecom-paris.fr

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