Fundamental Rights Protection Online: Curation v. Regulation?
Fundamental Rights Protection Online, co-edited volume Edward Elgar, 2020 Forthcoming
13 Pages Posted: 9 Jun 2020
Date Written: June 5, 2020
Technology has transformative power – and it is generally a power for good. Knowledge transfer is cheaper and more accessible than ever before thanks to our increased connectivity. With the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, online teaching and videoconferencing served as substitutes for in-person meetings. Moreover, the virtual environment allowed for broader audiences to follow various events. While many believe that virtual interactions cannot fully replicate the physical world, not least since blue-collar jobs remain firmly rooted in the physical, the quick takeaways from the global health crisis (still ongoing at the moment of writing) are that the world did not stop spinning for one reason only: physical contacts could in many cases be creatively and effectively replaced by the use of the internet. The internet has also ostensibly created preconditions for unprecedented democratization of the public sphere, possibly a true “marketplace of ideas” or at least an open forum for the exchange of information providing the means for individuals to seek, receive and impart ideas, regardless of frontiers. By enhancing access to information and freedom of speech, the internet has also become a significant source of citizen empowerment and engagement, transforming the role of citizens, both in their private and public lives.
In spite of all the excitement however, would today’s technical infrastructure lead to an actual democratization of knowledge spurring a possible decrease in social inequalities? Isn’t the marketplace of ideas an imperfect market just as any other? Can it give rise to the proliferation of disinformation and lead to new forms of censorship; can it inflict grave harm? Through the prism of fundamental rights, this book collection aims to engage with the broader questions framing the debate on online content curation while also looking at the legal nuts and bolts underpinning it.
Keywords: intermediaries, speech curation, CJEU, ECtHR, e-Commerce Directive, disinformation, hate speech, copyright
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