[IRP] FW: Invitation 7 December - Self-regulation: Should online companies police the internet?

Anriette Esterhuysen anriette
Tue Dec 6 16:06:09 EET 2011

It has been posted previously but Rebecca McKinnon's TED talk is good on
this thread if I remember correctly.


I agree with Dixie - the boundaries between self-regulation and
legislation is very thorny... and filled with pitfalls.

Companies cannot, and should not need to be, the arbiters or protectors
of our human rights. Great if they are progressive and pro-rights, but
individuals should not have to rely on corporate goodwill or values
which could change as a result of changes in leadership, policy, or
pressure from governments.

I am not saying that companies are not important players .. they are,
and can play a positive role.

Self-regulation and progressive company policy can be very useful. If
practised in ways that maximises expression it can strengthen freedoms
in cases where there are gaps in the protection of fundamental rights in
national legislation.

Corporate voices can also be powerful in convincing governments to
protect fundamental freedoms...

but ultimately the protection of free nline expression and association
needs to be legislated and due process should be followed when any
restrictions are applied.


On 06/12/11 15:39, Allon Bar wrote:
> In that light, the messages from India are rather disconcerting:
> *"The Indian government has asked Internet companies and social media
> sites like Facebook to prescreen user content from India and to remove
> disparaging, inflammatory or defamatory content before it goes online,
> three executives in the information technology industry say."
> *
> http://india.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/12/05/india-asks-google-facebook-others-to-screen-user-content/
> See also "Kapil Sibal's web monitoring plan: Google reacts, says company
> follows laws on illegal content" in the /India Times/.
> http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/tech/internet/kapil-sibals-web-monitoring-plan-google-reacts-says-company-follows-laws-on-illegal-content/articleshow/11007670.cms
> On 12/6/11 4:06 PM, Dixie Hawtin wrote:
>> Yes, the more I think about it the more convinced I am that the
>> boundaries between government responsibility and self-regulation by
>> companies is one of the thorniest topics we need to address and become
>> coherent on from a human rights perspective - hopefully this meeting
>> will provide a good baseline of ideas! I also hope to follow remotely,
>> it will be live streamed here:
>> http://www.alde.eu/event-seminar/events-details/article/self-regulation-37751/
>> Very best,
>> Dixie
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anriette esterhuysen anriette at apc.org
executive director, association for progressive communications
po box 29755, melville 2109
south africa
tel/fax +27 11 726 1692

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