The Internet has been romanticized as a zone of freedom. The alluring combination of sophisticated technology with low barriers to entry and instantaneous outreach to millions of users has mesmerized libertarians and communitarians alike. Lawmakers have joined the celebration, passing the Communications Decency Act, which enables Internet Service Providers to allow unregulated discourse without danger of liability, all in the name of enhancing freedom of speech. But an unregulated Internet is a breeding ground for offensive conduct.At last we have a book that begins to focus on abuses made possible by anonymity, freedom from liability, and lack of oversight. The distinguished scholars assembled in this volume, drawn from law and philosophy, connect the absence of legal oversight with harassment and discrimination. Questioning the simplistic notion that abusive speech and mobocracy are the inevitable outcomes of new technology, they argue that current misuse is the outgrowth of social, technological, and legal choices. Seeing this clearly will help us to be better informed about our options.In
This collection of Academic essays poses a provocative thesis: though the freedoms bestowed by the Internet are universally recognized and generally lauded, a lack of regulation has allowed for radicalism, and nothing short of a Kafkaesque solution would be able to establish control now. Essays address the rapid evolution of the internet, raising issues of privacy, free speech, reputation, identity, and `digital baggage.' In her contribution, Nussbaum reveals the darker side of the web: misogynistic objectification and harassment of female users. And Levmore equates the internet to a "high school's bathroom stalls," providing frightening case studies of cyber mobs abusing freedom and evading reproach through anonymity to support his analogy. A fascinating foray into social networks by Karen Bradshaw and Souvik Saha uncovers the extent of behavior modification and the reach of employers and colleges into private information. And Anupam Chander astutely reveals how youthful indiscretions in the internet age can lead to "reputational bankruptcy." This collection exposes the "double-edged sword" of the World Wide Web, poses pertinent questions about the legal quandaries overshadowing free speech, and even offers some pragmatic solutions. (Jan.) � Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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Harvard University Press
January 01, 2011
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