Internet users should organise & push back against companies' "excessive power over the Internet”, argues Internet scholar Rebecca MacKinnon

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26 July 2011

Rebecca MacKinnon: Let's take back the Internet!

Author: Rebecca MacKinnon, on TEDGlobal

In this powerful talk from TEDGlobal, Rebecca MacKinnon describes the expanding struggle for freedom and control in cyberspace, and asks: How do we design the next phase of the Internet with accountability and freedom at its core, rather than control? She believes the internet is headed for a "Magna Carta" moment when citizens around the world demand that their governments protect free speech and their right to connection.

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21 July 2011

Tort and technology: Lawyers and legislators put pressure on globe-trotting tech firms [China]

Author: Economist

In May and June human-rights lawyers in America filed two suits [under the Alien Tort Claims Act] alleging that executives at Cisco Systems…sold China’s government equipment customised to help track dissenters online…Cisco denies all wrongdoing…American tech firms covet China’s huge market…Microsoft confirmed that its Bing search engine will soon be powering English-language results for local users of Baidu, China’s censored search giant… Campaigners in New York have started a suit against Baidu, saying its censored search results violate their constitutional rights…[However] suits against Cisco or other high-tech players face an uncertain legal path…Some American politicians think clearer legislation would help. One long-mooted bill, the Global Online Freedom Act, would make the government keep a list of internet-restricting states… [also mentions Facebook, Google, Yahoo]

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12 July 2011

A Call to Take Back the Internet From Corporations

Author: Jennifer 8. Lee, Bits blog, New York Times

Rebecca MacKinnon, an Internet scholar…argues that private corporations are exerting excessive power over the Internet and should have that power checked…The control that companies areas ranging from banking to freedom of speech has raised increasing levels of concern...Governments at this point rarely act directly to constrain the Internet; instead, their policies are mediated through privately owned and operated services, Ms. MacKinnon said...[Every] year the Chinese government gives out “China Internet Self-Discipline Awards” to honor companies that voluntarily cooperate with its censorship policies [including] Baidu...[Good] corporate governance policies...could become more widespread. Google, for example, regularly releases a transparency report, which lists how many requests for information it receives from each government. [also refers to Apple, Amazon, Twitter, YouTube (part of Google), Facebook, Yahoo, Microsoft, PayPal (part of Ebay)]

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