What content are you allowed to see and share online? The answer is surprisingly complicated. Our new project, funded by the Internet Policy Observatory, and including researchers from OnlineCensorship.org, Queensland University of Technology, and the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, works to engage civil society organizations and academic researchers to create a consensus-based priority list of the information users and researchers need to better understand content moderation and improve advocacy efforts around user rights. Click here to read the rest of this post.
Usama Khilji & Saleha Zahid
As smartphones and mobile data rates have become cheaper, internet access in Pakistan has expanded rapidly and more and more Pakistanis are now online. This has increased people’s access to information, and provided a much needed platform for citizens to express opinions through criticism of state policies, dissent, and political commentary. For a state machinery like Pakistan’s that is not shy of clamping down on press freedom, the internet poses a new challenge: how can the internet be regulated, and information be controlled? Read the full post here.
Sarah T. Roberts and Nathalie Maréchal
It seems hard to believe that only a few years ago, asserting that private ICT companies were the “sovereigns of cyberspace,” as Rebecca MacKinnon put it in “Consent of the Networked” (2012), was a fairly new idea. Researching companies’ impact on human rights and pressuring them to amend their practices and provide greater transparencies is now a mainstay of digital rights advocacy, yet many researchers and activists struggle to apply their training and expertise in researching and lobbying governments to the private sector. At a time when network shutdowns, media manipulation, and cybersecurity are making headlines around the globe, it is more vital than ever for civil society to understand how companies make these consequential decisions, how they are implemented, what their effects are, and what kinds of advocacy efforts are most likely to have an impact.
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Bilge Yesil, Efe Kerem Sozeri
In the early 1990s, the internet in Turkey was in the purview of academic and research institutions and had not yet become a commercial medium available to the masses. Today, 61% of the population (approximately 49 million) is online, and the government is heavily investing in fiber optic infrastructure to attract foreign capital to the country’s growing telecom sector. However, in parallel with the expansion of the digital communications network and the steady growth in overall usage, governmental policies have become increasingly restrictive over the years. In this report, Bilge Yesil and Efe Kerem Sözeri (with assistance from Emad Khazraee in data collection) examine the evolution of internet policy in Turkey from the early 2000s to the present time, analyze the emergence of new forms of internet regulation in a precarious democracy marked by authoritarian impulses, and reveal the fragility of the so-called links between the increase in digital communications and the creation of a pluralistic online sphere. Click here for the full post.