The Power Of Intermediaries To Silence Speech Online

from the forget-big-brother,-look-out-for-the-corporations dept

While plenty of people worry about the possibility of government censorship online, some are noticing that the real issue isn't with government censorship but the fact that various intermediaries, in the form of service and application providers have the power to make content disappear online -- and they are often being pressured to do so, even if it's perfectly legal. This means that various hosting companies or other services, such as MySpace and Facebook often have tremendous power to hide content that it dislikes (or that someone else convinces them they should take down).

While the really egregious examples of taking down content are often brought to light by people complaining, it is a reminder that you might not really control all the content you think you control. This can be true even if you think you "control" your own domain. If the content is hosted by a service provider, often it can be convinced to pull down your content. While this should lead to more companies who promise not to get involved, there really are only a few who promote themselves that way (and it often gets even more difficult with laws that require "notice and takedown" such as the DMCA in the US). While this might not be a huge problem for most people, it is worth remembering how much power these various intermediaries may have over what you consider to be "your" content.

Filed Under: free speech, intermediaries


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  1. identicon
    pineapplefish56, 7 Jul 2008 @ 10:14pm

    Re: Re: Google Does It!

    Anonymous Coward: I appreciate your commentary, and totally agree with the fact that there is an "insane amounts of text on each page with little to no organization". However it is a sub-domain and "doing a search for sites that link to your site yields no results" is a MAJOR part of the PROBLEM with Google. There are at least 30 to 50 links TO the website, primarily from forums like this one. Also I have a BLOGGER site http://paf56.blogspot.com/ dedicated to the PolyTicks site. BTW Don't you log-in to Blogger with your Google password? Yet your Google web-search found no results? As 'Alice' would say Curiouser and Curiouser! ???

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