Early visionaries imagined the internet as a borderless world where the rule of law and the norms of the so-called physical world did not apply. Free expression and free association were envisioned as entitlements, a feature of cyberspace rather than rights to be asserted.
Many taboos and “red lines” are imposed on offline spaces like newspapers and TV channels in several states in North Africa, as well as many limits on freedom of expression and the right to assembly. It is not easy to establish a newspaper in Libya or a human rights organisation in Algeria or to call for a march in Bahrain.
Communication, solidarity and the internet: How the internet, information technology and new media are shaping the world working class
From textile factory workers at the Egyptian Mahalla textile plants, to Chinese workers in Honda factories, to Wisconsin public workers: social networks, the internet and new communications technologies are playing a critical role in linking up workers locally, nationally and internationally.
The purpose of this report is to look at the increasing trend for internet intermediaries to be used to police and enforce the law on the internet and even to mete out punishments. As well as undermining the fundamental rights of freedom of communication, privacy and right to a fair trial, this approach is serving to create borders in the online world, undermining the very openness that gives the internet its value for democracy and, indeed, for the economy.