Keeping the internet open

Punishing internet intermediaries for their content will have a chilling effect on free speech, says Kevin Bankston of the Centre for Democracy and Technology.

The Centre for Democracy and Technology is a Washington-based NGO that tries to create connections between the traditional press and the internet freedom movement that’s growing around the globe, explains Kevin Bankston, director of free expression at the organisation. Bankston says that CDT focuses on building consensus on policies that foster a free, open and innovative internet including issues of free expression, privacy and intellectual property. One important part of the organisation’s work is to protect internet intermediaries against liabilities. Bankson says CDT recognises that “if the messenger is punished for the message that they carry that will have a chilling effect such that companies in an attempt to try and avoid liability will end up stifling a lot of speech that’s actually legal and many will be afraid to invest in or build user generated content platforms at all.”

(Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images.)

This interview by FSD team member Brian Pellot is the first in a series from World Press Day in Tunisia. Our other interviews are with Lauren Wolfe, director of Women Under Siege; Moeed Ahmed, head of new media at Al Jazeera; Amy O’Donnell, radio project manager at Frontline SMS; and Nqobile Sibisi, assistant coordinator on the Future Journalists Programme at Highway Africa.


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Comments (2)

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  1. In my opinion Internet should be open and free for everyone as it is such a powerful tool and knowledge base. People will be able to educate themselves and be able to gain new skills through online tutorials and information provided. This will help improve the lifestyle and get make possible finding a job!

  2. Censorship never brought anything good to any kind of media, internet should be as free as possible, as it is the last standing free media out there and a living organism with its own mechanisms to filter relevant information from a vast amount of them circulating every day. Those mechanisms should be expanded and developed in a way that would improve the internet so we can get relevant information as easy and as fast as it can get.

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Free Speech Debate is a research project of the Dahrendorf Programme for the Study of Freedom at St Antony's College in the University of Oxford. www.freespeechdebate.ox.ac.uk

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