Guiding the Censor's Scissors: Assessing Internet Filtering

作者:Derek E. Bambauer



On-line censorship is on the rise, in democratic states - including the U.S. - as well as authoritarian ones. It is no longer sufficient to employ a country's mode of governance as a proxy for the legitimacy of its Internet restrictions. In addition, attempting to apply one state's normative views regarding on-line content to practices of other states is likely to devolve, unhelpfully, into accusations of cultural colonialism or repression. This Article seeks a new approach to evaluating the legitimacy of Internet filtering by focusing on the process by which censorship decisions are made, the protections available for content owners and users, and the narrowness with which these choices are implemented. It hopes to engage a range of stakeholders - from governments to watchdogs to activists to corporations - in assessing filtering regimes through quantitative metrics, and then to utilize these measurements in both public and private decisionmaking.