Openness and innovation in the information society


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Presentation given on 18 November 2010 at European Media Days in Luxembourg's CNA (national audiovisual centre)

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  • Source: The Guardian, Sep. 2009
  • Source: Internet blocking discussions in Culture Committee of European Parliament
    Justification for basic level of Quality of Service?
  • Openness and innovation in the information society

    1. 1. Openness and innovation in the information society Dr Ian Brown Oxford Internet Institute University of Oxford
    2. 2. Outline  Open licences and data: creativity, innovation and accountability  Web blocking, three strikes and freedom of expression  Network neutrality, appliances and generativity
    3. 3. Open Access licences  Creative Commons (100m+ items on Flickr; 16m+ Wikipedia articles in 272 languages) and GNU General Public Licence (Linux, Firefox…)  OpenCourseWare: 1900+ courses so that ”everyone, everywhere is able to access affordable, educationally and culturally appropriate opportunities to gain whatever knowledge or training they desire”  Open access journals, textbooks, Shakespeare…
    4. 4.
    5. 5. Web blocking and traffic management  Article 12(1) Directive 2000/31/EC: “Member States shall ensure that the service provider is not liable for the information transmitted”  Ofcom: “it is widely accepted that the blocking of illegal content (such as images of child abuse) is necessary and that steps taken to address issues such as online copyright infringement would be viewed as acceptable traffic management.” (Traffic Management and 'net neutrality’ §2.8, June 2010)  “I want it out - blocking has never helped a single child”. “Lots of organizations have been calling for deletion and furthermore there is no scientific evidence that blocking is effective. With blocking the illegal content is still on the net” “we run the risk of censorship on the Internet” and “we don’t want an infrastructure in Europe which would lead to blocking other material” –P. Kammerevert MEP
    6. 6. Implications for freedom of expression  “Calls on the Commission and the Member States to recognise that the Internet is a vast platform for cultural expression, access to knowledge, and democratic participation in European creativity, bringing generations together through the information society; calls on the Commission and the Member States, therefore, to avoid adopting measures conflicting with civil liberties and human rights and with the principles of proportionality, effectiveness and dissuasiveness, such as the interruption of Internet access.” -European Parliament, 10 Apr 2008
    7. 7. The Internet as a platform for innovation vs.
    8. 8. Net neutrality and competition regulation  Is transparency from ISPs combined with low switching costs sufficient to protect innovation?  “In times of crisis and uncertainty, economic operators will cling to situations and models that were profitable to them in the past. But growth opportunities sometimes require change and it is for politicians and regulators to accompany this change to the benefit of the citizens and the economy as a whole.” –Commissioner Joaquin Almunia, 7/7/10
    9. 9. Democratic participation  “I think it is really important to show the economic argument behind getting people online. By being online there are massive savings for people personally, rich rewards for their career prospects and also big savings for the government… Eighty per cent of the government’s interaction with people is with the deprived members of our society.” –Martha Lane Fox, launching Race Online 2012 UK govt campaign  2 million profiles; 200,000 offline events were planned, about 400,000 blog posts were written and more than 35,000 volunteer groups were created
    10. 10. Conclusions  Open access licences can enable peer production of knowledge accessible to the global population, and support greater government transparency  Governments and industry stakeholders are keen for ISPs to be responsible for blocking access to illegal content – but this has serious implications for freedom of expression and innovation  Absent network neutrality and open platforms, the Internet’s disruptive potential may be reduced – along with citizens’ opportunities for democratic participation
    11. 11. References  Yochai Benkler (2006) The Wealth of Networks, Yale University Press  Ian Brown (2008) Internet filtering — be careful what you ask for. In S. Kirca and L. Hanson (eds.) Freedom and Prejudice: Approaches to Media and Culture, Bahcesehir University Press, 74-91  Christopher Marsden (2009) Net Neutrality: Towards a Co-Regulatory Solution, Bloomsbury Academic Press  Jonathan Zittrain (2008) The Future of the Internet: and how to stop it, Yale University Press