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Freedom of Expression and Cyber-Censorship Issues

Akdeniz, Y., "Governing pornography and child pornography on the Internet: The UK Approach," in Cyber-Rights, Protection, and Markets: A Symposium, (2001) University of West Los Angeles Law Review, 247-275. This is an updated version of an earlier piece: Akdeniz, Y., ‘Governance of Pornography and Child Pornography on the Global Internet: A Multi-Layered Approach,’ in Law and the Internet: Regulating Cyberspace, Hart Publishing, 1997, pp 223-241.

Internet Filters: A Public Policy Report, Fall 2001: Marjorie Heins & Christina Cho, Free Expression Policy Project, US National Coalition Against Censorship 

Rights & Democracy Report: China's Golden Shield: Corporations and the Development of Surveillance Technology in the People's Republic of China, October 2001. Note also the review of China's Internet Regulations and Domestic Legislation.

Freedom House Annual Report includes surprising assessment of Internet Freedom, New York, April 30, 2001: In the absence of adequate data from 55 nations, 131 countries were examined in the report, with 58 (44 percent) rated Least Restrictive, 55 states (42 percent) considered Moderately Restrictive, and 18 (14 percent) rated Most Restrictive. The entire report can be found online as a PDF file

OUT NOW: Yaman Akdeniz, Clive Walker, and David Wall, The Internet, Law and Society, Longman. Published in December 2000; Price £29 (approx); Pages 400 (approx), ISBN 1 582 35656 3 (Pbk). For the details of the book see http://www.cyber-rights.org/bookstore

Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK) response to the Internet Watch Foundation on its discussion paper on the availability of child pornography through the Usenet discussion groups (newsgroups), 30 January, 2001.
A PDF version is also available

Internet Detective: Censorship, National Security, and Freedom of Information - Added December 2000.
A case of censorship or protection of national security? Read the related documents and the Ombudsman's decision and judge yourself.

A Joint Report of Peacefire and EPIC, Mandated Mediocrity: Blocking Software Gets a Failing Grade, October 2000.
This report examines a software filtering product called "Bess," manufactured by N2H2, Inc. The purpose of this report is to determine whether the software, as used in a typical school setting, blocks access to political and educational webpages that are appropriate for schoolchildren. Our conclusion is that many such pages are indeed blocked. This report makes no effort to establish whether this pattern is widespread, the result of flaws in the software, or other factors. It simply demonstrates that many web pages that would otherwise be available to students in schools are blocked when the software filter is in use.

A must read: Bound and Gagged: A Secret History of Obscenity in Britain, Alan Travis, Hardcover - 320 pages (14 September, 2000), Profile Books; ISBN: 1861972296, Price: £13.59
With the tangle of the Web, the notion of censorship is as relevant and challenging as it's ever been. The Guardian's Alan Travis wraps discussion of free speech and child protection on the Net, the role of the Internet Watch Foundation, and a call for a comprehensive revision of the Obscene Publications Act, around an agile account of the history of its application. And it comes, naturally, in a brown paper cover.

See also BBC News, The end of the internet?, Thursday, 14 September, 2000.

Yaman Akdeniz, Anonymous Now, Index on Censorship, The Privacy Issue, 2000 (3), June.

Beyond Control or Through the Looking Glass? Threats and Liberties in the Electronic Age, Friday 28 April 2000, The Oxford Union Debating Chamber. The Afternoon Session: Policing the Internet is co-organised with Cyber-Rights & Cyber Liberties (UK) - The debate will be led by two speakers for, and two speakers against a motion presented to the house, followed by open discussion and a vote. The invited presenters are: Prof Nadine Strossen, New York Law School, & President of the American Civil Liberties Union * Mr Yaman Akdeniz, Director of Cyber-Rights & Cyber Liberties (UK) vs Mr John Abbott, Director General of the National Criminal Intelligence Service * Mr David Kerr, CEO, Internet Watch Foundation. For further information see http://www.cyber-rights.org/beyond.htm

Guardian Unlimited is sponsoring Oxford University's Policing the Net debate on the Friday 28 April. Chaired by Guardian Unlimited's Simon Waldman, speakers include David Kerr, Yaman Akdeniz, Nadine Strosssen and John Abbott - see http://www.guardianunlimited.co.uk/freespeech/ David Kerr and Yaman Akdeniz, debate the motion: This house believes that any attempt by government to police the internet is both unworkable and a severe threat to civil liberties.

See for a coverage of the event, Tim Richardson, This House believes Cyber rights are going down the pan, The Register, 03 May, 2000. See also Patrick Barkham, Internet regulation 'a threat to civil liberties', Guardian Unlimited, Wednesday May 3, 2000.

News: On 30 March, 2000, Demon Internet had an out of court settlement with Dr. Laurence Godfrey in relation to a libel claim. Demon Internet paid 15,000 GBP in damages and around 250,000 GBP for the legal costs of Dr. Godfrey.

DR LAURENCE GODFREY v DEMON INTERNET LTD (2000) , QBD (Eady J) 30/3/2000, Statement in open court relating to libel proceedings brought as a result of defamatory postings by users of an Internet service provider.

Statement in open court made in two libel actions brought by the claimant, a lecturer and researcher, against the defendant, an Internet service provider, following two defamatory postings on separate newsgroups owned by the defendant.

The first posting, for which the first libel action was brought, purported to be by the claimant but was a forgery, while the second, for which the second action was brought, made further allegations of a defamatory nature (see Laurence Godfrey v Demon Internet Ltd (1999) 4 EMLR 542). Prior to bringing the actions the claimant had attempted to persuade the defendant to remove the postings from its sites, but without success. The defendant did not dispute the defamatory nature of the postings but claimed that it was not responsible for the material posted by its users on its sites. Upon clarification of the legal position, the defendant changed its procedures.

The defendant agreed to pay damages in the sum of £15,000 and the claimant's costs. It apologised for failing to remove the postings from its servers and for alleging in its defence that the claimant had deliberately provoked them.

Leave to withdraw the record requested.

For an analysis of the case by Yaman Akdeniz, the director of Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK), read the following paper.

Akdeniz, Y., Case Analysis: Laurence Godfrey v. Demon Internet Limited, (1999) Journal of Civil Liberties, 4(2), 260-267 (July). An online version is at http://www.cyber-rights.org/reports/demon.htm

See further Hulbert’s Case, the Lord Chancellor and Censorship of the Internet: A Statement by Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK), 11 November, 1999 - Pages updated on 15 November, 1999

Yaman Akdeniz , Sex on the Net: The Dilemma of Policing Cyberspace, Reading: South Street Press, July 1999 - Order this book by clicking on the title. For further information about this book see http://www.cyber-rights.org/bookstore

Hate Speech on the Internet pages

Materials related to the American Civil Liberties Union v Reno case