The censorship issue presents a quandary for tech companies that often espouse free speech as part of their core ethos. It could also be a financial problem, since abiding by the government’s often vague censorship directives can be expensive. “The existing Chinese microblogging sites have had to invest in huge armies of individuals who spend their time looking through the content and determining what should or shouldn’t be removed,” says Ryan Budish, a fellow at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society. “You can’t exactly just move in there and do business. It’s a very different framework.”
Dr. danah boyd she prefers to style her name in lowercase letters is a cutting-edge scholar of technology at Microsoft Research Center, New York University, and Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society and a youth advocate with the daunting research skills of an anthropologist and the political zeal of an activist. Her first book, “It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens” Yale University Press: 296 pp., $25, proves she is a writer and thinker in a category of her own invention.
After all, 2013 research from the Pew Research Center and the Berkman Center for Internet & Society revealed that enthusiasm for Facebook was waning among teenagers for such reasons as a growing adult presence and the excessive sharing of information.
“Net neutrality rules fashioned by the FCC were largely thought to deal with retail access by customers — what consumers could and couldn’t be restricted from doing online — rather than on the internal peering arrangements within the system,” Jonathan Zittrain, a professor of Internet law at Harvard University, told Mashable in an email. “Though the latter is no doubt something of great interest for the FCC to be following, since it can have such an impact on consumers.”
Op-ed from Berkman faculty member Susan Crawford
But Ryan Budish, project director of Herdict, was skeptical, saying “it’s always possible there could be a technical problem” but it’s “unlikely a technical bug would just happen to randomly affect the kinds of websites that activists and antigovernment protesters are using.”
Op-ed from Berkman faculty member Susan Crawford.
Maybe that’s because anyone trying to make that argument would be met with snorts of derision. In fact, a number of experts — like Susan Crawford of Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, whose recent book “Captive Audience” bears directly on this case — have argued that the power of giant telecommunication companies has stifled innovation, putting the United States increasingly behind other advanced countries.
Under a recent court decision, Internet service providers, primarily cable companies, aren’t required to treat all websites equally. They can make deals to provide faster service to some, or slow down sites that refuse to pay them extra fees. Law professor Susan Crawford says you may be experiencing the effects of this — without realizing it.