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The Internet, Warts and All
Free Speech, Privacy and Truth

$88.00 USD

Part of Cambridge Intellectual Property and Information Law

  • Date Published: July 2018
  • availability: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
  • format: Adobe eBook Reader
  • isbn: 9781108390286
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(1 review)

$ 88.00 USD
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About the Authors
  • The Internet, Warts and All asks questions. Why are government digital policies so often out of touch and counter-productive? Why is surveillance law problematic and ineffective - and often defeated in court? Do companies like Google and Facebook really care about freedom of speech? Why are neither laws nor technology companies able to get to grips with trolling? Is 'fake news' something that can be 'dealt with'? Can these issues be addressed more effectively, intelligently and appropriately in the future? To answer these questions, The Internet, Warts and All busts a number of myths and illusions about the internet - about the neutrality of algorithms, the permanence of information, the impact of surveillance, the nature of privacy and more. It shows how trolling and 'fake news' arise - and why current moves to deal with them are doomed to failure. It suggests a way forward - by embracing the unruly nature of the internet.

    • Looks at how privacy, free speech and truth work on the internet and provides a fresh perspective
    • Explores misinformation and misunderstandings about the internet and how they have resulted in ineffective laws and policies which impact particular situations including trolling and fake news
    • Focuses specifically on some of the biggest operators on the internet allowing readers to see why business models and practices of these operators have damaging consequences, not just to the internet but to society
    • Sets out a series of 'rules of thumb' with issues on the internet that readers will be able to use to assess ideas and resolve problems
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    Customer reviews

    22nd Nov 2018 by PhillipTaylor

    A ‘WARTY’ INTERNET: ARE THERE LEGAL SOLUTIONS? An appreciation by Elizabeth Robson Taylor of Richmond Green Chambers and Phillip Taylor MBE, Head of Chambers and Reviews Editor, “The Barrister” Having evolved by means of research and scientific expertise, the internet is now — in the second decade of the twenty-first century — the object of a slightly different area of scrutiny: that of legal scholarship and the close and detailed analysis that is necessarily involved — and of which this book by Paul Bernal is a brilliant example. Published by the Cambridge University Press, ‘The Internet, Warts and All’ focusses not on internet technology (yes,we know it’s brilliant) but on the serious and disturbing social and economic consequences of internet usage worldwide. The internet does indeed have a lot of warts and you’ll find most of them discussed in this book. ‘If we want to find better ways to regulate the internet and run businesses, organise and socialise on the internet,’ says the author, ‘the starting point has to be to understand and to accept the internet for the complex and unruly mess it is’. ‘Paint the internet warts and all’ he adds, referring of course to Cromwell’s famous ‘warts and all’ instructions regarding his portrait. The message here is that however messy and unruly the internet becomes, we have to accept all that, says the author ‘if we are to make any progress’. Well, er – no we don’t, not necessarily! Many of us would prefer the internet to be ruled by the rule of law. However, to say that the possibility of such an outcome is remote is a monumental understatement for a range of reasons detailed in the text. Trying to reform or regulate a global system which spreads its tentacles across a diverse range of countries and jurisdictions with different cultural norms, different value systems and different laws – constitutes an inhibiting factor, you might say. But just possibly there may – or might – be a way forward, based on a variety of solutions carefully and gradually implemented. Commenting on these, the author is careful to mention that the book draws heavily on research provided by a number of scholars as evidenced by the lengthy and detailed bibliography: books, articles, reports, documents – they’re all in there for those seeking further insights into possible legal solutions, for example, to the very contemporary problems generated by the internet. The author’s credentials and his obvious expertise on legal matters related to this conspicuously warty internet – are impressive. Based at the University of East Anglia, he is a senior lecturer in information technology, intellectual property and media law three interlinked disciplines which allow insightful analysis of a range of internet issues, from surveillance, fakery, and fake news, certainly – to free speech and ‘the trouble with trolls’. For enlightened, erudite and succinct commentary on the core issues relating to internet law ‘warts and all’, this recently published title from CUP is certainly an absorbing and quite often controversial read. The date of publication is cited as at 16th August 2018.

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    Product details

    • Date Published: July 2018
    • format: Adobe eBook Reader
    • isbn: 9781108390286
    • availability: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
  • Table of Contents

    1. The Internet, warts and all
    2. Illusions of permanence
    3. Confusion over perfection
    4. The neutrality myth
    5. Free speech fantasies
    6. Misunderstanding privacy
    7. Seven myths of surveillance
    8. Troubles with trolls
    9. Fighting fakery
    10. Warts and all.

  • Author

    Paul Bernal, University of East Anglia
    Paul Bernal is a Senior Lecturer in Information Technology, Intellectual Property and Media Law at the University of East Anglia and specialises in internet privacy and human rights. Originally a mathematician and then a chartered accountant before entering academia, his research areas include data privacy, surveillance, the right to be forgotten, freedom of speech, fake news, trolling and the role of social media. He is part of the Independent Digital Ethics Panel for Policing, and a prolific blogger.

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