Digital Rights and Freedoms: A Framework for Surveying Users and Analyzing Policies

In Luca Maria Aiello & Daniel McFarland (eds.), Social Informatics: Proceedings of the 6th International Conference (SocInfo 2014). Springer Lecture Notes in Computer Science Vol. 8851. pp. 428-443 (2014)
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Abstract

Interest has been revived in the creation of a "bill of rights" for Internet users. This paper analyzes users' rights into ten broad principles, as a basis for assessing what users regard as important and for comparing different multi-issue Internet policy proposals. Stability of the principles is demonstrated in an experimental survey, which also shows that freedoms of users to participate in the design and coding of platforms appear to be viewed as inessential relative to other rights. An analysis of users' rights frameworks that have emerged over the past twenty years similarly shows that such proposals tend to leave out freedoms related to software platforms, as opposed to user data or public networks. Evaluating policy frameworks in a comparative analysis based on prior principles may help people to see what is missing and what is important as the future of the Internet continues to be debated.

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Todd Davies
Stanford University

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