Old 07-08-2008, 03:20 PM Offline   #1 (permalink)



 
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Default Online "Public" Spaces Don't Guarantee Rights

mikesd81 recommends an AP piece covering a lot of examples of the ways free speech and other rights don't exist on the private Web. One case featured was that of Dutch photographer Maarten Dors, who had this picture deleted by flickr. Without prior notice, Yahoo deleted the photo on grounds it violated an unwritten ban on depicting children smoking. While Dors eventually got the photo restored, after the second time it was deleted, the case highlights the consequence of having online commons controlled by private corporations. "Rules aren't always clear, enforcement is inconsistent, and users can find content removed or accounts terminated without a hearing. Appeals are solely at the service provider's discretion. Users get caught in the crossfire as hundreds of individual service representatives apply their own interpretations of corporate policies, sometimes imposing personal agendas or misreading guidelines. First Amendment protections generally do not extend to private property in the physical world, allowing a shopping mall to legally kick out a customer wearing a T-shirt with a picture of a smoking child." Reason.com has some more analysis on the issues brought up by the AP story.
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
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