Oxford Programme in Comparative Media Law & Policy Seminar: The Internet’s reluctant sheriffs

The haphazard public responses of Internet Infrastructure companies to its white supremacist clientele reveal the limits of the underlying model of governance, in which infrastructure companies owe nothing to users, not even insight into who and what their “conduits” serve. It is more than reasonable—and long overdue—to expect that the CEOs of the internet are not just reluctant sheriffs, but instead begin to do their job as traffic controllers with greater transparency and consistency.

The choices that companies make about the flow of internet traffic need to be visible and available for reference to everyone on the road. Every time we let companies like Cloudflare either proudly present or quickly obscure their infrastructural politics, we move further away from an internet that is safe and answerable to the users exploring its trails.

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