Jon Penney on “Chilling Effects”: Insights on How Laws and Surveillance Impact People Online

April 28th, 2016

With Internet censorship and mass surveillance on the rise globally, understanding regulatory “chilling effects” — the idea that laws, regulations, or state surveillance can deter people from exercising their freedoms or engaging in entirely legal activities — has thus today, in our Post-Snowden world, taken on greater urgency and public importance.

In this talk, Jon Penney — doctoral candidate at the Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford (Balliol College), and a research fellow at the Citizen Lab, Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto — fills in some of the gaps in our understanding of chilling effects online. Through discussion of three empirical legal case studies — one on surveillance-related chilling effects and Wikipedia, a second on the impact of the DMCA’s copyright enforcement scheme, and a third survey-based study on “chilling effect scenarios” — Jon offers insights into the nature and scale of regulatory chilling effects online.

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