Digital Revolution And Freedom Of Expression Criminology 2018 Essay

2181 words - 9 pages

The Digital Revolution and Expressive Freedom
Submitted by: Rachel Dias 100605635
Submitted to: Natalie Oman
Course code: LGLS 3510U-001
Date submitted: December 7, 2016
Word Count: 2150
The Digital Revolution and Expressive Freedom
Digital technologies can be defined as, “technologies that make it easy to copy, modify, annotate, collate, transmit, and distribute content by storing it in a digital form.”[footnoteRef:1] These technologies aid in the development of global communication networks. The digital revolution not only supports John Stuart Mills arguments for a free speech principle, but is also key in personal and societal development, while also contributing to democracy and dialogue. Social media is a tool that can be used to strengthen civil society through communication freedom and participation, while other digital technologies allow access to information creating shared awareness and the formation of political opinions which lead to political evolution.[footnoteRef:2] The increase in expressive freedom that the internet and other digital technologies provide cannot be discussed without addressing the possible risks. After Edwards Snowden and Cindy Black, mass surveillance and monitoring is an ever-growing concern. The risks of censorship and propaganda come into play as the growth in access to information give raise to the desire to limit access to information and cyberspace. Cellphones, social networks and other technologies have also been linked to the development and deployment of terrorist attacks and political activism which results in domestic instability. [1: Balkin, Jack M., “Digital Speech and Democratic Culture: A Theory of Freedom of Expression For the Information Society”, New York University Law Review. Vol 79 (2004) at 7] [2: Shirkey, Clay, “The Political Power of Social Media”, Technology, the Public Sphere, and Political Change, Council on Foreign Affairs (2011) at 6]
John Stuart Mills writes of four arguments for a free speech principle. These arguments explain how freedom of expression allow the search for truth & betterment of the community, citizen participation, self-fulfillment and autonomy, while protecting us from the risks associated with restricting expression, also known as suspicion of government.[footnoteRef:3] Cyberspace and cyber technologies support and contribute to Mills arguments, while also contributing to ensuring civil liberties, such as right to education, privacy, and freedom of expression. [3: Mill, John Stuart, “The Structure and Content of Rights”, On Liberty, Oxford University Press (1859) at 356]
The search for truth and betterment of the community mainly deals with the importance of unregulated discussion as a means of discovering truth.[footnoteRef:4] Jack M. Blakin thanks digital technologies for the change in social conditions which allow for the recognition of previously disregarded features of expressive freedom.[footnoteRef:5] The internet is a social, cultur...


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