Table of Contents

Research Handbook on Governance of the Internet

Research Handbook on Governance of the Internet

Elgar original reference

Edited by Ian Brown

The internet is now a key part of everyday life across the developed world, and growing rapidly across developing countries. This Handbook provides a comprehensive overview of the latest research on internet governance, written by the leading scholars in the field.

Chapter 12: Child abuse images and cleanfeeds: assessing internet blocking systems

T.J. McIntyre

Subjects: innovation and technology, technology and ict, law - academic, intellectual property law, internet and technology law, regulation and governance, politics and public policy, regulation and governance


One of the most important trends in internet governance in recent years has been the growth of internet blocking as a policy tool, to the point where it is increasingly becoming a global norm. This is most obvious in states such as China where blocking is used to suppress political speech; however, in the last decade blocking has also become more common in democracies, usually as part of attempts to limit the availability of child abuse images. Numerous governments have therefore settled on blocking as their “primary solution” towards preventing such images from being distributed (Villeneuve 2010). Child abuse image blocking has, however, been extremely controversial within the academic, civil liberties and technical communities, and this debate has recently taken on a wider public dimension. At the time of writing, for example, public pressure has forced the German Federal Government to abandon legislation which would have introduced a police run system while the European Parliament has also rejected Commission proposals for mandatory blocking (Baker 2011; Zuvela 2011).

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