In the Wild West that exists online companies are having to grapple with issues such as freedom of expression, hate speech and fake news. Mike Scott reports on how initiatives like the Internet Commission and GNI Principles are trying to help

The online world occupies a strange sort of limbo. Because it is not a physical entity, it spans the globe, and is so all-encompassing that it can seem like normal rules do not apply.

“The digital world is very new,” says Justin Chud, ethics editor of Compassionate Technologies. “In the last 20-30 years, as the internet started to blossom …. it kind of dropped a grand piano on everyone. Companies were focused on growth, growth, growth and governments moved much more slowly.

Despite now being an essential part of modern life, the idea persists that it is the wild west, and anything goes. “Until recently, policy makers have been very much in awe of, and in some senses afraid to challenge ,” says Jonny Shipp, a visiting fellow in the Department of Media and Communications at the London School of Economics. “The online giants have not faced pressure to behave ethically.”

Despite the changes the digital world brings, people remain people and the need for the protection of fundamental rights remains a constant

Now, however, the online world is facing some very adult problems, including the need to defend human rights online, such as freedom of speech, the right to privacy and...

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