It should be no surprise that I’m an unabashed supporter of free speech. Usually essays that start that way are then followed with a “but…” and that “but…” undermines everything in that opening sentence. This is not such an essay. However, I am going to talk about some interesting challenges that have been facing our concepts of free speech over the past few years — often in regards to how free speech and the internet interact. Back in 2015, at our Copia Summit we had a panel that tried to lay out some of these challenges, which acknowledged that our traditional concepts of free speech don’t fully work in the internet age.
Freedom of expression online is a more complicated topic than many people think. Government censorship is one thing, but there’s also the question of how to promote open and diverse speech in a world where the vast majority of communication happens through a handful of proprietary digital platforms. In this roundtable discussion from the 2015 Copia Inaugural Summit, we look at possible answers to this question and examine the implications of digital expression on culture and society.
Roundtable Participants: Michelle Paulson (Senior Legal Counsel, Wikimedia Foundation), Sarah Jeong (Lawyer/Writer), Dave Willner, (Policy, Safety, Privacy & Support, Secret)