Internet control points as LGBT rights mediation

2 May 2016

By Laura DeNardis and Andrea M. Hackl

This paper examines how various functional areas of internet governance, such as the assignment of domain names, the policy-making role of private information intermediaries, and intellectual property rights enforcement mechanisms serve as control points over LGBT speech, identity expression, and community formation. This turn to internet governance control points to mediate LGBT rights has implications for public policy, for scholarship at the intersection of internet governance and human rights, and for media companies and activists in their work of shaping infrastructures that can promote free expression and human rights.

The framework also serves to extend the discussion well beyond platforms, software and algorithms to include institutions of internet governance, the public policies of private companies, and the context of national and international rulemaking.

This research also views LGBT rights online as analogous to broader human rights online as delineated, for example, in the United Nations General Assembly (2011) report on the right to freedom of opinion and expression online, which includes access to knowledge, access to technical infrastructure, freedom of expression, and the right to privacy and data protection.

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