Digital Theses Archive


Tesi etd-07302018-181835

Type of thesis
Geo-blocking as clashing of frames: a user restriction or an enforcement legal tool?
Scientific disciplinary sector
SCIENZE GIURIDICHE - Individual Person and Legal Protections
  • consumer rights
  • copirights
  • filtering
  • Geo-blocking
  • geolocation
  • Portability Regulation.
Exam session start date
Regulation of Internet content whether illegal, harmful, offensive, morally objectionable, desirable or undesirable, has become a key focus of governments, supranational bodies and international organizations across the globe. While states can control what is hosted within their borders, users can access material hosted elsewhere, beyond the reach of domestic authorities. Nowadays, ineffectiveness of international cooperation and inexistence of worldwide mechanisms to control digital content have led several countries to react to the availability and dissemination of certain types of content on the Internet. Most countries are applying preventive tools such as geo-blocking to restrict access to child pornography, racist content, hate speech, and terrorist propaganda on the Internet. In that regard, they rely on some intermediaries e.g. Internet Services Providers (ISPs) to block or filter access to websites designated by the police or an independent body.<br><br>Increasingly, countries deploy technology to block or filter access to control the free flow of content over the Internet in several areas such as gambling, child pornography, online shopping and online copyrighted content. Blocking and filtering technologies allow states, governments and private parties to treat restrictions as a binary model in which the content is either subject to pervasive censorship or it is defined as an ideal content in the eyes of the stakeholders. For example, banning hate speech is considered contrary to human rights, but blocking copyright infringement is desirable. <br><br>In light of this conflict, finding an appropriate balance between users’ freedoms and the prohibition of certain types of content is complex due to the implications of blocking and filtering technologies. However, regulation of the cyberspace has not been an easy task to approach, because geographically confined organizational bodies worry about over regulation in a global environment. Therefore, political and academic discussions regarding the regulation of digital content has been on the regulatory agenda, especially in the European Union where access to digital content has gained so much interest among users and Member States. <br><br>This thesis fits into the quest of the European Commission to contribute to the discussion on the access to digital content in the Digital Single Market Strategy. Moreover, this work focuses on the analysis of geo-blocking as an enforcement tool in several areas were the access to digital content has been affected and conflicted with fundamental rights such as freedom of expression and freedom to provides goods and services. Along the thesis is presented the benefits and risks of the Geo-blocking and Portability Regulations regarding the access of tangible and intangible goods and services within the European Union. The main contribution of this thesis is a transparency approach on how to implement geo-blocking technologies in a harmonized way between users, content providers, ISPs and governments. As a result, a point absent from the ongoing discussions is that the reliance on blocking and filtering technologies, as it stands today, must be rethought. This thesis presents the line from the technical provision of geo-blocking to the implications for users’ daily use of Internet.<br>