We are pleased to present the combined third and fourth issue of Volume 4 of Policy and Internet. It contains eleven articles, each of which investigates the relationship between Internet-based applications and data and the policy process. The papers have been grouped into the broad themes of policy, government, representation, and activism.
POLICY: In December 2011, the European Parliament Directive on Combating the Sexual Abuse, Sexual Exploitation of Children and Child Pornography was adopted. The directive’s much-debated Article 25 requires Member States to ensure the prompt removal of child pornography websites hosted in their territory and to endeavor to obtain the removal of such websites hosted outside their territory. Member States are also given the option to block access to such websites to users within their territory. Both these policy choices have been highly controversial and much debated; Karel Demeyer, Eva Lievens, and Jos Dumortie analyse the technical and legal means of blocking and removing illegal child sexual content from the Internet, clarifying the advantages and drawbacks of the various policy options.
Another issue of jurisdiction surrounds government use of cloud services. While cloud services promise to render government service delivery more effective and efficient, they are also potentially stateless, triggering government concern over data sovereignty. Kristina Irion explores these issues, tracing the evolution of individual national strategies and international policy on data sovereignty. She concludes that data sovereignty presents national governments with a legal risk that can’t be addressed through technology or contractual arrangements alone, and recommends that governments retain sovereignty over their information.
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