Consent of the Networked

In an increasingly connected world, corporations spheres of influence has expanded into the world’s social networks outside geopolitical boundaries. Facebookistan and Googledom are kingdoms of users with little representation. Rebecca MacKinnon, a former CNN Chinese Correspondent turned member of Global Voices, an international blogging community in her book Consent of the Networked explains the need for internet regulators to evolve from monarchies into democracies. A Chinese dissident Ai Weiwei, “We will never have a real civil society, a democratic society, unless people take responsibility.” The Great Firewall of China is only one way the government exercises control, but the private sector also must filter and censure at risk of Chinese authorities blocking their websites. In many cases American companies such as Apple have complied by not letting Tibetan dissidents apps be published on the Chinese App Store. Even in the United States, a democracy, companies such as Amazon have bowed from pressure of government leaders to shut down Julian Assange’s WikiLeaks. Corporations should be liable not simply to the government, but also their global users.

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