Friday, April 6, 2018
Jon Penney, University of Oxford, Oxford Internet Institute; Citizen Lab, University of Toronto; Princeton University, Center for Information Technology Policy; Harvard University, Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society; Dalhousie University, Schulich School of Law; has published Can Cyber Harassment Laws Encourage Online Speech? in Perspectives on Harmful Speech Online (Urs Gasser, Robert Faris, Amar Ashar, and Nikki Bourassa, eds., Berkman Klein Center Research Publication No. 2017-08).
Do laws criminalizing online harassment and cyberbullying "chill" online speech? Critics often argue that they do. However, this article discusses findings from a new empirical legal study that suggests, counter-intuitively, that while such legal interventions likely have some dampening effect, they may also facilitate and encourage more speech, expression, and sharing by those who are most often the targets of online harassment: women. Relevant findings on this point from this first-of-its-kind study are set out and discussed along with their implications.
Download the text from SSRN at the link.