The problem of control over information flows has emerged as a doubly critical vantage point from which to interrogate the exercise of power and the pursuit of justice. Scholars of law and communications have come to recognize that in the networked information society, the dialogue between truth and power is mediated by the code. The Internet has been hailed as the ultimate medium for speaking truth to power, but networked information technologies also can become means for embedding power and entrenching inequality. Information and network protocols also have become sources of great wealth and competitive advantage. Struggles to shape-or even simply to understand-the patterns of information flow have profound consequences for human flourishing in the networked world. Less widely recognized, perhaps, is that in legal contests over control of information flows and network protocols, law is not simply a bystander or neutral arbiter. Struggles to shape the patterns of information flow are seeking out new modes of recognition and accommodation within the legal system, and those struggles are beginning to produce new institutional settlements. In the networked information society, code and law together sit between truth and power. We should understand contemporary struggles over control of information and information networks as a contest to define new governance institutions for the information age.
Julie Cohen (@julie17usc) is a Professor of Law at the Georgetown University Law Center.
Anne Barron (@AnneBarron01) is Associate Professor (Reader) in the Department of Law at LSE.
Nick Couldry (@couldrynick) is Professor of Media, Communications and Social Theory and Head of the Department of Media and communications at LSE.
LSE Law (@lselaw) is an integral part of the School's mission, plays a major role in policy debates & in the education of lawyers and law teachers from around the world.
The Department of Media and Communications at LSE (@MediaLSE) has recently been ranked 2nd in the 2014 QS World University Rankings by subject.
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