Weaponizing Privacy and Copyright Law for Censorship

CIGI Paper No. 276

May 24, 2023

Freedom of the press is facing growing restrictions from technology policies that censor the media under the guise of protecting privacy. US and European copyright and privacy laws transcend borders and affect how news media can operate globally. Fundamental journalistic practices such as the ability to claim fair use and conduct investigative reporting in the public interest are under threat.

This paper examines the global impact of techno-legal regimes such as the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act and the EU Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market (Copyright Directive), and the “right to be forgotten” and the EU General Data Protection Regulation. The misuse of regulations developed in the Global North is particularly detrimental to media outlets in the Global South, which regularly face censorship. This paper offers solutions to protect news media from the silencing efforts of powerful government and business actors.

About the Author

Courtney C. Radsch is a CIGI senior fellow whose work centres on the nexus of technology, media and rights. Her research focuses on technology policy, media sustainability and the future of journalism, governance and the geopolitics of technology, and power dynamics in information ecosystems.