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M.I. Franklin

Revelations of state-sanctioned programs of online snooping at a global level lifted the lid on the indiscriminate data-retention practices of powerful internet service-providers that include governments as well as corporate actors. The implications for the enjoyment and protection of our human rights online, but also offline, have fuelled power struggles over ownership and control of future internet policy-making. Meanwhile public-private partnerships are being consolidated to ‘connect the next billion’, now part of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, in policy-making consultations that ostensibly include everyone under the auspices of ‘multi-stakeholder participation’ and which recognize human rights online, in principle. How does what citizens may know, not yet know, or not want to know about the extent of both governmental and corporate exploitation of the data generated by everyday life online affect our work as scholars, activists, educators, technical and legal experts, or as public intellectuals engaging in human rights advocacy for the internet (however defined)?