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Title: War on Words in Cyberspace- Legal Constraints and Conflicts between Rights of Privacy and Freedom of Speech
Authors: Saha, Tushar Kanti
Keywords: Cyber;freedom of speech;privacy;defamation;database
Issue Date: Nov-2009
Publisher: CSIR
Abstract: Cyber is understood as computer and mathematical analysis of the flow of information. The word ‘Cyber’ comes from the Greek word for navigator originating in kybernété meaning ‘helmsman’. Cyberspace is the virtual (nonphysical) space created by computer systems that is, a shared virtual or metaphorical environment whose inhabitants, objects, and spaces comprise data that is visualized, heard and touched by surfing Internet. In other words, it is an artificial, virtual, conceptually constructed mental environment or notional space developed using computers. This very idyllic conception of imaginary locale which is not a land of utopia but a realm of experience was crafted by a futuristic designer author William Gibson who coined the term cyberspace in his ‘Burning Chrome’ in 1982 and later popularized by his sci-fi Hugo Award winning novel Neuromancer in 1984. The credit of Gibson had been acknowledged by John Perry Barlow in his works, ‘Crime and Puzzlement’ published in 1990. He writes, ‘In this silent world, all conversation is typed. To enter it, one forsakes both body and place and becomes a thing of words alone. You can see what your neighbours are saying (or recently said), but not what either they or their physical surroundings look like. Town meetings are continuous and discussions rage on everything from sexual kinks to depreciation schedules. Whether by one telephonic tendril or millions, they are all connected to one another. Collectively, they form what their inhabitants call the ‘Net’. It extends across that immense region of electron states, microwaves, magnetic fields, light pulses and thought which sci-fi writer William Gibson named Cyberspace.’ The problem is how to reconcile all the conflicting claims arising out of the issues of privacy in the context of Internet exposure vis-à-vis the right to freedom of speech. The paper will raise all these issues cropping up in a number of fields and discuss the legal implications on the encroachment of the freedom of speech.
Page(s): 489-500
ISSN: 0975-1076 (Online); 0971-7544 (Print)
Appears in Collections:JIPR Vol.14(6) [November 2009]

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