Special Issue

Philosophy & Technology

, Volume 24, Issue 4, pp 419-436

First online:

ISPs & Rowdy Web Sites Before the Law: Should We Change Today’s Safe Harbour Clauses?

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access


The paper examines today’s debate on the new responsibilities of Internet service providers (ISPs) in connection with legal problems concerning jurisdiction, data processing, people’s privacy and education. The focus is foremost on the default rules and safe harbour clauses for ISPs liability, set up by the US and European legal systems. This framework is deepened in light of the different functions of the services provided on the Internet so as to highlight multiple levels of control over information and, correspondingly, different types of liability. The new responsibilities of ISPs concern the original “end-to-end” architecture of the medium and policies on design rather than responsibility for user content and individual messages.


Copyright Data protection Internet service providers Jurisdiction Privacy by design Responsibility Safe harbour clauses Self-enforcement technologies