The Civic Role of Online Service Providers
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In a recent report,1 the UK Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Committee focused on the role and responsibilities of online service providers (OSPs) with respect to the circulation of fake news and their impact on democratic processes, like public debate and political elections. The first recommendation offered in the report calls for “compulsory Code of Ethics for tech companies overseen by independent regulator”. The recommendation is sensible and should be adopted. Scholars working in the area of digital ethics have often stressed the need for a code of ethics shaping the conduct of OSPs (Taddeo and Floridi 2017). And an authority with teeth enforcing the code should be a measure welcome by the public sector, civil society, and OSPs themselves. On the one hand, the authority would ensure that OSPs respect essential values and principles safeguarding users’ rights and fundamental processes of our societies. On the other hand, an authority endorsing a code of...
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