Introduction: The Policy Implications of Virtual Work
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The world of digital work has proved to be very divisive, especially for those trying to regulate it. New developments have generated almost utopian visions of opportunities for participation, democratization, innovation and sharing. These developments have also led policy makers to see regulation voids, de-professionalization, concentration of markets, new forms of surveillance and threats to intellectual property as real threats to workers and citizens if ways are not found to regulate digital spaces without destroying their potential. This chapter provides an overview of developments in digital environments and of the debates surrounding them. It places the chapters in this book within these debates and identifies a range of policy challenges for virtual work as a point of departure to navigate potential alternatives for policy and regulation.