Intermediaries operate the facilities that provide access to, or services on, the internet, including internet service providers (ISPs), search engines, social media, etc. As with all media, questions have arisen about what, if any, responsibilities, these entities should have with respect to third party content. While many observers in the 1990s saw the decentralized and cross-border nature of the internet as making it difficult to regulate, concentration levels for core internet elements – ISPs, search engines, social media sites, etc. – are in fact very high. This, in turn, has made them popular tools as part of the struggle by governments, copyright interests, and others to regulate unwelcome content such as mass piracy, child pornography, whistle-blowers, bullies, terrorists, etc. Consequently, intermediaries are being tasked – on a “voluntary” and mandatory basis – with a growing list of gatekeeper functions: website blocking and filtering, domain name seizures, data retention, etc.

Additional Metadata
Keywords common carriage, content regulation, internet concentration, internet copyright, lawful access, national security
Publisher John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
ISBN 978-1-118-76777-1
Persistent URL
Winseck, D. (2015). Intermediary Responsibility. In The International Encyclopedia of Digital Communication and Society (pp. 1–15). John Wiley & Sons, Inc. doi:10.1002/9781118767771.wbiedcs143