Regulating Search Engines: Competition, Free Speech and Human Rights

Name: Arpita Biswas

Organisation: Centre for Communication Governance, National Law University, Delhi

Country: India

Stakeholder Group: Academia

Thematic Area: Freedom of Expression

Session Title: Regulating Search Engines: Competition, Free Speech and Human Rights

Session Format: PANEL (60/90 MINS)

Co-organizers Name (if any):

Speakers Name: To be confirmed

Speaker Status: To be confirmed

Relevance of the issue with specified session theme: Recently, there have been increasing instances of government bodies ordering search engines to regulate their platforms. In the latest EU judgment, Google was found to be manipulating search results to favour its own interests, for which a fine was levied. In India, there have been two major Supreme Court cases, Sabu Mathew George vs. Union of India and Prajwala vs. Union of India, in which the judiciary has ordered search engines to devise methods to automatically block illegal content uploaded on their portals. Considering the above instances, there is need for clarity in understanding the implementation of these regulatory methods and its effect on free speech.

Content of the session (Objective of the session): The session will focus on (a) understanding the capacity within which search engines function and the extent of their ability to regulate; (b) the effect this form of regulation has on freedom of expression.

What is USP of the session: While the larger issue will be search neutrality and free speech, different aspects, ranging from anti-trust and anti-competition issues to human rights concerns will be addressed.

Please describe how you will use your speakers and how their views/ perspectives /expertise will be included in the session: Each stakeholder will address a unique concern. The speakers at the session will represent various fields; corporations, human rights organizations and legal/ academic experts. They will address matters related to regulatory methods, human rights issues and policy concerns. The larger theme is concerned with free speech and how regulation affects platform neutrality, which the session will address.

How are you bringing diversity in your proposed session whether it is relevant to the specified theme? Diversity is essential to this session; each speaker will ideally focus on distinct issues relating to search engine regulation. The issues discussed will address a range of concerns, as mentioned in Q. VII. As a result, the stakeholders represented will be from non-governmental organizations, corporations and will also include academicians and lawyers.

Relevant Tags (Minimum 3 tags) Search engine regulation, search neutrality, platform neutrality