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Will Riots In The Streets Lead To Crackdowns On Internet Freedom?

Because the internet is a form of the public, restrictions on social media could be applied to the streets (and vice versa).

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But now come the UK riots and the debate over what to do about them, raising these same issues in a new context – the street – with a new player: the government. The proper debate, I argue in Public Parts, should be held not in the specifics of these matters but instead as principles.

Restricting speech cannot be done except in the context of free speech.

When debating public identity, one must decide what a public is.

These are not easy issues, any of them, in any of these contexts. So I would urge my British friends to be careful about enabling their government to impose restrictions on the public.

Jeff Jarvis is an author, journalist, and associate professor of journalism at the City University of New York.