Public power, private power and technological factors: new forming processes of public opinion in the era of the algorithm.

The debate on whether to set up filter mechanisms to content circulating on the web, on its different platforms (social networks, blogs, etc.), has recently experienced a moment of revitalization, on the one hand, for the dissemination of the "fake news" phenomenon and, on the other, for the increasing spread of hate speech on the web.

In this scenario, there is the need to question the advisability of new protection tools that adapt the advance of technology and respond to the emergence of new sources of threats to the rights and dignity of individuals. To address this question, however, it is necessary to emancipate the debate from every possible rhetorical idea tending to reconstruct the phenomena that take shape on the web and their (possible) adjustment in accordance with a simplified logic. It often happens that when attempts to govern these phenomena are found, there are reactions inspired by distrust inclined to credit the idea that lawmakers and regulators intend to cultivate a public control of a censorious character on the web. Indeed, the complexity of the phenomena in question, and the consequences determined by the advent of the Internet on freedom of expression, have such a significance that it does not allow the consideration of these efforts of standardisation as mere censorship declarations aimed at imposing a general and distributed monitoring of web content.

The serious implications arising from the implementation of systems that allow an obstacle to be put between an entirely uncontrolled circulation and free content, however, cannot and must not be neglected. In their conformation, they need to find the balance with the important directions of European case law. It is necessary, in other words, that the discussion focuses on the search for tools that allow, in accordance with the principle of proportionality, to identify solutions compatible with the right of the users to express their own thoughts and, at the same time, effectively at the service of reputation and dignity of individuals.

Organised in association with the Chairs of "Legal Informatics", "Advanced Legal Informatics" and Specialization Courses in "Digital Investigations" and "Data Protection" of the University of Milan (Prof. Giovanni Ziccardi - Prof. Pierluigi Perri).