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Montreal Gazette - Online 'publicness' must be protected, professor says

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Published: 15 Feb 2012

When author and media professor Jeff Jarvis was told he had prostate cancer, he blogged about it, sparing no details, even as it related to his erectile dysfunction. That extreme transparency may have ruffled some, but the benefits he got were unarguable: He found a network of support and encouraged other men to get tested.

When author and media professor Jeff Jarvis was told he had prostate cancer, he blogged about it, sparing no details, even as it related to his erectile dysfunction. That extreme transparency may have ruffled some, but the benefits he got were unarguable: He found a network of support and encouraged other men to get tested.

This kind of "publicness," a word he admits is inadequate, must be protected by laws just as privacy is, he argued at a talk at McGill University on Tuesday. Any attempt to regulate the Internet, he says, is an assault on freedom.

"We have the right to connect. The public sphere is a public good," he said. "All bits are created equal. If any are detoured, none can be presumed to be free."

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