From net neutrality to clickwrap: 10 major internet law cases since 2000

The internet has been available to the general public since the early 1990s—and those early days of the web were both rudimentary and fascinating.

There was a time in the not-too-distant past when you needed a phone line and a modem to get online; when Netscape Navigator and AOL were the dominating forces on the web; and when the ping of an instant message was as prevalent as the chirp of a text message today. Luckily, the days of long download times and fuzzy dial-up tones are far behind us. Technology has advanced at a lightning pace over the last few decades, with the evolution of the World Wide Web following suit.

As the internet has grown and evolved, so has the development of internet law—and the stacks of legal cases associated with it. The 1997 Reno v. American Civil Liberties Union case helped to protect online freedom of speech after an attempt to regulate “indecent” material on the web. Zeran v. America Online, Inc., filed in 1998, cleared the way for website owners to host third-party content without fear of being prosecuted over users publishing something illegal on their websites. Thanks to these types of landmark legal cases, we now have a clear idea of what we can and cannot do on the web. Yet, the ongoing battles over issues like how information is spread across social media or how censorship plays a role online and on social platforms will continue to refine how the laws are applied to issues with the web.

Ironclad recently reviewed 10 legal cases since 2000 that have helped define how we use the internet. From issues of data privacy to what free speech looks like in the online world, keep reading to learn about 10 major internet law cases.

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