I’ve got a new article in Histoire Sociale/Social History‘s May 2015 issue that uses web archives to explore 1990s battles over Web regulation in Canada.
I had a lot of fun researching, writing, and editing this piece as it brought me back to some earlier themes in my research. It combined some of the earlier writing I’d done around the role administrative tribunals have played in Canadian history, as well as youth and childhood history.
While we today take a largely free and unregulated Internet for granted, our present regulatory environment was established in the 1990s thanks in part to a fight around the role of children on the World Wide Web. Public pressure, coupled with a national debate around cyberporn, led to serious calls for its regulation under the prism of child protection. This article explores the tensions and early fights over whether individuals and families should regulate the Internet, or, as some strenuously argued, the government had a responsibility to impose regulation. Children were the focal point of these debates.
The 1990s are history now, right? While the peer reviewers had lots of very helpful suggestions, the periodization didn’t even come up as an aside.