This lack of transparency has many drawbacks ranging from a degradation of regular media content, algorithms designed to take our time and attention, the exacerbation of mass consumerism and its attendant pressure on the planet. However, the biggest drawback is that it relies on unethical deception in order to more effectively persuade us to make purchases.
This article examines the ways in which this deception is inadequately regulated. It suggests how the law could be developed to encourage radical global transparency.
The final part of the article confronts the concern that the current funding model for the internet might be destroyed if advertisements were obvious and therefore avoidable and ineffective. Consideration is given to whether, and in what form, alternative funding models for the internet may begin to emerge.
Kate Tokeley is a Senior Lecturer at the Faculty of Law at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand.
Kate has published numerous journal articles and chapters in books, both in New Zealand and internationally. She is the editor and co-author of Consumer Law in New Zealand (2nd ed, 2014, LexisNexis, Wellington, New Zealand). Her publications cover topics such as online auctions, consumer guarantees, tobacco regulation, unfair contract terms, responsible lending obligations, the definition of “trader”, access to justice, the regulation of natural health products, and the place of paternalism in consumer law.
Kate is a Director of ConsumerNZ, an organization that aims to protect and empower New Zealand consumers. She is also a member of the New Zealand Telecommunications Dispute Resolution Council.
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© 2012 Journal of Law, Information & Science and Faculty of Law, University of Tasmania.