Terms of service and human rights: an analysis of online platform contracts
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From the late 1990s to early 2000s, the Internet was considered as a tool able to directly connect users to providers, buyers to sellers, the public to authors, thereby eliminating a number of traditional intermediaries in a phenomenon identified then as 'disintermediation'. However, data traffic between senders and receivers in the Internet depends on the existence of a number of private agents in infrastructural, logic and content layers. Because of that, it seems more correct to state that the Internet does not determine disintermediation, but that it encourages the emergence of new intermediaries, which replace some of the agents who played essential roles before. It is possible to observe the emergence of a wide range of particularly powerful private entities with the ability to regulate the access and dissemination of information through private agreements, and to collect large amounts of personal information about users and their activities.