Joris V.J. van Hoboken

Winner Dissertation Prize 2014

Search Engine Freedom. On the Implications of the Right to Freedom of Expression for the Legal Governance of Web Search Engines

Supervisors: Prof. dr mr N.A.N.M. van Eijk, Prof. dr mr N. Helberger
Nomination: University of Amsterdam, Faculty of Law

Report by the selection committee

In Joris van Hoboken’s dissertation, which in the meantime has been published by Kluwer Law International, the phenomenon of search engines is placed in the context of freedom of expression. Search engines are studied from the perspective of the press, ISP’s, and libraries. It becomes clear that access to information is increasingly determined by intermediaries such as search engines. This access to information can have a significant impact on the public discourse. From the perspective of freedom of speech, Joris van Hoboken takes a nuanced position in which he describes the various interests at play here. Van Hoboken addresses a highly relevant issue in today’s society, and he has written an extraordinary dissertation.