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Life in the cloud and freedom of speech
  1. John Harris
  1. Correspondence to Professor John Harris, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Manchester, Manchester, M13 9PL, UK; john.harris{at}


This paper is primarily about the personal and public responsibilities of ethics and of ethicists in speaking, writing and commenting publicly about issues of ethical, political and social significance. The paper argues that any such interventions are ‘willy-nilly’, actually or potentially, in the public domain in ways that make any self-conscious decision about intended publics or audiences problematic. In it is argued that a famous, and hitherto useful, distinction relating to the ethical limitations on freedom of speech which we owe to John Stuart Mill may, because of the emergence of ‘the cloud’ have become redundant or inoperable.

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