This chapter analyses how AIDS activist Kiyoshi Kuromiya and his internet activist organization Critical Path leveraged its community-based internet infrastructure model to challenge online content regulations about sex in the United States in testimony against the 1996 Communications Decency ACT (CDA). The CDA and AIDS internet activism were intertwined, sociotechnical phenomena, caught up in the rapidly unfolding, neoliberal information environments of the 1990s. Through this case, growing moral panics over sexual expression online were articulated to HIV and related perceptions of risk. I argue that during the 1990s, cultural understandings of HIV were inseparable from attempts to define the place of sexuality online and regulate “appropriate” internet use. The internet as we know it today has been imagined and re-calibrated through AIDS. The “AIDS crisis,” as it was understood during this period by US judicial and legislative systems and the wider public, continues to reverberate in the ways online infrastructures both provide and limit access to information about sex.
McKinney, Cait. “Crisis Infrastructures: AIDS Activism Meets Internet Regulation.” In AIDS and the Distribution of Crises, edited by Jih-Fei Cheng, Alexandra Juhasz, Nishant Shahani, 162–182. Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2020.
AIDS and the Distribution of Crises
Crisis Infrastructures: AIDS Activism Meets Internet Regulation
Jih-Fei Cheng, Alexandra Juhasz, Nishant Shahani
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