Executive summary (The Role of Internet Intermediaries in Advancing Public Policy Objectives)

Internet intermediaries provide the Internet's basic infrastructure and platforms by enabling communication and transactions between third parties. They can be commercial or non-commercial in nature, and include Internet service providers (ISPs), hosting providers, search engines, e-commerce intermediaries, payment intermediaries and participative networked platforms. Their main functions are: i) to provide infrastructure; ii) to collect, organise and evaluate dispersed information; iii) to facilitate social communication and information exchange; iv) to aggregate supply and demand; v) to facilitate market processes; vi) to provide trust; and vii) to take account of the needs of both buyers/users and sellers/advertisers. Related public policy issues concern notably their roles, legal responsibilities and liability for the actions of users of their platforms.
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