Can Internet users hold tech companies accountable?

Jennifer Lee writes in The New York Times on the recent talks by Rebecca MacKinnon, in which MacKinnon calls for a Magna Carta moment on the Internet — in which all the Internet users demand that the corporations who wield power online are called into check.

MacKinnon gave a talk at TED in Edinburgh, where she had some interesting quotes:

“The sovereigns of the Internet are acting like they have a divine right to govern. They are in complete denial that there is something horrible they would ever do.”

She points to how tech companies (including Amazon and PayPal) cut off WikiLeaks, and how Apple can censor politically-sensitive iPhone apps at the behest of governments (including China, Israel, and the US).

MacKinnon wants to see some democratic movements challenging web governance, to make the corporations’ behavior more transparent and have them obliged to more rigorous standards.