This article suggests that those interested in both welfare theory and welfare policy cannot afford to overlook the emerging interactions between online and offline environments. It explores the main parameters of the debate relating to cyberspace, in particular, and Information and Communication Technologies more generally. It argues that the pervasiveness of free market capitalism means that the negative consequences of the Internet for society and social welfare reform are those most likely to prevail at present. The task of the social policy community, then, is to contribute to a 'cybercriticalism'. The article outlines a concept of 'virtual rights', the purpose of which is to reinvigorate the traditional categories of rights in an information society to which they often appear unsuited.
Critical Social Policy, August 2000 20: 375-407