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UN Declares Internet Freedom a Basic Right 161

Posted by Soulskill
from the it's-true-i-read-it-on-the-internet dept.
The United Nations Human Rights Council has passed a landmark resolution (PDF) declaring that internet freedom is a basic human right. They wrote: "...the same rights that people have offline must also be protected online, in particular freedom of expression, which is applicable regardless of frontiers and through any media of one’s choice, in accordance with articles 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights." The council also called upon all countries to 'promote and facilitate access to the Internet.' The article points out that this comes alongside a report from the Pew Internet Center, which asked a group of internet stakeholders how they think firms in the private sector will handle the ethical issues that arise with countries wanting to censor or restrict internet access. The responses were varied, but skepticism was a recurring theme: 'Corporations will work around regional differences by spinning off subsidiaries, doing what's needed to optimize on future profits.'"
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UN Declares Internet Freedom a Basic Right

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  • Ok Then. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by localman57 (1340533) on Friday July 06, 2012 @03:19PM (#40568007)
    Well, that oughta do it. Thanks guys. Considering they can't find a way to stop Assad from using tanks on his own people, I wouldn't hold my breath that the UN is going to come to your aid when Comcast decides to throttle your netflix stream...
    • Re:Ok Then. (Score:5, Funny)

      by GameboyRMH (1153867) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [hmryobemag]> on Friday July 06, 2012 @03:24PM (#40568069) Journal

      Maybe if they all go onto Second Life and get slaughtered by Assad's flying penis swarms the UN will put a stop to that.

    • by alphatel (1450715) *

      Comcast decides to throttle your netflix stream...

      First world problem...

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 06, 2012 @03:32PM (#40568153)

      Well, that oughta do it. Thanks guys. Considering they can't find a way to stop Assad from using tanks on his own people, I wouldn't hold my breath that the UN is going to come to your aid when Comcast decides to throttle your netflix stream...

      I would go to the UN, complain and then the UN may send a strongly worded letter to Comcast!

      Comcast would rue the day they crossed the UN!

    • Free speech (Score:4, Insightful)

      by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Friday July 06, 2012 @03:37PM (#40568209)
      So, since there are dictators who attack their own citizens with military weapons, we can just ignore free speech rights? Internet freedom is a subset of freedom of speech.
      • Re:Free speech (Score:5, Insightful)

        by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Friday July 06, 2012 @03:48PM (#40568333) Journal

        So, since there are dictators who attack their own citizens with military weapons, we can just ignore free speech rights? Internet freedom is a subset of freedom of speech.

        I suspect that(aside from the UN's relative fecklessness), the bigger issue will be that the UN's position on "Human Rights" has a loophole in the free speech department that you could drive one of those comically oversized trucks [liebherr.com] used in open pit mining through...

        From UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights Article 29:

        "(2) In the exercise of his rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society."

        So, can anybody think of any popular restrictions on rights and freedoms that aren't fairly trivial to rationalize under 'morality', 'public order' or 'the general welfare'? Even with the 'in a democratic society' stipulation, that still leaves you a considerable degree of flexibility.

        • So, can anybody think of any popular restrictions on rights and freedoms that aren't fairly trivial to rationalize under 'morality', 'public order' or 'the general welfare'? Even with the 'in a democratic society' stipulation, that still leaves you a considerable degree of flexibility.

          Well, you left out "solely for the purpose" and "just requirements", so the answer has to be no.

          For example, when one bunch of goatherders start massacring another bunch of goatherders (who they never liked) for disagreeing wi

        • The problem I see with these resolutions is that they all necessarily must be imprecise in order to have any reasonable application. However, the lack of precision is the very thing that creates loopholes.

          I have a resolution: Treat others as you want to be treated. Oh wait, that leaves a loophole for masochists.

          Fuck it. Free for all!

          • The problem I see with these resolutions is that they all necessarily must be imprecise in order to have any reasonable application. However, the lack of precision is the very thing that creates loopholes.

            I have a resolution: Treat others as you want to be treated. Oh wait, that leaves a loophole for masochists.

            Fuck it. Free for all!

            That leaves a loophole for orgyists.

        • by reboot246 (623534)
          You left out the most egregious error in the whole concept of the UN's so-called declaration of human rights.

          Article 29
          (3) These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

          That's the part that nullifies everything written above it. It's the part that lets them have you by the balls.

          Total fucking joke if you ask me. MY rights do not come from the UN.
      • by Baloroth (2370816)

        I believe OP's point was that the UN issuing a declaration is just about as effective a measure at helping insure free speech rights as trying to stop a bull by yelling at it. The UN is so toothless it can't even stop open genocide: why would you expect it to be able to do anything when mere freedom of speech is at stake?

        • by geekoid (135745)

          The UN is not a government.
          It is not a king.
          It is not a Dictator.

          It is an organization where representatives of some countries agree to certain basic principles.
          It's a place where countries can public air their difference. It's a place where different country Representative will be meeting with each other.

          You're complaint, just like almost every other complaint against the UN, is based in ignorance of why the UN exists.

          • by tbird81 (946205)

            The problem is that the UN is full of unelected career politicians who are paid shitloads to do nothing with our tax money.

            We had a politician (Chris Carter) who enjoyed having expensive holidays in Europe with his partner, courtesy of the taxpayer. When his party let him go, he fucked off and never returned to work - still receiving his enormous salary. Once the term was up, he was given a UN job by his ex-PM friend Helen Clark.

            That's the type of people who get jobs with the UN. People who like to have hol

          • The UN is the most dysfunctional organization going today. It makes the knuckleheads in the US Congress look like a model of prudent leadership which says a lot. Hopefully the Palestinians will continue to try and join more UN agencies which will automatically force the US to end it's participation and monetary support by law.

        • by MachDelta (704883)

          Once, while vacationing in the Canadian rockies, I saw an east asian tourist stop a female moose by yelling at it. He went out to take pictures of it from about 25 feet, and it would lower its head to charge. He yelled something at it, and it would look up at him for a moment. She put her head down three or four times - I thought I was going to watch someone die, but eventually the moose wandered off, the tourist having no idea how close he was to bodily harm for a few shots.

          Slightly off topic, but just goe

    • Considering they can't find a way to stop Assad from using tanks on his own people

      Don't be silly - they do have a way, but certain member states are opposed to those ways and will use their veto rights to get proposals to use them dismissed.

      You could suggest that they do away with the veto power - but then you'd have to concede that the U.S. gets to lose its veto vote on any Israel/Palestine issues as well.

      ( Note that the above two are generally the Security Council, not the Human Rights Council - but I can

    • by Tom (822)

      The UN isn't a body of power. That's the part both its fans and the NWO paranoids get wrong all the time. The UN is largely everyone getting together and talking things out. That there is nobody with a big stick to enforce the rules is exactly what makes it so challenging - but it couldn't be any different, because if there were you'd need another level to get the big guy in line.

      The UN can not stop Assad from using tanks because everyone involved, especially countries like the USA, do not want the UN to ha

    • by sco08y (615665)

      Oldie but goodie [theonion.com].

    • by ackthpt (218170)

      Well, that oughta do it. Thanks guys. Considering they can't find a way to stop Assad from using tanks on his own people, I wouldn't hold my breath that the UN is going to come to your aid when Comcast decides to throttle your netflix stream...

      Yeah, I see the intent of this, but once again it flies in the face of American Business Interests so the government (or those parts owned by Corporate Masters) will have a vocal opposition to this.

    • by bryan1945 (301828)

      Yep, you beat me to it. I'll add illegal nuke production, genocides, pirates, etc.
      But we all have online right, damnit!

    • by cpghost (719344)
      Well, regarding Assad, they are just pushing for an islamist regime that will censor Syrians's Internet access just as or even worse than Assad's regime.
  • So we can start by restoring everything taken off the Internet by DMCA takedown notices, right? Since that's the leading cause of Internet censorship.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    My crazy neighbor Jimmy just declared he is High Gnome King of the 3rd Parallel Crux of the 14th Arm of the Correlian Empire.

    I'm sure people will get right on that, too.

    • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

      by ColdWetDog (752185)

      My crazy neighbor Jimmy just declared he is High Gnome King of the 3rd Parallel Crux of the 14th Arm of the Correlian Empire.

      I'm sure people will get right on that, too.

      Yeah, well, Obama campaigned on 'Hope and Change' and people believed that.

      The bar is pretty low these days.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Anyone else find it interesting that Russia, China, and Iran - the three named in http://yro.slashdot.org/story/12/06/18/1429257/the-uns-push-for-power-over-the-internet are all missing from the list of countries at the top of the resolution.

  • by gmuslera (3436) on Friday July 06, 2012 @03:25PM (#40568089) Homepage Journal
    spy and control their citizens (and if possible, of other countries too) is an government basic right, or at least, the ones that matters more think so.
    • by Lumpy (12016)

      So as a human out smart them. A buddy of mine did. he has a cover over his patio painted to look like his patio. you cant see what is going on from the sky and it looks as if nothing is out of the ordinary.

      Turn to military strategy to hide from your own government.

      • I'm trapped. I can't decide if that's a stroke of genius, or bat-shit crazy.
      • by isorox (205688)

        So as a human out smart them. A buddy of mine did. he has a cover over his patio painted to look like his patio. you cant see what is going on from the sky and it looks as if nothing is out of the ordinary.

        Turn to military strategy to hide from your own government.

        Is it made of tinfoil?

  • by pla (258480) on Friday July 06, 2012 @03:26PM (#40568099) Journal
    in particular freedom of expression

    "...Now give us control of the root DNS servers so we can take down anyone daring to express unpopular ideas about WWII, religion, socialism, or the latest pseudo-royal who can afford a super-injunction to hide the bink he boinked."
  • by Mashiki (184564) <mashiki.gmail@com> on Friday July 06, 2012 @03:26PM (#40568107) Homepage

    Does that mean that UN itself is going to stop turning around, and trying to take it over every other week. And go hand in hand with the dictatorships of the world to throw the shackles on the rest of the world in order to protect their "sensitives" from the rest of us?

    • Does that mean that UN itself is going to stop turning around, and trying to take it over every other week. And go hand in hand with the dictatorships of the world to throw the shackles on the rest of the world in order to protect their "sensitives" from the rest of us?

      Of course not, you silly person.

      They're the good guys. They're in white (and that pretty blue).
      They're on your side.

  • by SirGarlon (845873) on Friday July 06, 2012 @03:29PM (#40568131)

    Part of what the resolution says is that the Human Rights Council "...[a]ffirms that the same rights that people have offline must also be protected online..." (emphasis added)

    This is pretty much opposite the legal situation in the U.S. at least, where the government can demand access to your ISP's logs and the courts pretty much go along with it, but they still need a warrant to put you under physical surveillance.

    I would tag this "sudden outbreak of common sense" except that I expect this resolution will have even less impact than the typical U.N. resolution.

    • by gman003 (1693318)

      Yeah, UN resolutions seem to be more 640x480 than 1920x1200, if you know what I mean.

  • Horrible headline (Score:5, Informative)

    by Fjandr (66656) on Friday July 06, 2012 @03:32PM (#40568157) Homepage Journal

    Yet another horrible headline. The resolution doesn't declare the Internet a basic right, it declares that the Internet isn't exempt from the protection of basic rights. Not even close to the same thing, though it doesn't surprise me that Soulskill apparently couldn't tell the difference.

    • by sco08y (615665)

      Yet another horrible headline. The resolution doesn't declare the Internet a basic right, it declares that the Internet isn't exempt from the protection of basic rights. Not even close to the same thing, though it doesn't surprise me that Soulskill apparently couldn't tell the difference.

      I was about to pile on, but you're misreading the /. headline, which is almost plagia^H^H^H^H^H^Hidentical to the Times headline.

      The headline says "UN Declares Internet Freedom a Basic Right", not the Internet itself as a basic right. Unless they changed it, or something.

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        The headline says "UN Declares Internet Freedom a Basic Right", not the Internet itself as a basic right. Unless they changed it, or something.

        What, you mean like net neutrality? Oh, wait, no, you mean the same freedoms we enjoy everywhere else, but online? That's not internet freedom, that's just freedom.

      • by Fjandr (66656)

        Unfortunately, the term "freedom" in the modern context usually means "freedom to use or access," and not "freedom of expression."

        The use of the title was acceptable in the article itself, because the difference was made clear. In the context of the Slashdot summary, where most people don't seem to bother with the article, the meaning is not at all likely to come across accurately.

      • by Fjandr (66656)

        I should also add that, the singular usage of the term "basic right" reinforces the impression of the a singular freedom being discussed, rather than an entire class of rights with respect to a new medium.

        The nice thing about Slashdot is its users frequently end up providing good reminders of where more clarity is needed and where it is not.

  • This is the same group that tried to get the ACTA treaty passed everywhere and NOW they say Internet access is a basic human right?

    • by FauxReal (653820)
      Nah, they're saying "Internet freedom" is a basic right. Like freedom of speech, freedom from oppression, freedom of religion. Your rights on the Internet as apposed to the right to free Internet access.
    • by cpghost (719344)
      The UN is much larger than the little group of Western countries (!) that pushed hard for ACTA. The real enemies of the Internet aren't Samoa, the Philippines, Chile, and so on; they are aright in our midst: the US, UK, France, etc. Sorry, but that's the way it is.
  • That governments will show the same care for freedom of the Internet that they show for freedom of speech, right?

  • I think it only follows that some access to the Internet, and some freedom on the Internet, will need to be recognized as a basic right. It may sound silly, but think of it this way: If "freedom of speech" is a basic and inalienable human right, how divorced can that "free speech" be from communications infrastructure?

    The internet is the way that people are communicating and organizing. It's where we share thoughts and ideas and artistic expression. Denying access to the Internet today would be roughly

  • The UN is a joke. The US will never ratify this and implement this in our laws. It only applies to those "other" UN members. Take the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child treaty which was implemented 17 years ago, but we have YET to ratify it because the conservatives have a huge problem with children having rights or their own views and feelings being taken into account on things like education, parental placement, etc. as well as being prohibited from the death penalty if you are under 18 years ol

    • as well as being prohibited from the death penalty if you are under 18 years old

      Because everyone under 18 is clearly mentally childlike and should never be held actually responsible for their actions. Even though we let you *drive* at 16.

      I've never understood the weird idea that "you're not really an adult until 18. Wait, no, until 21. Unless you go to other countries. Hey, why do all our young people act so childish?"

  • Ron Paul is championing internet freedom as a key tenant of individual liberty in the 21st century. The UN is declaring internet freedom a basic right.

    Large portions of the population of the United States do not trust the government. The "two party system" is broken.

    Solution? Give more power to a one world government. Trust the UN to do what the corrupt US government, beholden to their corporate masters cannot/will not do.

    Something stinks here. Control over the internet is one of the only levers of pow

  • by ElmoGonzo (627753) on Friday July 06, 2012 @03:58PM (#40568463)
    There's something that doesn't happen every day, much less only 16 /. posts apart.
  • I find this statement, considering that it came from the UN, to be somewhat suspicious. Do they really want to protect all freedom of expression? Would the UN continue to champion my freedom of speech if I blasphemed the false prophet muhammad? Or is this just one more case of the UN trying to make an Internet power grab without thinking things through?
  • Even China, which filters online content through a firewall, backed the resolution. It affirmed that “the same rights that people have offline must also be protected online, in particular freedom of expression, which is applicable regardless of frontiers and through any media of one’s choice.”

    The Chinese delegation was probably laughing when they voted. Sure, same rights, no problem.

  • UN Decleares the internet a basic human right.

    I would be careful though, because the UN's idea of freedom isn't meant for _you_ it is meant for _them_.

    As in, _they_ want to track, control and insure everyone is connected so that _they_ can have access to track, control and insure....insure nothing changes, and only those approved changes happen to further their control and tracking efforts of every single man, women, child, cat, dog on the planet.

    That way they continue to live in luxery while you are put i

  • At the timing of news stories, to see the conspiracies in action behind the scenes

      http://tech.slashdot.org/story/12/07/06/0021254/ron-pauls-new-primary-goal-is-internet-freedom [slashdot.org]

    It is clear Ron Paul is an agent of the fascist UN. We have been fooled!

    (this post is sarcasm, not actual paranoid schizophrenia)

  • by DerekLyons (302214) <fairwater@g[ ]l.com ['mai' in gap]> on Friday July 06, 2012 @08:13PM (#40571495) Homepage

    The United Nations Human Rights Council has passed a landmark resolution (PDF) declaring that internet freedom is a basic human right.

    Which has about as much meaning as if my local Girl Scouts got together and passed a resolution declaring that internet freedom is a basic human right.

  • Basic human rights is what we need to survive: food, water and shelter. WE DO NOT NEED THE INTERNET TO SURVIVE.

    The UN is a running joke.

    • it's not about the internet. it's about freedom on the internet. as in - no censorship, freedom of speech.
    • by cpghost (719344)
      Large parts of the economy actually need the Internet to survive, and so do all those employed in and fed by said economy.

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