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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...
  • 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 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.

  • 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.

  • by tycoex (1832784) on Friday July 06, 2012 @04:07PM (#40568587)

    Or maybe they think that no matter how bad he would still be better than Romney?

    South Park was right when they satirized our political system as voting between a doucebag and a turd sandwich. The only thing that will truly change our country would be to change the actual political system itself, and that will never happen.

It is contrary to reasoning to say that there is a vacuum or space in which there is absolutely nothing. -- Descartes

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