Internet Freedoms

The right to privacy and freedom of expression apply online just as they apply offiline. These are very precious rights because as well as protecting individuals, they also protect society as whole. Democracy, culture and access to knowledge are safeguarded because we have these two rights. These rights online are threatened by any proposals to block content or conduct surveillance.  Such threats can come from governments or from private corporations. This section will discuss ways in which human rights online can be valued and protected.


If you are interested in how Internet freedoms may be influenced by policy,   you may like my book The Closing of the Net .

 

If you are interested in copyright policy, you may like my previous books A Copyright Masquerade: How Corporate Lobbying Threatens Online Freedoms and The Copyright Enforcement Enigma - Internet Politics and the ‘Telecoms Package’

In seeking a response to terrorism, how can we protect our democratic values online as well as offline? Theresa May says there should be no safe spaces for online extremism, but attacking online platforms, and laying the blame entirely at their feet, is at best unhelpful and fundamentally problematic. How should we, as a society, ensure safeguards against the unintended consequences of such measures?

Read more: Why we should not let terror destroy online values

In the 800th anniversary  year of Magna Carta, what of our free speech rights?

As we begin 2015, let’s remind ourselves that this year is the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta – the Great Charter that first established rights and on which later charters of human rights have been built.  In 2015, we are seeing more and more threats to those hard won rights by various interest groups (corporate and non-corporate) who want to block and take control of our communications systems that have been established over the Internet in the past two decades or so.  It does look like 2015 is going to be critical year for the protection of those rights.

Read more: Network consolidation, counter-terrorism, Sony hack – Internet policy game-changers for 2015?

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression  backs up the European Parliament's position on the Telecoms Package which calls for due process where Internet freedom of expression is to be restricted.

 

A United Nations report released today has a stern message for democratic governments that want to impose meaures to restrict the Internet. He says that restrictions applied to the  Internet must be limited to issues such as public security, and that cutting off access - for copyright enforcement or any other reason -  is a disproporationate measure. Singled out for special reprimand are the UK's Digital Economy Act and France's Hadopi law, which the report considers ‘alarming'.

 

The report is entitled Report of the Special Rapporteur on the   promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, Frank La Rue.  It addresses freedom of expression on the Internet from a global perspective. What's interesting is that it does not just focus on autocratic regimes and dictatorships that restrict political speech. Instead, it widens the brief to  investigate other restrictions imposed by liberal  democracies, including those in the European Union. 

 

The UN report is concerned about liability for content being

Read more: UN report says freedom of expression trumps copyright

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The Copyright Enforcement Enigma 'accurate and absorbing account of the story of the Telecoms Package' -Journal of International Commercial Law and Technology

'...a must read for those interested in knowing in depth about copyright enforcement and Internet.' -Journal of Intellectual Property Rights.  

Read more  

Copyright Enforcement Enigma launch, March 2012

European Parliament launch for Copyright Enforcement Enigma

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Iptegrity.com is the website of Dr Monica Horten. She is  a trainer & consultant on Internet governance policy, published author& Visiting Fellow at the London School of Economics & Political Science. She served as an independent expert on the Council of Europe Committee on  Internet freedom. She has worked on CoE, EU and UNDP funded projects in eastern Europe and beyond.  She was shortlisted for The Guardian Open Internet Poll 2012. Iptegrity  offers expert insights into Internet policy (and now Brexit). Iptegrity has a core readership in the Brussels policy community, and has been cited in the media. Please acknowledge Iptegrity when you cite or link.  For more, see IP politics with integrity

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