Friday, 24 June 2011

Not That Old Gag Again!

Subjects ought to be overseen and not heard.  Le Silence, by Antoine-Augustin Préault, photographed by Nrswanson @ Wikimedia Commons - public domainFrank La Rue, the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression, has been lambasting
the ways in which States are increasingly censoring information online, namely through: arbitrary blocking or filtering of content; criminalization of legitimate expression; imposition of intermediary liability; disconnecting users from Internet access, including on the basis of intellectual property rights law; cyberattacks; and inadequate protection of the right to privacy and data protection.

- UN General Assembly, Human Rights Council, Report of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression.

My emphasis and in-text links. The disconnection agenda, in particular, is being chiefly promoted by politicians and IP-owner groups in nominally free countries - unless we count its recent shotgun implementation by certain genocidal tyrants tottering in the wind of the Arab Spring.

The BBC reports the following knee-jerk response from the UK Government to the appearance of its own Digital Enclosure Economy Act in Mr La Rue's sights:
The Department for Culture, Media and Sport said that "there are counter-balancing rights, including to Intellectual Property, and Government must set the balance in a fair and proportionate way", pointing out that another basic right - the right to own property - is being flouted when copyrights are broken in this way.

Pointing out, my pointy end!

If I have a right not to be libelled in a newspaper, it does not follow that I have the right to take away their access to printing presses by accusing them of writing naughtiness. If I have a right to walk down the street without some wanker following me and screaming "Wanker!" at me, it does not follow that I have the right to demand that the nearest copper padlock a gag over anybody's mouth. Nor does any noise a Government makes about 'defending my rights' give them any business at all to start the press-smashers or gob-stoppers rolling.

The Government that asserts its sovereign right to shut its people up on the say-so of its cronies, is the Government that's telling its people that the time for talking is past.

As President "Democracy is Governments conquering the Internetz lol!" Sarkozy himself sees very clearly where the beam is not in his own eye, that's bound to end up well for everybody!

I think it is going to be better for everybody if we Just Keep Talking. Mr La Rue's report is a timely reminder to the members of the Masters' Club who commissioned it - and none so bad a point of departure, for the rest of us who want to deliver our own.

And lest we forget, some of the goodies in this tussle:

UK: Open Rights Group
USA (and international): Electronic Frontier Foundation

As a Brit, and sort of a computer guy into the bargain, it's probably past time I did something useful for the former. Let this be the occasion!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.