Delegates attending the World Conference on International Telecommunications in Dubai last Tuesday, pledged to uphold the right to freedom of information online. 193 of the members supported the proposal, which was introduced by Tunisia, to protect freedom of expression online. The fact that this basic human right is being recognized on such an international level is a giant step forwards towards casting a spotlight on dictators who attempt to create black holes in the internet, such as what Egypt’s old dictator did shortly before he was removed from office.
The International Telecommunications Union is an agency of the United Nations, and there support for holding this conference helps to create importance for the topic of internet freedom. While this is a good thing, the conference ultimately ended without actually doing anything. Tunisia wanted the ITU to add into its constitution an article that states that the rights which people have offline, they also have online, was eventually denied.
For more information on this conference, feel free to go here.
Created in 2006 the Global Internet Freedom Consortium is a group of several leading organizations specialized in developing and deploying anti-censorship technologies for Internet users in oppressive regimes. They have contributed significantly to the advancement of Internet Freedom in closed countries such as China, Iran, Burma, Egypt, and many other oppressive regimes.
Members of the Global Internet Freedom Consortium include, Global Information Freedom, Dynamic Internet Technology, UltraReach Internet Corp, and Garden Networks for Freedom of Information. Their mission is to inform, connect, and empower the people in closed societies with information on a free internet.
The organization runs on volunteers, mostly people exiled from China in the early 1990’s, if you would like more information on the group, feel free to visit their website here
The political activist organization Free Press has recently created a program aimed at keeping the internet a free and open place for all citizens of the world. Free Press is building a powerful nationwide movement to change media and technology policies, promote the public interest and strengthen democracy. Free Press advocates for universal and affordable Internet access, diverse media ownership, vibrant public media and quality journalism.
Recently they have been attempting to make country leaders sign an “Declaration of Internet Rights” that basically declares that the Internet is a fundamental right. The most recent country to have signed the Declaration of Internet Rights is Costa Rica. Their next target is the United States of America.
For more information on the Free Press go here!
Pirates Bay is a website that boasts that it is the galaxies most resilient BitTorrent website. It is a Swedish site and was founded in 2003, and since then has been a subject of controversy due to highly illegal activities when it deals with copyright issues. The Pirates Bay has over five million active users and according to the Los Angeles Times, it is one of the worlds largest facilitators of illegal downloading.
There have been many lawsuits against the founders since its inception, and there are currently attempts to censor the website on almost every country on earth. It is very hard to censor websites like this, and with its foundations in a relatively neutral country, there isn’t much that governments can do to take it off of the internet. Just make sure that if you decide you want to download a movie or game, don’t get caught! Or you may end up with a hefty fine along with some jail time!
If you want to check it out, feel free to go here!
SOPA: The Internet Blacklist Bill
This is a bill that will allow the U.S. government to ban websites from being accessed in the United States. It uses the same censorship methods that are currently being implemented in China, Iran, and Syria. Further it is in violation of the Declaration of Human Rights, Article 19. This bill violates our freedom of speech and would allow the government to have complete control over what we can access on the Internet.
This bill was recently passed in the House of Representatives, and then it failed in the Senate. This was too close for comfort for anyone who was aware of the bill. I am posting this article to allow people to do an awareness check of how tuned in they are to the bills that are being purposed in Congress. If you where not aware of this bill, please tune in more. Congress should note be able to vote to take away our civil liberties before we have a chance to protest against it.
For more Information on the SOPA bill, feel free to go here.
Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas throug
h any media and regardless of frontiers.” Every single human, all seven billion of us, are born with the inalienable right to seek, receive, and impart information through any media, be it word of mouth or written, and regardless of the frontier, be it a book or on the Internet, and to do this without any interference. This declaration by the United Nations,
a political entity that is considered the highest political power in the world, states that any effort to censor the Internet is a violation of the basic human rights of every single person in the world.
In the words of Benjamin Franklin, “Those who desire to give up freedom in order to gain security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.” There is no threat to national security that is great enough to violate our basic human right to a free, uncensored Internet.
To see the full document of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, go here.
According to Amnesty International an Iranian man who had been receiving death threats because of his anti-government blog has died in custody, possibly as the result of torture. Sattar Beheshti was arrested at the age of 35 on October 28th.
The day before his arrest he told Amnesty International “They sent me a message saying, ‘Tell your mother she will soon be wearing black because you don’t shut your big mouth,'” The next day he was taken into custody and whose body was handed back to his family a couple days later.
According to the British Foreign Office minister Alistair Burt, “Behesht’s only crime appears to be advocating the defense of human rights on the Internet,” an ability that dictators in the Middle East are trying to control.
To see another article on Sattar Beheshti’s death visit here.