Does free speech give us the right to anonymously troll strangers? What people say online has real consequences. They may end up in prison. They may be named and shamed, and this may be enough to make them suicidal.
Today the Spanish Congress debates and votes on amending the Criminal Code on matters of terrorism.
In this article, the Platform in Defense of Freedom of Information (PDLI) emphasizes the setbacks for the fundamental rights that this reform represents.
TiSA, or the Trade in Services Agreement, is a trade accord currently being negotiated by 23 member countries of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), including the EU, the U.S., Japan, Costa Rica, and Israel. TiSA aims to further open these markets up for trade in services, such as e-commerce, cross-border data flows, and technology transfer. The negotiations of this agreement were launched in 2013 and are taking place behind closed doors. They are not subject to public to the same pressure for transparency, as other infamous trade agreements have been in the past, including ACTA, the current TPP, and the TTIP. However, this trade deal could have a similar, if not bigger, impact on digital rights and particularly the rights to privacy, data protection and freedom of expression.
An urgent campaign has been launched in the UK for a “freedom of expression” law to protect confidential journalists’, MPs’ and lawyers’ phone and communications records being secretly snooped on by police. Senior editors and lawyers condemned as “wholly inadequate” safeguards put forward in a code of practice by the home secretary, Theresa May, to meet concerns over the police use of surveillance powers linked to the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (Ripa). The campaign comes as the prime minister, David Cameron, called for an extension of the laws that give snooping powers to security services with a plan to ban encrypted messages in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo Paris attacks.
The Dutch Supreme Court recently delivered its ruling in the GeenStijl/Sanoma case with two important decisions: regarding copyright and freedom of speech as equal fundamental rights that should be weighed against each other, and referring some preliminary questions to the European Court of Justice, and the answers may have a major impact on the internet landscape.
The decision is available here.
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is proposing a new Internet policy which comes at the expense of human rights, especially privacy and freedom of speech. The proposed rules are addressed to companies that provide WHOIS privacy/proxy services (which restrict access to domain registrant information) and limit their availability to individuals only, denying this service to organisations.