Internet Bill Of Useless Rights Proposed

from the this-is-positively-useless dept

At the big UN conference on internet governance in Greece, some are now proposing that an online bill of rights be created that would go across nations to deal with some online-specific issues. Now, it’s clear that there have been problems with local jurisdictions when it comes to global issues online. We’ve seen it happen in cases concerning whether or not an online publication is liable under any particular country’s laws — even if it’s not published there. We’ve seen it cases like when Yahoo was declared a war criminal in France for actions taken on its US (not French) site. So, it may sound like an intriguing idea to come up with a plan that can reach across the different nations to come to an agreement… but in practice it’s likely to amount to a lot of nothing. First of all, countries that don’t like it simply won’t pay attention to it. Or, they’ll pretend that they do. Witness yesterday’s outrageous claims that China has never censored the internet. And, of course, none of that will really matter since it’s not like the UN has any real say over how these countries act anyway. However, more to the point, the suggestion for such a bill of rights seems to be put forth in the spirit of getting widespread consensus over the issues — which basically means everything will be watered down to the point of uselessness anyway. Specifically, someone who supports the idea discusses the obvious question of how you deal with a country like China that wants to censor the internet, and the response is: “There are some countries that don’t respect free speech and privacy rights – and don’t want to. How can we involve them?” In other words, how can we water down this bill of rights so that anyone can keep doing what they’re already doing.

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Comments on “Internet Bill Of Useless Rights Proposed”

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Sanguine Dream says:


In other words, how can we water down this bill of rights so that anyone can keep doing what they’re already doing.

You can’t.

And another problem would your more promient nations would try to get such a bill of rights written soley to their advantage. I don’t see this going very far since it would take the large majority of the world to agree on it.

pvilleSE says:

A more inportant document didn't make change why w

Back on December 10 of 1948 the UN wrote up a Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It covers a lot of very good points. But I’m not sure if any country truly gives its citizens all the rights listed in the document. In article 5 the US fails. So obviously the UN can write up all the documents it wants to, but no one has to follow them. But if the internet bill of rights is like the Universal Declaration of Human Rights it will at least get the ideas of what should happen in an official document and not just in forums.

pvilleSE says:

Good people need to stay in office

Sorry just noticed Stu’s comment of once then done. If those of us in Wisconsin had not reelected Russ Feingold, who would have actually read the patriot act and voted against it realizing it is not fair to the citizens of this country. It is our duty to reelect those who actually look out for us and not just their pocket book.

Jason says:

The UN is nothing but a means for dictators and political hacks to make them self look better to the world. It accomplishes nothing. It’s so damn anti American, it’s not even funny. The UN wants to control the internet. They believe in rights and freedom, so long as you don’t go against their agenda. The US needs to pull out of the UN for good.

Rick says:

Glad you guys weren't around in 1787...

The UN is a power hungry federation, just like the federation of states back in the early days of the US. Back then, they understood that power created power, and that liberty had to be protected to make the federation viable.

So why is the Internet different? We see issues like net neutrality, and identity theft, and access networks which block competitor’s services. These are real threats to the freedom we currently enjoy, and it will only get worse as governments develope futher techniques to monitor and control the network.

Wether the IBoR has teeth or not isn’t as important as setting an expectation. Here is a list of rights I can think of, and I am sure very few of these are controversial…

– We, the users, own our identities via property rights, and they cannot be destroyed, created, sold, or published, or otherwise used unless we direct that activity ourselves.

– We, the users, have a right to use encryption and other privacy technologies end-to-end.

– We, the users, have a right for local Search-and-seizure and wiretap laws to apply to electronic data and communication.

– We, the users, have a right to change our service contracts and keep our identities.

– We, the users, have a right to participate thru consumption or provision of services and content.

Sanguine Dream says:

No way.

– We, the users, own our identities via property rights, and they cannot be destroyed, created, sold, or published, or otherwise used unless we direct that activity ourselves.

The US would never go with that. This would take away the ability of the governement and big business to sale and collect info on us behind our backs. It would pretty much make the whole “big brother” thing alot more difficult and why would they support anything that weakens their ability to monitor us and protects our rights?

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