Saturday, November 26, 2011

U.N. Report Declares Internet Access a Human Right

Original Article


By David Kravets (Twitter)

A United Nations report said Friday that disconnecting people from the internet is a human rights violation and against international law.

The report railed against France and the United Kingdom, which have passed laws to remove accused copyright scofflaws from the internet. It also protested blocking internet access to quell political unrest (PDF).

While blocking and filtering measures deny users access to specific content on the Internet, states have also taken measures to cut off access to the Internet entirely. The Special Rapporteur considers cutting off users from internet access, regardless of the justification provided, including on the grounds of violating intellectual property rights law, to be disproportionate and thus a violation of article 19, paragraph 3, of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

The report continues:

The Special Rapporteur calls upon all states to ensure that Internet access is maintained at all times, including during times of political unrest. In particular, the Special Rapporteur urges States to repeal or amend existing intellectual copyright laws which permit users to be disconnected from Internet access, and to refrain from adopting such laws.

The report, by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression, comes the same day an internet-monitoring firm detected that two thirds of Syria’s internet access has abruptly gone dark, in what is likely a government response to unrest in that country.

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UK - Criminals and cyber bullies to be banned from the web

Original Article


By Christopher Williams

Criminals who commit offences online and cyber bullies will be banned from the internet as part of the Government’s new cyber security strategy, announced today.

It calls for police and courts to make more use of existing “cyber sanctions” to restrict access to the social networks and instant messaging services in cases of hacking, fraud and online bullying. Sex offenders and those convicted of harrassment or anti-social behaviour also face more internet restrictions under the new strategy.

Similar orders have been imposed on those charged with involvement in a series of cyber attacks by the Anonymous and LulzSec groups earlier this year, while they await trial.

Cyber sanctions were also used following the riots this summer. Two teenagers in Dundee were banned from the web for inciting riots via Facebook.

Officials are now looking into whether "cyber tag" technology could be used to monitor offenders and report to authorities if break their bail or sentence conditions by using the internet.

"The Ministry of Justice and the Home Office will consider and scope the development of a new way of enforcing these orders, using ‘cyber-tags’ which are triggered by the offender breaching the conditions that have been put on their internet use, and which will automatically inform the police or probation service," cyber security strategy said.

It added that if the regime is a success restrictions on internet use could be imposed on "a wider group of offenders".

Police forces across the country will also follow the example of the Met’s Police Central e-Crime Unit by recruiting “cyber specials”; internet experts will be encouraged to volunteer as special constables to help investigate online crime.

The four-year strategy is also designed to address cyber espionage and attacks from states such as China and Russia and "patriotic" hackers.

GCHQ, Britain’s eavesdropping agency, is to receive around £385m of the total £650m budget to develop its ability to detect, defend and fight back online. The problem of discovering the true source of a cyber attack will be among the top priorities for the Cheltenham-based agency's experts, as well as developing "tactics and techniques” for online conflict in collaboration with the Ministry of Defence's new cyber unit.

GCHQ will also declassify and commercialise some of its cyber technology to help the private sector improve its security online, as part of a broader effort to increase cooperation between government and industry. Other measures with include a new "hub" for information sharing to allow the security services to share information on cyber threats with major infrastructure firms such as BT, Barclays and utilities companies.

This strategy not only deals with the threat from terrorists to our national security, but also with the criminals who threaten our prosperity as well as blight the lives of many ordinary people through cyber crime,” said David Cameron.

Terrorists are not believed to yet have the ability to launch damaging cyber attacks against critical infrastructure such as water and power stations, but they are thought to have discussed such operations.