New York Times editorial on Free Speech and the Internet #netfreedom @nytimes

New York TimesToday, July 4, Independence Day in the USA the New York Times has chosen to speak out on the freedom on the Internet in an editorial entitled Free Speech and the Internet.

Endorsing the recent UN rapporteur’s report, and noting heavy-handed moves like Chinese censorship,  Italy’s defamation case, data retention in Brazil,  three-strikes laws, & the United States’ dubiously legitimate domain seizures, the Times concludes:

The U.N. has proposed sound guidelines to defend free expression: censorship of content online must be transparent and enforced only through the courts. Governments should not rely on private entities like service providers to censor content and should not hold them liable for user content. Counterterrorism should not be an excuse to bar expression, unless it is to prevent imminent threats.

With few exceptions, governments should not adopt Internet registries that require users to reveal their identities. And defamation — so often used as a legal tool to repress political speech — should be decriminalized. Finally, nobody should be banned from the Internet. It is a fundamental tool for enabling free speech.