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  • joly 1:40 am on 12/14/2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , free speech, ,   

    Video: @StanfordCIS Panel – Free Speech in the Networked World #freespeech #netfreedom #ows 

    On Nov 30 2011 the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School hosted a panel discussion – From Public Squares to Platforms: Free Speech in the Networked World. A diverse panel from academia, public interest, and private practice, discussed the opportunities and challenges for free speech as it increasingly moves from the town square to the networked world.


    • Dorothy Chou – Senior Policy Analyst, Google
    • Linda Lye – Staff Attorney, ACLU of Northern California
    • Philip Hammer – Of Counsel, Hoge Fenton Jones & Appel
    • Andrew McLaughlin – Non-Residential Fellow at the Center for Internet and Society and the Executive Director of Civic Commons
    • Laurence Pulgram – Partner and Chair of Commercial and Copyright Litigation Group, Fenwick and West LLP


    • Nicole Ozer - Co-Chair- California State Bar Cyberspace Committee, Technology and Civil Liberties Policy Director, ACLU of Northern California


  • joly 3:56 am on 05/26/2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , free speech, , , , United Nations   

    UN Human Rights Council report on freedom of expression condemns Internet controls #netfreedom @UN_HRC 

    UN Human RightsThe 17th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council takes place in Geneva from 30 May – 17 June 2011. In preparation a number of reports have been filed, including one from Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression Frank de la Rue.

    The report [pdf] “explores key trends and challenges to the right of all individuals to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds through the Internet”. It covers both content and access, and also examines what “exceptional circumstances under which the dissemination of certain types of information may be restricted”.

    The report states:

    States restrict, control, manipulate and censor content disseminated via the Internet without any legal basis, or on the basis of broad and ambiguous laws, without justifying the purpose of such actions; and/or in a manner that is clearly unnecessary and/or disproportionate to achieving the intended aim


    The Special Rapporteur is of the view that the arbitrary use of criminal law to sanction legitimate expression constitutes one of the gravest forms of restriction to the right, as it not only creates a “chilling effect”, but also leads to other human rights violations, such as arbitrary detention and torture and other forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

    Noting recent cases of imprisonment of bloggers, the report suggests that defamation be decriminalized globally and that only incitements to violence can be legitimately blocked. Additionally

    the Special Rapporteur reiterates that the right to freedom of expression includes expression of views and opinions that offend, shock or disturb.

    The report criticizes heavy-handed copyright protection schemes while noting that the most recent drafts of the ACTA agreement have dropped the ‘3 strike’ disconnection provisions.

    It calls for universal access noting that a BBC global poll in March 2010 “79% of those interviewed
    in 26 countries believe that Internet access is a fundamental human right”

    The conclusions of the report are below:
    (More …)

  • joly 4:09 am on 12/08/2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , free speech,   

    Internet Society issues statement re: Wikileaks 

    ISOC logoThe Internet Society has issued a statement criticizing recent technical efforts to suppress the Wikileaks website.

    It reads as follows:

    Recently, we have witnessed the effective disappearance from the Internet of a website made infamous through international press coverage and political intrigue.

    The Internet Society is founded upon key principles of free expression and non discrimination that are essential to preserve the openness and utility of the Internet. We believe that this incident dramatically illustrates that those principles are currently at risk.

    Recognizing the content of the wikileaks.org website is the subject of concern to a variety of individuals and nations, we nevertheless believe it must be subject to the same laws and policies of availability as all Internet sites.  Free expression should not be restricted by governmental or private controls over computer hardware or software, telecommunications infrastructure, or other essential components of the Internet.

    Resilience and cooperation are built into the Internet as a design principle. The cooperation among several  organizations has ensured that the impact on the Wikileaks organizational website has not prevented all access to Wikileaks material.  This further underscores that removal of a domain is an ineffective tool to suppress communication, merely serving to undermine the integrity of the global Internet and its operation.

    Unless and until appropriate laws are brought to bear to take the wikileaks.org domain down legally, technical solutions should be sought to reestablish its proper presence, and appropriate actions taken to pursue and prosecute entities (if any) that acted maliciously to take it off the air.

    (More …)

  • joly 12:21 pm on 05/21/2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: free speech,   

    Live Webcast Tonight: Does the Internet Favor Dictators or Dissenters? 

    New NAF Logo

    Live Webcast Tonight: Does the Internet Favor Dictators or Dissenters?
    Friday, May 21, 2010
    8:30 p.m. ET / 5:30 p.m. PT / 00.30 UTC

    Tune in Friday evening for a discussion with Google CEO Eric Schmidt, the State Department’s Alec Ross, Columbia Law Professor Tim Wu and The Atlantic Monthly’s James Fallows on political dissent in the Internet age.

    Each spring, New America gathers its fellows, senior staff and board members for an extended conference and retreat to discuss the issues and policy challenges that will dominate the months ahead. The retreat is closed to the public, but this discussion warrants sharing with a much wider New America audience.

    To watch, go to:

  • joly 5:42 pm on 03/06/2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , free speech, ,   

    Senate Hearing on Global Internet Freedom: CDT Report 

    The U.S. Senate held a hearing on ‘Global Internet Freedom and the Rule of Law, Part II‘ last week. Wary corporate invitees stayed away in droves, with the notable exception of Google who sent VP Nicole Wong.

    Erica Newland of CDT reports:

    Ms. Wong and fellow witnesses Rebecca MacKinnon, Visiting Fellow at Princeton University’s Center for Information Technology Policy, and Omid Mermarian, an Iranian blogger now living in San Francisco, all mentioned US trade policy as a cornerstone in the battle against censorship. Ms. MacKinnon voiced concern over outdated laws that “make it difficult for US Internet companies to legally serve activists from sanctioned countries like Iran, Syria, and Zimbabwe.”

    This analysis was echoed by Mr. Mermarian, who reported that current interpretations of sanctions have impeded the ability of Iranians to access the Internet and publish content online. On the other hand, said Ms. MacKinnon, it should not be so easy for U.S. companies to provide censorship and surveillance technology to regimes that consistently use this technology to suppress peaceful speech. Ms. Wong laid out a thoughtful framework for how a responsible company can proceed – and succeed – in international environments that threaten the ideal of an open and free Internet. She argued that “Internet censorship should be part of our trade agenda, because it has serious economic implications,” disfavoring international companies and limiting consumers’ choices. The Google Vice President’s strong statement on this issue prompted post-hearing questions about whether or not US trade representatives will challenge China’s censorship practices at the World Trade Organization. 

    But while there seemed to be general consensus on the need to reevaluate US trade policies, statements by the senators also highlighted the competing interests that the US government is seeking to balance in this space. Senator Al Franken, for example, posed a question about the inclusion of copyright enforcement provisions in trade agreements; he seemed unaware of the potential for copyright provisions in US trade agreements to lead to overbroad copyright enforcement without careful balancing of speech concerns that can have a significant collateral impact on free expression. Meanwhile, Senator Durbin discussed child pornography and threats to national security, claiming that “most of us would approve of an Internet company cooperating with the government” in these cases. Neither senator seemed to recognize that such broad statements about cooperation between the US government and US companies often ricochet throughout the world and into the palms of countries like Iran and China, where the exigencies of “national security” and “pornography” are often used as pretenses for censorship. American policymakers must be mindful of how their proposals, however well motivated, are perceived abroad.

    via Senate Hearing on Global Internet Freedom: A Clarion Call for Corporate Responsibility | Center for Democracy & Technology.

  • joly 3:46 pm on 02/01/2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , free speech,   

    Fordham Symposium: Hate Versus Democracy on the Internet 3/26/10 

    Fourth Law and Information Society Symposium: Hate Versus Democracy on the Internet

    Date: 03.26.10 Fri
    Time: 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
    Location: Pope Auditorium, Fordham Law School
    113 West 60th Street
    New York, NY
    Sponsor: Center on Law & Information Policy

    From political blogs to the exposure of rights abuses, the Internet advances communication and the free flow of information that is at the heart of democracy. Yet, from Holocaust deniers to terrorist organizers, the Internet also serves as an enabler for extremists promoting hate, violence and the corrosion of democratic values. This conference will explore the legal and policy dimensions of the Internet’s dual impact.

    The conference is free and open to the public. 6 Non-Transitional, Professional Practice NYS CLE Credits are available for $90 ($50 for Fordham Law alumni & public interest attorneys). If you desire CLE credit please register online and complete and submit a copy of the PDF registration form provided.

    Register/ agenda: here

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