Monday, June 6, 2011

How Timely!!

From The Atlantic Wire

The U.N. Declares Internet Access a Human Right

With the media still bursting at the seems with reports of governments instituting various levels of control and restriction on the internet, the UN has come out and officially declared internet access a human right.

In an attempt to put a stop to virtual censorship, the UN has created a new position, held by Frank La Rue, designed to be an official whistle-blower in support of the individual's right to free and open access to the internet. In a report released to the General Assembly last Friday, La Rue mentioned the use of the internet in the Arab revolutions this past spring as one of the proofs of the internet as "an indispensable tool for realizing a range of human rights, combating inequality, and accelerating development and human progress."

Now, the question here is, who is going to give a damn? With the Obama administration taking an increasingly hard-lined stance against organizations supporting transparency in government actions, and continued reports of Chinese bloggers and online political activists disappearing in the night, that's two of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council that are at odds with this new declaration. I'm sure there are similar problems in France, the UK and Russia, but it's Monday morning and I'm too tired to research that deeply right now. And beyond the members of the Security Council, Syria is now in a battle to cut off its citizens' access to the internet, fighting international hacker groups attempting to keep the connection alive.

So my question is this. What happens if these countries continue to deny their people what the UN has now officially described as a basic human right? Will there be actual repercussions for refusing to comply? Or will this just be another case of nations playing lip service to the UN and continuing to go on their merry way?

Only time will tell, I suppose.

Enjoy the week ahead of you, friends. Hope it's a good one.

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