It seems every time we turn around there is another new article about government bodies attempting to impose Internet censorship, threats to our online anonymity or online privacy concerns. Today’s headlines are no different.
The Snooper’s Charter
Opponents of the "Snooper’s Charter" received a minor victory. The proposed UK Draft Communications Bill published on June 14th by the Joint Parliamentary Committee received approximately 19,000 emails during its consultation period.
Of the 19,000 emails, not one single email was in favor of the proposed bill. There was not a single one that even agreed with the premise of the bill. Several civil liberty advocacy groups in the UK encouraged people to email their protests in opposition to the bill.
Opponents state that the Bill would grant powers to the Home Secretary, or other cabinet minister to order the gathering and retaining of any "communications data" by "telecommunications operators."
The bill goes on to state that the data would be held for 12 months and that access to this data will be safeguarded and only accessible by a "designated senior officer."
Of paramount concern to opponent is the fact that the wording of bill has been left seemingly intentionally vague. The broad definitions of the terms "communications data" and &telecommunications operators" could cover anything from traditional mail to any activity on the internet.
The implications of this ability to collect and retain all of your online activities means that this data can and will be held and examined for scrutiny and usage.
The Innocence of Muslims – Aftermath
In response to the recent YouTube video, "The Innocence of Muslims" and the resulting public fervor and the ensuing violence that occurred, officials in Saudi Arabia propose global Internet regulations and censorship. Saudi officials state that there is a "crying need for international collaboration to address ‘freedom of expression’ which clearly disregards public order."
During the violence, Google did restrict access to the 14 minute clip from YouTube, but resisted pressure from the White House and others to remove it.The Saudi government has gone on to tell the World Telecommunications Policy Forum (a UN body) that the incident was an "obvious example" of the need for greater international cooperation to restrict online content.
"Any reasonable person would know that this film would foment violence and, indeed, many innocent persons have died and been injured with this film as a root cause," the Saudi submission said.