CDT's Global Policy Weekly highlights the latest Internet policy developments and proposals from around the world, compiled by CDT's Global Internet Freedom Project.
Pakistan: Civil society actors in Pakistan, including digital rights group Bolo Bhi, have moved a court to order Pakistan's Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to end "arbitrary" acts of online censorship, and to block online content only after it has undergone judicial review. This follows the PTA's February request for proposals for a nationwide filtering system, one that has since been retracted, possibly in response to civil society opposition to the proposal. Advocates argue that pushing authorities to put all online censorship under judicial review will eliminate the need for such a filtering system.
British Parliament members released a proposal
this week calling on Internet Service Providers to take greater steps to limit minors' access to pornography and other "inappropriate" online material by filtering such content at the network level and requiring users wishing to view adult content to opt out of this setting. The proposal urges the government to "consider the merits of a new regulatory structure for online content, with one regulator given a lead role in the oversight and monitoring of internet content and in improving the dissemination of existing internet safety education materials and resources such as ParentPort
." ISPs and the Internet Service Providers' Association trade group say the proposal is untenable and misguided
, pointing to the fact that such restrictions could be easily circumvented, and the various tools already available that allow parents to filter and monitor their children's Internet use at the end-user level.
in The Wall Street Journal
this week discusses the upcoming World Conference on International Telecommunications, where the UN's telecommunications standards body, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU
), will consider various states' proposals on implementing regulatory controls over the Internet. CDT issued a report
outlining the threat that such controls could present for Internet openness and calling on civil society actors to make their voices heard at the conference.
: The OpenNet Intiative
, a collaborative research initiative on Internet filtering around the world with partners at the Berkman
Center, the Citizen Lab, and SecDev
Group, released its 2011 Year in Review
report this week. Highlighting cases in East Asia, Russia, and the MENA region, the report covers large-scale filtering and surveillance by governments, as well as the manufacture and sale of filtering and surveillance equipments
SECURITY AND SURVEILLANCE
Mexico: Lawmakers voted last week
to reform electronic surveillance laws in order to broaden law enforcement's power to compel mobile service providers to disclose customers' geolocational
data in real time. The motion passed nearly unanimously. Supporters of the law argue that such powers are vital to combating drug violence in the country.
: Members of the European Parliament voted heavily in favor of a resolution
that will call upon the European Commission to draft new rules
that will improve mechanisms for monitoring EU exports of technologies that can be used to block content and block or monitor communications. This is part of a regional effort to establish greater structures of accountability for companies that sell such technologies to repressive governments. The rules will be announced and voted on in 2013.
President Obama issued an Executive Order
this week targeting the sale of surveillance and filtering technologies to the Syrian and Iranian governments. The Order places new sanctions on companies or entities that sell technologies that present an immediate, clear threat to human rights to these governments. The Order takes a nuanced approach to such restrictions, as it seeks to limit government access to certain technologies, while acknowledging the communications needs of citizens and activists within these countries. See CDT's blog post
about the Order.
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