Global Policy Weekly – October 2, 2013
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.
Sudan lost connection to the Internet for a period of nearly 24 hours in what Renesys is calling the largest national disruption since Egypt’s Internet shutdown in 2011. Sudan connects to the internet through three providers: Sudatel, Sudanese Mobile, and Canar Telecom. The company noted that Canar’s outage timeline differed from the other two gateways, indicating that the blackout was due to a coordinated effort and not a large-scale technical failure. The shutdown occurred during a period of significant unrest in Sudan, leading to speculation that the government was behind the shutdown. Clashes following fuel subsidy cuts have have left at least 29 people dead and many more injured.
Peru’s National Congress passed a cybercrime bill through a process that involved no public review. Congress was scheduled to debate a cybercrime initiative called “Ley Beingolea,” but after a short discussion on the floor, members went into recess and came back with a very different bill. Congress passed this heavily edited revision. Access reports that the new text raises serious human rights concerns and encourages advocates to speak out before the bill is signed into law.
The government of Spain approved a new anti-piracy measure with harsher penalties for those who make money by linking to copyright-infringing online content. The amendment to the penal code allows for up to six years imprisonment for people who profit, directly or indirectly, from the illegal distribution of copyrighted material. The measure does not specifically target peer-to-peer file sharing sites, search engines, or people who use link-hosting sites. Spain had passed an anti-piracy law in 2011, but the country has faced continued pressure from the United States to crack down on copyright violations.
India’s Supreme Court gave an interim ruling that the government may not require citizens to use a biometric identification system to collect government subsidies. The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIAI) has been moving to implement the Aadhaar number, a twelve digit unique identifier tied to biometric information, for a range of services. While the program is supposed to be voluntary, some government programs want to make Aadhaar registration a prerequisite for accessing services. Critics raise alarm that mandatory fingerprinting and iris scans are an invasion of citizens’ privacy.
SECURITY AND SURVEILLANCE
CDT’s Jens-Henrik Jeppesen and Greg Nojeim testified jointly before the European Parliament LIBE Committee Inquiry regarding the electronic mass surveillance of EU citizens. Specifically, CDT’s testimony addresses the evolving nature of the "Golden Age of Surveillance" in the United States, the European Union, and an increasing amount of countries in the world. The testimony calls for a trans-Atlantic process to develop criteria for surveillance to ensure that human rights to privacy are respected and that open, free nature of the Internet is protected.
During the 24th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, a coalition of civil society groups including CDT urged countries to comply with human rights law and protect user privacy when conducting surveillance. At a side event on privacy the group presented a framework, called "International Principles on the Application of Human Rights to Communications Surveillance," to further the discussion. 260 organizations have signed on. Text of the principles is available at: http://necessaryandproportionate.org.
The African Internet Governance Forum was held on November 23-26 in Nairobi, Kenya. CDT’s Matthew Shears attended, co-hosting a pre-event the Association for Progressive Communications and the Nepad Agency of the African Union Commission on “Building a roadmap for sustainable, inclusive internet and ICT policy processes in Africa.” Shears also participated in a panel on frameworks for spam, hacking, and cyber-crime. Stay tuned for a blog post detailing the event.