Global Policy Weekly – March 2, 2012

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.

FREE EXPRESSION

CHINA: a new real name registration policy for microblogging services similar to Twitter will take effect in mainland China on March 16, 2012. Charles Chao, CEO of Sina, the parent company to Sina Weibo microblogging platform, said in a public statement that the policy could have a “dramatic effect” on speech in China.

PAKISTAN: last week, Pakistan’s Telecommunications Authority issued an open request calling on technology experts to propose a plan for building a nationwide Internet filtering system. The request stipulated that the filtering system must be operable at the national level, and have the capacity to block 50 million URLs at a time. Digital rights advocates are working to raise awareness about the implications of this project in Pakistan, the US, and worldwide

INTERNET OPENNESS

EU: the European Commission said this week that under the EU’s new ‘right to be forgotten’ law, social networking sites such as Facebook will not be made to delete all information about individuals upon their request. According to ZDNet, “[Platforms] would not have to delete information that users elect only to enable their ‘friends’ on the sites to access. The processing of that data would be outside the scope of the draft new data protection laws.

ITU: International Telecommunication Union representatives met in Geneva on February 27 to begin a diplomatic process through which they will update their current treaty on global telecommunications and interoperability, which was written in 1988. Member states may seek to impose new rules related to Internet infrastructure and policy. A February 21 op-ed in the Wall Street Journal outlines the potential pitfalls of the process.

PORTUGAL: lawmakers have proposed a bill of law that would tighten restrictions related to copyright. “PL118 proposes new levies on the sale of any equipment or software capable of recording, copying or storing analogue or digital content. The aim is to guarantee revenue for holders of intellectual property rights which constitutes ‘fair and reasonable compensation for the damages caused by the social practice of private copying.’” More at Global Voices.
 
EU: The European Commission, responding to continent-wide protests by citizens and members of parliament, is suspending its ACTA-ratification efforts and is referring the issue to the European Court of Justice for an opinion on whether or not the treaty would violate fundamental EU rights. Policy analysis by N Squared Consulting here. Tyson Barker writes on the implications of this decision, and of mass public outcry on ACTA in The Atlantic.

PRIVACY

GERMANY: the federal constitutional court ruled this week that provisions allowing law enforcement authorities to request PIN numbers or personal keys without proving a legal basis for the request are unconstitutional. The court decision held that “because law enforcement authorities do not require this type of data to carry out their duties, the current provisions in telecommunications law allowing these requests are not “proportionate” and thus violate the constitutional right to informational self-determination.” 
 
EU: Commissioner Vivian Reding spoke this week on Google’s new privacy policy. Reding stated that the policy could run afoul of EU law. “[The policy] is not in accordance with the law on transparency and it utilises the data of private persons in order to hand it over to third parties, which is not what the users have agreed to. […] “Protection of personal data is a basic rule of the European Union. It is inscribed in the treaties. It is not an if, it is a must,” she said.
 
OECD: the OECD Council has adopted a Recommendation on the Protection of Children Online. The Council recommends that, “[policies] to protect children online should not undermine the framework conditions that enable the Internet to operate as a global open platform for communication, innovation, economic growth, and social progress.”  The Council aims to “[e]ncourage the development and adoption of technologies for the protection of children online that respect the rights of children and the freedom of other Internet users. This could include: i)   Fostering further research on privacy protective, interoperable and user friendly technical measures, including parental controls and age verification systems.”

SECURITY AND SURVEILLANCE

CANADA: lawmakers have opted to postpone proposed online surveillance legislation that would allow law enforcement officials to more easily obtain individuals’ personal data online. Large public demonstrations against the bill may have prompted the decision. The legislation includes a provision that would require ISPs to provide officials with customer data without a warrant. More at Deeplinks.

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