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Global Policy Weekly – April 9, 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.

Russia: Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliev has announced plans to open special centers throughout the country that will assess hate speech and extremism in on and offline media. Nurgaliev mentioned that the centers would include sites like Facebook and YouTube in their analyses. Free speech advocates in Russia have condemned the plan as one that will lead to an increase in political censorship and persecution of bloggers in the country.
Malaysia: Parliament will soon consider amending Malaysia’s 1984 Printing Presses and Publications Act, which governs licensing and other regulations for print media, to extend to online media. The law includes a provision allowing the country’s Home Ministry to ban publications that it deems “undesirable.” See Global Voices’ coverage of Malaysian bloggers who are speaking out against the impending amendments.
Egypt: An Egyptian court has ordered the government to ban pornographic content on the Internet in order to “protect society and its values.” This echoes current efforts in Egypt’s Parliament to pass similar legislation. RT reports that the court stated that “the decision could not be considered within the frame of freedom of expression because the material shown on the websites ‘harms the country’s higher interests and its national and social security.'”
EU: This week, the European Commission agreed on the legal submission that it will put before the European Court of Justice concerning the controversial Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). Meanwhile, the European Parliament’s International Trade Committee has voted to reject the referral of the legislation to the Court, saying that ACTA should be brought to a vote in the EP immediately. Committee members argue that putting the legislation before the court will delay the process, buying ACTA supporters more time to promote the legislation.
UK: A bi-partisan committee in England’s Parliament, convened by PM David Cameron, is urging lawmakers to consider legislation that would call on search engines to take proactive steps in monitoring and potentially filtering their search results. Supporters of the proposal say that these measures would help law enforcement authorities to better monitor and target national security threats.
UK: Pending in England’s Parliament is the Online Safety Bill, which would require ISPs to block pornographic content unless customers affirm that they want to access such material. Under the proposed legislation, subscribers over 18 would need to actively “opt-in” in order for ISPs to make such content accessible on their networks. The legislation would also require ISPs to develop age-verification mechanisms, a stipulation that could lead to further content restrictions for minors.
Colombia: Proposed Law 201, targeted at online copyright infringement and similar to the ill-fated Lleras law, is being fast-tracked through Colombia’s Congress, presumably in preparation for Barack Obama’s visit to Colombia on April 14. Like the Lleras law, PL 201 attempts to conform to obligations in Colombia’s free trade agreement with the US.
EU: Article 29 Working Party issued an opinion on the European Commission’s reform proposals for the data protection law. The opinion emphasized the Working Party’s position that “IP addresses and cookies relate to identifiable persona and should therefore be considered ‘personal data’ in most cases.” Summary at Hunton & Williams blog.

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