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Global Policy Weekly – December 16, 2011

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. Subscribe to Global Policy Weekly by clicking the RSS icon on the right.


Russia: Threats to social networks, online anonymity as protests continue
Post-election protests continued this week in Russia. Several protest-focused websites have undergone DDoS attacks, and government authorities have ordered the social network Vkontakte to block pages used by protesters. The country’s Interior Minister has also suggested banning online anonymity, reasoning that “social networks, along with advantages, often bring a potential threat to the foundations of society.” Global Voices has launched a special page dedicated to protest coverage.

IndiaCommunications Minister denies asking search intermediaries to pre-screen online content
News outlets reported last week that government officials in India had asked Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, and Facebook to develop a system for pre-screening content before it appears online, with the goal of censoring defamatory and degrading speech. India’s Communications Minister has since denied these allegations, explaining that the government asked companies to propose a mechanism for filtering online content after it is posted. Thorough discussion on PC World.

ThailandUN joins global opposition to Thailand’s lèse majesté
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has denounced Thailand’s lese majesté law, which prohibits speech seen as degrading or offensive to the king. A spokesperson for the High Commissioner said, “guidelines should be issued to the police and public prosecutors to stop arresting and charging individuals under these vaguely worded laws.”

Canada: BC court hearing on hate speech
At an upcoming hearing in British Columbia, advocates will debate whether or not the country’s Human Rights Commission should retain its jurisdiction to investigate online hate speech.



Malaysia: Parliament may vote to regulate tech workers
The Computing Professional Bill, still in draft form, would require Malaysia’s IT workers to register with a government authority. The Bill would establish a Board of Computing Professionals, a federal trade agency that would set professional standards for IT workers. A spokesperson for the Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovation said that “BCP’s mission is to elevate the standing, visibility and recognition of computing professionals to ensure that computing services are in compliance with appropriate legislation and policies.”

EU: Regulators back VoIP companies
Voice over IP companies recently issued a complaint alleging that telecommunications providers interfere with the functionality of their services. EU ministers have vowed to investigate the claims in an effort to protect VoIP companies’ interests.

UN: UN, IMF, and others oppose changes in top-level domain naming system at ICANN
In a letter to ICANN, lawyers for the intergovernmental organizations wrote that their concerns “relate to the increased potential for the misleading registration and use of IGO names and acronyms in the domain name system under ICANN’s significant expansion plans.”



EUCritics respond to leaked draft of Data Protection Regulation
Last week, a draft general privacy regulation meant to harmonize and update Europe’s data protection framework was widely leaked. The regulation is meant to create a new paradigm, whereby a single consumer privacy law governs Europe rather than 30 different laws that all accord with a single, less specific, directive. Privacy International has posted a detailed analysis of the leaked document. Other reactions can be found at Forbes, and The Register.



EU: Neelie Kroes proposes revisions to open data policy
Kroes, the EU digital agenda commissioner, has called for a revision to the 2003 directive on reuse of public information that would make public data more easily and more cheaply accessible, a move that would benefit web and app developers. “I am proud to present an Open Data package that can drastically increase the possibilities for those web entrepreneurs; the opportunities of businesses, journalists, academics and all citizens, in fact, to generate new and rich content,” Kroes said. More from The Register here.

EU: Neelies Kroes announces EU plan to distribute “Internet survival packs” to human rights activists
According to PC World, the packs will include, “currently available technology as well as potential new software aimed specifically at allowing activists to use the Internet to get their message across while at the same time remaining safe from persecution.”

Creative Commons to update copyright license suite
Creative Commons has announced that they will release version 4.0 of their licensing suite this Spring. the organization has made an open call for proposals and concerns; the submission period begins now and will continue through mid-February 2012.

OECD: Internet policy plan needs careful interpretation
CDT President Leslie Harris blogs about the OECD’s recent adoption of the Communique on Principles for Internet Policy Making.