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Global Policy Weekly – July 13, 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: This week the Duma voted unanimously in favor of a bill that will increase government control over online content. Said to be designed with the objective of combating child pornography, drug abuse, and teen suicide, the bill would establish a national blacklist for sites that promote such activities. Other kinds of sites could be added to the list by court order. Wikipedia Russia and LiveJournal, both extremely popular sites in Russia, went dark in protest of the bill.
Brazil: This week lawmakers in Brazil reviewed the Civil Framework for the Internet (Marco Civil da Internet), a bill that would provide strong protections for freedom of expression, access to information, privacy, and Internet neutrality. Some members of congress questioned the constitutionality of the bill’s net neutrality provisions, but an amendment was introduced and approved that ameliorates these concerns. The bill will be brought to a vote in early August.
EU: The European Parliament voted against ACTA by an overwhelming margin of 478 to 39, with 165 members abstaining. The European Commission remains committed to seeking a legal opinion on the treaty from the European Court of Justice later this summer.
Mexico: On July 11, Mexico’s Ambassador to Japan signed ACTA, despite strong opposition among lawmakers in the country. Although Mexico’s Senate rejected the treaty because of its effects on access to information, outgoing president Felipe Calderon reportedly has remained confident that Congress will ultimately ratify the measure. 
TPP: Advocacy groups including Public Citizen are working to raise awareness about the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP), a multinational trade agreement that aims to protect copyright and patent holders, but could threaten individuals’ rights to freedom of information and access to medicines. In a petition signed by 90,000 individuals and submitted to the USTR last week, advocates called for such provisions to be dropped from the agreement. 
UN: The United National Human Rights Council voted last week to approve a non-binding resolution on the protection of human rights on the Internet. The resolution affirms that “the same rights that people have offline must also be protected online, in particular freedom of expression, which is applicable regardless of frontiers and through any media of one’s choice.” 
Uzbekistan: The recent launch of YouFace, an Uzbek social networking platform that mimics the Facebook model, has raised some concern among Uzbek Internet users. Security experts have pointed to weak privacy protections on the site, and have posited that users may log in to the site thinking that it is Facebook, and thus unknowingly allow site operators to access their Facebook profiles.
Germany: A law approved in German parliament last month would allow government registries to sell citizens’ personal information to private companies with opt-out consent from citizens. Citizens would have to opt-out of this procedure in order to protect the privacy of their personal information. In the wake of civil society protests of the law, policymakers are considering making pro-privacy amendments to the law.
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