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.
Israel/Palestine: UN Special Rapporteur Frank La Rue has condemned Internet filtering practices undertaken by both the Israeli government and by Palestinian authorities in the West Bank. La Rue pointed to the chilling effects of these practices on all forms of media, and urged both countries to uphold the universal human right to freedom of expression.
Bahrain: Bahraini officials recently announced plans to introduce new legislation that would outlaw the “misuse” of social media, suggesting that social media users and online activists were triggering threats to national security and public unrest by spreading misinformation online.
India: A group of Internet service providers in India have successfully challenged a “John Doe” ordering them to prevent users from sharing a film entitled Dhammu. To comply with the order, ISPs felt they had little choice but to block entire filesharing sites, including Torrentz.eu, The Pirate Bay and Vimeo. The Madras High Court ruled in favor of the ISPs’ argument that blocking entire sites prevented public access to legitimate files.
ITU: Secretary General of the ITU Dr. Hamadoun Toure delivered a speech to ITU membership this week addressing the renegotiation of the ITU’s underlying treaty, which will take place this December. Toure directly addressed concerns regarding proposals to add Internet-related regulatory recommendations to the treaty. Toure also referenced civil society grievances concerning the lack of transparency in the ITU process and asked member states to consider allowing some degree of public access to process documents.
Japan: Lawmakers in Japan have amended the nation’s copyright legislation to criminalize the act of downloading copyrighted works. When the amendment takes effect in October, violators who knowingly engage in such practices will be subject to fines of up to $25,000 or two years of jail time. Reports have not indicated how a suspected violator’s knowledge of copyright infringement will be determined.
EU: The International Trade Committee of the EU voted to reject ACTA on Thursday, moving the proposed trade agreement even closer to what increasingly appears to be a certain defeat. ACTA cannot enter force in the EU until at least six signatories have ratified the treaty. Thus far, no signatories have done so.
Google: Google’s transparency report for July – December of 2011, released this week, showed a dramatic increase in government requests for content removal online. The report indicates that a diverse range of governments have made such requests. Governments appearing on the report for the first time include Bolivia, Jordan, and Ukraine.