Double Standards! The U.S. on Domestic vs. Global Internet Policy

Just this month, the United States signed on to a Human Rights Council statement praising freedom of expression on the Internet, along with forty other countries across the world. The purpose of the statement is to emphasize how integral modern-day communications technologies are for the promotion of basic human rights. You would naturally expect the United States, leader of the free world, to be a signatory — but can the recent slew of restrictive legislation being pushed through Congress allow the U.S. to support a globally open Internet in good faith??
 
Let’s take a look at the inconsistencies:
  • The HRC statement says: “We consider Government-initiated closing down of the Internet, or major parts thereof, for purposes of suppressing free speech, to be in violation of freedom of expression. In addition, Governments should not mandate a more restrictive standard for intermediaries than is the case with traditional media regarding freedom of expression or hold intermediaries liable for content that they transmit or disseminate.”
  • Yet, Senate Bill 978 — the “Ten Strikes Bill” — would make unlicensed online streaming (by corporations or individual Internet users) a felony punishable by 5 years in prison.

  • The HRC statement continues: “All users, including persons with disabilities, should have greatest possible access to Internet-based content, applications and services, whether or not they are offered free of charge. In this context, network neutrality and openness are important objectives. Cutting off users from access to the Internet is generally not a proportionate sanction.
  • Yet, Senate Bill 968 — the PROTECT IP Act or “Internet Blacklist Bill” — would give the government the power to force Internet service providers, search engines, and other “information location tools” to block users' access to sites that have been accused of copyright infringement.
  • HRC: “For us, one principle is very basic: The same rights that people have offline – freedom of expression, including the freedom to seek information, freedom of assembly and association, amongst others – must also be protected online.”
  • But the Obama administration is facilitating a “three strikes” style deal between Internet Service Providers and intellectual property rights holders to reduce bandwidth and restrict web access to certain sites for users who have been accused of copyright infringement.

If you can’t stand for such hypocrisy on the part of the US government, sign our petitions below:

You can read the full text of the HRC statement here, as well as the UN report on pro-Internet freedom being praised here.

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PIRATE SCHOOL.

It's getting even crazier.

Last night Demand Progress spilled the beans: Comcast, AT&T and Verizon, are planing an Anti-Neutrality policy called the “THREE STRIKES PLAN”. These Internet service providers would restrict web access for users accused of infringement. Check out our link for an overview of the policy and more info.

FIGHT THE AT&T/ COMCAST “THREE STRIKES” CENSORSHIP DEAL.

The MPAA and RIAA have convinced companies like Comcast, AT&T, and others to voluntarily create a “Three Strikes” policy. This means your Internet service provider could respond to online file sharing with censorship tools like the ones outlined on our website.

CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE AND TO EMAIL THE HEAD HONCHOS AT AT&T AND COMCAST

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Adios Bleeding Heartland

The Department of Homeland Security has decided to start seizing websites for “copyright infringement”.

See example here: http://torrent-finder.com/

Thus far there are 76 websites reported seized under U.S. Copyright Law.  Apparently this was done under the auspices of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act?

Our favorite Iowa senator, Chuck Grassley just voted a newer broader reaching bill, Combatting Online Infringements and Counterfeits Act (COICA) out of the Judiciary Committee.  

In the past, Internet sites deemed guilty under DMCA were allowed to remove the offending portion of the website in question until the issue could be resolved. Apparently now the Feds are simply seizing the entire Domain.

Opponents to COICA seem to believe that if enacted as written, search robots could be used to find specific words and terms on websites, and then automatic seizure would take effect.  I have not had the opportunity to review the study bill in question, so further research is needed to verify or reject these claims.

Any BH readers with a sense of this issue?

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