“A year after the Internet helped fuel the Arab Spring uprisings, the role cyberspace plays in launching revolutions is being threatened by proposed changes to a United Nations telecommunications treaty that could allow countries to clamp down on the free flow of information,” Richard Lardner reports for The Associated Press.
“For months, dozens of countries have been meeting behind closed doors to debate changes to the 24-year-old treaty,” Lardner reports. “Russia, for example, has proposed language that requires member states to ensure the public has unrestricted access and use of international telecommunication services, ‘except in cases where international telecommunication services are used for the purpose of interfering in the internal affairs or undermining the sovereignty, national security, territorial integrity and public safety of other states, or to divulge information of a sensitive nature,’ according to a May 3 U.N. document that details the various proposals for amending the treaty.”
Lardner reports, “The wording of this provision could allow a country to cite a U.N. treaty as the basis for repressing political opposition. The provision also appears to contradict Article 19 of the U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which says people shall have the right to access information “through any media and regardless of frontiers… A senior U.N. official said Friday the amended treaty will not create any barriers to information online, but acknowledged that the Russian proposal has not yet been rejected.”
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The Net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it. – John Gilmore