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.
Brazil: In September of 2011, owners of the newspaper Folha de Sao Paolo [Broadsheet of Sao Paolo] filed suit against a satirical blog that parodies the newspaper and goes by the name Falha de Sao Paolo [Failure of Sao Paolo]. The newspaper won a court injunction to take down the parodical blog, but in late March of this year, the blog's editors filed a countersuit against the newspaper. Global Voices covers various reactions from the Brazilian blogosphere and legal community as the court date approaches.
Kuwait: Kuwait's Minister of Information recently announced government plans to propose content regulations that would affect users of social media platforms such as Twitter. According to IBT, the Ministry's proposal seeks to control content in order to mitigate conflict between Sunni and Shi'ite groups. Tunisia: Freedom of expression advocates gathered in Tunisia last week for a conference that marked UNESCO World Press Freedom Day on May 3. The conference brought together government actors, civil society organizations, and private sector groups under the theme, “New Voices: Media Freedom Helping to Transform Societies.”
Netherlands: The Dutch senate unanimously voted in favor of a new telecom law that aims to ensure net neutrality. The law makes The Netherlands the world's second country to pass such a law, after Chile. One controversial exception to the law allows customers to request that their ISP filter content deemed offensive on ideological and/or religious grounds. An amendment to remove this exception has been proposed and will come up for a vote on May 15. CDT's Andrew McDiarmid wrote a brief analysis of the bill last year when it moved to the Senate. More coverage from Dutch digital rights group Bits of Freedom, an active advocate for the law.
USTR: The US Trade Representative is currently working to promote the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, a free trade agreement with stipulations similar to ACTA regarding counterfeiting and online copyright. The agreement would be made with several countries in the global south, including Australia, Chile, Malaysia, and Vietnam. Consumer advocacy group Public Citizen recently released this video summarizing the risks that the TPP may carry for signatories. Public Knowledge has created an information page about the TPP.
USTR: A report released by the US Trade Representative [pdf] this week placed 13 countries, including Russia, India, China, and Canada, on the US "priority watch" list for copyright infringement. Countries on the watch list demonstrate "particular problems…with respect to [intellectual property rights] protection, enforcement, or market access for persons relying on [intellectual property rights]."The report explicitly addresses online copyright infringement as a growing problem with these trading partners.
GNI: Last week, Facebook acquired "observer" status with the Global Network Initiative, a decision that will allow the company to participate in GNI meetings and conference calls without having to undergo human rights impact assessments that full membership for companies entails. A company can maintain observer status in the GNI for up to twelve months, at which point it must either pursue full membership, or lose its status with the group. Politico has additional coverage of reactions from GNI members and industry leaders.
Australia: Australia's government will soon introduce a bill in parliament proposing reforms to the country's privacy laws. The reforms will aim to tighten regulations on use of personal data for marketing purposes, and for credit reporting. They will also reportedly grant greater powers to Australia's Privacy Commissioner.
EU: Justice Commissioner Viviane Redding addressed European Data Protection authorities at their spring conference last week, praising them in their role as enforcers of EU data protection regulations. The Data Protection Commissioners made a resolution at the end of the conference in which they expressed "general satisfaction" with progress being made in data protection by bodies such as the EU, the Council of Europe, and the OECD.
SECURITY AND SURVEILLANCE
UK: In a speech this week, Queen Elizabeth announced changes that will be made to the Communications Capabilities Development Programme, a controversial bill of law that would increase law enforcement and government authorities' capacity to access citizens' personal data online. The changes will allow for greater parliamentary scrutiny of the bill, which will soon be released for public review. Open Rights Group UK describes the risks that the bill poses for civil liberties.
Subscribe to Global Policy Weekly by clicking this RSS icon.