Pirate Party Salutes UN For Recognising Internet As Fundamental Right

On May 16 a special report was made to the United Nations (UN) General Assembly by the the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, Frank La Rue.[1]

“The Pirate Party Australia supports the UN Special Rapporteur’s report into the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression. It is high time that the rights of individuals were taken into account in the online world. The report is a thorough investigation into the limitations being imposed by many nations onto the free expression of their citizens,” said Pirate Party Acting Secretary Simon Frew.

“Notably, Mr La Rue declared access to the Internet a fundamental right. Countries like France, New Zealand and Britain, which have passed ‘3 Strikes’ laws are condemned for passing draconian laws that disconnect people after they have been reported for file sharing. What is especially worrying is that this bypasses due process and relies on the copyright holders word that something they own the rights to has been illegally shared. Similar measures have been campaigned for by the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT) here. The rule of law should never be abandoned to protect failing business models, no matter how much money movie studios and record labels donate to major political parties around the world.” he said.

“Governments too readily use the new platform to institute wholesale monitoring of their citizens, such as the data retention regime, part of the EU Cybercrime Convention which is currently under consideration in Australia by the Gillard government.” Mr Frew continued. “This report sheds light on this and pursues an agenda of mirroring the same expectations of privacy that is expected in the real world.”

“Further, we support calls for greater freedom of speech. This is not just criticising oppressive regimes, where the internet has been completely switched off during times of unrest, but is also directed at western defamation laws such as the British ‘Super Injunction’ which has been widely discredited through the whole Ryan Giggs affair,” Mr Frew said.

“This report stands in stark contrast with the agenda being pursued by the likes of Sarkozy at the eG8, which was intent of making the internet safe for the old media and government spindoctors, by attacking the rights of citizens online,” he concluded.

[1] http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrcouncil/docs/17session/A.HRC.17.27_en.pdf