UN Experts Called “Three-Strikes” a Violation of Basic Right

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Old 08-Jun-2011
Post UN Experts Called “Three-Strikes” a Violation of Basic Right

Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression for the United Nations, Frank La Rue, has submitted a report saying that disconnecting Internet subscribers, despite of the justification provided, is actually an infringement of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, since it limits the type of media people can legitimately use to express themselves.

Now it seems that the United Kingdom and France have to explain their copyright laws to the UN Special Rapporteur Frank La Rue, who has already submitted a report to the Human Rights Council, claiming that disconnection from the worldwide web is a violation of fundamental rights just because it illicitly restricts the type of media people may use to express themselves.

The report presented by the expert explored methods to promote and protect the right of freedom and expression, especially “key trends and challenges to the right of all people to obtain data and ideas through the web.

The report views the unique nature of the Internet as a tool for people to exercise their right to freedom of opinion and expression, as well as some other human rights, plus as a way to promote the progress of entire society. Considering this, La Rue is alarmed by suggestions to disconnect users from the web for copyright infringement, saying that people should never have their access to the web terminated for any reason, which includes copyright law violation. Countries accepting such methods are violating the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Although many countries are implementing the means to block and filter specific online content, some of them have already taken measures to cut off access to the web entirely, which is considered disproportionate and a violation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The latter specifies that every individual has the right to freedom of expression in any type of media, which makes it impossible for the governments to dictate what types of media people can use to express themselves. Indeed, it’s hard to argue with the report: the web is not just about e-mail and YouTube, it also provides people with the latest news, politics, business, art, history, educational materials, and so on.

The report should alarm France and the United Kingdom, which have already implemented a “three-strikes” regime, regardless of the fact that neither country has managed to disconnect at least one Internet user for copyright infringement.

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