Internet Restrictions: How Much Should We Worry About Our Freedom of Information? by Marianne Mollmann, Senior Policy Advisor, Amnesty International
Posted in: Censorship at 22/05/2012 14:03
Last week, several video-sharing websites were blocked by the two main Internet service providers in India in response to a court order related to movie piracy. The company that had pushed for the court intervention said it hadn't intended such a blanket block. The Internet service providers said they merely did as told. The internet activist group Anonymous said it would shut down the website of the Indian Supreme Court in retaliation.
Meanwhile, over three million individuals had their right to exchange information and ideas summarily suspended.
India is not the only modern democracy where government institutions are pushing (and are being pushed) to facilitate blanket restrictions on internet use and flow of information to the detriment of human rights. In January this year, the U.S. Congress considered bills that would have encouraged internet service providers to pre-emptively block sites that may be used by some individuals to share pirated content, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act (PIPA). And the European Union is currently debating whether to sign onto an international treaty containing similar provisions: the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA).