UN: disconnecting file sharers violates human rights

By Emil · 38 replies
Jun 4, 2011
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  1. The UN believes anti-filesharing provisions such as those outlined in France and the UK are disproportionate and should be repealed. In fact, disconnecting Internet users for sharing content from the…

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  2. treetops

    treetops TS Evangelist Posts: 2,073   +219

    Hmmm my rights got denied last week from my isp. They turned off my net for using bittorrent. They said it takes up to much bandwidth and if I use it again they will drop me. If I wasn't getting internet for free from a relatives work then I would switch isp's.
  3. Benny26

    Benny26 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,535   +51

    How are government could police this is a laugh anyway. Sure, cut peoples broadband, they'll just go buy pay as you go dongles. Very little chance the government could stop that.

    And even if they could, why not just offer temporary bans like driving bans are handled? That should calm the UN down a bit.

    Seems obvious to me.
  4. ramonsterns

    ramonsterns TS Enthusiast Posts: 744   +12

    Freedom: 1
    Movie/Game Industry: $$$$$$$$ (-1)
  5. treetops

    treetops TS Evangelist Posts: 2,073   +219

    Its kind of funny, I have netflex but I still torrent because netflex movies have such low quality streaming.
  6. I guess many haven't heard PROTECT IP Act that unanimously passed the Senate Judiciary Committee at the end of May.

    "The U.S. Government is determined to put an end to online piracy. In an attempt to give copyright holders and the authorities all the tools required to disable access to so-called rogue sites, lawmakers will soon introduce the PROTECT IP Act. Through domain seizures, ISP blockades, search engine censorship, and cutting funding of allegedly copyright infringing websites, the bill takes Internet censorship to the next level."

    - Torrent Freak
  7. Shnig

    Shnig TS Enthusiast Posts: 170

    Eh that has very little to do with the rights of the individual user to use the internet...
  8. I know here in the United States, Insight Communications, will quickly shut off your broadband internet if you continue use of any torrent client after the one and only warning they will give you. My friend got his account terminated about four months ago because he ignored their warning.
  9. gwailo247

    gwailo247 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,010   +18

    As long as there are people being tortured, starved and denied the most basic of rights, the UN and everyone should just shut up about the internet being a human right.

    They turn a blind eye to abuses left and right, but feel the need to speak up for some French movie pirate? Or are we just writing off the third world, and focusing on this problem?
  10. ihaveaname

    ihaveaname TS Enthusiast Posts: 107

    Lol ... maybe calling it a 'violation of human rights' might be going just a little over the top? Call me pro-corporation/conservative/shitheadly but I always thought of the internet as a privilege, not a right. If I didn't have the internet I might cry a bit (read: a lot) but I'm hardly going to die....
  11. ET3D

    ET3D TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,382   +168

    First of all, why do you say that the UN turns a blind eye to abuses? Any particular examples? The UN is largely an organisation without teeth, but it does help a lot in poor countries.

    Secondly, what does one have to do with the other. It's like saying "as long as there are murders, police should ignore rapes and thefts." The UN can very well comment about matters important to people in developed countries while also commenting about other matters that you feel are more important.

    If I didn't have internet I wouldn't be able to do my job and will have to find another one, I'll find harder to keep in touch with friends or colleagues who are abroad, and if my internet access gets banned it will also affect my family, which shares that connection.

    So no, I'm not going to die, but my standard of living and the standard of living of those who depend on me will go down quite a bit. The internet is so intertwined in people's lives these days that cutting it can affect them significantly. If your electricity got cut you probably wouldn't die either, but I wouldn't say that's the criterion to use for determining if it's important. And conversely, no one died from being affected by copyright violation.

    That's not to say that I ever plan to perform a copyright violation, but the problem with the way things are going is that people can get banned or sued without any clear evidence that they commited a violation. It can sometimes be enough to bittorrent (which has perfectly legal uses) to get banned.
  12. cmbjive

    cmbjive TS Booster Posts: 777   +138

    "If I didn't have internet I wouldn't be able to do my job and will have to find another one, I'll find harder to keep in touch with friends or colleagues who are abroad, and if my internet access gets banned it will also affect my family, which shares that connection."

    Do you know how many jobs don't require the internet? You may be required to have the internet, but you don't need it enough for it to be declared a human right. If having access is a human right, the everything and nothing's a human right. How exactly would you have the internet were it not for the men who have to provide the infrastructure for it and the men who have to provide the power for it?

    This is where people really need to begin to question the purpose of the U.N.
  13. p51d007

    p51d007 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,310   +651

    Oh good grief! As much as I think the RIAA/MPAA is a mafia goon squad..."human rights"???? Can we just dissolve the U.N. (USELESS Nations) now?
    I mean, they have NO credibility....Iran, Libya on the human rights panel?
  14. Eventually the Internet will become as mandatory to normal life as the telephone, if you don't see that you're pretty shortsighted. Already here in the UK the majority of job postings are only advertised online, and some explicitely require you to apply online as no other method is available. Some companies are dropping call centre support and requiring customers to communicate with them via online forms or email.
  15. andy06shake

    andy06shake TS Evangelist Posts: 451   +126

    F**k the UN, and any other goverment or organisation that try's too mess with our internet! HACK THE PLANET!!!!
  16. PanicX

    PanicX TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 669

    I could be totally wrong here, but I'm thinking that this has less to do with RIAA/MPAA and more to do with political organization and strife. In the past year we've seen several civil conflicts in different countries that involved the government shutting down the internet and other forms of communication to try and crush peaceful and violent rebellions. These mediums are necessary for exercising the current set of agreed upon human rights.

    In essence, its like taking away a persons right to contribute to a political campaign ( vote, organize, distribute) without criminal proceedings. It's giving oppressive regimes a scapegoat for denying political rebels organizational mediums (Hey they were all pirates, we had to cut them off). And potentially when voting is submitted via internet kiosks, it's rigging the elections.
  17. tonylukac

    tonylukac TS Evangelist Posts: 1,374   +69

    Don't fret, hollywood. A lot of things are rights but are ignored anyway. Where's our right to privacy?
  18. TJGeezer

    TJGeezer TS Enthusiast Posts: 385   +10

    Right. And why do you think the first thing a tyranny in trouble, like Libya, does after urging the police and army to shoot at their own populace is to cut off the Internet? It's because that's how people communicate and find out what's going on. Don't trivialize this an over-response to a single abuser's case, or as dissing the third world's problems. That's not only blindered thinking, it's kinda silly.
  19. gwailo247

    gwailo247 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,010   +18

    I dunno. Rwanda? Bosnia?

    You do understand what these people did to have their "human rights" violated? They live in a country where a law was passed in which the consequence of repeated piracy would result in them being banned from use of the internet. They repeatedly did this, repeatedly were warned, and finally they were punished.

    Its all about perspective. When a huge chunk of the world's population is suffering from human rights violations, and an even bigger chunk of the world does not have access to what are considered basic human rights (water, food, shelter), its out of place for the UN to make a public statement basically sticking up for people who willingly committed piracy, and now are suffering the consequences.

    This is the equivalent of sticking up for people who have had their licenses taken away for too many DUI's because now they can't drive to work.

    I don't happen to agree with the law that your internet access would be completely taken away for too much piracy, but at the same time, the people who are affected by this law do so willingly, and are a world away from people suffering real human rights violations by virtue of being born in a third world country.
  20. gwailo247

    gwailo247 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,010   +18

    Except they were not talking about Libya or Yemen, they were talking about the people who are singled out to get their internet access taken away because of their actions, which were illegal in the country that they live in. Why don't you read the article again?
  21. Tanstar

    Tanstar TS Evangelist Posts: 616   +176

  22. PanicX

    PanicX TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 669

    From the article:
    “The Special Rapporteur considers cutting off users from Internet access, regardless of the justification provided, including on the grounds of violating intellectual property rights law, to be disproportionate and thus a violation of article 19, paragraph 3, of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.”

    "In addition to calling on governments to maintain Internet access “during times of political unrest,” the report goes on to urge States to change copyright laws, not in favor of the music and movie industries as has been the recent trend, but in keeping with citizens’ rights."
  23. TJGeezer

    TJGeezer TS Enthusiast Posts: 385   +10

    And who else, do you suppose, makes up an area's populace but individuals? IIRC the report didn't say IP shouldn't be protected. It said over-reaction violates people's rights. Cutting off communication was thought inappropriate to the severity of sharing digital entertainment. The whole IP "piracy" argument echoes back through the past as dominant industries that didn't want to change tried to bludgeon change away. In this case, however, the bludgeon sets precedence to cut off people's channels of communication in times of crisis. Now even Obama wants an "off" switch. The UN is saying please rethink your reactions. I agree with the UN. Cutting off people's communication in the name of some chauffeured movie or music mogul is simply an abuse of power.
  24. gwailo247

    gwailo247 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,010   +18

    And I am not arguing against the fact that people should have access to the Internet. I am saying that people who receive the consequences of their illegal actions are not being deprived of their human rights the same way that people in the Middle East or Asia are.

    Look free speech is a prerequisite to free internet access. Most of the countries mentioned in this discussion have no free speech, so cutting off internet access is just an extension of that policy of restricted free speech, not an independent phenomenon. Find me a single country where lack of internet access is the worst human rights violation experienced by the populace.

    I just saw no point for the UN to look out for, and specifically mention, the rights of pirates when they are suffering the consequences of their actions. Their plight has no place in a discussion of human rights, and frankly is an insult to people around the world who are suffering through no fault of their own. I feel its just as insulting to equate them with people in the Middle East that are protesting against their governments.

    There are two separate issues here, both of which are lumped together in this report. Yes, in the big picture internet access could be considered a basic human right, if you're making such a list, although it does not rank as high in importance as you think, as a third of the world's population feels that clean water is more important as this internet thing they've never used. I feel that the UN should work on those problems, before becoming the champion of the rights of the internet users. Its like dealing with shoplifting while a serial killer is on the loose.

    Second, we are talking about the legal consequences of breaking laws of a country. We're not talking about stealing bread to feed your family. We're talking about people, who repeatedly pirate, repeatedly get caught, repeatedly get warned, and finally are punished, and we're going to lump them in the same category as Ai Weiwei or Aung San Suu Kyi?
  25. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,012   +2,536

    What Gwailo said! And then there's this.

    The UN is comprised of "dignataries", most of whom are policital appointments. Have any of you ever seen, "ambassador to the UN", on any ballot, in any election in which you've participated? I didn't think so.

    The UN is a paper tiger, and it's employees are politicians. In fact, they're not really politicians, but synchophants to the politicians.

    Examine the social dynamic by which Hillary Clinton became US Secretary of State.

    Mostly these positions are held by people who are trying for the sociological "tri-fecta". They already have money and power, now they're reaching for the brass ring of "prestige". The questions remain, "how badly have deluded themselves into believing what they might be actually able to accomplish", and, "are they actually qualified for these positions".

    I do sympathize to a certain extent, in that I know my own limitations. I'll never be a "diplomat", not nohow, not noway. Although, the definition of diplomat, to me at least, "is somebody who can bite their tongue harder than anybody else in the room".

    I can't possibly fathom where the ability to infringe on, and maintaining the ability to infringe on someone's copyright, is tantamount to being a "basic human right". That's absurd.

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