Gareth Hughes

UN: Internet termination breaches human rights

by Gareth Hughes

One of the main reasons the Green Party opposed the new controversial file-sharing law passed under urgency was that it still contained internet termination as a potential remedy. I argued at the time it was disproportionate, wouldn’t work, and took away a modern human right. More and more of our democracy, interaction with Government departments, business and social life occur online.

Now the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to freedom of expression has declared such laws to be a breach of human rights.

The report says: “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.”

As recent research from Germany shows, Increasing availability of digital content shows that one can combat internet piracy without infringing basic rights, and was sadly lacking in this or the last Government’s approach to illegal file-sharing.

I think it is a little rich, Labour, who voted in favour of this Bill are now calling for a complete review of our copyright laws after this report.

To be clear, the Minister of Communications still hasn’t acted the termination clause but this report should, along with all the other reasons give him a clear steer to not enact this provision.

I call on the Minister to now ‘terminate’ potential internet termination from our law books.

Published in Environment & Resource Management | Featured by Gareth Hughes on Sat, June 4th, 2011   

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