The EU, internet freedom and illegitimate oppressive regimes
And still the inordinate crass hypocrisy of our European politicians has the power to amaze me…
Last Friday, Neelie Kroes blogged about the e-G8 and G8 meetings.
Plus my strong commitment to freedom of expression is well-known – and I’ve already given a clear signal on the “no disconnect strategy“.
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What is Neelie’s ‘no disconnect strategy’?. It is this:
I am very concerned by what is going on in countries like Egypt, Tunisia and Libya and I think people around the world have the right to be connected. This is why I am promoting a “No Disconnect Strategy” for the Internet. I asked my services to explore how civil society organisations and individuals can be assisted to circumvent arbitrary internet and communications shut-downs by repressive regimes, where we have concluded that an authoritarian regime’s actions are illegitimate. Our experts are working on this very important issue right now. I will keep you updated.
The “No Disconnect Strategy”
Think about this. She has asked her experts to explore ways in which she can help rebels ‘circumvent arbitrary internet and communications shut-downs’. This may be ‘arbitrary’ to her, but in the countries concerned it is the law of the land. She is setting herself up as being morally superior than other cultures, governments and societies; and she is seeking to interfere in the internal politics of other sovereign states. (I’m not criticising; I’m just saying that’s what she’s doing.)
At the same time, in the UK, a local council used a Californian court to force Twitter to disclose personal information on one UK user. I do not blame Twitter for handing over the information. Faced with a court order, it had no choice. However, I have huge concern over both the South Tyneside Council that sought it and the Californian court that ordered it. As far as I understand, the anonymous Mr Monkey was accused of being (not proven to be), just accused of being, libellous. On that basis, one of accusation only, Twitter was forced to give up private personal data.
Back to Neelie Kroes, whose “strong commitment to freedom of expression is well-known”. Well, knowing who someone is, is a first step to being able to remove them. Neelie wants to be able to help ‘individuals’ oppressed by ‘repressive regimes, where we have concluded that an authoritarian regime’s actions are illegitimate’.
OK, Neelie – that means the UK. Our government via the police is repressive; they ‘coral’ peaceful demonstrators illegally; they use unnecessary force (even killing an innocent passer-by); they watch us with more surveillance cameras than anywhere else in the world; they use Geotime surveillance software to track people (“This latest tool could also be used in a wholly invasive way and could fly in the face of the role of the police to facilitate rather than impede the activities of democratic protesters,” said Sarah McSherry, a partner at Christian Khan Solicitors, representing several protesters in cases against the Metropolitan police); and they have the world’s largest illegal DNA database of innocent people.
So, Neelie – never mind Libya and Syria and the Yemen: what are you going to do to safeguard the British people from the British government and the British police?