DIGITAL AMERICA

The regulation of the Internet

// Posted by on 02/20/2014 (5:09 AM)

By Aranzazu Ballesteros/Tecnológico de Monterrey/A01138247

In the last couple of years, evidence that the State spies on its citizens through cyberspace has become real and quite relevant. These situations have brought on a debate about human rights regarding the Internet.  As the article number 12 of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states:

“No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honor and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.” (UN)

The fact that the State is aiming towards the control of the cyberspace is a violation of their citizens’ privacy and, therefore, it should not be permitted. However, it is important to remember that a State’s priority is to ensure its own safety, therefore, throughout history; secrecy has been allowed and encouraged. Nevertheless, safety and freedom should not be set as binary concepts. The State’s duty is to ensure both of these things happen at the same time, without having to sacrifice one for the other.

This is why the Internet cannot be a completely free space. The lack of regulations means there are no rules, therefore, any country can do anything they want without any further consequences. Now, this issue, as a topic, has emerged because of the fact that as a society we are now aware we are being spied. The people that made this happen, Edward Snowden, Julian Assange, amongst others, are nowadays suffering the consequences of living between persecution and political asylum. But, why is this happening? Because there is no legislation that limits the power of the State in matters of secrecy and gives the citizens the right to know what is going on with their taxes. What these men did is a matter of accountability, however, because there are no regulations, it can be considered a crime.

Aside from the individual rights, these cases of cyberspace spying can also be viewed as violations of the sovereignty of the countries being spied. In 2013, Edward Snowden revealed that the United States spied on Mexico and Brazil, without any further consequences. These types of conducts are unacceptable given that they could cause more harm than wealth. If the spying continues, diplomatic issues could arise, even threatening global order and peace.

Finally, it is important to reiterate that in order to eliminate these problems, an international committee should establish these regulations; always considering that violating an individual’s right to privacy is a violation of their human rights.


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Cassaundra said...

I agree that it is wrong to infringe on one’s privacy as it is a basic human right. However, I don’t necessarily believe that the internet should be regulated as this could infringe on another civil liberty- freedom of speech. The cyber liberation view argues that information wants to be free, meaning everyone should have the right of free speech in what they post on the internet, and have the assurance of privacy from companies and the government. As we all know, this is not the case today. Poster argues in Information Please that due to the internet and technology today, “the local becomes relative and the global becomes universal.” Even though the information Snowden and Assange leaked concerns U.S. policy, the scandals have spread on a global scale with many other countries passing judgement on the U.S. as a result. The distinct culture of the internet to which Poster refers also applies to things like Wikileaks as their is a whole culture around leaking now. It is unfair to treat people’s private accounts as nodes in a network, without their knowledge, just to achieve an end of national security. Therefore, the government should in fact make the citizens aware that their accounts might be tapped. There needs to be a mutual agreement and understanding between the government and citizens regarding the use of the internet to achieve national security.

// 02/21/2014 at 4:59 pm