Over recent months due to a myriad of reasons, citizens’ internet (netizens) rights have been high on the political and news agenda.
We have had Internet Blackout Day to protest US legislation SOPA and PIPA.
We have had massive demonstration concerning ACTA, a Intellectual Property and Copyright enforcement treaty.
We have had many companies including Twitter being told to hand over netizens‘ data.
We have seen companies such as Twitter, Google, etc unilaterally expanding their use of netizens’ data.
We have had the EU and their Digital Agenda through the Digital Single Market and ‘Big Data‘ and the concern of ‘Big Brother‘.
We have a myriad of other proposed and/or new legislations such as Bill C-30 in Canada, the Communications Capabilities Development Programme (CCDP) and Digital Economy Act in the UK, the Passenger Data (PNR) in the EU, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) in the US & others, IPR Enforcement Directive (IPRED); Customs Enforcement; E-commerce Directive; and the Data Retention Directive in the EU, the list goes on and on and on. They all effect current netizens‘ rights, rights which are pretty weak as it is.
In the EU we also have the “INtelligent information system supporting observation, searching and DEteCTion for security of citizens in urban environment” (INDECT).
Bruce Schneier puts is well in this article when he says, “Unlike the security risks posed by criminals, the threat from government regulation and data hoarders such as Apple and Google are more insidious because they threaten to alter the fabric of the Internet itself. They’re also different from traditional Internet threats because the perpetrators are shielded in a cloak of legitimacy.“
In short, netizens‘ data is being fought over by many interested and competing parties as never before.
Most netizens are not educated enough about who has access to their data or what the organisations do with the data, myself being a prime example. Those netizens that take an interest are often both worried by what they find (Green party politician Malte Spitz sued to have German telecoms giant Deutsche Telekom hand over six months of his phone data that he then made available here, in Mexico the same), and worried by what they are not allowed to find.
I think it is way past time we drew a line in the virtual sand and demand to know who has exactly what netizens‘ data; what organisations are doing with a netizens‘ data; how long organisations will have access to a netizens‘ data; and how a netizen can better control data that has been generated about them.
I do think that until we have action on the above to a level of satisfaction netizens (through Civil society groups [FFII, EDRi, EFF, OpenRightsGroup, Privacymatters, etc] charged with looking after netizens‘ interests) agree with, that my own jurisdiction, the EU, enacts emergency regulations on e-organisations concerning the movement and use of EU netizens‘ data.
The merry-go-round of netizens‘ data must meet a netizens‘ Fundamental Human and other Rights, and it is clear to me that currently, netizens‘ Fundamental Human and other Rights are being severely breached and undermined.
awbMaven - unfortunately for UK [+Polish] citizens, the UK government “added a few provisos when giving the Charter the force of law with the Lisbon treaty, one of those was to preclude the ECJ from judging whether a UK law violates the Charter (see article 1 of protocol 7).“, read here.