UN: Internet should remain as open as possible

In his report, Mr. La Rue explores key trends and challenges to the right of all individuals to exercise their right to freedom of expression, as guaranteed in article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

While noting that the Internet is a relatively new communication medium, the expert stressed the applicability of the international human rights framework when assessing whether Governments are unduly restricting the flow of information online.

“Legitimate expression continues to be criminalized in many States, illustrated by the fact that in 2010, more than 100 bloggers were imprisoned,” the Special Rapporteur warned. “Governments are using increasingly sophisticated technologies to block content, and to monitor and identify activists and critics.”

“There should be as little restriction as possible to the flow of information via the Internet, except in a few, very exceptional, and limited circumstances prescribed by international human rights law,” Mr. La Rue stressed.

“Essentially, this means that any restriction must be clearly provided by law, and proven to be necessary and the least intrusive means available for the purpose of protecting the rights of others,” added La Rue.

I’m not sure how much of an immediate affect this will have, but the UN have at least drawn a line in the sand.