Feeds

This House believes Cyber rights are going down the pan

Oxford Union, Guardian Unlimited stage debate

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

Civil rights activists won a small intellectual battle on Friday when they successfully argued that "any attempt by Government to police the Net is both unworkable and a severe threat to civil liberties". The debate at the Oxford Union - organised by the Humanities Computing Unit at the university and sponsored by Guardian Unlimited - attracted heavyweights from both sides of the argument although at times it appeared that both sides shared much common ground. The main difference of opinion rested primarily on the amount of interference that should be tolerated from government. Civil libertarians said any attempt to introduce new powers to legislate the Net would impose unfair restrictions on individuals' right to freedom of speech. They said the Net should not be treated differently to existing media and that existing laws were sufficient to combat online fraud, child pornography and other online ills. Those against the motion argued that some regulation was necessary precisely to protect the civil rights and freedoms of those people who used the Net. They said the Net posed its own unique challenges and that new powers needed to be introduced to counter a new breed of cybercrime. Speaking for the motion, Professor Nadine Strossen of the New York Law School and President of the American Civil Liberties Union, said: "Cyberspeech should enjoy the same level of protection as print media regardless of content. "Cyber censorship is at best ineffective, at worst counter productive," she said. John Abbot, DG of the National Criminal Intelligence service and VP of Interpol, said: "Criminals are misusing the Internet... and this is damaging people's civil liberties. "In the hands of responsible, well-balanced people it [the Net] is a magnificent tool. In the wrong hands it is a new way of committing crime... [and which could ultimately] lead to anarchy. Yaman Akdeniz, director of Cyber-rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK) said that between 1996 and 1998 there were more than 500 Net-related prosecutions in Britain. This, he argued, proved that law enforcement agencies already had sufficient powers to police the Net and didn't need any more, such as the Regulation of Investigatory Powers (RIP) Bill currently being examined by parliament. He did not oppose legislation governing obscenity or child pornography, but opposed the fact that child pornography is used to further bids to censor the Net. David Kerr, CEO of the Internet Watch Foundation, said: "Censorship is not synonymous with policing the Net. The IWF is against censorship but a bit of sensitive policing is OK. He called for joint initiatives between government and the industry as a way to regulate the Net. No doubt those who champion civil rights felt flushed with a warm sense of euphoria as a result of winning the vote. Unfortunately for them, it was probably short-lived after news broke at the weekend that the British government plans to build an Internet surveillance centre that will let law enforcers intercept e-mails. Perhaps the Oxford Union should debate the motion "this house believes talk is cheap and actions speak louder than words. Related Stories What the Hell is...RIP RIP: even Big Brother is confused Big Brother bill faces Select Committee storm RIP: Tories attack from the right RIP Bill - ISP costs mount up

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

More from The Register

next story
BBC: We're going to slip CODING into kids' TV
Pureed-carrot-in-ice cream C++ surprise
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
Twitter: La la la, we have not heard of any NUDE JLaw, Upton SELFIES
If there are any on our site it is not our fault as we are not a PUBLISHER
Facebook, Google and Instagram 'worse than drugs' says Miley Cyrus
Italian boffins agree with popette's theory that haters are the real wrecking balls
Sit tight, fanbois. Apple's '$400' wearable release slips into early 2015
Sources: time to put in plenty of clock-watching for' iWatch
Facebook to let stalkers unearth buried posts with mobe search
Prepare to HAUNT your pal's back catalogue
Ex-IBM CEO John Akers dies at 79
An era disrupted by the advent of the PC
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?