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The UN welcomes internet censorship

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I finished reading https://jigsaw.google.com/the-current/shutdown/ the other day, this beautiful presentation highlights mostly the spectrum of political 'lights out' events when entire regions are denied access to the Internet, for example during elections. I commend them for including a lot of references there, the kind of action modern journalists don't need to do apparently. One of these references linked this UN document: https://undocs.org/A/HRC/47/24/Add.2

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Promotion and protection of all human rights, civil,
political, economic, social and cultural rights,
including the right to development

 Ending Internet shutdowns: a path forward

Promotion and protection of all human rights, civil,
political, economic, social and cultural rights,
including the right to development
One of the most flagrant attacks on the Internet that had an immediate impact on me personally were commited in Belarus and Russia in the recent years.
In the past 7 or 8 years Russia had been tightening their control over the Internet and that included banning websites (like EVE Online and their wiki article about an in-game drug LOL) or bloggers/apps that did not agree with the mandatory "registry" registration, e.g. Telegram. In their attempt to ban Telegram, the government has had over 2 million IPs of Google and Amazon blocked which led to massive and unrelated service failures. Some of the international traffic in and out of Belarus is routed through big russian transit providers and as a result some of these blocks have unlawfully hit belarussian citizens. And of course these laws were used to block political websites.
How often does Russia appear in this report?
Answer: ONCE. As a footnote 78 on page 12. This doesn't reference law changes from 2012-2014 and later that lead to current blocks!
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78 See, for instance, Sections 5(1) and 56 of the Uganda Communications Act of 2013 and Russia’s
Communications Act of 2003.

Belarus' internet censorship. I don't think I have to explain much because this was so recent during the last "election". At least the report acknowledges it fully, five times no less:
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26. More and more of these prolonged shutdowns involve a range of disruption techniques, with governments implementing nation-wide internet blackouts along with harder to detect and targeted network disruptions. For instance, in Belarus, the government adopted a nationwide shutdown amid mass protests contesting election results in August
2020. When connectivity was restored, authorities then targeted pro-democracy gatherings regularly convened every Sunday from September until December 2020, by slowing down connection to social media (throttling).55 These measures continued during the hours of the protests and directly affected the areas where protestors gathered in the city of Minsk. These tactics reportedly lasted for 121 days, with Telegram and Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) still blocked as the time of writing.
I can confirm there were disruptions, but I'm still here thanks to AirVPN : ) Thanks for non-standard connection options.
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Elections are perhaps the best example. In this period, election-related internet shutdowns were documented in Benin, Belarus, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi, Uganda, Kazakhstan, and other countries globally.62
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For  example,  civil  society  organizations consulted  in  preparation  for  this  report  indicated  that  the  Deep  Packet  Inspection  (DPI) equipment used by Belarus to implement shutdowns during the 2020 election protests  was provided by a company based in the United States
I don't know who exactly they're talking about, but this reminds me of Cisco helping to build the Great Firewall of China!

The UN welcomes internet censorship

How often does China appear in this report?
Occurrences: 0.
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the UN Secretary-General stressed that “blanket internet  shutdowns  and  generic  blocking  and  filtering  of  services  are  considered  by  UN human rights mechanisms to be in violation of international human rights law
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restrictions on assemblies must have a formal basis in law
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In particular, the Special Rapporteur recognizes that the existing challenges in tackling disinformation and hate speech online may lead some governments to consider drastic measures. Laws and policies addressing hate speech or online disinformation should be in place, including ensuring effective collaboration from social media and content platforms. However, these laws cannot justify internet shutdowns...
What's legal today can quickly become illegal tomorrow, no matter justified or not, morally correct or not. The UN completely agrees with such laws: just please don't block the entire internet, ok?  

Basically totalitarian governments can do whatever if they take 2 months time to write it as law. Maybe the new law was put together by a lobby group, doesn't matter. You are allowed to censor then.
American services banning Iranian users if connected without VPN? Totally cool with that! Russia banning 2 million IPs? Haha at least you didn't ban 4 milliard IPs, you get a free pass! Ukraine blocks access to all russian social networks due to war in the east? Ukraine, occurrences = 0.
The UN loves "lawful" internet censorship.

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The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization aiming to maintain international peace and security, develop friendly relations among nations, achieve international cooperation, and be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations.
[…]
Pursuant to the Charter, the organization's objectives include maintaining international peace and security, protecting human rights, delivering humanitarian aid, promoting sustainable development, and upholding international law.

If you accuse Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and/or China of widespread internet censorship, you act against one of UN's best interests: Preventing hostilities. If you know that almost all sovereign states in the world are members, you may realize how very difficult it gets to release such a paper with clear and directed accusations of naughty things, knowing full well that some of those naughty countries possess the means to cripple the world, either by means of economy or warfare. So you keep a low profile when addressing countries directly. It's simply in no one's interest to do that, it's better to "suffer" the fact a naughty country does not particularly adhere to UN chartas than to chastise a member for it and risking god knows what.

You also cannot expect the UN to have a clear opinion on internet censorship. Access to the internet is not a human right, let alone free-as-in-freedom access to it.

Your measurement of how many times a country is mentioned is the same bogus as when some manager rates the quality of your code by how many lines you wrote. What it especially doesn't say is that UN endorses or even supports censorship, that's an entirely subjective, malicious interpretation.

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23 hours ago, OpenSourcerer said:

Access to the internet is not a human right, let alone free-as-in-freedom access to it.

Some political activists from the Google Jigsaw page and Mozilla's internet health report argue otherwise... based on the status quo I agree with you instead.
23 hours ago, OpenSourcerer said:

Your measurement of how many times a country is mentioned is the same bogus as when some manager rates the quality of your code by how many lines you wrote.

A law doesn't mean anything without the consensus upon which actions it applies. The current takeaway from their document is "be good to the internet" without mentioning that arbitrary laws signed on false grounds can wreak havoc. But of course they can't point to at least two members of the security council in these documents.
23 hours ago, OpenSourcerer said:

What it especially doesn't say is that UN endorses or even supports censorship, that's an entirely subjective, malicious interpretation.

My interpretation is based on the results of laws like "Laws and policies addressing hate speech or online disinformation should be in place" (actually it was argued to be for children's safety, not hate speech). When people are raided or imprisoned for "wrongthink" social media posts (in one case the post was almost 10 years old):
  1. https://regnum.ru/news/2800992.html - https://regnum-ru.translate.goog/news/2800992.html?_x_tr_sl=ru&_x_tr_tl=en&_x_tr_hl=en-US&_x_tr_pto=nui
  2. https://roskomsvoboda.org/cards/card/safe-posting-rules/ - https://roskomsvoboda-org.translate.goog/cards/card/safe-posting-rules/?_x_tr_sl=ru&_x_tr_tl=en&_x_tr_hl=en-US&_x_tr_pto=nui
These are actually extreme examples but were the first two links from online search. People have got in trouble for less. Political activists practically cannot use the clear net at all because all their actions are tracked and easily traced (like mandatory Yarovaya data collection law in Russia), unlike in real life where you can come together and privately exchange ideas.
PS: The UN doesn't say anything directly because of empty burocratic language. What I looked for is a critique of censorship and law abuse and found nothing.

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