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  • Gerrit Eicker 11:36 on 6. January 2012 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Internet Access, , , , , , , Protection, , , , , , , UN, Universal Service, Universal Service Policy,   

    Internet Access: a Human Right? 

    A UN report declared Internet access a human right last summer: Cerf argues why it’s not; http://eicker.at/InternetHumanRight

     
    • Gerrit Eicker 11:36 on 6. January 2012 Permalink | Reply

      UN: “Report of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression – This report explores key trends and challenges to the right of all individuals to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds through the Internet. The Special Rapporteur underscores the unique and transformative nature of the Internet not only to enable individuals to exercise their right to freedom of opinion and expression, but also a range of other human rights, and to promote the progress of society as a whole. Chapter III of the report underlines the applicability of international human rights norms and standards on the right to freedom of opinion and expression to the Internet as a communication medium, and sets out the exceptional circumstances under which the dissemination of certain types of information may be restricted. Chapters IV and V address two dimensions of Internet access respectively: (a) access to content; and (b) access to the physical and technical infrastructure required to access the Internet in the first place. More specifically, chapter IV outlines some of the ways in which States are increasingly censoring information online, namely through: arbitrary blocking or filtering of content; criminalization of legitimate expression; imposition of intermediary liability; disconnecting users from Internet access, including on the basis of intellectual property rights law; cyber-attacks; and inadequate protection of the right to privacy and data protection. Chapter V addresses the issue of universal access to the Internet. The Special Rapporteur intends to explore this topic further in his future report to the General Assembly. Chapter VI contains the Special Rapporteur’s conclusions and recommendations concerning the main subjects of the report.”

      Wired: “U.N. Report Declares Internet Access a Human Right – A United Nations report said Friday that disconnecting people from the internet is a human rights violation and against international law. – The report railed against France and the United Kingdom, which have passed laws to remove accused copyright scofflaws from the internet. It also protested blocking internet access to quell political unrest… The report, by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression, comes the same day an internet-monitoring firm detected that two thirds of Syria’s internet access has abruptly gone dark, in what is likely a government response to unrest in that country.”

      Cerf, NYT: “Internet Access Is Not a Human Right – It is no surprise, then, that the protests have raised questions about whether Internet access is or should be a civil or human right. … In June, citing the uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa, a report by the United Nations’ special rapporteur went so far as to declare that the Internet had ‘become an indispensable tool for realizing a range of human rights.’ … But that argument, however well meaning, misses a larger point: technology is an enabler of rights, not a right itself. There is a high bar for something to be considered a human right. Loosely put, it must be among the things we as humans need in order to lead healthy, meaningful lives, like freedom from torture or freedom of conscience. It is a mistake to place any particular technology in this exalted category, since over time we will end up valuing the wrong things. … Indeed, even the United Nations report, which was widely hailed as declaring Internet access a human right, acknowledged that the Internet was valuable as a means to an end, not as an end in itself. … While the United States has never decreed that everyone has a ‘right’ to a telephone, we have come close to this with the notion of ‘universal service’… Improving the Internet is just one means, albeit an important one, by which to improve the human condition. It must be done with an appreciation for the civil and human rights that deserve protection – without pretending that access itself is such a right.

      GigaOM: “Cerf’s position is somewhat surprising because, as even he acknowledges in his piece for the NYT, the events of the ‘Arab Spring’ in 2011… Cerf is also the ‘chief Internet evangelist’ at Google, so it seems a little odd he would be downplaying the need for widespread internet access and the benefits that it brings to society. … In a nutshell, Cerf’s argument seems to be that if we define Internet access itself as a right, we are placing the focus on the wrong thing. The ‘Net, he says, is just a technological tool that enables us to exercise other fundamental rights, such as the right to free speech or access to information – and rights should not be awarded to tools, but to the ends that they enable us to reach. … The Internet is a fundamental method of communication and connection, and is becoming more fundamental all the time, as we’ve seen in the Middle East and elsewhere. Seeing it as a right is an important step towards making it available to as many people as possible.

      TL: “As I noted in my earlier essay, the best universal service policy is marketplace competition. When we get the basic framework right – low taxes, property rights, contractual enforcement, anti-fraud standards, etc. – competition generally takes care of the rest. But competition often doesn’t develop – or is sometimes prohibited outright – in sectors or for networks that are declared ‘essential’ facilities or technological entitlements. … So, while I appreciate and agree with Cerf’s humorous point that ‘Today, if I were granted a right to have a horse, I’m not sure where I would put it,’ the more interesting question is this: If government would have decreed long ago that everyone had a right to a horse, would that have meant everyone actually got one? … These are the sort of questions rarely asked initially in discussions about proposals to convert technologies or networks into birthright entitlements. Eventually, however, they become inescapable problems that every entitlement system must grapple with. When we discuss the wisdom of classifying the Internet or broadband as a birthright entitlement, we should require advocates to provide us with some answers to such questions. Kudos to Vint Cerf for helping us get that conversation going in a serious way.

      TC: “So, is the internet a human right? It is our best and most effective way of achieving a universal freedom of expression, and it should be treated as such. But to enshrine it, as others have said, as a human right when it is in fact merely a powerful enabler thereof, is an unnecessary step. Laws and regulations, and things like UN guidelines, should be aimed at enshrining rights in their pure and timeless forms, not in derivative forms, however widespread and important those derivatives may be.

      TR: “It might be argued that internet access was a civil right, since it is something that people look to governments to provide as a matter of course. But even this argument is shaky, he warns. Instead we should look not to the technology, but to the technology industry, to protect human rights, and it is up to engineers to ensure universal, safe internet access. … Cerf, whose current day job is being an internet evangelist for Google, may well have a point. But based on current evidence, there’s a mixed record from the technology industry thus far, not least from Silicon Valley itself. … From a technical perspective, El Reg suspects that Cerf has it right: the internet is no more a human right than a road or telephone. But looking to a relatively amoral industry like technology to act as a human rights guardian is asking for trouble.

  • Gerrit Eicker 09:43 on 3. January 2012 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , Confidentiality, Crystal Cox, , Editing, , , , , , , , , Journalistic Practices, Journalistic Protection, Journalistic Standards, , , , , , , , , Professional Standards, Protection, , Qualification, , , , , , ,   

    Bloggers: Journalists? 

    Are bloggers journalists? The case of Crystal Cox heats up the never ending story; http://eicker.at/BloggersJournalists

     
    • Gerrit Eicker 09:44 on 3. January 2012 Permalink | Reply

      CP: “On November 30, United States District Judge Marco A. Hernandez of the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon, Portland Division, ruled against a blogger, Crystal Cox, who had represented herself before the court in a defamation case in which she was the defendant. In the end, the judge ordered Cox to pay $2.5 million in damages to the plaintiffs. …Judge Hernandez suggested that bloggers could only sometimes count as journalists, based on a multi-factor test he set forth. … Judge Hernandez also ruled that, under Oregon law, Cox did not have the right to protect her sources. … In sum, Judge Hernandez should have taken a functional approach, and read the terms of the two statutes to encompass methods of publication that were closely analogous to those listed in the statute. Doing so would have meant that blogs, including Cox’s, were included. … On one hand, Judge Hernandez was surely reasonable to include factors referring to practices such as fact-checking… But on the other hand, it may not be fair to include the factors of journalism education, institutional affiliation, or proof of credentials… Yet, to establish such a credentialing body might prove to be a double-edged sword. One of the very points of blogging is that anyone can do it, and that is also one of its great virtues. Thus, this issue may be one in which either bloggers’ independence will be sacrificed a bit, or the legal protections journalists enjoy will continue to be withheld from bloggers.

      Hernandez: “Defendant fails to bring forth any evidence suggestive of her status as a journalist. For example, there is no evidence of (1) any education in journalism; (2) any credentials or proof of any affiliation with any recognized news entity; (3) proof of adherence to journalistic standards such as editing, fact-checking, or disclosures of conflicts of interest; (4) keeping notes of conversations and interviews conducted; (5) mutual understanding or agreement of confidentiality between the defendant and his/her sources; (6) creation of an independent product rather than assembling writings and postings of others; or (7) contacting ‘the other side’ to get both sides of a story. Without evidence of this nature, defendant is not ‘media.’

      Forbes: “In case involving self-described ‘investigative blogger’ Crystal Cox, Judge Hernandez ruled that in order to qualify for basic First Amendment protections like state shield laws, freelance journalists have to meet a rather stiff set of criteria. … On page 9 of a 13-page ruling, Judge Hernandez last month set out these requirements to qualify as a journalist… ‘Without evidence of this nature, defendant is not ‘media,” the ruling says. Obviously, the judge – an Obama appointee – doesn’t understand either media or the First Amendment. His ruling also went much farther than the case before him required. … Hernandez’ qualifications suggest that only ‘news reporting’ is journalism. … Does this mean I think everyone who publishes a blog qualifies for whatever ‘journalistic protections’ exist? Hell no. My opinion is that Crystal Cox isn’t committing journalism on the two blogs I’ve seen associated with her – this one and this other one. I am not taking sides, but her writing and sites would get most ‘real’ journalists fired. This is an example of where journalism and pornography are both hard to define, but I know them when I see them. … Judge Hernandez missed the point in several ways, but he is right that no single attribute can define who qualifies for special journalistic protection and who does not. The First Amendment applies to all, but the law can help journalists in cases of slander and libel, protection of sources and access to news events.

      NYT: “Everyone knows that you no longer need to buy ink by the barrel to be considered a publisher. Your grandmother can do it with a laptop. But can anyone be considered a journalist? That is the focus of the Cox ruling. It suggests that a journalist may need to act on a set of professional standards to be recognized as a protected member of the tribe. – So who is a journalist? A journalist – good or bad – possesses a hunger to pursue the truth and to share it in compelling ways. Yet some of the best journalists have had no academic training in the field. – Blogs compete with mainstream media every day. In some cases, they have become more trustworthy as sources of information than some old school practitioners. … The First Amendment is not just for journalists. It affords all Americans the right to unfettered speech. We should celebrate how technology lets us express more speech than ever before – without discriminating against the ‘non-journalists.’ That doesn’t mean that online publishers should not be judged according to an evolving set of standards and practices.

  • Gerrit Eicker 16:52 on 13. December 2010 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Protection, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   

    WikiLeaks Paranoia 

    First positive effect for privacy. NYT: The Defense Department is scaling back information sharing; http://eicker.at/Paranoia

     
  • Gerrit Eicker 14:32 on 16. September 2010 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , Beyond Petroleum, BP, , , Branded Earnings, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Economic Value Added, , , EVA, Financial Performance, , , , Google.org, , , , , , , , , , , , , , NOPAT, , , , , Protection, , , , , , Role of Brand, Shell, , , WACC,   

    Best Global Brands 2010 

    Same procedure as every year: Google and Apple gain strongly in the Best Global Brands rankings 2010; http://j.mp/d6C9XU

     
    • Gerrit Eicker 14:57 on 16. September 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Interbrand: “IBM, Microsoft and Google lead Interbrand’s 11th annual ranking of the ‘Best Global Brands.’ Google (#4) sees a 36% increase in value over last year, bringing the brand closer than ever to rival Microsoft (#3). HP (#10) enters the top 10 for the first time, having increased brand value under a new business model and brand platform. For the 11th year straight, Coca-Cola (#1) retains its top spot as the number one ranked brand on the list. … A number of prominent brands faced extraordinary crisis in 2010 resulting in stalled growth, value loss and in the case of BP, failure to make the ranking this year. BP’s environmental disaster and inability to make good on its brand promise of ‘Beyond Petroleum’ led to it falling off of the list and helped competitor Shell emerge as an industry leader, now ranked number 81, up from number 92 in 2009.”

      Interbrand on Google: “As Google continues its upward path, it increasingly finds it difficult to reconcile its brand promise, ‘Don’t be evil,’ with the realities of a powerful global brand. Although it continues to leverage this messaging through investments in Google.org (its not-for-profit philanthropic arm) and a number of other initiatives, its access to user information and what it is doing with it is increasingly being scrutinized. Recently, it compromised a key value – trust – when it violated 176 million users’ privacy with Google Buzz. And though its effort to pull out of China, which was censoring the search engine, and realign with its message demonstrated its commitment to its promise, only a few months later, it was quietly persuaded to work with the regime again. Still, Google’s reach and record for innovation is undisputed. Expect the brand to continue to diversify and expand, even as it experiences increasing backlash.

      Interbrand on Apple: “Apple had another great year. Negative buzz over the iPad name was quickly replaced by glowing sales and avid converts. Meanwhile, the iPhone 4’s sales reached the 1.5 million mark its first day. It continues to control its messages very carefully, which creates enormous buzz and anticipation. Advertising campaigns and interactive websites remain distinct and consistent, keeping the role of brand exceptionally high. If the brand has one fault, it’s the failure to provide perfectly functioning new products. This year, iPhone 4’s reception glitches warranted a public apology from Steve Jobs – and left the door wide open for public criticism. Apple could also improve its corporate citizenship profile, which remains neutral. While it partners with the PRODUCT (RED) Global Fund, this remains relatively unknown.

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