THE COUNCIL OF EUROPE has issued an alert to European countries about the risk to free speech by cyber attacks and political pressure on internet platforms, internet service providers (ISPs), independent media, whistleblowers, human rights defenders and political dissidents.
The Council's Committee of Ministers issued a Declaration expressing concern over pressure being exerted on internet companies and ISPs to tighten controls on internet content, which supports a recent EU Court of Justice ruling that ISP filters are prohibited under European law.
The Council is also worried about the impact of cyber attacks, particularly Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks, on advocates of free speech, which it sees as a relatively new way that this right is being violated.
The Declaration asserted the usefulness of social networks, blogs, and other online communities for their role as social watchdogs that have the power to cause positive real-life change. This is likely a reference to the recent uprisings in several countries against oppressive regimes, including Egypt and Libya.
The Council alerted member states about their potential violation of Articles 10 and 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights if they exert pressure on ISPs and internet platforms, or participate in cyber attacks against whistleblowers and other new media.
It also highlighted the need to reinforce national policies that uphold the right to freedom of expression, the right to impart and receive information, and the right to freedom of assembly and association, in accordance with European law.
This Declaration comes after a year of political upheaval over many incidents that affected freedom of speech online, such as financial support withdrawn for Wikileaks, several attempts to force ISPs to block access to web sites, and numerous cyber attacks against web sites and email accounts throughout the world, including Wikileaks and political activists. µ
'Some of us like the misery'
That'll surely affect its credit score