On December 10, 1948 the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Privacy is a fundamental human right recognized in Article 12, which states:
“No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honor and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.”
Privacy underpins human dignity and other values such as freedom of association and freedom of speech.
Q: I’m not aware of my rights. Should I have researched this myself or should my government have educated me about them?
Following this historic act the Assembly called upon all Member countries to publicize the text of the Declaration and “to cause it to be disseminated, displayed, read and expounded principally in schools and other educational institutions, without distinction based on the political status of countries or territories.”
Q: My ISP has disconnected or restricted my Internet access because another group or organisation has told them that I am a pirate or copyright infringer. Is this right?
According to Article 10 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: “Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.”
Q: My ISP has been ordered by my government to record everyones Internet history and emails for at least x years, on the off-chance that they might be a terrorist or commit terrorist acts in the future. Is this right?
According to Article 12 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: “No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence… ”
Q: My government is attempting to censor information on political, religious or other topics that concern me. I am being prevented form collaborating with others on these topics. is this right?
According to Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.” Furthermore Article 19 states that “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers“.
Q: Certain media or sites are freely available to others but are being blocked or restricted in my country. Is this right?
According to Article 27 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: “Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits”.
Q: But shouldn’t we stop all this filesharing to protect the artists and the creative industries?
The truth is that music labels use clever accounting tricks to make millions of dollars while paying the artists virtually nothing. For every $1000 of music sold the average musician makes $23.40 according to TheRoot.com. TechDirt.com adds that “huge megastars like Lyle Lovett have pointed out that he sold 4.6 million records and never made a dime from album sales. It’s why the band 30 Seconds to Mars went platinum and sold 2 million records and never made a dime from album sales. You hear these stories quite often.”
The artists themselves are sick of the way the media companies and the RIAA treat them and their listeners, and artists such as Radiohead, Pink Floyd, Travis and Blur have founded the Featured Artists Coalition to push for “a new set of agreements that reflect the new ways music is consumed by fans”. Some artists have found their music for sale on iTunes yet have never authorized this or received any royalites, and complain that “everyone involved is just enjoying the gravy train of ripping off artists”. Moby blogged that “punishing people for listening to music is exactly the wrong way to protect the music business” and has even called for the RIAA to be disbanded. Vuse has been trying to persuade Hollywood that its users are customers, not thieves. Their survey of 1300 internet users shows that in addition to being copyright infringers, those people spend a lot of money on movies and movie-watching gear and “are actually Hollywood’s best customers”.
According the the UK Film Council the movie business is thriving [source TechDirt.com]:
- The core UK film industry has grown 50% over the last 10 years
- UK box office takings at record levels, with growth of over 60% over 10 years
- They have had a 500% return on their investments in film
- More films are being released, up over 30% in the last decade
- Independent films are performing quite well, taking in nearly half the revenue of major studio films
Q: Surely it’s a good idea to install filters to block Child Pornography though?
According to insider information and opinion on Wikileaks: “Although originally marketed, in all countries, as a way of combating child pornography, the blacklists obtained by Wikileaks show that the systems have already been corrupted into censoring other content, including political content… Secret national censorship systems are dangerous and unaccountable. They are an afront to natural justice, due process and the balancing power of the fourth estate. They must be, and will be, stopped”. A confidential Wikileaks source with 10 years inside the international child porn industry claims that internet filtering will have no effect as the methods they use are far more advanced to be blocked so easily, and “the public is cheated by the greedy politicians who cannot do anything against child pornography but use it as a means to justify total monitoring”.
Q: What other basic rights does my Government not recognise?
Prepare To Be Shocked! Read: Which Countries Do Not Support That Water Is a Basic Human Right?
Q: Where can I find out more about these issues? Who has written about them in the past?
Educate yourself and educate those around you. Perhaps you want to read about…
- Lord Acton
- “All power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.“
- “Every thing secret degenerates, even the administration of justice; nothing is safe that does not show how it can bear discussion and publicity.”
- “Whenever a single definite object is made the supreme end of the State, be it the advantage of a class, the safety of the power of the country, the greatest happiness of the greatest number, or the support of any speculative idea, the State becomes for the time inevitably absolute. Liberty alone demands for its realisation the limitation of the public authority, for liberty is the only object which benefits all alike, and provokes no sincere opposition.“
- George Orwell(Author of 1984)
- “From the age of uniformity, from the age of solitude, from the age of Big Brother, from the age of doublethink — greetings!“
- “The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power.”
- “Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship.“