Blog Action Day 2013

Blogs all across the world are talking about human rights today. For the fourth year in a row I am taking part in Blog Action Day.

Blog Action Day's logoThis year the topic is human rights.

I am going to share with you might thoughts on the relationship between the Internet and human rights.

Imagine what it would be like if every day, a cloaked figure followed you around, observing your every action and taking notes. It would be a bit creepy wouldn’t it, not to mention the privacy issues.

Back in 2011, I wrote a post asking whether everyone should be entitled to use the Internet and whether in fact it should be a human right. Founder of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg believes that it should be; make your own decision as to whether this is only because he wants more business for his site.

So, imagine what it would be like with Mark Zuckerberg following you around all day, taking notes on what you do, invading your privacy… hold on, if you are on Facebook, he kind of does.

See how I linked that. 😉

I am no stranger to complaining about Facebook, but it isn’t the only culprit, Google is also a huge threat to online privacy. It stores all information it collects about you for at least 18 months. Why? In the words of Hungry Beast, because “Google wants to know who you are, where you are and what you like, so it can target ads at you.Check out Hungry Beast’s video to scare yourself.

So to get to the point, I don’t believe access to the Internet need be a human right, (not yet anyway) however I do believe that the right to privacy online should be. The United Nations logoArticle 12 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights states:

“No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.”

Why does this not cover our online lives too? Should Google, Amazon, Facebook, Yahoo and Apple (and others) be allowed to monitor us so much?

I shall keep this short and sweet and leave you with those thoughts.

3 thoughts on “Blog Action Day 2013

  1. A few weeks ago I was having a conversation in the bar with some gentlemen about this issue. One guy came up with a theory:
    As we live in modernity we have all of these ideas about how we should be governed. We make governments answer for their actions. They have to have permission before they can collect the type of information that we are talking about here. Look at the problems with the US government spying on its own people, all brought to the fore by Mr Snowdon.
    But this is really small fry, just a diversion from the fact that organizations are free and active in harvesting this kind of information. Where did the government go to collect it? through Google etc. And they only collected a tiny part of what was there.
    We have an idea and democracy and human rights that is obsolete because it tends to refer to governments. That works as a mere diversion, all in the best interests of Facebook etc because they can do what they like and others get the blame.
    This might have come about through the kind of free market regulations that we have enacted since the 1980’s. Less regulation for businesses and more for governments.
    The results are easy to see. The US government is dwarfed by Facebook in terms of real power. regulators cannot really check the flow and multinational organizations (with no physical base to attack) get ever bigger, make more money, have more information, less regulation and pay less tax that everybody else. Even governments.
    The idea of government rule is old and outdated. Microsoft is more important that Obama, his government and the so-called will of the people.
    Well this as I said was not my argument but I found it very pertinent.

    • Christopher Roberts

      It is clearly a very well thought out theory!

      I understand his point and reasoning, it does make sense. Nobody thought to ask when the government were caught snooping: “Hang on a minute, why does Google/Facebook/Microsoft store all this data about us anyway?

      What are your thoughts on his theory then Jonny?

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