UN should take control of 'Wild West' web

UN - time to take over?
UN - time to take over?

The UN should take action on internet freedoms, says the Council of Europe's head of human rights, Thomas Hammarberg.

Taking in both the point that access to the web has become a human rights issue and that content needs to be better policed, he takes issue with the different strokes for different folks approach:

"These kind of clampdowns which we have seen in China must be prevented. We would like to see a discussion about international regulation which would filter out porn or incitement to war and hatred," he said.


"The time has come to begin to find the right way to regulate it with the protection of freedom of expression. Some governments have restrictions and others are letting it become like the Wild West."

In Hammarberg's opinion, the United Nations is best-placed to deal with the issue of net freedoms because it poses global conundrums.

"When I discuss freedom of expression with governments I notice there's a problem here. We need to have a serious discussion about this. We need to protect the diversity of media. The tendencies in some countries are very restrictive.

"There should be a special commission appointed to work on this appointed by the UN because the problem is so global nowadays.

"There's a need for an international dimension. Most of the sites are run by private companies but the regulations are directed towards governments. It's complicated."

Notoriously internet controlling countries like China, Iran, Syria, North Korea and Egypt are all members of the UN.

In the UK, creator of the internet Sir Tim Berners-Lee has spoken of the importance of unrestricted access the web and the fact it has become a human right, saying that special laws may have to be brought in to keep the online peace.

That's a viewpoint that Vodafone's CEO, Vittorio Colao, and France's president Nicolas Sarkozy agrees with, while companies like Facebook and Google have spoken out about the importance of keeping the internet 'free' of restrictive laws in order to foster innovation.

From The Guardian

News Editor (UK)

Former UK News Editor for TechRadar, it was a perpetual challenge among the TechRadar staff to send Kate (Twitter, Google+) a link to something interesting on the internet that she hasn't already seen. As TechRadar's News Editor (UK), she was constantly on the hunt for top news and intriguing stories to feed your gadget lust. Kate now enjoys life as a renowned music critic – her words can be found in the i Paper, Guardian, GQ, Metro, Evening Standard and Time Out, and she's also the author of 'Amy Winehouse', a biography of the soul star.