Cameron’s Plan to Limit Social Networking Access Unwise

Washington, DC – U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron says his government is “working with the Police, the intelligence services and industry to look at whether it would be right to stop people communicating via these websites and services when we know they are plotting violence, disorder and criminality.” Human Rights First today called British Prime Minister David Cameron’s suggestion the wrong antidote to cure social unrest. Human Rights First’s Meg Roggensack issued the following statement in response to such a plan: “In times of crisis, internet and telecommunications companies must maintain services for all users and not acquiesce to government directives that are rooted in fear. Cutting user services and access to specific sites would be an infringement on freedom of expression and a disservice to law abiding citizens in the U.K. Prime Minister Cameron should know better. He should not use the alleged criminal activities of a few to reinvent the law for all. He should reassure his constituents that freedom of expression is not a casualty of unrest and pledge his commitment to unfettered access to important communication tools and information, a step the U.N. recently reaffirmed in United Nations Special Rapporteur Frank LaRue’s June 2011 report on freedom of expression. The U.N. report calls on States to ‘ensure that Internet access is maintained at all times, including during times of political unrest.’ “Special Rapporteur LaRue has it right. Prime Minister Cameron’s proposal would be a step backward and would limit access to information at a time when open communications is needed most.”


Published on August 11, 2011


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