LEEDS (international distribution) - An international coalition has criticised Internet censorship legislation about to be adopted in the United States.
In a statement issued today, the Global Internet Liberty Campaign stated that "any restrictive action taken by the United States government would not only fail to prevent the distribution of material to users in the local jurisdiction, but constitute a direct assault on the rights and other interests of Internet users, consumers and producers of content in other jurisdictions, who are not subject to the Child Online Protection Act."
The Global Internet Liberty Campaign is a coalition of international organisations founded in 1996 to defend civil liberties and human rights on the Internet and it has more than 40 members worldwide.
25 members of the global coalition signed the statement which was sent to the Clinton Administration as an open letter.
Yaman Akdeniz, director of Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK), signing the GILC statement said that:
"So far the main dangers and threats for cyber-speech came from the land of free speech - the United States. Censorious legislation such as the CDA and CDA II would set up a dangerous precedent for similar legislation in modern and developing societies including the UK."
"This piece of legislation goes further than regulating the adult industry which already provides the use of a credit card, debit account, adult access code, or adult personal identification numbers. The real goal of the proponents of this legislation is to make it difficult for the circulation of legal content on the Internet with creating unnecessary burdens for the industry and by violating the privacy of consumers with identification tools."
Erich Moechel, Administrator of the Quintessenz group in Austria added:
"Those Europeans who have watched the smashing of the 1996 version of the CDA by the US Supreme Court, have reason to believe that this new censorship law will undergo the same fate. As the law was put into legal force by the same Congress whose majority voted for publishing openly pornographic material concerning President Clinton on the Internet, this will fuel regrettable European prejudices against the USA as being governed by bigots."
Meryem Marzouiki of IRIS France stated that:
"The Child Online Protection Act has been passed in the United States while governments, all around the world, are calling for measures commonly decided at the international level, because the Internet is an international medium. Even with regards to other issues, we have recently seen that decisions which implies consequences on other nations could not be made without the consent of these nations. This particularly applies when addressing Internet issues."
Notes for the Press:
The Global Internet Liberty Campaign pages are at http://www.gilc.org
The GILC statement criticising the CDA II is at http://www.cyber-rights.org/gilc/gilc-cda.htm
Mr Yaman Akdeniz
Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK) - http://www.cyber-rights.org
Telephone: +44 113 2335033
Fax: +44 113- 2335056
Mr Erich Moechel
Quintessenz users group http://www.quintessenz.at
Tel: +43 2266 687201
Fax: +43 2266 687204
IRIS - http://www.iris.sgdg.org
EPIC - http://www.epic.org
Tel: +1 202 544 9240
Fax: +1 202 547 5482