This paper focuses on recent initiatives in three countries (Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania) to “tax” the internet through introducing excise duties on, essentially, internet access and/or use.
It concludes that:
The increased excise duty on internet data services in Kenya is not a violation of international human rights norms and standards, as the increase is unlikely to hinder access to and/or use of the internet for Kenya’s people.
The excise duty in the form of licence-related fees for online content services in Tanzania is a violation of international human rights norms and standards, because the fees imposed are so high that they would render the cost of posting content online – that is, effective internet use – simply unaffordable for the vast majority of Tanzania’s people.
The excise duty on what is defined as “over-the-top services” in Uganda is a violation of international human rights norms and standards, because it renders the cost of accessing such services – that is, effective internet access – simply unaffordable for the majority of Uganda’s people.
The paper also makes suggestions for how redress might be sought in respect of Tanzania’s and Uganda’s human rights violations resulting from the imposition of their excise duty regimes.
2018/09/13: A list that names seven employees who say they quit their jobs at Google over a lack of corporate transparency is circulating within the company’s ranks. The departures follow the controversial revelation of Google’s work on Project Dragonfly, a censored search app for the China market. Employees shared the list of names on an email list dedicated to discussions of ethics and transparency issues at Google.
While current employees declined to provide the list itself or to specify most of the names on it, three sources familiar with the matter confirmed the existence of the list, which is made up largely of software engineers whose experience at Google ranges between one and 11 years.
2018/09/07: As long as we depend on the arbitrary will of another for our subsistence then it is hard to claim that we are free. While some of us would be able to find alternative employment in the event of our being dismissed, or of leaving a job after being harassed or otherwise mistreated, some would struggle, and some would suffer substantial harm. We cannot know for sure in advance which category we fall into. This suggests that welfare payments or alternative forms of employment ought to be available as of right, not only for the benefit of those who find themselves without work but to protect all workers from the insults and injustices of their employers. It further suggests that workers have a right to organize to reduce their vulnerability to arbitrary power in the workplace. Indeed, a fully achieved democratic republic would want to establish workplace democracy in an economy where individuals could always secure independent access to the means of subsistence.20
This general right to be free from domination has implications for the extent and nature of state activity. Without a general right to healthcare, we are not free to decide whether to take a job or to leave it. The overwhelming need to cover existing conditions, or to secure treatment for dependents, or to hedge against future risks, will make us vulnerable to pressure from our employers that need not ever be stated to be real. Here we can see the limitations of the liberal tradition’s attempt to understand unfreedom in terms of physical interference and coercive threats.
2018/09/14: Google built a prototype of a censored search engine for China that links users’ searches to their personal phone numbers, thus making it easier for the Chinese government to monitor people’s queries, The Intercept can reveal.
The search engine, codenamed Dragonfly, was designed for Android devices, and would remove content deemed sensitive by China’s ruling Communist Party regime, such as information about political dissidents, free speech, democracy, human rights, and peaceful protest.
Sources familiar with Dragonfly said the search platform also appeared to have been tailored to replace weather and air pollution data with information provided directly by an unnamed source in Beijing.
When she went to Egypt for vacation, Mona el-Mazbouh surely didn't expect to end up in prison. But after the 24-year-old Lebanese tourist posted a video in which she complained of sexual harassment-calling Egypt a lowly, dirty country and its citizens "pimps and prostitutes"-el-Mazbouh was arrested...
As the Justice Srikrishna committee goes about its job, it is important to understand that fusing European-style regulation with a coercive Indian political system is a recipe for disaster.
The NSA's phone metadata program is being ended. But XKEYSCORE and mass internet surveillance almost certainly continues - and is more outrageous.
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Later this week, world leaders will gather at the United Nations in New York and adopt a set of Sustainable Development Goals to guide global development.
In order to prevent us from discussing and sharing interesting things, the copyright industry has successfully eliminated civil liberties online. But it was all down to a wrong and stupid business assumption in the first place.
We all know that Government surveillance is bad. It's very easy to identify as a threat. We have all of this scary symbolism around it. We have history, the hindsight of history. We have the Stasi for example. We have a very strong canon; Orwell, Huxley and yet, is it the only threat? Is it today even the most important threat? What if surveillance didn't look this scary? What if it actually looked, well, pretty friendly? Could we still identify it as a threat?
Feeding Britain, a new report of the All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry into Hunger and Food Poverty, has been greeted with some fanfare. It details the full extent of the UK's food poverty crisis and urges
The human animal takes a remarkably long time to reach maturity. And we cram a lot of learning into that time, as well we should: the list of things we need to know by the time we hit adulthood in order
It's not just refugees being sent overseas. Prime minister Tony Abbott is prepared to hand over Australia's obligations towards children to countries that are not party to the 1993 Hague Convention on
2014/05/15: The recent EU High Court ruling on Google states that people have a right to request that search engines delete links about them. Immediate concerns were raised about the feasibility, the cost, and
If you want a classic example of political Christianism - and its active hostility to spiritual Christianity - it's hard to beat Sarah Palin's remarks yesterday. I offered a brief response last night, but this obscenity needs to be unpacked some more. And the first thing to say is that a former US vice-presidential candidate
The worldview of the old Southern aristocracy can now be found nationwide.
If you are on a personal connection, like at home, you can run an anti-virus scan on your device to make sure it is not infected with malware.