A new UN report says "three-strikes" and Internet disconnects are violations of human rights, regardless of the justifications for doing so
The United Nations has produced a report which criticizes governments around the world for introducing "three-strikes" anti-piracy legislations.
The "three-strikes" system, also called "graduated response", works by giving Internet users three warnings for alleged copyright infringement, before disconnecting the user's Internet connection. France already has a "three-strikes" system up and running, while countries like Britain and New Zealand are planning to launch such systems in the near future.
The UN Human Rights Council has received a report from UN Special Rapporteur Frank La Rue which attacks such disconnections as a violation of human rights. The report argues that restricting a specific type of media that an individual is allowed to use to express themselves, in this case the Internet, would be illegal.
"The Special Rapporteur considers cutting off users from Internet access, regardless of the justification provided, including on the grounds of violating intellectual property rights law, to be disproportionate and thus a violation of article 19, paragraph 3, of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights," the report added.
The Special Rapporteur made specific mentions of France and UK in his report as well, "The SpecialRapporteur is deeply concerned by discussions regarding a centralized "on/off" control over Internet traffic. In addition, he is alarmed by proposals to disconnect users from Internet access if they violate intellectual property rights. This also includes legislation based on the concept of "graduated response", which imposes a series of penalties on copyright infringers that could lead to suspension of Internet service, such as the so-called "three-strikes-law" in France and the Digital Economy Act 2010 of the United Kingdom."