Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Is United Nations Serious About Human Rights In Cyberspace?

Human rights protection in cyberspace is a concept whose time has come. What is most surprising is why United Nations has still not considered cyberspace as an essential part of human life. If we analyse the trend world over, technology has been increasingly used to violate civil liberties and human rights. United Nations (UN) must urgently protect human rights in cyberspace.

After all human rights like right to speech and expression, right to information, right to know, privacy rights, etc are similar in an electronic environment. Even governmental intrusions are similar, rather easier, in an electronic environment.

The world community on Human Rights must start thinking in this direction as issues like Cyber Warfare, Cyber Terrorism, Cyber Espionage, Cyber Crimes, E-Surveillance, Unlawful Interceptions, etc are “Transnational” in nature, suggest managing partner of New Delhi based law firm Perry4Law and CEO of the exclusive Cyberspace Human Rights Protection Centre of India. If different countries would have different laws for these issues, it would be very difficult to truly enforce protective provisions against these menaces, opines Dalal.

Similarly, growing use of surveillance, e-surveillance and interceptions is also challenging the human rights world over. In order to protect human rights in cyberspace, at least constitutionally sound lawful interceptions laws must be enacted. These laws must have sufficient safeguards to protect violation of civil liberties and human rights.

Lawful Interception is a process that “Reconciles” the National Security requirements and Civil Liberties of a Nation. In the Indian context, we have no Lawful Interception Law in India. By Lawful Interception Law I mean a “Constitutionally Sound” Lawful Interception Law and not the present “Self Serving Laws” of India, says Praveen Dalal.

The problem is that there are no internationally acceptable standards that protect human rights in cyberspace. Countries world over are taking advantage of this lacuna. Even United Nations has failed to make suitable regulations and framework in this crucial field. It would be better if United Nations makes a “Harmonised Framework” for Protection of Human Rights in Cyberspace, opines Dalal.