Human rights on the internet: online, you have rights too

The European convention of human rights is not popular in the UK. Nor is the European court of human rights, given its role in the Abu Qatada extradition affair. Despite a belief that civil liberties are a domestic matter, mobilisation against the UK communications data bill highlighted how governmental snooping of ordinary people online is very much about human rights, like privacy and freedom of expression, as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and British law.This bill, or “snooper’s charter”, did not become law. Perhaps it didn’t need to. Legally dubious forms of internet surveillance are already underway given GCHQ’s complicity in the US National Security Agency’s global surveillance of the internet. In the wake of the Prism scandal, these revelations confirm that online human rights are neither self-explanatory nor adequately protected.

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