The Free Internet Project


India's Department of Telecommunications issues report in favor of net neutrality

This week, India's Department of Telecommunications (DoT) issued its report in favor of net neutrality. [Download]  One of the more controversial aspects of the report involves over the top services (OTT), such as VoIP apps Skype and WhatsApp that enable people to make calls over the Internet.  The panel recommended taking a bifurcated approach to OTT services: regulating apps that enable local and national calls in India (in competition with and cheaper than local carriers), but not regulating apps with respect to international calls and messaging.   

India's government will decide the final policy after receiving comments from the telecom industry. 

China's Proposed Cybersecurity Law to Strengthen Censorship Online

China released a draft of "People's Republic of China Cybersecurity Law."  The law sets forth new rules regarding monitoring and censorship of content. Under Article 40, if network operators find "information that the law or administrative regulations prohibits the publication or transmission of, they shall immediately stop transmission of that information, employ treatment measures such as deleting it, prevent the information from spreading, save relevant records."  Article 43 requires government agencies to monitor online content and to "request the network operators stop transmission, employ disposition measures such as deletion" if they find prohibited content. If passed, the Cybersecurity Law will solidify China's already pervasive censorship apparatus.  

Google recognizes a private right to be forgotten for victims of revenge porn

June 19, 2015.  Google announced today it is recognizing what amounts to a private right to be forgotten for victims of revenge porn.  Revenge porn involves the publishing of nude photos of people without their consent, typically by ex-significant others who would like "revenge" against their former lovers.  Even though there is no legal right to be forgotten in the United States, Google has effectively recognized a private right to be forgotten as a matter of its own code of conduct or policy.

Russia closer to passing right to be forgotten law

Russia's Duma voted in favor of a bill recognizing a right to be forgotten in Russia, by a 423 in favor and 1 against.  If enacted, the law would give people the right to request search engines to remove links to articles containing personal information about them that is erroneous or false. If the bill is finally passed, it would go into effect in Jan. 2016. Critics fear the law would enable politicians and others to censor truthful information about them. [via Global Voices, June 16, 2015]

Russia considers new right to be forgotten law

Russia is considering enacting a new law that recognizes a right to be forgotten in Russia, similar to the EU right to be forgotten. According to the Russia Insider, the Russian RTBF could be invoked if the information in the article is “misleading or distributed in violation of the law."  Russian presidential aide Igor Shchyogolev reportedly is pushing for the enactment of the law. Critics fear that a RTBF law will be used by the Russian government to further its censorship of the Internet, however, especially given that the proposed RTBF law would be enforced by the state communications regulator Roskomnadzor, which already has power to order the blocking of websites.

Google appeals Mexico's right to be forgotten decision in favor of Carlos Sánchez de la Peña related to family business dealings

According to the Wall Street Journal, Google is appealing of January 2015 decision of Mexico’s Federal Institute for the Access to Information, which ruled in favor of Carlos Sánchez de la Peña in his "right to be forgotten request" to have Google remove links to three articles (from searches of his name) that describe Moreira's father's business dealings and Mexico's bailout of several bad loans. IFAL didn't find that the public interest served by retaining the links to the news articles and ordered Google to remove the links from searches of Sánchez de la Peña 's name. According to the Wall Street Journal, "The most prominent of the links is to a 2007 article in the local magazine Fortuna about a lawsuit against Mr. Sánchez’s de la Peña’s late father, Salvador Sánchez Alcántara, by shareholders in the bus company Estrella Blanca. Mr. Sánchez de la Peña is named in the story." Moreover, "IFAI commissioners argued that Mr. Sánchez de la Peña met the privacy-law requirement that allows for the removal of information when its “persistence causes injury” even if the information was lawfully published."

Mark Zuckerberg defends nonprofit's limited Internet service from criticisms of conflict with net neutrality

In April 2015, Mark Zuckerberg visited India to help promote his nonprofit's efforts to provide Internet access to the billions of people around the world (two thirds of the world's popoulation) who still lack Internet access.  The nonprofit provides a smartphone app with free Internet access that is limited to several programs, including Facebook (minus the ads): "The app provides free basic services in markets where internet access may be less affordable.

80 Professors Ask Google to Release Data on How It Decides Right to Be Forgotten Requests

Professor Ellen Goodman of Rutgers University (US) and Researcher Julia Powles of Cambridge University (UK) co-authored an open letter, signed by 80 professors from the US and Europe, asking Google to release data on how it decides EU right to be forgotten requests.

Google wins first appeal of right to be forgotten rejection in Finland

After Google decides whether to accept or reject a right to be forgotten removal request from a person in the European Union, the claimant can appeal any adverse decision to the national data protection authority.  Finland just reported its first appeal.  Finnish Data Protection Ombudsman Reijo Aarnio agreed with Google's decision to reject a businessman's attempt to remove links to articles about his past business mistakes.

India Supreme Court rules censorship law Section 66A unconstitutional violation of free speech

On March 24, 2015, the Indian Supreme Court rendered an important free speech decision (running over 100 pages in length) that invalidated an amendment to the Information Technology Act known as Section 66A.


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