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The right to be forgotten risks becoming a tool to curb free press

Online news archives highlight the tension between the right to know and the right to be forgotten. Online archives are a flash point in the on-going battle over the right to be forgotten. Image: DRs Kulturarvsprojekt (CC BY-SA 2.0) Ever since the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) handed down its decision in the landmark 2014 case of Google Spain v AEPD and Mario Costeja González, a war of rights has quietly waged in courtrooms across Europe. Out …

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Snowden to Cambridge Analytica – making the case for the social value of privacy

An image of Mark Zuckerberg in Shadow Ink app. 2016. Wikicommons/ Annika Laas. Some rights reserved.After days of prodding by the media, Mark Zuckerberg has offered a mea culpa, apologizing for the “breach of trust between Facebook and the people who share their data with us and expect us to protect it”. The news that Facebook shared user data with a number of organizations including Cambridge Analytica seems to reflect the paradox of surveillance society – that our personal data …

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When bully boys dictate the West’s agenda, Turkey invades Syria with impunity

How can bully boys and aggressors label a resistance movement ‘terrorist’ when the whole question of Turkey’s accession to the EU turned around its democratic deficits? Kurdish women Infiltrate Conservative party HQ in London to highlight plight of besieged city of Afrin.On 19 January, Kurdish people and their supporters stood outside the Turkish embassy in London denouncing Turkey as a fascist state because it had begun cross-border shelling of Afrin, a predominantly Kurdish area, in Northern Syria. An invasion was …

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Net neutrality at a crossroads: why India’s policy process has important lessons for the US

Digital equality demands that access to the internet is seen as indivisible from a democratic internet. Net neutrality is not just about an open architecture, but about genuine egalitarianism – meaning internet access. Net neutrality: To regulate or not to regulate?. Flickr/ITU Pictures. CC-BY-2.0.The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has proposed the key principles on non-discriminatory treatment as applicable to Internet Access Services. TRAI’s reiteration of net neutrality assumes special significance for the global discourse on the issue, given the US-FCC’s decision to repeal …

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70 years after partition: is India, like Pakistan, turning to religious extremism?

Pakistani and Indian national flags. Photo: Xinhua/SIPA USA/PA Images. All rights reserved.It’s a curious phenomenon: the further Indian independence from Britain recedes into the past, the more attention it receives. It’s as if the British psyche is in greater need of past glories amidst Brexit. The 70th anniversary of Indian independence this year appears to have attracted more attention in the British media than even the 50th. This month’s London Film Festival also nods in this direction with its screening …

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Concretising the right to privacy in digital times: a reading of India’s Supreme Court judgement

In order to protect the right to privacy, we must have legislation for the material design of our digital services. Someone using the Indian Aadhaar biometric data system. Credits: BMN Network/Flickr. Some rights reserved.The nine-judge bench of India’s Supreme Court has just ruled that “privacy is intrinsic to freedom of life and personal liberty” guaranteed in Article 21 of the Constitution of India and qualifies as “a primal natural right”. The Court has underscored that its task was to “impart …

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Internet access, sustainability, and citizen participation: electricity as a prerequisite for democracy?

Electronic waste: 100,000 migrant workers labour in China’s Guiyu province break down imported computers in hundreds of small operations like this one. Image: baselactionnetwork, CC BY-NC 4.0. Some rights reserved.At its core, sustainability simply refers to the ability to live harmoniously within an environment over time. When applied to modern society, humanity’s long-term survival rests not only on environmental and ecological harmonization, but also on our social and cultural harmonization – the ability to collaborate, communicate effectively, resolve conflict peacefully …

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The right to blasphemy: is this the boundary between civilisation and barbarism?

Zineb El Rhazoui at the London conference. Photo: Victoria Gugenheim.In heated debates following the 2015 massacre at Charlie Hebdo, apologists for the violence condemned the ‘racism’ of its cartoons. Staff of the French satirical magazine were frequently presented as part of a white racist left. But how many people knew that – along with an Algerian copy-editor, Mustapha Ourrad – there was a young Moroccan woman, a journalist named Zineb El Rhazoui, on its payroll? This question reeks of the …

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“I don’t want to die because I’m an atheist”: ex-Muslims speak out

Deeyah Khan at the Conference on Freedom of Conscience and Expression in London. Photo: Victoria Gugenheim.While making her documentary Islam’s Non-Believers, award-winning Norwegian filmmaker Deeyah Khan says she came to realise that Maryam Namazie and her group, Council of ex-Muslims of Britain (CEMB), were plugged into a growing international movement of people leaving Islam, sometimes at great risk to themselves.  Broadcast by ITV last year, and shown at the Conference on Freedom of Conscience and Expression in London last month, …

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Surviving a machete attack: the story of Bangladeshi-American freethinker Bonya Ahmed

Bonya Ahmed. Photo: Ritu Mahendru.“We stand on the right side of history” was the title of the keynote speech given by Bonya Ahmed, a Bangladeshi-American freethinker, at the international Conference on Freedom of Conscience and Expression in London last month. The price she has paid for standing on the right side of history was reflected in her troubled eyes and sliced off thumb, which testified to her own recent experience. In February 2015, Ahmed and her husband, the author Avijit …

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