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UN hopes employ anti-terrorism surveillence of internet

The UN has announced in a report that it hopes to increase the use of surveillence against internet users, claiming that it will help investigate, as well as prosecute, terrorists.

The United Nations recently released a 148 page report which details the organization's hopes of using internet surveillance in order to investigate terrorism. The report details how terrorists are using social media, such as Facebook and YouTube, in order to "spread propaganda". Yury Fedotov, executive director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, explains that terror cells can at a low cost, and with high anonymity, spread their beliefs to the world.

The report, which was released at a Vienna conference, further states that a major issue with prosecuting terrorists online, is that there is no internationally agreed upon standard for data retention from ISPs in various countries. The US Department of Justice has similarly been lobbying for congress to enact legislature which forces ISPs to retain data on their customers for future police investigations, and was faced with stark opposition.

The UN building in New York


The current report however, has stated that it may be necessary to go even further in terms of data retention, than the proposed US legislature. The report hopes to store conversations from instant messaging or VoIP services such as Skype as well. It also hopes to require registration for use of free wi-fi spots, such as in cafés and airports; and wants to make more use of mobile location data in criminal investigations. Finally, the report draws concern to "terrorist"-developed video games.

I feel a need to add my own two cents to this matter: This proposal is yet another attempt of a governing body to invade the liberties of the individual and I personally find it horrendous, especially as many of the things the proposal is hoping to police should be protected as free speech. It doesn't matter who you're trying to silence; if you do it to one group of people, you've done it to everyone. Benjamin Franklin once said: "Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.", and I wholeheartedly agree with this; that liberty will never be returned. This is why SOPA and PIPA have met with so much opposition, and so should this.

David F.
A grad student in experimental physics, David is fascinated by science, space and technology. When not buried in lecture books, he enjoys movies, gaming and mountainbiking

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