Cyber security and Human Rights in the Age of Cyber veillance

Kulesza, Joanna; Balleste, Roy
Published in: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
Release Year: 2015
ISBN: 978-1442-2-6042-9
Pages: 319
Edition: 1st
File Size: 2 MB
File Type: pdf
Language: English

Description of Cyber security and Human Rights in the Age of Cyberveillance

The twenty-first century is the age of the global information society. It is a society in desperate need of rules and standards that will allow it to keep growing in peaceful coexistence. Without those the arguably greatest invention of the previous centennial, the World Wide Web, and the community that grew with it, is doomed to perish. Faced with the decentralized architecture of the network, all humans were once again proved equal, with no central power to stand guard of the agreed consensus on individual values, rights, and obligations. 
The decentralized network, designed to withstand a nuclear attack, proved resilient also to governmental influence or central management. While the expressive John Perry Barlow’s 1996 Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace can no longer be considered accurate, its notions of liberty and peer democracy still raise the hearts of the young and old alike, even more so when state authorities, including those representing nondemocratic regimes, reach out to hold Internet governance in their hand.
The global information community, formed of individuals, businesses, and authorities acting within their respective roles and limited capabilities, needs to find a new model for governance, one tailor-made for this unique network. While the search for the best Internet-governance model is still on, international human rights law has a solid foundation to offer for its operation. Because of the challenges posed by Internet governance in recent years, the human rights catalog gained arguably the most attention in the world’s political agendas since its official recognition in 1948. Created to identify the basic traits of human dignity protected by laws everywhere, it gained new significance when those traits were under threat from new technologies. This is primarily seen in governments that introduce new tools to limit individual rights, such as the right to protect one’s private information from unauthorized disclosure or to freely share one’s opinions and ideas throughout all media. As was always the case in history, those restrictions are said to be put in place for the sake of protecting national interests and security. 
The new element of this age-old struggle is the fact that governments can no longer effectively introduce those restrictions alone—they need the help of other Internet-governance actors,
above all, large Internet service providers. And as was always the case, individuals stand up against restrictions on their liberties. The new element in the contemporary global community, which is better organized than ever—whether it is the Arab Spring, fueled by social media, or the losing battle against alleged copyright inf ringers—is that individuals find effective ways to resist excessive restrictions of their liberties all over the world. A new balance between protecting national interests and individual liberties needs to be found for the global information society. 
Cyber security and Human Rights in the Age of Cyber veillance book is meant as a humble contribution to that pursuit. Indeed, human rights are sacrosanct, and any assertion that these could not exist in a particular setting is absolutely incorrect. Any doubt about their existence, even as a simple suggestion, is a mere attempt to deny existing rights to those who cannot defend or protect what belongs to them by birth. In the end, all stakeholders, but particularly governments, must exhibit authority with stewardship on behalf of all Internet users. Only by protecting that arrangement will history attest to the legitimacy of the governance process.
The book starts off with identifying the scope and limits of the overall term used as justification for new restrictions on individual freedoms: cyber security. Originally it was a technology term referring to the protection of electronic networks from security threats. According to the U.S. National Science and Technology Council, cyber security means the protection from unauthorized modification or destruction of systems, networks, or information, including systems of information authentication. The term also covers the assurance and the confidentiality of data transfers, meaning their protection from unauthorized access or disclosure of information, including also “timely and reliable access to and use of systems, networks and information.”

Cyber security raises not only technical issues, such as identifying the systems and hardware in need of particular protection from cyber threats (often referred to as “critical infrastructure”), but also crucial legal questions primarily relating to threats prevention and human rights, including the right to privacy and freedom of speech. Cyber security and Human Rights in the Age of Cyber veillance book aims to identify the thin line between cyber security measures required from states and non-state parties, primarily private companies and the international law catalog of human rights as shaped by the late twentieth-century practice and jurisprudence. Particular emphasis is put on tracing the limits of individual human rights, such as the right to privacy or the right to access information and the contemporary state and company practice of data retention or content filtering. 
The contributors of Cyber security and Human Rights in the Age of Cyber veillance book have undertaken the demanding challenge to confront the rich academic work, jurisprudence, and practice in the area of human rights from the last sixty-five years with the most recent events that shook up global politics through the use of the Internet. As a result, the book offers unique contemporary perspectives on the limits of human rights online referring to the latest political events and case law, including the PRISM controversy, the planned European Union (EU) data-protection amendments, as well as the rich Internet-related case law of the European Court of Human Rights. It provides a freeze-frame legal analysis of the ongoing legal discourse on limits of global cyber veillance while serving as a reference for any future debate on the issue. The book is meant as an invitation to the ongoing discussion on the desired and needed shape of human rights online. The contributors hope that this invitation will be accepted by all those who care about the safety and liberty in the global network that revolutionized the world as we knew it.
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