EDITORIAL: The importance of debating Internet privacy in CSTD

The Commission on Science and Technology for Development is on the right track in their debate on Internet privacy and security


The Commission On Science and Technology For Development has been debating the topic on information technology and international security today at the sixty-first session of the Harvard National Model United Nations conference.

Perhaps more important than even before, The Guardian strongly encourages this dialogue and urges delegating states to fully participate in the drafting of any resolutions on the issue that may lead to much-needed change in the coming future.

As we all know, 2013 marked a new era in the Internet privacy vs. national security debate. With the help of whistleblower Edward Snowden, and the documents he handed to The Guardian, the world as we knew it crumbled as shocking details emerged about the extent of government spying and data collection programs conducted worldwide on a global scale.

It is undeniable that the Internet is becoming a large part of our everyday lives, but that also means that criminals, terrorists, and all other forms of wrongdoers are also emerging as unknown and powerful types of criminals in cyberspace.

The committee seems to be addressing this emerging challenge adequately by focusing on definitions of cyberspace, cyberterrorism, or cybercrime. Delegates are balancing the importance of Internet privacy and security with national and international security, as well as discussing hacks (such as the recent one on Sony allegedly done by a hacking group operating out of North Korea) and cyber-espionage (such as the massive-scale espionage China is continuously alleged of conducting in Western states).

We at The Guardian acknowledge that regulating the Internet is a challenging issue that poses fundamental questions about how we operate as a free and democratic society. After all, we recognize that trying to balance a free and unregulated Internet with a safe Internet is easier said than done without infringing on the rights of those we are trying to protect. The Guardian also recognizes that countries come from very different historical and socio-political background and therefore have very different ideas about press freedom and freedom of the Internet.

The Guardian strongly encourages delegates to continue their thoughtful and meaningful dialogue on the issue, and also hopes that a consensus will be reached that will proportionately balance the freedom and rights of countries’ citizens, journalistic freedoms, as well as national and international security.

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