Declaration of Internet Rights: Italy introduces web bill promoting net neutrality

Italy has become the second country in the world to introduce a bill to protect the ‘Internet rights’ of its citizens.

The southern-European country yesterday had a “Declaration of Internet Rights” presented to its parliament that is intended to protect the “liberty, equality, dignity and unique diversity of each individual” while they’re online.

Included in the bill are provisions that promote net neutrality, right to an individual identity, a right to internet access, the ability to access information online, and much more that will please those pushing for a more open web.

The declaration says that these rights need to be preserved to ensure the democratic functioning of institutions as well as to avoid the “predominance of public and private powers that may lead to a society of surveillance, control and social selection.”

“The Internet is an increasingly important space for the self‐organisation of individuals and groups, and it is a vital tool for promoting individual and collective participation in democratic processes as well as substantive equality,” the bill says.

“The principles underpinning this Declaration also take account of the function of the Internet as an economic space that enables innovation, fair competition and growth in a democratic context.”

The Italian ‘Committee on the rights and duties related to the Internet’ accepted the bill of rights on July 28; the first Internet Bill of Rights was passed into law by Brazil, in April 2015.


The bill recognises that access to the Internet “is a fundamental right of all persons” and that everyone should have the same right of access to what is online. It says that public institutions should take the “necessary measures” to overcome “all forms of digital divide” – whether they are created by gender, economic condition, or disability. There are also provisions which state that everyone has the right to be taught and update the skills needed to use the Internet.

Importantly, for online campaigners, the bill says that net neutrality – a neutral access to the Internet without providers blocking or prioritising certain sites – is a “necessary condition” for the rights of each person.

“Every person has the right that the data he/she transmits and receives over the Internet be not subject to discrimination, restrictions or interference based upon the sender, recipient, type or content of the data, the device used, applications or, in general, the legitimate choices of individuals,” it says.

The move by the Italian politicians was commended by Tim Berners-Lee’s World Wide Web Foundation which said that it is important that the country has decided to take the lead and conduct a collaborative and crowd sourced effort to draft the bill.

“There is a lot to like about this Bill of Rights – it establishes access as a fundamental right, acknowledges the importance of the Internet to democracy, and puts open access to information, knowledge and culture at its heart,” said Renata, from the Foundation.


Despite the overwhelmingly positive move by Italy, the Web Foundation did have one or two criticisms of the bill.

They said that it “falls short” in protecting anonymity and encryption, as well as data retention clauses being unclear.

“Overall, this is a positive development for the protection of fundamental rights online, but further clarity on some clauses, and information on how the Bill will be enforced must be urgently addressed, so it can achieve its full potential,” said Avila.

Wanted man captured thanks to facial recognition

A Chinese man who was wanted by police for “economic crimes” – which can include anything from tax evasion to the theft of public property – was arrested at a music concert in China after facial recognition technology spotted him inside the venue.

Source: Abacus News

SpaceX president commits to city-to-city rocket travel

SpaceX president and chief operating officer Gwynne Shotwell has reiterated the company’s plans to make city-to-city travel — on Earth — using a rocket that’s designed for outer space a reality. Shotwell says the tech will be operational “within a decade, for sure.”

Source: Recode

Businessman wins battle with Google over 'right to be forgotten'

A businessman fighting for the "right to be forgotten" has won a UK High Court action against Google.. The businessman served six months’ in prison for “conspiracy to carry out surveillance”, and the judge agreed to an “appropriate delisting order".

Source: Press Gazette

UK launched cyber attack on Islamic State

The UK has conducted a "major offensive cyber campaign" against the Islamic State group, the director of the intelligence agency GCHQ, Jeremy Fleming, has revealed. The operation hindered the group's ability to co-ordinate attacks and suppressed its propaganda.

Source: BBC

Goldman Sachs consider whether curing patients is bad for business

Goldman Sachs analysts have attempted to tackle the question of whether pioneering "gene therapy" treatment will be bad for business in the long run. "Is curing patients a sustainable business model?" analysts ask in a report entitled "The Genome Revolution."

Source: CNBC

Four-armed robot performing surgery in the UK

A £1.5m "robotic" surgeon, controlled using a computer console, is being used to shorten the time patients spend recovering after operations. The da Vinci Xi machine is the only one in the country being used for upper gastrointestinal surgery.

Source: BBC

Virgin Galactic rocket planes go past the speed of sound

Virgin Galactic completed its first powered flight in nearly four years when Richard Branson's space company launched its Unity spacecraft, which reached supersonic speeds before safely landing. “We’ve been working towards this moment for a long time,” Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesides said in an email to Quartz.

Source: Quartz

Google employees protest being in "the business of war"

Thousands of Google employees, including dozens of senior engineers, have signed a letter protesting the company’s involvement in a Pentagon program that uses AI to interpret video imagery and could be used to improve the targeting of drone strikes. The letter, which is circulating inside Google, has garnered more than 3,100 signatures

Source: New York Times

Computer system transcribes words users “speak silently”

MIT researchers have developed a computer interface that transcribes words that the user verbalises internally but does not actually speak aloud. The wearable device picks up neuromuscular signals in the jaw and face that are triggered by internal verbalisations — saying words “in your head” — but are undetectable to the human eye.

Source: MIT News

Drones could be used to penalise bad farming

A report by a coalition of environmental campaigners is arguing squadrons of drones should be deployed to locate and penalise farmers who let soil run off their fields. Their report says drones can help to spot bad farming, which is said to cost more than £1.2bn a year by clogging rivers and contributing to floods.

Source: BBC

Californian company unveil space hotel

Orion Span, a California company, has unveiled its Aurora Station, a commercial space station that would house a luxury hotel. The idea is to put the craft in low-earth orbit, about 200 miles up, with a stay at the hotel likely to cost $9.5 million for a 12-day trip, but you can reserve a spot now with an $80,000 deposit.

UK mobile operators pay close to £1.4bn for 5G

An auction of frequencies for the next generation of mobile phone networks has raised £1.36bn, says regulator Ofcom. Vodafone, EE, O2 and Three all won the bandwidth needed for the future 5G mobile internet services, which are not expected to be launched until 2020.

Source: BBC