Articles by Vanessa Real Williams

International Law

A New Online Iron Curtain: Russian Internet Surveillance Law

November 19, 2019 Vanessa Real Williams 0

Russia’s “Sovereign Internet” Law On Nov. 1, 2019, the Russian government finally enacted its new internet internet surveillance law that it adopted in April of this year. The Russian government refers to the law as the “Sovereign Internet Law,” a move to take control over Russia’s free internet. The Kremlin, Russia’s executive branch, framed the need for the law in light of potential external cyberattacks, the need for protection against foreign enemies such as the United States, and potential “emergencies” where the state deems censorship a necessary act.   The new system of governance over the internet allows the Russian government to track all free-flowing information and selectively block information that it deems to be a “threat”. Furthermore, the new law enables the government to reroute Russian users, without the knowledge of the users as to what they are being rerouted from or why. The enactment of the law required the […]

International Law

How The United Nations Is Working To Reduce Hate Speech With Law

October 31, 2019 Vanessa Real Williams 0

Hate Speech Hate speech is a pervasive social phenomenon that threatens the human rights of its recipients. It occurs at all levels of society, not discriminating between democratic and authoritarian regimes. Many who spout hate speech may discount the power of their words, however, the violent history of the consequences of hate speech tell a different story. The United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, cited the connection between hate speech and acts of mass violence such as the Rwandan, Bosnian, and Combodian genocides, as well as more recent acts of mass violence in the United States, New Zealand, and Sri Lanka. The increasing occurrences of violent acts provide more than enough evidence for the need for legal action to inhibit the use of hate speech in the public sphere.  Why are we talking about it now? Currently, international law prohibits the “incitement to discrimination, hostility and violence,” requiring that hate speech […]