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Approaching Gold Coast AirportThis Weekly Wrap covers three weeks, Monday 3 to Sunday 23 July 2017, because I just simply didn’t get around to it. Sometimes the pace needs to be pulled back. Especially when you’re in Queensland.

There was plenty of productivity, but it was in the background. You’ll see hints of it in the lists.

Articles

Podcasts

None, but see below.

Media Appearances

  • On Wednesday 5 July, I spoke about the Medicare data breach and the dark web on ABC Adelaide.
  • On the same day, I spoke with journalism students at Macleay College about the tech press, and my thoughts on journalism generally. They’ve published an article and edited video.
  • On Friday 14 July, I spoke about the Australian government’s cryptography plans on ABC Perth.
  • On Thursday 20 July, I spoke about various ways to help secure your email on ABC Gold Coast.

I probably won’t get around to posting audio of those last two.

Corporate Largesse

None, apart from the food and drink provided at the conferences.

The Week Ahead

Monday through Wednesday will be days of writing and editing, for both ZDNet and the SEKRIT project. The latter is very close to completion now.

The next episode of The 9pm Edict podcast will finally be recorded this Thursday 27 July at 2100 AEST, and streamed live via stilgherrian.com/edict/live/. You still have time to support this podcast with a one-off contribution.

On Friday, I’m heading down to Sydney, and the University of NSW in particular, to help celebrate the 30th birthday of the Australian Privacy Foundation. How time flies.

Further Ahead

At some point between 26 and 28 July, I’m recording the pilot episode of a new podcast. Even though it’s a variant of The 9pm Edict, it won’t be streamed live. It’s a different sort of thing. Details soon.

Later in the year, I’m covering SINET61 on 26 to 27 September; the iappANZ Summit 2017 on 3 October; the Australian Information Security Association (AISA) in Sydney from 10 to 12 October; and Ruxcon in Melbourne on 21 to 22 October.

If there’s anything I should add in there, please let me know.

[Photo: Approaching Gold Coast Airport (OOL/YBCG) from the north, photographed on 16 July 2017 from Virgin Australia flight VA517, served that day by Boeing 737-800 registration VH-YVA.]

Sixty years ago today the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the newly-formed United Nations. After the bloodshed of the WWII, virtually every nation on the planet understood that these values were What It Was All About — and yet Australia is alone amongst Western democracies in not having enshrined them into Law. What’s wrong with us?

I’m still too ill to write an original essay today. However I’ve already written what I think about this in “Let’s just write that down…”. You may also like to read my review of Julian Burnside’s book Watching Brief.

Under the Rudd government, we seem to be closer to rectifying this gap in our laws — though I find it odd that a Bill of Rights sceptic is chairing the panel. Still, anything would be better than the comprehensive erosion of human rights under the Howard government.

Photograph of Mary Ellen O’Connell

Of all the writing about the 5th anniversary of the US-led invasion of Iraq, one of the more interesting pieces is by Mary Ellen O’Connell (pictured) of Notre Dame Law School. In Learning from the Iraq War: The Wisdom of International Law, she argues that the most tangible lesson is that the US ignores international law at its peril.

Going into Iraq, we ignored the UN Charter, which prohibits the use of force except in self-defense or with Security Council authorization. Once in Iraq, we ignored the Hague Regulations, requiring us to put a stop to looting and to make only necessary changes to local law and government. We ignored the Geneva Conventions, which prohibit secret detention and abuse of prisoners of the kind we saw at Abu Ghraib.

The talk on Iraq is all about what went wrong, whether the surge is working, and when we can get out. We hear virtually nothing about international law and look set to repeat our mistakes. Violating the law has cost our nation and Iraq dearly. It has denied us the guidance of rules based on long experience and moral consensus. We have lost standing in the world, a literal fortune, and precious lives. Rather than internalizing the lesson of law violation in Iraq, we continue to defy the law in serious and self-destructive ways.

At some point, sooner or later, America needs to understand that international law does indeed apply to everyone — including America. Otherwise any US action against any other nation breaking the law is nothing but hypocrisy. (Hat-tip to Blog Them Out of the Stone Age.)