Citing the importance of the Internet as an “indispensible tool” in the promotion of freedom of expression worldwide, a report commissioned by the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council elevates Internet access to the level of a human right that, under the U.N. International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, deserves protection by all states. Released last week, the report was developed by U.N. Special Rapporteur Frank LaRue, who was instructed by the council to assess “the advantages and challenges of new information and communications technologies, including the Internet and mobile technologies, for the exercise of the right to freedom of opinion and expression.” As demonstrated in part by recent political events in Egypt and in other Middle Eastern states, Internet access, according to La Rue’s report, has become “indispensible . . . for realizing a range of human rights, combating inequality, and accelerating development of human progress.” While calling on states worldwide “to develop a concrete and effective policy . . . to make the Internet widely available, accessible and affordable to all segments of the population,” the report voices concern with various actions undertaken by states and individuals that have restricted access to the Internet and the free flow of information across web networks. Such actions include blocking or filtering of Internet transmissions for the purpose of censorship, web surveillance, and the termination of user access. Notwithstanding arguments that web surveillance and similar actions are “frequently justified broadly as being necessary to protect national security or to combat terrorism,” the report cautions that such measures, “though legitimate under international human rights law . . . often take place for political rather than security reasons in an arbitrary and covert manner.” These practices, continued the report, may also “constitute a violation of the Internet users’ right to privacy, and, by undermining people’s confidence and security on the Internet, impede the free flow of information and ideas.” With respect to Internet users that are found to be copyright violators, the report describes the termination of users’ access as “disproportionate and thus a violation of Article 19, paragraph 3 of the International Covenant.”