Thursday, November 25, 2010

Does This UN Resolution Mean That It Is Now OK To Execute Gays?

"The United Nations has removed a plea for lesbians, gays and bisexuals not to be executed in a narrow vote.

For the last 10 years sexual orientation has been included in a list of discriminatory grounds for executions – gay rights activists say the vote to remove that listing is “dangerous and disturbing.”

The UN resolution urges countries to protect the right to life of all people, calling on them to investigate killings based on discriminatory grounds. Sexual orientation was previously listed as one of these forms of discrimination, alongside ethnicity, religious belief and linguistic minorities.

Others protected by the resolution were human rights defenders (like journalists, lawyers and demonstrators), street children and members of indigenous communities.

But now sexual orientation has been taken out of the list."

PinkPaper - Countries vote to accept execution of gays

(Hat tip to Andrew Sullivan for this story)

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I have expressed concerns before about the use of invasive technology on populations. Once again, I remind people of the concern we should all share when the state becomes unfettered in its ability to monitor its citizenry. I have discussed what can happen to privacy with creative data mining.

Re-read my post "Project 'Gaydar': At MIT, an experiment identifies which students are gay, raising new questions about online privacy"

I quote my own commentary below:

"This is an example of the power of data mining - and new applications for the kinds of algorithms used for searching, data mining, and market research. These two researchers have used the same kind of techniques that facebook uses when its automated systems decide what ads you should see when you are logged in.

The information about whether a person is gay or not could have potentially devastating consequences for the individual. Think about what would happen if the government of Iran or another fundamentalist (like Saudi Arabia) or stridently anti-gay regime (think Uganda [Fear grows among Uganda’s gay community over death penalty draft law]) decided to keep track of its students living abroad..."

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