A blog on why norms matter online

Monday, December 31, 2012

As 2012 winds down, time to reflect on the future of individuals in international law and Internet Governance

2012 has been a terribly exciting year for those interested in Internet Governance, the protection of human rights on the Internet, and the interdependencies and interrelations of international law and Internet regulation. 

Differnet stakeholders attempted to formulate their own rights and principles for the Internet. I contributed by own 5 Punchy Principles for Regulating the Internet that complement the excellent 10 Rights and Principles of the Internet Rights and Principles Coalition.

The sometimes acrimonius debates between sovereignity-oriented states and defenders of the status quo led to the failure of WCIT and the clash in Dubai, but turned Internet Governance into an issue for mainstream media (at least for a time). 

While the great insight that the “Internet is awesome. Therefore, it needs to remain free.” cannot be doubted, some content control is necessary to preserve human rights (of others). How social networks go about this task was a big topic when  Facebook's Content Moderation Standards were leaked.

(Facebook was also at the center of the biggest data protection dispute to date, an issue that remains unresolved: even after the conclusions of the Irish Data Protection Commissioner)

2012 was without doubt the most important year for human rights online. It was a  true  victory for Internet users, when the Human Rights Council adopted its Resolution on the promotion, protection and enjoyment of human rights on the Internet confirming that all human rights apply online just as offline. 

All of these developments are facets of a broader paradimg change: the emergence of the invidual in international (Internet) law. This is also the very topic to which I have dedicated the last years of my research. The result has been my book on the future of individuals in international law that has just been published by Eleven International. 

You can order it here.

The Future of Individuals in International Law

Lessons from International Internet Law

Matthias C. Kettemann

218 pages 
€ 75, 00


The state-centric international order is in flux and the role of the individual as an actor in international law is growing. Yet in most international law regimes, states continue to interposition themselves between individuals and international law. Against the background of humanization which is shown to permeate all international legal regimes, this book sketches the future of individuals in international law. From the normative success of International Internet Law as the most innovative post-interposition regime this book draws lessons for the optimal design of (existing and emerging) legal frameworks.

Describing in detail the characteristics of a post-interposition regime, including a commitment to multistakeholderism, non-traditional normative instruments and system-wide disintermediation, this book demonstrates why the future of individuals in international law looks bright. 

Target group

This publication is aimed at all those touched by international law: states representatives and diplomats, cyber foreign policy and cyber security experts from the military , legal practitioners from the private sector, civil society representatives, academia and students and teachers of international law, human rights and Internet issues.

In the coming weeks, I will present some of the insights I've developed during my research on my blog and will put them up for discussion. But for now, I wish you a happy last day of 2012 and great New Year's Day and a fantastic and productive start into 2013! 

A great 2013 to all readers!

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