A blog on why norms matter online

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Human Rights on the Internet: EuroDIG workshops and sesssions will look at rights, responsibilities - and surveillance

Internet surveillance will be among the key
topics discussed at EuroDIG.Visitors in St.
Gallen's Art Musuem (c) Kettemann 2013
I'm at EuroDIG (European Dialogue on Intenret Governance) in Lisbon next week. The conference promises to be very exciting in light of recent developments regarding human rights and Internet Governance. 

I'm a speaker in Workshop 4 entitled "Towards a Human Internet? Rules, Rights, and Responsibilities for Our Online Future". The workshop, coordinated by Marianne Franklin of the IRP Coalition has an innovative breakout format with sessions of freedom of epxression, Internet access, privacy, security and realizing human rights online. If you're in Lisbon, join us. And if you're not, join us remotely.
In light of recent events I also organize a Flash Session on Friday, 21 June, 8:00 (pending confirmation) on human rights and Intenret surveillance. Details to follow but the planned outline is posted below. Stay tuned to this blog for further developments. 

Human Rights and Internet Surveillance: Standards, Principles and Lines of Action
Focal Point: Matthias C. Kettemann

Surveillance has never been easier: a sharp increase in stored data, better surveillance and data mining tools, and security-oriented political priorities together threaten privacy, freedom of expression and democratic participation worldwide.

In Resolution 20/8 (2012), the Human Rights Council affirmed that “the same rights that people have offline must also be protected online, in particular freedom of expression”.  As UN Special Rapporteur La Rue wrote in his 2013 report, Internet surveillance may not only violate privacy but has serious chilling effects on a range of other human rights. 

The Flash will look at key questions brought forth both by La Rue’s report, reflecting worldwide trends, and by the PRISM revelations.

  • What are the limits to Internet surveillance?
  • What is worse: If the surveillance systems in place are illegal or if they are, in fact, legal under national legislation? What about international standards, as developed in the jurisprudence of e.g. the European Court of Human Rights?
  • What role and responsibilities do the different actors – states, companies – in Internet surveillance have? What can civil society do? What about extisting standards, such as the IRP Charter on Internet Rights and Principles?
  • What lines of action exist: Should the Human Rights Council convene a special session? What role can the High Commissioner for Human Rights play? Which organizations should be activated?

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