A blog on why norms matter online

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I'm a Post-Doc Fellow at the Cluster of Excellence "Normative Orders" of the University of Frankfurt and lecturer at the Institute of International Law of the University of Graz, Austria. I've studied international law in Graz, Geneva and at Harvard Law School. I enjoy thinking and writing about Internet Governance and discussing and shaping the future of the Internet

Friday, September 20, 2013

Die überwachte Gesellschaft: iRights.info veröffentlicht E-Book zu Politik und Recht nach Prism

Überwachte Gesellschaft - eine neuer Sammelband
mit Interviews und Beiträgen zu Recht und
Politik nach Prism und Tempora  cc

Prism und Tempora und die sich an die Enthüllungen über Intensität und Ausmaß der Überwachungsprogramme anschließende Debatte haben Politik und Recht stark beeinflusst. 

Welche Entwicklungen sich nun abzeichnen und wie Politik und Recht auf den Einsatz von Informations- und Kommunikationstechnologie zur Überwachung reagieren, zeichnen Beiträge nach die David Pachali für iRights.info zusammengestelllt hat. 

Die Beiträge - Interviews und Artikel - sind nun unter dem Titel   Überwachte Gesellschaft: Recht, Technik und Politik nach Prism und Tempora als E-Book erschienen. 

iRights.info will die Frage stellen, "wie wir als Gesellschaft damit umgehen wollen, dass unsere Leben und unsere Daten vor den Geheimdiensten dieser Welt offenliegen."

Das E-Book enthält Texte von Tilman Baumgärtel, Nico Ernst, Jürgen Geuter, Friedhelm Greis, Torsten Kleinz, Felix Knoke, Lorenz Matzat, David Pachali, Jan Schallaböck, Anja Seeliger, Henry Steinhau, Jörg Thoma und und Interviews mit Nikolaus Forgó, Matthias Hartwig, Matthias C. Kettemann, Erich Moechel und Peter Schaar.

Mein Interview vom Juli 2013 und alle anderen Texte sind noch auf iRights.info nachzulesen, aber der Kauf des E-Books lohnt sich auf jeden Fall.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Human Rights on the Internet: A Reasoned Call for Transantlantic Cooperation

Transatlantic human rights dialogue on Internet rights
is essential: for five distinct reasons. (c) Kettemann 2013
Next week I'll participate in a conference on the transantlantic  human rights heritage organized by Harvard University and the Council of Europe. My panel will be dedicated to human rights in cyberspace. 

I will call for a transatlantic human rights dialogue on Internet rights and present five arguments in support of it.

I. Are States the New Anarchists?

In the early phases of the development of the Internet the absence of state-given norms was a key feature which boosted creativity and facilitated development. Its downside was the perceived anarchy of the early Internet. Users thought they could do what they wanted to do. But progressively, social mores were enforced on the Internet. Norms were created (or applied) and, for cases of serious anti-social behaviour, states reined people in.

This has changed. Today, states seem like the new anarchists. They behave (pass laws, take enforcement measures) as if the Internet was a quasi-anarchic, self-contained place: as if the law-based human rights framework limiting state action did not apply.

Just as early Internet anarchists were proven wrong, states believing their normative behaviour online is off limits to international scrutiny will be, too. States cannot do what they want to the Internet, its data flows and its users. But it will take individuals (an emerging global public sphere) to rein them in. Combining the growth of a whistleblowing culture, old media’s attempts to reassert its role and the technical possibilities of the Internet, keeping secrets regarding Internet surveillance gets progressively difficult, especially when the secret lies in perceived or actual violations of human rights.

Against this background I suggest five propositions that can help inspire a transatlantic human rights dialogue on Internet rights.

II. Five Propositions

(1) All human rights that apply offline also apply online.

On July 5, 2012, the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) adopted by consensus a key resolution on the promotion, protection and enjoyment of human rights on the Internet.The Resolution affirms that “the same rights that people have offline must also be protected online.” We thus do not need any ‘new’ human rights for the Internet age. States need to respect, protect and implement the existing ones – especially in light of the catalytic function of the Internet to exercise a broad range of human rights, especially the right to freedom of expression.
            The right to privacy is intricately and closely connected to that right. If you feel watched, you will behave differently. If you think that your communications are read, you will write differently. Recommitting to this consensus, especially in times of serious doubts as to the human rights conformity of national Internet surveillance, must be a transatlantic priority.

(2) Ensuring human security means ensuring both human rights and security.

Fighting terrorism is an essential goal of the international community. In ensuring their citizens’ security, states fulfill their human rights-based role. But their policies must always be proportionate. Ensuring human security means ensuring both security and human rights. The concept of human security, which has been accepted by the United Nations as a key conceptual vector, must be mainstreamed in any surveillance laws and proportionality requirements must be factored in in keeping with established international human rights doctrine and jurisprudence.

(3) The protection of human rights online (and keeping the Internet functional and stable) lies in the global common interest.

The protection of online communication processes is safeguarded comprehensively by Article 19 ICCPR, regional human rights law and customary law. Further, states have a duty to ensure the Internet’s stability, integrity and functionality as a precondition to the exercise of rights related to information and communication processes. Further sources of an emerging duty to safeguarding the integrity of the Internet include aspects of the international legal duty to cooperate, the prohibition of intervention and the precautionary principle.
(4) The transatlantic partnership is important, but do not forget China (and Brazil, and Russia, and India …).

Cyberspace works better, when the US and Europe work together. With 11,4 % and 21,5 % of world users respectively, they are important forces that shape Internet Governance policy across the globe. This applies particularly to the US which has special role due to the historical evolution of the Internet (ICANN, IANA etc.). But we must not forget the rest of the world. Internet penetration rates in Africa and Asia are growing energetically. Some countries, including emerging world powers such as India, Brazil and South Africa, but also Russia and China have markedly different approaches to human rights online than Europe and the US – and Asia has 44,8 % of the world’s Internet users with a penetration rate of only 27,5 % of the population. Here, too, a dialogue is essential. It must be based on human rights-sensitive practices in the US and Europe. If transatlantic practice in human rights protection disappoints or seems insincere, the case for Internet freedom, strongly advocated by the former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, suffers substantially. When human rights-insensitive states see similar practices in the US and Europe they will feel little need for policy changes. Whether it its Internet surveillance through powerful spy agencies or the sale of Internet surveillance software by European companies: the human rights message cannot be convincing if practice is inconsistent.

(5) In Internet (human rights) policy-making, states will continue to matter, but let us not forget the people.

States will continue to make decisions that influence the usage of the Internet worldwide. But we should not underestimate the power of people to legitimize norms that relate to the Internet. The case of ACTA in Europe has shown how civil society activism could stop a treaty ratification process. Both Europe and the US need to learn from this. When human rights online are at stake, norms should be developed, ideally, in a multi-stakeholder process, but at least more openly than existing surveillance legislation is applied. International multi-stakeholder processes are no substitute for a national political debate, but they can add important legitimacy (and ideas). One example of good practice is the EuroDIG, the annual European Dialogue on Internet Governance, which brings together members from all stakeholder groups and serves as a regional preparatory event for the IGF.

III. The Case for Cooperation

Implementing these five propositions in a spirit of transatlantic cooperation will mean a big step towards effectively respecting, protecting and implementing human rights online. Three cases can be made for the necessity of such cooperation: based on principles, politics and economics. 

Principles: The US and the EU share a common heritage of human rights. They need to reassert the primacy of human rights in their relations and ensure that human rights inform their ICT policies and their Internet Governance approaches. Ensuring human rights and human security must be a paramount concern for both transatlantic partners. 

Politics: It is poor politics to commit to human rights online (by, e.g., supporting resolutions on human rights online, by promoting Internet freedom) and have laws on the books that allow for widespread monitoring. Respecting human rights of non-US Internet users (and their sensibilities) should be a political goal of the US government. The historical role of the US in establishing the Internet gives it also a historic responsibility: to be a beacon of human rights protection online. And an example for the world, first amendment!

Economics: US companies are (still) in the lead in the provision of IT services. Google and Amazon, Facebook and Twitter are key data handlers and still largely enjoy the trust of people worldwide. If global consumers no longer feel that they can trust the security of their data with US service providers, they will – to the degree that this is possible – take their business elsewhere. As has happened with cloud services. Non-US customers need to feel valued and secure when dealing with US companies. The US government should support initiatives such as the Google and Facebook Transparency Reports by, for example, allowing that the data requested, especially under FISA, is more clearly disaggregated. In the fight against terrorism US IT companies, the US government and Council of Europe states need to be strong allies, but not at the expense of fundamental rights.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Cyberspace - a terra incognita for human rights? A conference in Cambridge sheds some light on the question

If you're in terra incognita, it's great to have signs ...
then again, if you have signs, it's not really terra
incognita per se - just terra incognita for you.
I've been invited to contribute to an Joint Council of Europe/Harvard University conference next week dedicated to the theme of managing the transatlantic human rights relationship: "Divided by a Common Heritage: Human Rights in Europe and the United States”.

My panel will be dedicated to "Cyberspace: Terra Incognita of Human Rights? European and U.S. Experiences” with Yochai Benkler, Professor of Law, Harvard Law School; Julie Cohen, Professor of Law, Georgetown Law School, Washington DC; myself and Rolf H. Weber, Professor for Civil, Commercial and European Law, University of Zurich, Switzerland; with Philip Heymann, James Barr Ames Professor of Law, Harvard Law School, moderating.

Of course, cyberspace is not really "terra incognita" of human rights. The term might refer to unknown, unexplored or uncartographed areas (of land or human knowledge). Cyberspace is not unknown to human rights (just think of the HRC Resolution 20/8 confirming that all human rights that apply offline also apply online). It is not unexplored (but arguably underexplored), as there are quite a number of publications dedicating themselves specifically to the role of human rights on cyberspace. Similarly, the role of human rights online are non uncartographed, but again under- and miscartographed.

We can agree, therefore, that cyberspace is not terra incognita but terra not quite enough cognita for human rights.

At the conference I will be making a couple of points regarding the importance of transatlantic cooperation in the pursuance of common goals relating to Internet Governance. I'll blog about them in the next days.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Netzpolitik in Österreich: ein Aufruf!

Wie im letzten Eintrag berichtet, habe ich mit zwei Kollegen von der Donau-Universität Krems einen Band zur Zukunft der Netzpolitik in Österreich veröffentlicht: Netzpolitik in Österreich. Internet. Macht. Menschenrechte".

Wir wollten wichtige Initialzündungen für eine nuanciertere und mutigere Netzpolitik setzen und haben daher die Arbeit von mehr als 30 Expertinnen und Experten in Thesenform zusammengefasst. Diese sind auch unser Aufruf: gerichtet an Politik und Gesellschaft, Wirtschaft und Wissenschaft.  

Ein Auszug folgt hier, die gesammleten Thesen findet ihr hier:
Zentraler Netzpolitik in Österreich – ein Aufruf

"Im Internet muss das Recht nicht neu erfunden werden. Im Internet müssen die Menschenrechte nicht neu konzipiert werden. Und im Internet muss Politik nicht gänzlich neu gedacht werden. Dennoch stellt die Netzpolitik formative soziale Kräfte vor neue Herausforderungen. Um das politische Emanzipationspotenzial des Internets nutzen zu können, bedarf es einer menschenrechtlich sensiblen, entwicklungsorientierten und technisch informierten Netzpolitik. Die Autorinnen und Autoren dieses Bandes haben in einer halbjährigen Arbeit zentrale Thesen aufgestellt, die als Leitlinien für die Netzpolitik Österreichs dienen können. Sie zeigen auf, wie diese zwischen Macht und Recht navigieren und zentrale gesellschaftliche Werte im und durch das Internet schützen kann.

Dieser Band möchte zeigen, was Netzpolitik leisten muss, leisten kann und leisten soll. 
These 1. Recht begrenzt die Macht im Internet, doch über „Hintertüren“ wie Interessenspolitik, Sprache, Sozialstruktur und Code hält die Vermachtung wieder Einzug.

These 2. Alle Menschenrechte, die offline gelten, gelten auch online. Im Internet stehen sie allerdings neuen Herausforderungen gegenüber, denen mit einer klaren Rückbesinnung auf ihre Kerngehalte und einer entsprechenden Inpflichtnahme aller AkteurInnen zu begegnen ist.

These 3. Um das Demokratisierungs- und Emanzipationsversprechen des Internets einzulösen, bedarf es einer menschenrechtlich sensiblen, entwicklungsorientierten und alle Menschen einschließenden Netzpolitik.

These 4. Umfassende und gleichberechtigte Beteiligung an der Informationsgesellschaft verlangt Internet-Bildung, eine Öffnung exklusiver Wissenslandschaften, eine sozial informierte Bewirtschaftung der Internet-Allmende und proaktive Maßnahmen zur Überwindung bestehender und sich vertiefender sozialer digitaler Gräben, gerade auch innerhalb eher homogener Gesellschaften.

These 5. Das Internet befördert sozialen Aktivismus und politisches Engagement durch Transparenz, die Nivellierung von Partizipationshindernissen und Informationsfreiheit. Dabei kann Online-Aktivismus zivilgesellschaftliches Engagement auch in Offline-Kontexten unterstützen, aber nicht ersetzen."

Und nicht vergessen: Wir laden herzlich ein zur Buchpräsentation im Rahmen des 8. paraflows-Festivals am 14.09.2013, 19:30 – 21:30, im Museumsquartier / quartier21 / Raum D, in Wien. (Anmeldung bis 10. September 2013 unter http://bit.ly/AnmeldungCoLabATMRI).

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Zwischen Heimgärtnervereinen und Revolutionen: "Netzpolitik in Österreich" wird am 14.9. vorgestellt

"Das Internet ist zu einem zentralen Resonanzraum verschiedenster Ideen, Vorstellungen und Wünsche geworden. Es können Heimgärtnervereine ebenso wie Revolutionen gestartet, Musikvideos betrachtet, aber auch Filme über Menschenrechtsverletzungen angesehen werden. Menschen können sich im Internet austauschen, Informationen oder Unterhaltung suchen und konsumieren, politisch aktiv werden und sich organisieren. Den Möglichkeiten des Internets scheinen kaum Grenzen gesetzt. Das Internet verstärkt aber auch Ungleichheiten."
So beginnt "Netzpolitik in Österreich. Internet. Macht. Menschenrechte", ein von mir mitherausgegebener Sammelband, in dem 30 Expertinnen und Experten die Wege und Hürden zu einem menschenrechtssensiblen Internet aufzeigen.

Ich lade herzlich ein zur Buchpräsentation im Rahmen des 8. paraflows-Festivals am 14.09.2013, 19:30 – 21:30, im Museumsquartier / quartier21 / Raum  D, in Wien. (Die Organisatoren bitten um Anmeldung bis 10. September 2013 unter http://bit.ly/AnmeldungCoLabATMRI)

Zu dem gemeinsam mit Clara Landler und Peter Parycek herausgegebenen Band habe ich auch einige meiner Forschungen der letzten Zeit im Überblick  zusammengefasst: Neue Menschenrechte für das Internet?
Besonders interessant zu lesen sind die Thesen, die wir aus der Arbeit der Expertinnen und Experten über Monate entwickelt haben. So beginnen wir das Buch auch so, wie wir die Initiative geschlossen haben. Mit einem Aufruf, der hier nachzulesen ist: Netzpolitik in Österreich. Ein Aufruf.