A blog on why norms matter online

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Shaping the Digital Environment - Ensuring our Rights on the Internet: Key Council of Europe to Start in Graz on 13 March

Graz lies close to the Styrian wine country which is best 
in autumn but worth a visit in any season.
If you want to know what the status quo on the debate on human rights in in Internet Governance is, you can (and shouldI) read the submissions to NetMundial (a .zip download is available here, thanks to Samantha Dickinson). 

Or you can join remotely (via livestream or in person) a key conference by the Council of Europe and the Austrian Council of Ministers Presidency on "Shaping the Digital Environment  - Ensuring our Rights on the Internet" to take place in my home town of Graz on 13 - 14 March 2014.

The conference will address, as the Council of Europe puts it,  "current challenges and responses to make the internet an inclusive and people-centred space in the follow-up of the Council of Europe Internet Governance Strategy 2012-2015, adopted in 2012. It will build upon a multi-stakeholder approach, and discuss challenges and best practices in the light of recent developments in the field of Internet governance. Participants will take stock of the progress made on the Council of Europe's Internet Governance Strategy, thereby also identifying possible ways forward beyond 2015. They will address inter alia:
  1. privacy and self-determination on the internet
  2. public interest content on the Internet
  3. business and human rights – industry responses to user rights"
Two key document to consult are the 
Key questions the panels will tackle include:
  • Convention 108 on data protection and the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime – what threshold of support will make them de facto global standards? 
  • What is the best way for states to protect the Internet from harm? 
  • Mass surveillance – can privacy still exist in our daily lives? 
  • How free can we really be on the Internet? What scope for a mapping of restrictions on freedom of expression and access to information online? 
  • Collective or national strategies on Internet governance? 
  • What has been achieved and what must still be achieved within the current Internet Governance Strategy? 
  • How to mainstream multi-stakeholderism in Council of Europe standard-setting, monitoring and cooperation activities? 
  • How can stakeholders enable Internet users to be informed, decide and consent online? 
  • Can political decision making be influenced by big data collected by businesses? 
  • What remedies are available in Europe to remedy infringements on privacy, and are they effective? 
  • Council of Europe Guide on Human Rights for Internet users – what expectations and next steps? 
  • What do next generation education, culture and freedom imply? 
  • Is the right to knowledge and the right to create and re-create content being unduly undermined? 
  • How are public services delivered differently using the Internet? 
  • What frameworks for private sector delivery of public services and content?
  • What does Internet governance mean for business in view of the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights by UN Special Representative John Ruggie which were endorsed by the United Nations Human Rights Council on 16 June 2011? 
  • What role for corporate lobbyists in shaping human rights policy on the Internet? 
  • What state regulation of Internet actors is necessary and proportionate to ensure human rights are respected? 
  • Is self-regulation of private sector Internet actors working? 
  • Which are the major Internet-related issues and related actions that should be addressed by the Council of Europe from 2016? 
  • What key partnerships and synergies between Council of Europe and other organisations and bodies should be fostered? 
  • Beyond legally and politically binding instruments, how can the Council of Europe deliver tangible safeguards for human rights on-line?
During the conference, Wolfgang Benedek and I will also present our book on Freedom of Expression and the Internet.

I look forward to the dicussions there - and to the answers to the questions. I will post updates on the main outcomes here. 

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