What’s the IGF?
Next week, ARTICLE 19 will be attending the Internet Governance Forum (IGF), the biggest annual gathering for internet and digital rights. It brings together several hundred people from civil society, industry and governments from around the world. This year, the IGF will take place from 2 to 5 September 2014 in Istanbul, Turkey. The week will be packed with workshops, strategic meetings, coalition building on the key internet freedom issues of the day, with pre-events kicking off on 1 September to discuss what should be coming next after Netmundial and the Netmundial Initiative.
What’s ARTICLE 19 going to be doing?
We’ll have five people from our offices in Brazil, Kenya and London attending the IGF, raising awareness of violations of freedom of expression and privacy online worldwide. While there, we’ll be working to convince governments, key industry figures and stakeholders to increase their focus on the application of rights to freedom of expression and freedom of information on the internet. We’ll also be looking to discover and improve partnerships across stakeholder groups, synchronise our efforts, and identify coalitions in the regions where we work — particularly Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America.
Where will you find us?
The ARTICLE 19 team will be taking part in the following workshops and discussions:
ARTICLE 19 has been working with the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and others to explain the legal underpinnings of the International Principles on the application of Human Rights to Communications Surveillance. We’ll be discussing the state of play a year after the Snowden revelations and developing strategies on what needs to be done to ensure established international human rights law is respected in the context of transnational surveillance. Some of the key questions we will be addressing include: Should we allow the intelligence services of one country to snoop on the residents of another without restraint? Can any country freely violate the rights of foreigners by claiming they fall outside their jurisdiction? Are existing surveillance laws compatible with the right to non-discrimination under international law?
We’ll be discussing intermediary liability issues with Malcolm Hutty (European Internet Service Provider Association (EuroISPA), Anriette Esterhuysen (AssocIation for Progressive Communications or) (APC), Nicolo Zingales (Tilburg University), Elonnai Hickok (Centre for Internet and Society), Francisco Vera (Derechos Digitales),Titi Akinsanmi from Google, Martin Husovec (Max Planck Institute) and Giancarlo Frosio (Stanford). We will be asking ourselves: What are the varying definitions of intermediaries across jurisdictions? What are the specific roles and functions that allow for classification of intermediaries? How can we ensure the legal framework keeps pace with technological advances and the changing roles of intermediaries? What are the gaps in existing models in balancing innovation, economic growth and human rights? What could be the respective role of law and industry self-regulation in enhancing trust? How can we enhance multi-stakeholder cooperation in this space? As the gateway to access to information and free expression online, intermediary liability is a crucial issue for us. We have already published some of our findings in our policy Internet Intermediaries: Dilemma of Liability. These discussions will be vital to develop our thinking on this issue.
ARTICLE 19 will be joining our fellow members from the Non-Commercial Stakeholder Group (NCSG) to discuss a report on ICANN and human rights that was released in June by the Council of Europe. ARTICLE 19 is taking the lead in providing comments on the report on behalf of the NCSG. We also hope to draw attention to the report and the very important issues it raises for human rights at the next ICANN meeting in Los Angeles in October this year. We will also follow the various discussions that will be taking place about the ICANN transparency and accountability process, the IANA transition and Internet Governance after Netmundial.
Together with Global Partners Digital, the Association for Progressive Communications (APC), the Media Rights Agenda (MRA) and several others, we will be launching an African Declaration on Internet Rights and Freedoms. This joint project aims to galvanise a movement in support of an Internet environment which is accessible, locally relevant and which supports development. Some of the questions we will tackle include: What are the key Internet rights challenges in Africa? Are there elements of the Internet rights struggle that are uniquely African? How can we use the Declaration to develop a strong culture of rights and freedoms for the Internet in Africa? What are the next steps to institutionalising the Declaration?
News media and human rights organisations websites, critical bloggers, and other dissenting voices online have increasingly become targets of illegitimate surveillance, hacking and attacks from various sources ranging from State-based actors to third parties. UNESCO will be launching a landmark report on the Digital Safety of Journalists. We will be discussing the report and the experience of our Brazil office in dealing with violations of freedom of expression and privacy online. Together with the other panellists, we will reflect on the ways in which the report can be used as a tool to combat these relentless attacks against digital journalists and activists around the world.
ARTICLE 19 has been the leading voice in bringing freedom of expression and access to information at the heart of the post-2015 Development Agenda. We will continue to advocate for the public’s right to know to be included as part of the post-2015 Development Agenda at the IGF. We will talk about access to information and how it is connected to access to ICTs. We will share our thoughts on what should be in the new development framework, and the role that public access to ICTs could play as a means of implementation. We will also share our plans in the next year in the WSIS, NetMundial and other post-2015 contexts.
We will also be talking to the Internet Rights and Principles Dynamic Coalition to discuss how to strengthen the (IRPC) Internet Rights and Principles Charter and review it in light of the latest legal and technological developments. We will brainstorm with the other participants in the session, including Dixie Hawtin (Global Partners), Marianne Franklin (Goldsmith University) and Hanane Boujemi (IGMENA, Hivos), to map out what next steps need to be taken to turn the IRPC vision into concrete action and legal reform around the world.
What about the alternative Internet Ungovernance IGF?
Although we’re taking part in the IGF to talk to our partners and raise awareness about key digital rights issues, this is not the whole story. The IGF is taking place in Turkey where Twitter was banned hours after Turkey’s Prime Minister Recept Erdogan threatened to ‘root out’ the social network in March in this year. For this reason, we’ve helped our Turkish partners to organise the Internet Ungovernance Forum to draw attention to the dire state of internet freedoms in Turkey and support the work of our fellow Turkish digital activists. We have been actively participating in the organisation of the Forum and will talk about digital security at various sessions including a cryptoparty.