Towards a human Internet? Rules, rights and responsibilities for our online future – WS 04 2013
20 June 2013 | 14:30-16:00
Programme overview 2013
- Paulo Foncesca, Associação Portuguesa para a Defesa do Consumidor
- Rikke Jørgensen, Danish Institute for Human Rights
- Matthias Kettemann, IRP Coalition / University of Graz
- Michael Rotert, eco
Breakout session facilitators
- Lee Hibbard, Council of Europe
- Marianne Franklin, IRP Coalition / Goldsmiths University
- Abbe Brown, University of Aberdeen
- Meryem Marzouki, Sorbonne Universités
- Thomas Schneider, OFCOM
- Minda Moreira, IRP Coalition
- More transparency and accountability needed from industry and public sector providers.
- Awareness and education are essential!
- More educational initiatives that is broad based about how digital literacy and knowledge about rights are intertwined.
- Calling on policymakers need for holistic, human-centred and locally embedded approaches to decisions that affect internet infrastructure, we-design, access, and use.
This workshop, organized by the IGF Internet Rights and Principles Coalition and the Council of Europe, focused on a selection of practical scenarios around internet infrastructure design, access, content provision, and use in the context of human rights. The workshop was an interactive, bottom-up session that drew on audience experiences and expertise. The aim was to unpack examples where selected human rights are at stake, overlooked, or potentially undermined. The objective was to raise awareness of these connections as well as consider ways to move these projects forward light of two ongoing projects; the Charter of Human Rights and Principles for the Internet (IRP Coalition 2011), and the Compendium of Existing Rights for Internet Users (CoE, 2013).
First, a panel of four speakers from industry, consumer groups, human rights advocacy, and legal scholarship provided brief introductions to the key issues from their perspective. The workshop then divided into 4 breakout/ brainstorming sessions who reported back in the concluding section along four specific rights-based lines of discussion articulated in the Charter of Human Rights and Principles for the Internet: 1) Freedom of Expression and Human Dignity; 2) Economic, technological, and physical barriers to access; 3) Right to Privacy and Security issues; 4) enablers and impediments to realizing human rights online. The outcomes of the breakout groups were reported as follows:
(1) Freedom of expression/Human Dignity
Questions discussed: What is Freedom of Expression on internet / how can people learn more about it and protect their rights / How can they be protected?
- The European court is correcting decisions of national courts, e.g. in cases of Freedom of expression.
- The Impact of the CoE guidelines: which have being adopted by companies and are adopted into legislation in some countries.
- User groups are drawing on the CoE guidelines to make them user-friendly for citizens.
- The Internet providers need to be more involved in informing and educating users.
(2) Internet Access/Economic, Socio cultural and Technological barriers
Participants shared some concrete examples and issues from their experience about how internet service provision and infrastructure can create barriers for special needs or disadvantaged communities. Conclusions covered:
It is important that governments, civil society and companies are aware that digital exclusion exists and that excessive barriers are preventing groups of our society to have equal right to access the Internet ( These are not only physical barriers such infrastructure or physical disabilities and also cultural / educational barriers or bureaucracy.
More than just providing access it is important that governments ensure that the protection of the Human Rights online is safeguarded. This includes the right to access information basic and public services and the right to education.
It is also important that companies and the rightsholders industry don’t prevent people from exercising their rights because of contradictory copyrights for accessing content by visually or hearing impaired users.
In sum, the session agreed that the issue is more than providing the means and the tools to access the Internet. It is important to educate people on how to use the tools and about the range of possibilities that the technologies and the Internet can open to them in order to fulfill their full potential as human beings.
(3) Right to Privacy/Security
The outcomes of this session were in the form of 4 recommendations:
- Message to EU on PRISM/NSA events: the revision of the EU data protection framework should guarantee that EU citizens are protected by EU law on privacy and data protection even when they use foreign online services or platforms
- Message to EU and European States: Any EU or national legislation should be compliant with European legislation on privacy and data protection. And any limitation to the right to privacy and personal data protection should be proportionate and absolutely necessary in a democratic society
- More States should sign and ratified the Council of Europe Convention 108 to harmonize the level of data protection transnationally.
- More education on privacy and data protection issues is necessary. This should be part of human rights education and should be introduced in schools‘s curricula.
(4) Realizing human rights online/Enablers and Impediments
The Question for general discussion was: Where and how do users need to know, and be able to exercise their rights?
After a round where specific barriers and impediments were shared from various perspectives (e.g. community projects for poorer neighbourhoods, issues around visually impaired programs, web uses for deaf persons, uneven funding and resources) immediate issues of concern were:
- Need for education: users, politicians, judges and prosecutors
- Need for transparency of procedures between states and platforms
- Need for quick and efficient remedies for users! Clear procedures
The question about whether Human Rights should be applicable online was not up for debate. This group then discussed procedures about how to make sure that those rights are actually being protected, and exercised e.g. how to ensure governments and corporations comply with guidelines that already exist.
The group noted that
- more transparency and accountability is needed from industry and public sector providers.
- Awareness and education are essential. Users and citizens need to know their rights and which tools are available for them to exercise their human rights, their citizen rights or their consumer rights. They also need to trust the Internet and for that we may need legislation that not only exists, but can be enforced when this rights are violated.
- One point of disagreement was around the role that regulators should, or should not play, around the extent to which new laws are need or existing laws are sufficient in ensuring that the above priorities are met.
Summing up the workshop as a whole, three broad themes emerged:
- The need for concerted awareness-raising about the interrelationship between human rights and internet futures
- The need for more educational initiatives across sectors (schools, higher education, the workplace) that is broad based about how digital literacy and knowledge about rights are intertwined
- To advocate to policymakers the need for holistic, human-centred and locally embedded approaches to decisions that affect internet infrastructure, we-design, access, and use.
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This text is being provided in a rough draft format. Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) is provided in order to facilitate communication accessibility and may not be a totally verbatim record of the proceedings.
>> FEMALE VOICE: Okay. Let’s start.
Good afternoon, everybody, thank you for coming. This is one of the first – this is one of the workshops beginning this afternoon. So before I start I will give you a chore. It is a work job and that involves getting into small working groups which means you might be required to turn around and talk to people behind you. Is everyone all right with that?
Okay? Are we okay? Just wanted to warn you, because I have my provocateurs in the audience, so I just want to warn you that we’ll be breaking into small groups for the middle part of the session. But we will be starting conventionally with some very esteemed speakers to get our thoughts going, the title of the workshop is: Towards a human Internet? Rules, rights and responsibility for our online futures, this is very important given the last week and all the mobilizations around the revelations that governments other than our own might be spying on us.
Many people who have been working in this area, this is not necessarily anything new, but what it brings up is the issue of how, for a global means and medium of communicating and doing anything, anywhere, how we are going to confront these new issues. So the feeling is, it’s not just an issue of bad governments, good corporations, bad criminals, good people. It’s a much more complex issue. And that’s why we have called it quite provocatively rules, rights, and responsibilities.
The workshop is hosted by, in conjunction with, first of all, the Internet rights and principles coalition which is a broad-based coalition involving governments and GEOs, individuals, academics.
We also have (breaking up).
After they’re launched in 2008 and because of world rights issues. Back in 2008, the feeling was, back in 2008, this is well before PRISM that there needed to be a coherent document that could put all on one page so-to-speak the issues that confound us today in a world more and more dependent on computer-mediated communications. That got distilled down to what we call the 10 Principles.
(See the screen.)
The charter was launched in the last two years, a lot has happened.
(Pause.) Where you want to go online, and we all take for granted and notice when it starts to be eroded, we have a government that wants to spy on us daily or whether it be a huge corporation that collects information without us knowing or it’s another individual who’s bullying us on a social network. So, rules, rights, and responsibilities we’re going to try and keep it lively. We are thankful to our co-hosts, they are looking at how the charter for principles on the Internet can be for users, so that’s why we’re pleased to be working with an intergovernmental organisation.
We have four speakers, my first speaker is on the left is Mr. Paulo Foncesca. We are very happy to have you here. Second speaker is Rikke Jorgensen. And he was one of the very first people along with Meryem Marzouki to successfully put human rights right at the center of anything to do with the information society and the Internet, way back in 2003, if not before.
And then my co-chair is Matthias Ketterman from the University of Graz, and he has been engaging in the legal intricacies of these issues. He’s going to speak, and I’m also very help to welcome Michael Rotert. Have I got that correct? They’re happy to stand up like me and stand right before you and not relax in their arm chairs. The only thing is that Matthias has got a leg injury, so we might allow him to sit on the edge of his armchair.
Okay, I will have four other people to introduce. So please.
(Breaking up.) I feel like a teacher at school.
Please, stand up, Thomas Schneider. Please stand up. Thank you, Thomas. Please stand up, Meryem Marzouki.
She is another moderator in the workshop. And my third one, where are you, he’s taking another workshop, breakout group, we call it. And our fourth person is (breaking up).
Okay. (Laugh). I’m sorry, (breaking up). And thanks to Abbe I’ve got something for you today. The four themes of the workshops are.
>> MALE VOICE: Axis.
>> FEMALE VOICE: The four breakout groups. So you have it ready.
>> MALE VOICE: First one will focus on Internet access, access to content.
>> FEMALE VOICE: And that’s Meryem.
>> MALE VOICE: Freedom of expression.
>> FEMALE VOICE: Oh, sorry. Over there. You will be going over there. The second one.
>> MALE VOICE: Will be (breaking up). Infrastructure questions, questions of socioeconomic rights also.
>> FEMALE VOICE: And disability. That will be over there. That’s Meryem. And the fourth one, last but not least.
>> MALE VOICE: Empowering people through internationalization of principles. The way forward.
>> FEMALE VOICE: The whole point today is to engage in brainstorming. And each breakout group (breaking up). Will be sitting down and trying to focus on concrete examples in order to come up with some new ideas. It is not a problem, it is simply a situation. (Breaking up).
Quickly for the last 20 minutes. We’re already running late, but, hey, that’s life. We’re not on atomic time, we are on human time today, but we will keep our eye on the clock. Without further adieu, I would like to turn to my speakers, and I think I’ll order it like Paulo, Rikke, and Matthias, is that okay? So, thank you very much.
>> PAULO FONCESCA: Good morning (breaking up).
(Internet connection lost.)
>> RIKKE JORGENSEN: Problems regarding data protection, meaning the lack of control over personal data and how, where, and by whom the consumer is being assessed. This is important for the call’s computing services. Also, problems regarding the applicable law and consumer protection. Also, lack of trustful, independent online resolution mechanisms. Problems regarding Net neutralities.
And last one, but not the least, excessive advertising, namely the new marketing techniques and online behavioral advertising that is still only regulated through a mere code of conduct.
Of course, these concerns are not only problems for consumers, but also challenges for our future. And it forces us to question: What is the best way to tackle these problems? Should we leave it to the civil society? Should we leave it to the market to decide? Can the Charter of Human Rights resolve these problems? Should we leave these challenges to the self-regulation of regimes like the European Commission is proposing, or to a mandatory legal framework? Do we need a better enforcement or we simply need an up-to-date legislation? Do we need more surveillance or the one that exists is already too excessive or dangerous? Is it better to leave the answers for the development of the market or should we sit together and face these problems?
Of course, we as a consumer.
Upon that, any Internet related or ICT-related policy actually should subscribe to the international human rights standards.
That was controversial in those years, and that was finally agreed upon.
Then the next – the next challenge was the role of private actors, private companies that has been increasingly recognized as an important factor in human rights compliance on the Internet.
And then, the third phase, and where we are today, I think, we no longer – we still discuss a lot whether human rights apply to the Internet, but actually, we have – we – by now we have a UN Human Rights Council Resolution on that, reaffirming that human rights apply online as offline from – from last year.
So that discussion at the least at the formal level, we don’t need to take anymore.
We also have UN Human Rights and Business Principles from 2011, stating that private companies have a respect – have to respect human right principles when they operate, the independent or whatever sites that they operate including relating to ICT.
So the real challenge today is actually to take these standards that we have agreed upon, and to be able to hold both governments and companies accountable to an extent that we haven’t been before.
So, instead of discussing whether human rights apply to the Internet, and who they apply to, to actually strengthen our ability to measure their compliance.
In Denmark, for instance, where we have a Danish government that say that any Internet-related policy should surprise – subscribe to, for instance, freedom of expression or privacy standards, in practice, and where we are now, informed – in terms of challenge, means to ensure that the law making process also is checked for human rights compliance; that any measure that is installed at national level with regards to data retention or surveillance or filtering mechanisms or blocking mechanisms have due process safeguards that comply with – with Human Rights Law.
That the requirements, we can make, for transparency reporting are actually followed. So we know – so we have numbers, so we have figures on the requests that are – that are taken, and are able to follow and monitor them and evaluate them for human rights compliance.
So to my mind, that is – that is really where we are now, at this point in time. It’s not so much discussing whether human rights apply online. They do.
It’s not so much discussing whether private companies have a role to play. They do.
And most of them would also formally agree. So ...
But it’s actually to – to be stronger in – in sharing and demanding the tools, the mechanisms that can enable us on a daily basis to evaluate concrete practices for human rights compliance.
>> FEMALE VOICE: Moving into the details, so, thank you very much.
Matthias Ketterman. Are you okay standing?
>> MATTHIAS KETTERMAN: Thank you very much. My name is Matthias Ketterman from the University of Graz, and I would ask you to stop being neutral. Neutrality is overrated. Also, stopping discussions is important, but you have to believe in certain basic truth. You cannot say that Darwinism has values, and then argue, well, because two alternatives exist, therefore, we cannot say which one is actually true, and we need to treat both equally. We don’t.
Same thing applies to the Internet. Echoing – echoing Rikke, human rights apply to the Internet. Law applies to the Internet.
You cannot just create a new Google island. This is impossible.
International law gives us a important, a comprehensive framework of what we are allowed to do online and what states are allowed to do online and what they’re not allowed to do.
Rather than talking in abstract terms about law and the Internet, we need to take one step further. We need to look at the last 30 and 40 years of international legal developments, which have shown one thing: The orientation towards the human being.
We are in an age of humanization that means the laws look at the interest of the human being. At our human dignity, at our human rights, at our human security.
These important concepts are at the center of international law, and they need to be at the center of the development of international legal order as concerns the Internet.
The Internet, in all of its facets should be always oriented towards the human being and all the laws that apply to it should be applied with the view to protecting the human dignity, the human security, and human rights of all of us we do not need to reinvent the wheel, we just need to make sure that the wagon of – of Internet law is going smoothly.
Some of you might have just read the latest novel by Don Brown. Dante plays a big role there. With the quote of Dante, he also ends his novel. He says that the darkest circles of hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in the face of a moral crisis.
We are right now not at the time of a moral crisis, but we are at the time when we have to make important decisions about which way the Internet will develop. And the way the Internet has to develop is towards a humanized Internet, a more human Internet. And the Breakout Sessions will show you exactly what this means for different aspects of Internet law. Thank you.
>> FEMALE VOICE: Last but not least Michael Rotert. Thank you very much.
>> MICHAEL ROTERT: Well, listening to the speakers before me, I’m coming more from a technical environment, at least, I’m dealing with the Internet since 1984. So I’ve seen all the developments from pure academic area, up to a social area. And when I heard what you said, human rights applying to the Internet, first question for me would be: What is the Internet at this stage?
If I simplify it, you have two different layers, one is the infrastructure layer. I wonder how you can apply human rights to the infrastructure layer, beside the fact of having accessibility or for everyone, but that’s for the infrastructure.
And the other one, the other part is the contentment and I think this is the specific point we should talk about, because this is what – what applies, or where you can human rights apply on the development of – of millions of applications which are on the edge of the Net. In between is the infrastructure, and then you have outside the world, no matter to what jurisdiction or country or nationality, you have people developing independently, applications, throwing them on the Net. Some of them don’t care about human rights. Others do care. Under different jurisdictions than we are, with a different background.
And if you talk to Telecoms, then it applies much more to the infrastructure. That’s what – what we had in the discussion, last plenary discussion here, a mixture between infrastructure and content. And if you try to apply human rights or self-regulation to this mixture, then it’s getting really weird.
And in terms of self-regulation, it’s quite often called, yeah, industry has to do self-regulation.
The Council of Europe developed the guidelines for Internet service – Human Rights Guidelines for Internet Service Providers. They are not well-known, as usual. And they are not quoted by customers, as I would wish it. But customers could go to – to somewhere, and saying, well, this Internet service provider hurts the human rights according to the guidelines which should apply in many countries.
So we are currently trying to rework on these guidelines, to modernize them, because they were developed before social networks came up. And social networks gave to the whole discussion a different touch, so that we now discussing what you mentioned, privacy and other aspects.
But coming back, well, finalizing it, the human – if you talk about human rights and the Internet, please be more specific and targeted either to content or to the infrastructure, in term of access. If you’ll mix it up, you will not come to any solution or to – to any results on – in the discussion. And we can discuss years before it reaches those million of people developing applications on the edge of the Net. Thank you.
>> FEMALE VOICE: All right. I’d like to thank our speakers for keeping to time. Now, here comes the challenging part. To follow from their challenge, four groups, I will run through again what the themes are, and suggest, perhaps, something to – to – to underscore my concern, definitions are actually not footnotes here. They are crucial to the discussion.
Perhaps each group moderator, which group might want to decide which aspect of the Internet define it in some way. The idea for the breakout groups is to focus, be concrete. Not try to do everything at once, so there some choices to make.
But just to remind you what the group is going to be, I’m going to take a risk that people will self-divide. And if there’s a group with no one in it that somebody might want to go and join in, because then the exercise is just to thinking together.
The four things we are going to look at, go back to my trusty computer, is the first one is freedom of expression and human dignity. And they will come down to a working definition of the object of discussion and report back. Some three or four concrete points from each group. Could someone please volunteer if they have not been volunteered already as a rapporteur for the group.
The second one I’m going to facilitate over there. Internet access, economic physical and sorts of barriers, particularly with a mind to people with disabilities and Abbe Brown has come up with concrete examples for us to actually chew our way through.
And here is Meryem. She’s going to look at the group on right to privacy and security. I’ll leave that up to Meryem.
And fourthly will be Thomas. Over here, perhaps, is that okay? Yeah.
Thomas will look at realizing human rights online, in terms of existing user rights, or new rights, or whatever.
So it’s up to you what you make of it. The time now is five past three. Seven minutes past three. Can we be back here at half past three? Four groups will report back, and then our panels will do some closing remarks and our remote participants, before we break, are there any particular comments right now, Viktor? That you’d like to bring up from remote participants? So we might want to bear them in mind as they’re coming in. Yeah. Just before you start moving?
>> MALE VOICE: 1, 2, is it working?
>> FEMALE VOICE: Yes.
>> VIKTOR SZABADOS: Thank you. So we have a question sent in advance to the workshop. They think it’s very global issue, and maybe we should think about a court of ethics, including all these issues.
>> FEMALE VOICE: Ethics, okay.
>> VIKTOR SZABADOS: This is what they start to think about. But also they think that it should be globally. So it’s kind of tricky intervention and we have around 60 remote.
>> FEMALE VOICE: 60.
>> VIKTOR SZABADOS: 16, I was asking them to chat with me but they seem to be very passive. So please chat. Thanks.
>> FEMALE VOICE: You will sit here. And you will sit here. Very simple thing. Over there.
(Participants go to groups.)
>> MALE VOICE: Just move around and find your group.
(Working in small groups.)
(Please stand by. The full meeting will resume momentarily.)
>> FEMALE VOICE: Thank you, everybody, for working so well. I see they’re still going. Amazing. (Chuckle). Viktor, just gather more in if you need to. Just keep ...
>> FEMALE VOICE: Paulo, Paulo, is Emma? Emma is it? Oh, sorry, Ruth, Ruth and Paulo, you first, we’ll go backwards, this – right to left. So you first. Then who was here? Thomas? Your group second. Meryem, third. And Jan, fourth. We’ll go that way. Is that okay?
>> MALE VOICE: Just call them. Call them on the stage.
>> MALE VOICE: Now you’re on.
>> FEMALE VOICE: Ooh, sorry about that. Hi. Thank you, everybody, I really like that kind of atmosphere. This is the sort of thing that makes my work when I’m actually at University feel a lot better, just to feel people thinking.
The tricky part now is, for the record, is for each group is going to report back – Thomas. (Laugh).
He did that to me once, so I’m just enjoying getting back at him.
Okay. Now, the plan is simply just to hear back from each group, because – and I would really appreciate if each rapporteur could send us their – their script of each discussion, so that we can compile this as part of the record of the session. But we would also put this – this transcript up on the IRP Coalition website, because this is to help us move forward for the up-coming global meeting at Bali where we are running a workshop on some of these issues and we’re looking to take the charter and human rights and principles up another level.
But I understand there are some very different modes, modalities.
We’re going to start with the group on the right who are looking at barriers, physical, skill based and economic. They are going to report back, then we will go to Meryem, the rights, then to Jan’s group, number three, and then finally we’re going to hear from Thomas’ group, group four. And that should take us to 4 o’clock, this is a bit of a list, simply compiling a list. You don’t change the world in 15 minutes. Well, maybe you do. I’m not sure.
And then we will allow our panelists to sort of say – sum up what they’ve found from this afternoon in their own way. So starting first of all, and if you could come up, would you mind? We need to put you on the microphone, I’ll just hold my mic.
>> RUTH: Okay, we were talking about the different barriers to accessing the Internet. And we talked about disabilities, repetitive strain injury, excluded communities. And – yeah, and cultural barriers and migrants, and there are different barriers, like you might need access to the Internet even though you don’t want it. For example, if you have a medical condition and you need treatment and stuff.
We talked about whether it – someone just wants to be online and whether they need to be online, and what difference that makes to how important it is to being accessible.
>> PAULO FONSECA: And also one of the aspects we have been discussing looking at Internet as a Human Right is we all need to have access, so there’s a question of – on where to access the Internet. And then we realize that not only the access is – is necessary. When you have access, you also need skills. On knowing how to use the Internet. And that for us was one of the key – the key aspects.
And we also should make sure that this right – also, the access to the Internet, in order to help and to – to be able to develop a positive citizenship based on information. And also to break some of the barriers that bureaucracy can impose, because sometimes, some, let’s say, service based on the Internet, people need to put some credentials on it. And for some excluded population, that can be an obstacle.
>> RUTH: Yeah, we just – we talked also a little bit about copyright and how that affects accessibility, and, for example, for people who have low literacy, speaking in different languages or have learning disabilities that they may need audio versions of text. They may need simplified versions, and how that conflicts with copyright. And then we talked – just said, the basic thing we came out with was that we should make sure that fundamental human rights to access information and citizenship online and is not prevented by the holders, industry.
>> FEMALE VOICE: (Off-mic.)
>> RIKKE JORGENSEN: Thank you. So we had a group of 20 persons or so, and then we discussed, of course, the most recent issue, with a story. But we also wanted to discuss the use of users’ data by commercial company or to do profiling. And all the activities with this data.
And we agreed that the user should have the – and the citizen should have the chance to delete it’s – his or her own data.
So we discussed right to be forgotten that is currently on the table in the –from this point of view.
Then we addressed a question on the jurisdiction and how to deal with this global company and the global use of data.
We raised the question of the need for citizens to be informed on what is being done with their own data. So the need for transparency information.
We also discuss some specific case. We mentioned data retention in Europe and how in some country and for example, in Germany was mentioned.
It was unconstitutional in Germany.
And then, after all this exchange and discussion we tried to come up with four recommendations. The first one could be a message at least from our workshop to the European Union officials, with regards to the very recent PRISM story.
And the message is that European citizens wants – want to be protected by European legislation, especially on data protection and privacy, even when they are using software platforms equipment from their own countries, not in European countries.
So even when they use Google or Facebook or Skype or whatever, they still should be protected by their own original law in the region. That’s the first recommendation.
The second recommendation also to the European Union – the European Union as a whole but also to European governments is that – and to end also as civil society is that we should do some housekeeping at home. And we should assess and make sure that the European legislation and the national legislation in Europe are always fully compliant with the right to privacy and the right to data protection.
And if they are not really compliant, it must be for very legitimate purpose. It must pass the proportionality test.
It must be necessary in democratic society. We know this principles.
The third recommendation is also a recommendation mainly to officials, but outside Europe, is that the greatest number of states should sign and ratify the Council of Europe Convention 108, which is the Council of Europe Convention on the protection of personal data of citizens, so that we can increase the number of countries where there is protection of privacy and the data protection, and so that this issue of the rich addiction to reply becomes less important since we would share some harmonized framework for data protection.
And the fourth recommendation is that if every – all this – violations of privacy and data protection happen, it is for – at least it is because people are not really aware of what is being done with their data, what happens when they use social networks or their online services, and then this fourth recommendation is for information and education of users, starting from schools – school curricula, as part of education to human rights. Thank you.
>> FEMALE VOICE: Thank you very much. Okay, moving to Group three, Jan, the rapporteur. And we will get these all up for you, so we have five recommendations, one from our group, and four from Meryem’s group. Five very concrete recommendations. Great. Carrying on?
>> Jan: Thank you. So we spoke about freedom of speech and Hate Speech. And we begin by deciding that we would limit ourself to the 47 countries of the Council of Europe, so that we could somehow keep the debate focused.
We looked at the beginning at legal and other instruments, and two important ones here, article ten of the convention on the human rights, which guarantees freedom of speech, but also underlines that there are restrictions; and secondly, the 2011 UN Guiding Principles on Human Rights, which actually helped companies to assess how they were going with human rights and with their practices on human rights standards.
This led us to discuss, well, what is human rights? Well, sorry, what is freedom of speech?
Examples, blogging, bullying, Hate Speech, etcetera, but all of these are very important elements in democratic debate and in discussing important issues.
In Denmark, it’s noted that the European Court gives a lot of margin actually on what Hate Speech is. And this seems to be watering down the issue a lot. Also, there’s the important issue of what happens next. It’s very good to have the right of freedom of expression, but if you’re taken to court or put in prison afterwards, it’s not so good. So it’s important to see the whole picture.
Learning about freedom of expression, it’s a fundamental value that should be taught in home so that children can grasp this from the very early yesterday of ages.
The problem is that parents really don’t understand what kids are doing on Internet.
And parents, and therefore, their children, don’t understand that anonymity doesn’t really exist, and that accountability is all important on the Internet, too.
Next, we looked at some national examples, where there are no solutions, but there were some suggestions.
Parliament, for example, in Portugal is reducing to allow children to be educated on human rights.
Human rights is a big challenge online, but if children aren’t getting education, then how can they cope?
Also, in Greece, Facebook deleted 5,000 Golden Dawn accounts, but this doesn’t really stop them propagating their message. What can be done? How can we use online capacity, also, to go the other side, to counter – counteract Hate Speech by making people understand when they vote, there is a lot of importance attached to this?
I picked up four ways forward. The European Court, it’s been noted that, in fact, they are overturning human right cases and freedom of expression cases from national courts.
An example of this was with journalists in traditional media, where if they’re convicted in the national court, this is usually overturned by the European Court. And this is a good thing that is promoting freedom of expression.
The Council of Europe Guidelines seems to be having a big opinion influence.
For example, the human rights court does use the recommendations in making its decisions.
And in this way they are really becoming binding.
Also, nationally, countries are using the guidelines in their – in setting up their own and enacting their own legislation.
Next, we talked about user groups.
And user groups should draw on Council of Europe Guidelines to make them more user-friendly for citizens.
We looked at the problem of not only Hate Speech, but the other way round, what you do about the young people who are learning to make a bomb on Internet, learning how to be very anorexic on Internet, and all of these issues.
Do we need some sort of guidelines on what positive content is, so it can avoid the negative side in and a loss of human rights.
Lastly, the Internet, it seems that on Facebook, it was – Facebook was called to account by its customers when customers and advertisers withdrew money because they felt that freedom of expression was not being respected.
This is seen as a really good model.
Also, Internet providers, how should they be involved in informing users? They certainly shouldn’t have a role of censorship. I think that was about all, but someone might have something to add.
>> FEMALE VOICE: Thank you very much. Very thorough. Thank you.
Now, we have about ten more minutes, because we did start late. So I’d like to hear from the last group. And then we’ll have a chance just briefly, if people – I think we need to open it to the floor after the last group, which is Paulo. But, people, if you have a comment for the record, please make it, a couple more minutes before I turn to my speakers, if you could please, please be brief, this is something we all have to learn to do. So last group.
>> MATTHIAS KETTERMAN: Okay. I will try to be brief. So we started with a very practical question of what do users actually need to exercise their rights online and we realize that it is actually – there is no easy answer to this, because on the Internet, the situation is rather complex. Most interactions are inherently cross-bordered.
So legal certainty is not given. They are legal provisions in some countries, but as soon as we have cross-border contacts it’s unclear how they interface. So, for instance, what is a violation in one country is not a violation in another country or is sometimes national agency’s think about data protection, are not responsible for the data protection of their actual citizens, because the platform is incorporated in a third country, for instance, in the case of Facebook in Ireland.
In general, we said that users need information about their rights and how they can protect their rights, but it is very difficult for users to know actually under what jurisdiction and under what rules they are online.
And, therefore, it is difficult for them to identify the proper redress mechanisms for them.
Then, our discussion focused for quite a long time on the complexity between terms of service and national laws.
So, there is an absence of a framework of how national laws in terms of service actually interface.
We talked about this one case in Denmark, where iTunes actually censored a book about – it was a hippie book where there was a lot of nudity which violated the terms of service of iTunes.
So it was not shown in Denmark.
So how is the interface between national laws in terms of service, in terms of setting the rules, regulated?
Users need distinct procedures that are known to them to enforce their rights. How they can notify, for instance, platforms.
Even in one given country, it is unclear to them where they should go. Should they go to the platform? Should they go to national authority’s? So this is unknown to them. Then we talked about private law in general. So a lot of those rules online are actually set by contracts between users and platforms. And there is a clarity of companies, how they implement their terms of services. And users are not always notified. And there’s a general lack or misunderstanding or – or search for the right appeal mechanisms, if something goes wrong.
So in the end, there’s a sort of public role for private platforms to fulfill.
Moreover, we said that terms of service of major companies are often influenced by the legislation of their country of incorporation, for instance, for most major platforms, the First Amendment of the U.S. Government.
So there was the question whether there need to be stricter rules of how terms of service can be implemented in certain jurisdictions.
Considering the way forward, there were several ideas circulating. One of them was: Should there be one institution for everybody that receives all the complaints we have for platforms, or should there be a sort of ombudsman institution? Should there be more user movements to create pressure to – for their rights? Should there be more dialogue, in general? More empowerment for users? And if so, then how?
In general, there’s a need to educate users. They need to be informed how they can can find compliance in national jurisdictions, but it’s not only about educating users, it’s also about educating politicians, judges and prosecutors about the specificities of the cross-border Internet.
A provocative insight was basically if the Westphalian tools are actually able to handle those cross-border online spaces, and if they are not, if all those traditional tools we have are not sufficiently able to protect rights online, what frameworks do we then need to handle this, what sort of institutions or interfaces or procedures do we need?
In general we acknowledge that there needs to be transparencies of all the procedures between states and platforms.
And in the end of the day, there’s a simple need for quick and efficient remedies for users and clear procedures. But yet it is unknown how they can be implemented.
>> FEMALE VOICE: (Off-mic.)
All good talk shops need assuming up. Before my panel sums up, are there any comments from the floor?
Okay. Any comments from our remote – oh, sorry, yes, is there someone?
>> PARTICIPANT: Thank you, I just wanted to make a short comment, because we didn’t have the people participating. We are all over some country inside Europe. But, again, the EuroDIG rules, we turned the chat floor to – I mean, this communication, the chat floor where a few remote participants were discussing the same topics you were discussing in your group. So I think this is also very interactive thing.
All the things that we need access and barriers came up. Open Source, actually I was always leading those comments to the debate where it was appropriate. So it was a great success in this, I think, because we had not just one way communication on the chat.
>> FEMALE VOICE: Okay. Thank you very much.
So, to complete our workshop, in order to think where we go next, I’d like to ask our speakers, in this order, Michael, Matthias – and Paulo, we’ll let you out of the room in a few minutes. Thank you.
>> MICHAEL ROTERT: Well, I watched the results from the different groups, and was thinking by myself, if Internet access as a fundamental right is requested, there has to be carefully looked at the according – national legislation, because that might have implications on various aspects, like taxations, like everything else.
So before requesting it, think on it, what it really has to implications in your in your environment. Prison to that group was not really a surprise, at least not for those dealing with the Internet technically.
Big Data might become a surprise when law enforcement are detecting it really to combine it and to make predictions in the future.
And then you know what you gave all your data to – for.
And then you have a lot of discussions, Meryem, I guess.
The educational aspect for the Internet, my advice would be: Beware of technology.
If you use technology to fight weaknesses of applications on the Internet, you might run into troubles, because technology is not a final solution. And some kind of cyber war may exist, then technology fighting against technology.
It’s the worst idea you can have.
Much better would be: Education, education, education, and information.
And the – last session, the Internet never – the Internet never had borders. I don’t know why we always talk about a cross-border Internet. It was always cross-border.
And there is no – and this is something I could see at the ITU meeting in Dubai, there exists no national Internet segments, as they were requested by Russia.
And all – which would help, I guess, would be a harmonized global jurisdiction or legislation, but this would be far beyond my time. Thank you.
>> FEMALE VOICE: Thank you. Sorry. Sorry about that. Matthias.
>> MATTHIAS KETTERMAN: Thank you very much. You called for education, education, education, I called for good laws, good laws, good laws, that respect human rights, and that are really implemented because it’s not so much that we suffer from a lack of laws, we suffer from a lack of understanding of them and of implementation of them.
We have good human rights laws, for instance, regarding privacy. We just need to apply them to the Internet as well.
Regarding the right to access in Germany there is a right to Internet access, not by law or in the constitution but as developed by the Courts, by the constitutional court and by the Federal Communications Supreme Court.
So let’s not over think things. Let’s look at what is happening already and what we can draw from what we have. That’s a call for reality, people.
>> FEMALE VOICE: Okay, and Rikke.
>> RIKKE JORGENSEN: Yes. So I’ve noted the three main points I want to highlight in the end.
First, there exists a lot of standards already that translate human rights to an Internet context. There are a lot of documents at UN level, especially from the special mechanisms. There are a lot of documents from Council of Europe that do this translation.
There is also the charter from this coalition.
So it’s actually not a lack of words, but it’s a lack of knowledge and dissemination and understanding of these things that are there.
And here I think that one key point is that there’s – as soon as you move beyond the group of people that have – that are discussing these issues and that have been for a long time, the general average citizen or user, whatever we call them, don’t have a lot of knowledge on these issues. And here there is really an educational – an educational point to be taken, also, to policymakers, also to journalists.
So that’s one point.
Then the second point is: We haven’t discussed it so much today, but it keeps popping up. And that’s the lack of access to remedies.
I think in the – in the next Version of the charter, and when we – when we rework some of that text, I think we need to focus more strongly on access to remedies in relation to each specific right.
It’s also a reoccurring scheme in the work that’s going on at Council of Europe on the Compendium on Internet Users’ Rights.
Because for once if people don’t know if they have the right and second, they don’t know where to go if they fear a violation. Then, I mean, you’re really not well-off.
So that was the second point. That was about strengthening access to remedies.
And the third point is is about company – company practices and state practices, State law and state practices to a much larger extent demanding that these actors have their – have their processes accessed for – for human rights compliance.
I think this is really the next crucial steps.
We hear especially in the company realm there are a lot of companies now in the global network initiatives, and in at the industry dialogue, and other places that subscribe to the human rights framework, that subscribe to human rights compliance in their operations, but we need to make this much more concrete.
That is my third point.
>> FEMALE VOICE: Thank you, Rikke. And lastly from our host country, I’d like the pleasure of giving the floor to Paulo.
>> FEMALE VOICE: Okay. To end this, I’m going to tell a personal story from yesterday.
Yesterday, I was in Brussels, and I received a phone call from my bank who said that my credit card was cancelled, because it was used – I don’t know (laugh). Someone used my credit card.
And this is an important question. It’s a question of trust.
For me to use Internet, I have to trust the Internet. It’s important laws, it’s important education, it’s important empower: But it’s also important that the law should be enforceable.
You have a real enforcement. That is one of the main reasons, and for consumers, this is most important.
So, the – the – my final word is trust. I need to trust to continue to use the Internet.
>> FEMALE VOICE: Thank you.
>> FEMALE VOICE: (Off-mic.) So come enjoy the party. So, thank you very much, everybody.
>> FEMALE VOICE: Okay.
>> FEMALE VOICE: Thank you.
(End of call.)