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The Major Outcomes of the 5th initiative

The Major Outcomes of the 5th initiative

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Hauptseite > Initiativen > 5. Initiative > Abschlussbericht Menschenrechte und Internet > The Major Outcomes of the 5th initiative

1. Does the Internet change the way human rights are protected online?

The Internet does not change everything, but it does change much for the better. All human rights that are protected offline, are protected online. The quality and reliability of their enforcement needs to be increased. There is no need to reinvent the wheel, but we do need better buffers

2. How can the Internet contribute to the implementation and protection of human rights?

The Internet creates new avenues of information and spaces of communication, including new public spaces. It is thus an incredibly powerful tool and catalyst for focusing the potential of human rights engagement.

3. Can human rights serve as basis for global (Internet) governance?

A different world is possible. Human rights are the ethical foundation, the legal anchor and the fundamental goal of all future Internet Governance approaches. Any Internet Governance proposal needs to be firmly anchored in the respect of, and ensure the protection of, human rights.

The Outcomes in Detail: The 10 Central Theses on the Future of Human Rights and the Internet

1. Are Internet-based forms of resistance legitimate for the protection of human rights?

In the 21st century, Internet-based forms of resistance are not a right, but in the form of civil disobedience in the Internet even a duty for online citoyens fighting for human rights with digital means.

2. Are there any human rights gaps in the Internet?

The Internet does not for pose fundamentally new challenges to the human rights protection architecture. Rather, existing rights have to be developed in political and legal practice in order to regulate the challenges arising through the use of information and communication technologies.

3. How does human rights activism change through digitalization?

The Internet creates new digital publics, increases communication speed, facilitates collecting and articulating common interests and dynamizes social activism.

4. How can social media be used for the mobilization of human rights?

Social Media is the fastest and most flexible channel for mass information. It is, however, in danger of censorship and manipulation. Companies, users and states must actualize their common responsibility for, and shared commitment to, a human rights-based and human rights-promoting culture of dialogue and controversy on the Internet.

5. How can technology contribute to the protection of human rights?

Individuals are often unable to cope with ensuring security and protection of privacy online. At the same time the double role of Internet Service Providers as contract partners and quasi-state organs has led to functional disarray. Therefore technical measures of protection, such as independent identity management, have to be ensured by a competent third party. The institutional responsibilities for providing access and ensuring surveillance need to be distributed among actors.

6. What are the experiences of people in developing countries?

The Internet has spectacular potential in strengthening human rights protection in developing countries. Western human rights discourses cannot be used as templates. Developing countries enjoy genuinely original dimensions of empowerment, including self-determination through access to knowledge, better connections with diaspora communities and the enhanced protection of human rights of specially vulnerable groups.

7. What best practice models exist with regard to the the implementation of human rights on the Internet?

Local is global. Bloggers and human rights activists worldwide use the Internet to go beyond artificially narrow avenues of communication in authoritarian regimes. Videos of local human rights violations create pressure on regimes. Blogs by citizen journalists personalize suffering and mobilize the global community. The Internet can focus the international attention on local human rights violations like a burning glass and act as a catalyst for change.

8. How would the world look like in the year 2035 , when an Internet Constitution forms the basis for a polycentric Internet Governance regime?

To date market mechanisms and multilateral trade agreements ensure international telecommunication and cross-border information traffic. Polycentric Internet Governance, by contrast, allows all three stakeholder groups (civil society, business, states) to self-regulate on the basis of a mutually accepted human rights-sensitive regime.

9. Who are the central Internet actors?

An increasing number of Internet actors are connected through complex relationships of power and influence. Targeted political interventions need to ensure that the exchange of ideas between the different groups is not unduly influenced or stopped through one-sided power gains.

10. With which regulatory instruments can human rights be implemented on the Internet?

Social norms can effectively protect human rights. This has become the daily practice of all Internet users. Where social norms fail, state-based regulatory systems, based on international law and in keeping with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, need to ensure human rights and rule of law.

Isabel Gahren
Gordon Süß
Sebastian Haselbeck
Isabel Gahren
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