[IRP] Outcomes of call on right to access/right to the Internet.

Benedek, Wolfgang wolfgang.benedek@uni-graz.at wolfgang.benedek
Fri Dec 10 09:29:24 EET 2010

Dear all,

In my view this discussion is taking place at different levels. All rights identified in the Charter together make up for a right to the internet, which itself is not specific enough to be operational, but needs to be broken down in all the component rights.

The right to access to the internet, however, is specific and operational, thus already enshrined in some constitutions and laws, making it enforcable. It also has the advantage that there is some common understanding of it, partly due to successive IGFs, where large debates have taken place in this respect. So we can benefit from a common understanding.

If we want to speak of a right to the internet, then this could be expressed in the preamble explaining the overall concerns of the Charter.

Best regards

Wolfgang Benedek

Am 10.12.10 00:07 schrieb "Michael Gurstein" unter <gurstein at gmail.com>:

Hi Meryem,

Without entering into a discussion of Wikileaks as per your detailed analysis I would just say that in the absence of the Internet--little of what has happened with Wikileaks would have been possible (or even conceivable)--the scale, distribution, global political and other impact not to speak of the second order impacts as various parties attempt to respond along with the responses to the responses and so on.

As I understand the current moves against the site they are not simply to deny "access" to that site but rather to deny to wikileaks and its organizers the entire range of opportunities available through the internet (transactions, anonymity, credit, visiblity, and so on and so on...

This seems to me to go rather beyond issues of "freedom to publish... or to access information.


-----Original Message-----
From: irp-bounces at lists.internetrightsandprinciples.org [mailto:irp-bounces at lists.internetrightsandprinciples.org] On Behalf Of Meryem Marzouki
Sent: Thursday, December 09, 2010 1:49 PM
Subject: Re: [IRP] Outcomes of call on right to access/right to the Internet.


Le 9 d?c. 10 ? 20:38, Michael Gurstein a ?crit :

One thing I do "know" though is that the current  spreading tsunami around Wikileaks is making an extremely powerful case for  (and for certain parties against) a Right to the Internet (not simply to  "access" but also to make "effective use" of the Internet) and if positioned  correctly a campaign around Right to the Internet could ride this particular  wave alongside those who could and should be our allies in this effort while  drawing fire from those who would likely oppose even the mildest positioning  around a "Right to Access the  Internet".

I fail to see how the Wikileaks issue could make a case for or against a  right to the Internet, and I equally fail to see how it could help defining  such a right.

The issue with Wikileaks is an issue of freedom to publish and to access  information, an issue of democratic transparency, and an  issue of due process of law, all being covered by provisions of our  Charter. Is that what you call a right to make "effective use" of the  Internet? If so, then it is much more powerful to approach its defense (in  this case) and upholding (in general) through relying on existing fundamental  human rights, as is done in the Charter.

What I  mean is that we don't need any new right to defend Wikileaks: what is only  needed is that the realization, on the Internet, of currently binding human  rights be fully implemented in national legislation (especially, in this case,  in the US  legislation on technical and financial intermediaries) and  that these rights be claimed before courts. Moreover, we need an "Appropriate  Social and International Order for the Internet" (also covered in the Charter)  forbidding that political pressure from a given government (here, the US  government and its allies) on national or multinational companies leads to  denying the rights of a person (Assange) or an organization (Wikileaks), even  though this person is a citizenship of another country or this organization is  registered in another country. Not to mention the voluntary confusion between  Assange himself (charges of sexual aggression, that should be decided by a  Swedish court in normal proceedings) and Wikileaks activity of documents  disclosure: one might wonder whether Interpol would have put him on its most  wanted list if the cables were not disclosed. Now he is arrested in the UK  (following these charges and the Interpol arrest warrant), has refused to be  extraded to Sweden (which is the competent jurisdiction for the sex charges),  and, according to The Independent, his extradition to the US (for espionnage  charges) is under discussion between the US and  Sweden.

What does that  mean? That a "right to the Internet" is not guaranteed or that there are  multiple and huge breaches of the rule of law and of Assange's rights?  What has a  so-called (and not defined) "right to the Internet" to deal with all  this?



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