[IRP] Preamble conference call

Karmen Turk karmen
Mon Dec 13 10:46:25 EET 2010

Dear all,
I cannot make the call, however I strongly agree with Meryem's style of preamble. This confroms to the style and build up of all main human rights conventions and treaties. 

From: irp-bounces at lists.internetrightsandprinciples.org [mailto:irp-bounces at lists.internetrightsandprinciples.org] On Behalf Of Meryem Marzouki
Sent: Sunday, December 12, 2010 4:47 PM
Subject: Re: [IRP] Preamble conference call
Dear all,


I've just checked the doodle (see below) and found that only Dixie and myself answered it, although Dixie proposed it some days ago. If we're going to have this call, we need that IRP members answer ASAP in case they're able and willing to make it. In general, I would recommend to set a deadline for answering, since people cannot block dates for a long time (I just had myself to update my availability for that day).

Otherwise, we should discuss the issue by email.




Le 9 d?c. 10 ? 11:39, Dixie Hawtin a ?crit :

Hi all,
The discussion about "a right to the Internet" will feed in to our next conference call on the Preamble. The call will be on Wednesday 15th December, please use the Doodle poll to let us know your availability: http://doodle.com/42d4g39du9aembgv 
There are 2 main questions we need to address:1.       What format to use (the essay format as it is at present, or the alternative suggested by Meryem: http://www.freedomofexpression.org.uk/resources/irp+charter+of+human+rights+and+principles+for+the+internet)2.       Whether the Preamble should include the Right to the Internet and if so how it should be presented
The debate we are having now is crucial to answering the second point so please continue to send in your arguments. I will send mine through soon too.
Please also have a look through the Preamble and highlight any changes to the text that you think should be made. 
For more background information about the Preamble and the choices we need to make, please see this document: http://www.freedomofexpression.org.uk/resources/irp+conference+call+preamble
All the best,

From: irp-bounces at lists.internetrightsandprinciples.org [mailto:irp-bounces at lists.internetrightsandprinciples.org] On Behalf Of Michael Gurstein
Sent: 09 December 2010 01:01
To: 'shaila mistry'; Lisa Horner; 'parminder'; 'Meryem Marzouki'
Cc: irp at lists.internetrightsandprinciples.org
Subject: Re: [IRP] Outcomes of call on right to access/right to the Internet.



Thanks for the clarity of your argument below.


(I'll leave aside the "technical" issues of "access to" for the moment--but I would reiterate my suggestion to attempt to engage with the W3C folks around this 


If I believed that what you are saying/anticipating was correct i.e. that it would be easier to sell a "Right to Access the Internet" than it would be to sell a "Right to the Internet" I would have no problem accepting that position for the reasons that you mention and for Lisa's argument that the difference between the two positions is not sufficient to delay the process further. However, I don't/haven't seen any evidence one way or the other.  


Three (?) years ago when the first of the "legal" positions on "Right to (access) the Internet" began to appear I'm sure we all would have understood that presenting such a position was outrageously (and even irresponsibly) adventurist (I know, as I made that argument on the Governance list and it was firmly rejected...


But then countries started to both legislate the matter and to recognize with their actions the necessity of such a position, starting with "access" because "access" was how the major arguments were being phrased (viz. the Digital Divide).  


Now we are 3 years on and the tide continues to come in (except in a few countries such as the US and my own Canada where either commercial or ideological interests are currently holding sway...


Whether we should or need to pander to these, dare I say antique positions or to go with the more advanced ones is I guess a matter of taste if not of strategy... My preference would be to go with the advanced ones at the start and if necessary make a strategic retreat as might be required. 






-----Original Message-----
From: shaila mistry [mailto:shailam at yahoo.com] 
Sent: Wednesday, December 08, 2010 12:51 PM
To: Lisa Horner; Michael Gurstein; parminder; Meryem Marzouki
Cc: irp at lists.internetrightsandprinciples.org
Subject: Re: [IRP] Outcomes of call on right to access/right to the Internet.

Hi everyone
I guess we are all wrestling with the framing of this and trying to produce an outcome that works for the Charter and ourselves and,  most importantly the international community, whose support we are seeking. Basically we want this to fly with civil society, private sector and governments and ourselves.  It was very useful hearing the different perspectives yesterday. However I am not clear why this has become something of a tangle.

As to the "right to the internet" versus the "right to access to internet"
In response to some prior discussants , I would say that the difference is the implicit message that the charter acknowledges that the right to internet is implicit. The Charter exists because of this right and we are upholding it. Now do we push this any further into a heralding statement at the top of the rights ? I am not so sure, because like others I am concerned that we may lose the support of the very entities that we seek. 

This right if  taken out of context and we say aloud " everyone has a right to the internet" may become less missive when compared with other more important rights of freedom, food and shelter and education.  We as the community who have come together as "internet community" understand the differences between these two rights. But I suspect that when we send this out to the real world at large we will have, and we should have,  folks from all walks of like looking at it and ask the question " Is right to internet really a right" or " who is responsible for providing this right" .I am not sure that we will like the responses that we will hear.  We don't want to lose the support of entities who might otherwise see our charter as a pioneering effort.

On the other hand, If we start with the "access " element as the pivotal statement then we have better chance of support, if only because everyone who has access internet will see this as valid and those that don't, will naturally support it. Using the word access, helps us define all the variables that were already discussed such as special groups, and  populations that do not have access because of affordability or "politics' and also covers parts of the world that have restrictions. even covers the technical exclusions and monopoly issues. We can frame the wording is such a way that we don't lose support and or create undue burden of responsibility.

Notwithstanding our extensive discussions, this charter is about increasing the rights of people.To this purpose we need the buy-in of entities so that we can advance human rights. When we send out the 1.1 versions its practicability, implementation and  application of the charter will become the deciding factors for most individuals and entities whose support we are seeking.

Shaila Rao Misty


Life is too short ....challenge the rules

Forgive quickly ... love truly ...and tenderly

Laugh constantly.....and never stop dreaming! 


From: Lisa Horner <LisaH at global-partners.co.uk>
To: Michael Gurstein <gurstein at gmail.com>; parminder <parminder at itforchange.net>
Cc: "irp at lists.internetrightsandprinciples.org" <irp at lists.internetrightsandprinciples.org>
Sent: Wed, December 8, 2010 9:15:46 AM
Subject: Re: [IRP] Outcomes of call on right to access/right to the Internet.

Thanks for getting back, Parminder and Mike.  I agree with Parminder's suggestion for changing the language of 1.1.  I also agree with the point about mobiles as we discussed before but didn't work out how to do.  We could add it in here (the draft was supposed to be as technology neutral as possible, but seeing as we're talking about the Internet, it's already not) - thanks for offering to have a stab Mike. Or we could have a bit more of a think about how to go about it properly throughout the doc once we've released 1.1 and have more time.  What do people think?
I just did some quick and dirty research on the new rights in the countries you mentioned.  From what I can see, they are all "right to access", rather than "right to", but it would be useful to hear from people in those countries on the exact wording.  We also need to be careful to be clear on human rights and legal rights.
Costa Rica: A fundamental right to access the Internet.
Ecuador: A constitutional right to access ICTs.
Finland: A legal right as part of universal service obligations to have access to 1mb broadband at an affordable price.
Spain: A legal right to be able to buy 1 mb broadband at a fixed price.
Mike - I was just wondering if you could flesh out your point 2 below a bit more please as I'm not sure I understand it at the moment....
I understand that "access" might be ambiguous and could mean different things.  But I don't understand why the even more ambiguous term "right to the internet" is preferable, if just because it's more ambiguous?  I think we should be as clear as we can with our language and avoid ambiguity, or at least understand/explain why we have to be ambiguous in some instances.  
For me, I had a clearer idea about what we mean when we're talking about a "right to the Internet" following our call yesterday.  Namely, an umbrella right that encompasses a range of other rights including physical access, usability, characteristics of the Internet and freedoms of use of the Internet.  As it would be an umbrella right, and the whole Charter is effectively fleshing out what that right encompasses, it wouldn't be sufficient to put it as the title to the first article in the Charter, which is only talking about physical access, useability/accessibility and architecture.  Which is why I suggested it should go in the preamble, of we decide to include it.  
But I think you're suggesting here a slightly different conception of "right to the Internet" that still focuses on access, usability and architecture rather than also freedoms and uses on the net?  Or I could be misunderstanding here...sorry!
A quick aside - I have really serious concerns about including a right to the Internet at this stage, or at least making it a central component of the Charter.  Our objectives are to apply existing international standards to the Internet as progressively as possible, and declaring a right to the Internet goes beyond that.  I don't think it's a strategic thing to do at this stage if we want to build allies in the international human rights legal and advocacy community, amongst quite a large number of governments and in the private sector.  We've already had harsh criticism on these fronts, and I really don't want us to fall at the first hurdle - dismissed as being not credible - when what we have in our Charter is so important and has the potential to build a strong and broad alliance between human rights defenders.  That's not to say I don't understand the arguments for including it...I feel I understand a lot more than I did before thanks to the discussions we've been having.  But at the moment we're quite a small and unrepresentative group....I feel we're at the cusp of changing that and are doing something incredibly useful and important here, but really don't want us to shoot ourselves in the foot at this stage.
But we also shouldn't forget that we have an external consultation that we can make use of to gauge wider opinion on this.  My gut feeling is that we should err on the side of caution for now, but actually ask those people that we're trying to reach out to...both the relatively more powerful and relatively more powerless/voiceless if at all possible.  
Anyway, let's continue to discuss over this week in the context of finalising the preamble, and see where we get to.  There are such strong feelings on this issue within our group, that we may have to formalise our decision making procedures a bit more to make a final decision on this.  
Thanks again,

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