[IRP] Notes from call on preamble.

Lisa Horner LisaH
Wed Dec 15 21:21:21 EET 2010

Hi all

Thanks to everyone who joined the call this afternoon - it was really productive.  We had Parminder, Mike, Shaila, Henrik, Dixie and me.

Brief notes from the call (as always, please correct me if I'm wrong or make additions/comments!)

1) Everyone agreed that they liked the format of Meryem's redraft of the preamble, splitting it into "context" and "preamble". (reminder - drafts can be found here: http://www.freedomofexpression.org.uk/resources/irp+charter+of+human+rights+and+principles+for+the+internet) 

2) The concern was raised about using the language of "human rights on the Internet".  Those of us on the call felt that, through all of the discussions we've been having over the past weeks, we've agreed that we're talking about more than human rights *on* the Internet.  We're talking about rights online, but also about rights of people who aren't yet online, what kind of Internet people should have access to and be able to use etc. Dixie will check through the text and clarify the language. 

We then realised that we may need to revisit the name of the Charter: "human rights and principles for the Internet".  (note - on the call, we thought the title was "on" the Internet.  But I've just double checked, and it's actually been "for" the Internet in all previous drafts).  We recognized that we were quite a small group on the call, and to change the name is quite a big issue at this stage.  So we said we'd suggest some options, and see if there is enough agreement on the list about a potential name change. If we can't agree, we'll discuss and consult for 2.0.  

So please comment on the following options and say which you prefer:

a. Charter of Human Rights and Principles for the Internet 
b. Charter of Internet Rights and Principles  
c. Charter of human rights and principles in the Internet environment
d. Charter of human rights and principles in an Internet enabled world.

3) We also discussed the language surrounding para 4 of the draft relating to the roles and responsibilities of different entities/stakeholders.  I think we agree that, under human rights law, it's only states that are legally bound to uphold human rights (and make sure that they're not being violated by private sector etc).  This is in the current version, but it was felt it needed to perhaps be clearer.  There were concerns in the group that the current text implies that other stakeholders also have responsibilities and that this might give states opportunities to shirk their responsibilities, and also that we don't give small companies too many burdens to shoulder.  I put forward the Ruggie framework as something I think we could follow: States have legal responsibility to respect, protect, fulfill human rights; companies have moral duties to respect. We agreed there's a need to discuss this in more depth - there are slight disagreements/nuances in the coalition that we don't have time to iron out at this stage.  Some also didn't like the terms "actors" and "society organs".  Dixie will try and draft a paragraph that will hopefully satisfy all concerns at this stage, and then we can consult and discuss further in 2011. Please look out for that tomorrow and comment.  

4) Question of whether we should include "Right to the Internet".  We've discussed this in quite a lot of depth on the list and haven't come to an agreement.  On the call, I outlined my concerns:
- there's not enough consensus amongst us to include "right to the Internet" at this stage.
- We haven't done enough work as a group to define exactly what we mean and why we're saying it.
- We're arguing our positions without having really talked to other people about it, beyond our immediate group. We need to consult on this.
- If we're going to say we're declaring a right to the Internet, we should do it loud and proud...e.g. build a campaign around it asking for its acceptance at international level.

We then had some discussion in the group.  We clarified that we thought, as a coalition, we've come to agree that there is a difference between "right to access" and "right to the Internet".  Physical access and accessibility/inclusivity is one specific part of a broader right to the Internet.  The right to the Internet encompasses all of the rights and principles in the Charter. 

We thought about putting some kind of note in the "context" section that we are thinking about whether the Charter constitutes a right to the Internet.  In the end, we agreed that there isn't enough agreement at the moment, and that we would include it as a priority issue in the consultation.  We have to put together a document to guide our consultations, explicitly seeking input and comments from people on specific issues.  We will explain the concept of the "right to the Internet" in that document and consult on it as a priority issue. 

We also agreed we'd change the language in the "context" so that we're not saying "this Charter is not an attempt to create new rights".  

5) There were a few other concerns about the language of the text, but it was thought we could consult on the preamble more widely and that a new version is likely to emerge with 2.0 anyway. But if anyone has immediate concerns or suggestions, now is the time to voice them!

- Please comment on the wording for the title of the Charter.
- Look out for Dixie's email suggesting alternative language on responsibilities of different entities and suggest changes.
- If you have any other  comments on the preamble, please send them through.

We did initially say that we'd have a final call on how we address limitations to rights in the Charter.  But we've run out of time.  We have had quite a bit of discussion on this already related to filtering and blocking, so I think it's alright not to have another call.  Is that alright with everyone?  

So...to finalise version 1.1 and to see the fruits of all of our work, I suggest the following: Based on the conversations we've had over the past few weeks, Dixie will edit the draft version 1.1 that we have.  She will send a version out next Tuesday 21st December, highlighting the changes.  People can then check the draft, and send comments through by Monday 3rd January.  We'll then have a final week for discussion and a final 1.1 ready for Monday 10th December.  Does that sound ok to everyone?  I know it feels intense. But it's been a really productive few weeks, and it'll be really good to finalise this draft, and start getting external input during our consultation period.

Thanks again for all of the inputs and productive conversations.

All the best,

Lisa Horner
Head of Research & Policy? Global Partners and Associates
338 City Road, London, EC1V 2PY, UK
Office: + 44 207 239 8251???? Mobile: +44 7867 795859
LisaH at global-partners.co.uk? www.global-partners.co.uk 

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