[IRP] Some punch

Tapani Tarvainen tapani.tarvainen
Wed Sep 22 11:36:35 EEST 2010

Having criticized version 1.0 of the Charter for lack of punch as it
were, I made an effort to see if if I could, er, "punchify" it.
Below is the result.
It is not intended to be "ready" or complete text as such, yet I feel it
is better to present it without explanations or textual alternatives 
I considered. I even cut out some parts I didn't feel comfortable
with but couldn't think of a better substitute, for my primary purpose 
here is to convey a feeling of the kind of language I'd like to see in
this kind of document, inadequate though I feel my wordsmithing
skills to be for such a task.

I hope it will at least stimulate thoughts on how the text could
be improved.



Internet is a medium people communicate with;
a place where people meet and congregate;
a tool people use for a multitude of purposes.
It is self-evident that universal human rights apply in the Internet
like they do everywhere where there are people,
and that same fundamental principles apply in the Internet
as in all areas of human endeavour.

Yet Internet is different from any other medium yet invented,
different from any other place in the world,
different from any other tool human ingenuity has yet produced,
and it is not always obvious exactly how
human rights and general principles apply to it.
At the same time, Internet's importance has grown to the extent
that it has become a major power in the realization of human rights -
for good and bad.
Thus it is of crucial importance to ensure Internet
governance is based core values of human rights
like human dignity, equality and non-discrimination,
solidarity, diversity, rule of law and social justice.

Hence this Charter: not an attempt to create new rights,
but to reinterpret and explain old ones in a new context:
the Internet.

The rights and principles identified herein are crucial for the
governance of the Internet. They are based on the core values of human
rights like human dignity, equality and non-discrimination,
solidarity, diversity, rule of law and social justice. Everybody needs
to respect, protect and fulfil all the human rights on the Internet,
and to ensure that the Internet operates to evolve in a way that
supports and expands these human rights as an instrument supportive to
human rights.

Internet governance must be guided by internationally
agreed human rights standards, and designed and implemented in an
inclusive process bringing together public administrations,
governments, civil society as well as businesses.

This Charter is based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
(UDHR) and subsequent human rights law of the United Nations and work
done by other human rights institutions.

This Charter of Human Rights and Principles on the Internet has been
developed by the Dynamic Coalition on Internet Rights and Principles
and draws inspiration from the APC Internet Rights Charter and other
pertinent documents.

The Charter builds on the WSIS Declaration of Principles of Geneva
and the Tunis Agenda for the Information Society, which recognises
that Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) present tremendous
opportunities to enable individuals, communities and peoples to
achieve their full potential in promoting their sustainable
development and improving their quality of life. Like the WSIS
Declaration, this Charter aims at building a people-centred
information society, which respects and upholds fundamental human
rights that are enshrined in the UDHR.

The Charter is split into two sections. The first interprets human
rights and defines principles for the purposes and concerns of the
information society. The second defines principles and guidelines
addressed to specific stakeholders and technologies.

The Charter is addressed to all actors and stake-holders of Internet
governance, who - according to the Preamble of the UDHR - shall strive
by teaching and education to promote respect for the rights contained
in the UDHR and to secure their universal and effective recognition
and observance.


1)  Human Dignity 

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.
Human dignity and rights must also be respected and protected on the

2)  Universality and Non-Discrimination in the Enjoyment of all Rights 

a.    Principle of Universality and Non-Discrimination

All rights and freedoms contained in this Charter are universal.

Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this
Charter, without distinction of any kind, such as ethnicity, colour,
sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or
social origin, property, birth or other status or condition.

b.    Access to the Internet for All  

Everyone has the equal right to access to the Internet,
at whatever level is technically feasible.

As the Internet has become an indispensable tool for many
life-related functions and is necessary for the enjoyment of other
rights like the right to education, all people must have affordable
access to the Internet.

Freedom of Access includes freedom of choice of system and software use. 
Communication infrastructures and protocols must be interoperable.

Internet access can only be restricted to protect other essential
rights, and only when there is compelling evidence that it will do
more good than harm and it is clear no other means would work.
Any restrictions must be strictly proportionate to the threat at hand
and must not undermine the openness of the Internet or its capacity to
support human rights.

c.    Ensuring Digital Inclusion 

An Internet based society and economy requires that all have an equal
opportunity for active and effective participation in and through the
Internet. Internet regulation must not hinder but actively support
self-managed and other community-based facilities and services to
ensure universal digital inclusion. Digital inclusion requires the
opportunity for access to, and effective use of the range of digital
media, communication platforms and devices for information management
and processing.

Everyone, in particular governments and business, shall undertake
steps individually and through international assistance and
cooperation towards digital inclusion, equal access to
information technology, and eliminating any discrimination in access
to the Internet.

To this end, public Internet access points shall be made available
at places like telecentres, libraries, community centers, clinics and
schools as well as support to access via mobile media so that all
people can have access where they live or work.

d.    Gender equality 

Women and men have an equal right of access to learn about, define,
access, use and shape the Internet. Efforts to increase access must
recognise and redress existing gender inequalities. Women must
participate fully in all areas related to the development of the
Internet to ensure gender equality.

e.    Marginalised Groups and People with Different Needs 

Interfaces, content and applications must be designed to ensure
accessibility for marginalised groups, people with disabilities and
people with different capacities to read and write.

The principle of inclusive design and the use of support technologies
must be promoted and supported to allow persons with disabilities to
benefit fully and on an equal basis with others.

People of all ages, including the young and the elderly, have a right
to attention to their specific needs in using the Internet as part of
their entitlement to dignity, to participate in social and cultural
life, and enjoy other human rights.

3)  Liberty and Security  

a.    Protection of Liberty and Security 

Everyone has the right to the protection of their liberty and security
online. This includes protection against all forms of online
harassment, trafficking, cyber-stalking and misuse of one?s digital
identity and data.

b.    Functionality and security of the Internet

Everyone has the right to enjoy functional and secure connections to
and on the Internet.

c.    Security Measures shall respect Human Rights 

Any security measures which affect the Internet shall be consistent
with international human rights laws and standards as well as the rule
of law. They must be strictly necessary for and proportionate to the
relevant purpose.

4)   Equality and Diversity on the Internet

a.     Equality before the Law 

All people are equal before the law and are entitled to equal
protection of the law in matters regarding the Internet, online as
well as offline.

Special legal protection shall be provided for people who
are inherently disadvantaged and require such measures to ensure
their substantive equality with others.

b.  Net Neutrality and Net Equality

The Internet and physical means of traffic on it shall be available to
all on uniform, non-discriminatory terms. Internet content must not
be prioritised or discriminated against for economic, social,
cultural, religious or political reasons. Control of Internet content
must not affect the equal right of all people to express themselves
and access information online.

c.  Diversity of Cultures and Languages 

The public service value of the Internet must be protected,
including access to quality and diverse information as well as
different cultural content.

The Internet shall represent a diversity of cultures and languages in
terms of appearance and functionality. Cultural and linguistic
diversity on the Internet are to be encouraged in form of text, as
image and sound. Technological evolution and innovation to promote
diversity on the Internet shall be encouraged.

d.  Right to use one?s own Language 

All individuals and communities have the right to use their own
language to create, disseminate, and share information and knowledge
through the Internet, however small their language may be.

5)  Right to Development 

a.    Enjoyment of all Rights on the Internet 

The right to development includes the full enjoyment of all rights
related to the Internet and set out in this Charter.

b.   Environmental Sustainability  

Everyone has a responsibility to use the Internet in a sustainable and
ecologically viable way.

c.   Poverty Reduction and Human Development 

Information and communication technologies have a vital role to play
in helping to achieve the U.N. millennium goals of eradicating
poverty, hunger, and diseases and promoting gender equality and
empowerment of women, particularly in the developing world.

All stakeholders should consider how they can develop and implement
technology that contributes to the eradication of poverty, to enabling
education and to sustainable human development and empowerment.

6)  Freedom of Opinion and Expression

a.   Freedom of Opinion on the Internet

Everyone has the right to express their opinions on the Internet
without interference.

b.  Freedom of Expression Online

Everyone has the right to freedom of expression on the Internet, which
includes the freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas
of all kinds, however wrong, immoral, disgusting or dangerous, 
regardless of frontiers and through any media.

Freedom of expression is an essential pre-condition for the
realisation of other rights, freedoms and social goods, including
democracy, education and human development. It is closely
linked to the need for plural and diverse content and the equal
entitlement of all people to make their voices heard in the public

c.  Freedom of Online Protest

Organisations, communities and individuals have the right to use the
Internet to organize and engage in online and offline protests.

e.    Freedom from Censorship

The Internet shall be free from censorship.

No mandatory filtering may be imposed on the Internet directly
or indirectly.

Internet service providers, search engines and other intermediaries
shall not be burdened with undue liabilities that would result
in chilling the freedom of expression in the Internet.

Intermediaries must not enforce in any kind of involuntary filtering
and inform their users completely transparently of any attempts to
impose such, whether by governments or anybody else. No content may be
removed from the net without a publicly accountable process with a
clear, efficient and user-friendly mechanism of appeal.

f.    Right to Information 

Everyone has the right to receive and impart information and ideas
of any kind through the Internet.

Everybody has the right of access to government information, according
to international law or laws passed democratically at the national

7)  Freedom of Religion and Belief 

a.    Right to Express and Practice Religion and Belief

Everyone has the right to express and practice their faith on the
Internet. This includes exchange of information, communication,
expression of opinions and formation of religious communities or
associations. Public or private actors must not repress or persecute
people for their religion or beliefs expressed on the Internet,
nor may religious rules be imposed upon people against their will.

b.    Limitations on Racist Speech and freedom from hate speech 

The beliefs and opinions of others should be respected. Any advocacy
of national, racial or religious hatred on the Internet that
constitutes incitement to violence should be prohibited by law.

8)  Freedom of Assembly and Association 

a.   Participation in Assembly and Association on the Internet 

The users of ICT tools, services and platforms must be allowed to
form, join, meet or visit an assembly, group or association for any
reason, including political and social. Access to assemblies and
associations using ICTs must not be blocked or filtered.

b.  Freedom to set up Online Communities and freedom of online protest 

Everyone has the freedom to establish or join online communities.

9)  Right to Privacy 

a.    Right to Privacy on the Internet 

No one shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with
their privacy, family, home or correspondence on the Internet.
Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such
interference or attacks.

National legislation on privacy must be based upon international
privacy frameworks that comply with the rule of law, respect
fundamental human rights, and support democratic institutions.

Privacy policy and settings of all services must be easy to find,
and the management of privacy settings must be comprehensive and
optimised for usability.

The right to privacy must be protected by standards of confidentiality
and integrity of IT Systems, providing protection against others
accessing IT Systems without consent.

b.    Protection of Digital Identity 

Everyone has a right to a digital identity. 

The digital identity of the human person - the personal
identification in information systems is inviolable.

Digital signatures, user names, passwords, identification codes or
biometric information must not be used or changed by others without
the consent of the owner.

c.    Virtual Personality and Informational Self-Determination 

The virtual personality of human persons needs to be respected.

Everybody has the right to determine the circulation and the use of
his own personal data. This right may be restricted only in the
case of prevalent public interest.

d.    Freedom from Defamation 

Everyone's honour and reputation shall be protected on the Internet
as well as in other media. Defamation laws must not be abused
to repress truth or to curb dissent or valid criticism.

e.   Right to Anonymity and to Use Encryption

Every individual has the right to communicate anonymously on the
Internet and to use encryption technology to ensure secure, private
and anonymous communication.

f.    Freedom from Surveillance

Everyone must be free to communicate without arbitrary surveillance or
interception, or the threat thereof. This includes the use of
technologies such as deep packet inspection, behavioural tracking and
exercising control over individuals, like cyber-stalking.
No surveillance shall be authorized or agreed upon without
clear explanation of its nature and compelling evidence that
it is necessary to protect essential rights.

10)       Right to Data Protection 

a.  Protection of Personal Data

Personal data must be protected. Fair information practices shall be
enacted into national law to place obligations on companies and
governments who collect and process personal data, and enforce
the rights of those individuals whose personal data is collected.

b.  Obligations of Data Collectors

Collection, use, disclosure and retention of personal data must comply
with a transparent privacy policy. Personal data collection should be
based on informed consent regarding the content, purposes, storage
location, duration and mechanisms for access, retrieval and correction
of their personal data. Everyone must be free and able to exercise
control over the personal data collected about them and its usage.
Everyone has a right to access, retrieve and delete the personal data
collected about them.

c.  Minimum Standards on Use of Personal Data

Personal information shall not be collected any more than necessary
and it must not be retained for any longer period of time than
is needed for the purposes for which it was collected.
Data collectors have an obligation to seek active consent and to
notify people when their information has been forwarded to third
parties, abused, lost, or stolen. Data Security

Appropriate security measures shall be taken for the protection of
personal data stored in automated data files against accidental or
unauthorised destruction or accidental loss as well as against
unauthorised access, alteration or dissemination.

d.  Monitoring by Independent Data Protection Authorities 

Data protection should be monitored by independent data protection
authorities, which work transparently and without commercial advantage
or political influence.

11)       Right to Education

a.  Right to Education on and through the Internet

Everyone has the right to be educated about the Internet and to use
the Internet for education.

Everyone has the right to use the Internet to access knowledge,
information and research. Providers of tools, Internet services and
content must not prohibit people from utilising the Internet for
shared learning and content creation.

Virtual learning environments and other sorts of multimedia, learning
and teaching platforms shall take into account local and regional
variations in terms of pedagogy and knowledge-traditions.

Publications, research, text books, course materials and other kinds
of learning materials should whenever possible be published as Open
Educational Resources with the right to freely use, copy, reuse,
adapt, translate and redistribute them. Publishers and authors should
not enter contractual obligations which prevent the publication of
scientific and other works on the Internet. 

b. Education about the Internet and Human Rights

Education on the Internet should include raising awareness and respect
for human rights, online and offline.

c.   Education and Training for Digital Literacy

Digital literacy shall be a key component of education. Knowledge
and skills enable people to use and shape the Internet to meet their
needs. Local and national governments, international and community
organizations and private sector entities should support and promote
free or low-cost training opportunities, methodologies and materials
related to using the Internet for social development.

12)       Access to Knowledge and Intellectual Property Rights

a.   Right to Participate in the Cultural Life of the Community 

Everyone has the right to use the Internet to freely participate in
the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share its
scientific advancements and benefits. This includes the right to
access knowledge and information on the Internet, regardless of

No restrictions must be placed on cultural expression and activities online.  

Everyone should be able to create and access information in their
mother tongue.

b.  Freedom from Restrictions of Access to Knowledge by Licensing and Copyright 

Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material
interests resulting from their contribution to any scientific, literary
or artistic production in the Internet. Creators should be remunerated
and acknowledged for their work in ways that do not restrict
innovation or access to public, educational knowledge and resources.

Licensing and copyright of content shall permit knowledge to be
created, shared, used and built upon. Creators and users should use
licensing models such as Creative Commons.

Internationally accepted ?fair use? exceptions and limitations to
copyright shall always be used, including making copies for personal
and classroom use, format conversion, library lending, review,
critique, satire, research and sampling. Digital Rights Management
(DRM) ?techniques must not prevent ?fair use? exceptions.

c.   Knowledge Commons and the Public Domain  

Publicly funded research and intellectual and cultural work shall be
made available freely to the general public.

d.  Free/Open Source Software and Open Standards 

Open standards and open formats shall be used in all governmental
and other public work and otherwise preferred and promoted wherever possible.  

Free/libre and Open Source Software (FOSS) should be used, promoted
and implemented in public and educational institutions and services.

When a free solution or open standards do not exist, the government or
the corresponding public institution should promote the development of
the software needed.

13)       Rights of the Child and Child Protection 

a.   Right to benefit from the Internet 

Children should be able to benefit from the Internet according to
their age. Children should have opportunities to use the Internet to
exercise their civil, political, economic, cultural and social rights.
These include rights to health, education, privacy, access
information, freedom of expression and freedom of association.
Children who are capable of forming their own views have the right to
express them in all Internet policy matters that affect them, and
their views should be given due weight according to their age and

b.  Freedom from exploitation and child abuse imagery 

Children have a right to grow up and develop in a safe environment
that is free from sexual or other kinds of exploitation. Measures
should be taken to prevent the use of the Internet to violate the
rights of children. However, such measures should uphold the rights of
the child and should not restrict or endanger the free flow of
information online any more than is absolutely necessary.

c.  Best Interest of the Child 

In all matters of concern to children and the Internet, the best
interest of the child shall be the primary consideration.

14)       Right to Work 

a.   Respect for Workers? Rights 

Workers' rights must be respected in the information society. 
A necessary prerequisite for realizing these rights for employees is
the right to use the Internet to form trade unions, including the
right to promote one's own interests and gather in freely elected
organs of representation.

b.  Internet at the Workplace 

Any restrictions on Internet use in the work place should be
explicitly stated in staff or organizational policies. The terms and
conditions for surveillance of the Internet use of employees must be
clearly stated in work place policies and comply with the right to
data protection.

15)       Participation in Public Affairs and Internet Governance 

b.    Right to Equal Access to Electronic Services 

Everyone has the right to equal access to electronic services in his

c.   E-Democracy 

E-democracy and online voting should be promoted whenever it bears the
potential to enable a more participatory democracy where political
decisions are debated and taken by more people, provided its security
can be assured.

d.  Right to Participate in Governance of the Internet 

Everyone has the right to participate in the governance of the

e.  Principles of Transparency, Information and Participation

All stakeholders must follow the principles of transparency,
information and participation in processes concerning Internet

16)       Consumer Protection  

Everyone, in particular business and governments, must respect,
protect and fulfill principles of consumer protection on the Internet.
E-Commerce shall be regulated by governments in a way that ensure
consumers the same level of protection as they enjoy in non-electronic

17)       Right to Health and Social Services Online 

Everyone has a right to access health-related and social services as
well as their own electronic health records on the Internet.

18)       Right to Legal Remedy and Fair Trial 

a.   Right to a Legal Remedy  

All people have the right to an effective legal remedy against any
charges brought against them by public authority or a private
person with regard to matters related to the Internet.

b.  Right to Fair Trial 

In the determination of any criminal charge or civil rights or
obligations regarding the Internet, everyone shall be entitled to a
fair and public trial hearing within a reasonable time by an
independent and impartial tribunal established by law.

c.   Presumption of Innocence 

Everyone charged with a criminal or civil law offence regarding the
Internet shall be presumed innocent until proven guilty according to

d.  Right to Due Process 

Everyone is entitled to due process by public or private authorities
dealing with legal claims or possible violations of the law regarding
the Internet.

All action taken against illicit activity on the internet must be
aimed at those directly responsible for such activities.

e.   No Punishment without a Law 

No one shall be held guilty of any criminal offence on the Internet on
account of any act or omission which did not constitute a criminal
offence under national or international law at the time when it was
committed. Nor shall a heavier penalty be imposed than the one that
was applicable at the time the criminal offence was committed.

f.    Right not to be tried or punished twice 

No one shall be liable to be tried or punished again for an Internet
offence for which he has already been finally acquitted or convicted.

19)       Appropriate Social and International Order for the Internet 

a.   Entitlement to a Social and International Order 

Everyone is entitled to a social and international order of the
Internet in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this
Declaration can be fully realised.

b.  Multilingualism and Pluralism on the Internet 

The Internet as a social and international order should enshrine
principles of multilingualism, pluralism, and heterogeneous forms of
cultural life in both form and substance.

c.   Governance of the Internet for Human Rights 

The Internet and the communications system shall be governed in such
a way as to ensure that it upholds and expands human rights to the
fullest extent possible.

d.  Effective Participation in Internet Governance 

The interests of all those affected by a policy or decision shall be
represented in the governance processes, which shall enable all to
participate in its development. Transparency and full and effective
participation of all, in particular disadvantaged groups in global,
regional and national decision-making must be ensured.

20)       Duties and Responsibilities on the Internet 

a.   Respect for the Rights of Others 

Everybody using the Internet has duties and responsibilities as well
as rights. These include respect for the rights of all individuals in
the online environment.

b.  Responsibility of Power Holders 

Power holders shall exercise their power responsibly, refrain from
violating human rights and respect, protect and advance them to the
fullest extent possible.

21)       General Clauses 

a.    Interdependence of all rights in the Charter 

All rights contained in this Charter are interdependent and mutually

b.  Limitations for restrictions of rights and principles 

Rights in this Charter may only be restricted to protect other
essential rights, when there is compelling evidence that it will
do more good than harm and it is clear no other means would work. 
Any restrictions must be strictly proportionate to the threat at hand
and must not undermine the openness of the Internet or its capacity to
support human rights.

Restrictions must not be applied for any other purpose other than
those for which they have been described.

c.   Non-exhaustive nature of the Charter 

The fact that certain rights and principles have not been included in
this Charter or have not been developed in detail does not preclude
the existence of such rights and principles.

d.  Interpretation of Rights and Freedoms of the Charter 

Nothing in this Charter maybe interpreted to impair any of the rights
and freedoms set forth therein.


Tapani Tarvainen

More information about the IRP mailing list