[IRP] On our way ahead with the Charter

Michael Gurstein gurstein
Thu Apr 21 19:24:44 EEST 2011

I'm very much with Lee on this below...

I also don't see the Charter becoming "law" in any jurisdiction anytime
soon, but I see the value of the "Charter" as a Charter in being an
elaborated, internally consistent (conceptual and terminological), talmudic
(i.e. linked back to the relevent base HR documents in some detail and with
some rigour) document. 

As such, it provides a framework for those (and they are very many) who are
concerned with one or another element of HR and the Internet but don't
really have the time or means of seeing how or where that element fits into
the bigger picture. 

Also, as a framework it puts pressure on legislating/regulating bodies to
themselves be more consistent and universalistic in their approach i.e. not
dealing with the issues in an exhausting and (from a cs perspective)
piecemeal fashion but working rather more at the level of principles and
broadly based norms.

Finally, it provides a banner around which to rally those overall
sympathetic to the area but without much specialized interest or knowledge
(or the time or inclination to gather these) and this can be very useful for
lobbying purposes at the national level, as a framework for education, and
as a means for developing broadly based coalitions of the willing and the

This doesn't mean that the Charter shouldn't evolve; however, the evolution
I think should be regulated i.e. NOT wikified and should focus rather more
on clarification, elaboration and extension rather than "evolution" as for
example to respond to specific issues or incidents. 


-----Original Message-----
From: irp-bounces at lists.internetrightsandprinciples.org
[mailto:irp-bounces at lists.internetrightsandprinciples.org] On Behalf Of Lee
W McKnight
Sent: Thursday, April 21, 2011 5:33 AM
To: Meryem Marzouki; IRP
Subject: Re: [IRP] On our way ahead with the Charter


Sounds like a good meeting and progress being made.

But re 1. We should give up about the idea of trying to have the Charter as
a whole adopted or endorsed by anyone

Why? Because CoE won't, and other narrower NGOs won't?

Frankly, those groups/orgs were never the primary audience anyway, at least
in my mind; and I don't much care whether they do or don't endorse the

If we the Dynamic Coalition are picking up new members and allies and the
doc(s) are permeating/helping set agenda for other discussions, that's all
we need to accomplish right.

Meaning, this is a 'People's Charter' to sound very 60s about it; and not an
organizational or institutional charter. A charter generated by Internet
users in their individual capacities (yeah ParminderI know I know ; ); and
not in their institutional roles; though institutions can say nice things
about us, or not o nice, as they wish.

And people can continue to endorse the charter and its evolution a a whole,
even if we might all quibble over a particular section, as it evolves, over

So...people, and some (very enlightened ; ) organizations may endorse the
Charter and its open evolutionary development, without necessarily pledging
allegiance to implementation in national law of every last sentence in the

It's up to those otherand inst itutions entities to either do something or
not, or incorporate some or all elements of charter or not; which is always
up to them and not to us.  

What we can do is continue to evolve the docs and reach out as Meryem
suggests; and if someone or some entity align - and even endorses - great;
if not, no problem. imho


From: irp-bounces at lists.internetrightsandprinciples.org
[irp-bounces at lists.internetrightsandprinciples.org] On Behalf Of Meryem
Marzouki [meryem at marzouki.info]
Sent: Thursday, April 21, 2011 5:17 AM
Subject: [IRP] On our way ahead with the Charter

Dear all,

Thanks Dixie for the report! I also felt that the meeting went well, and
that there might be opportunities to go ahead with them as well as with
other institutions.

However, my (very personal) sentiment after that meeting is that we should
learn, as a lesson for the future, that:

- Institutions and governments are looking for *very* pragmatic initiatives
and have *very pragmatic* objectives. They are not really interested in
"charters" and in what they see as "loose principles", especially since they
have their own agenda and needs

- In addition, it would be really difficult to have anyone, even NGOs, adopt
a charter like ours, because its very long, detailed, comprehensive although
never precise enough... and, consequently there will always be some kind of
disagreement or reservation on one point or another, which is quite

- Moreover, there are many other initiatives of the same kind, that we
already know about and that we will probably see in the future.

As a consequence, I think we should take some time to discuss our strategy
for the future, and I would like to propose the following ideas for your
comments and suggestions:

1. We should give up about the idea of trying to have the Charter as a whole
adopted or endorsed by anyone

2. We should keep working on the Charter, as a continuous work in progress,
enriching it with all the comments and suggestions we receive

3. At the same time, we should make clear (to us and to the others) that we
take this Charter as our main vehicle to learn, understand each other and
find as common as possible grounds on the issue of HR in the online

4. We should present, advocate and use the Charter as the matrix or the main
material from which different kinds of initiatives could originate. These
initiative might be undertaken by the coalition as a whole, by some of its
members, or even by external groups. They can relate to all HR or only to
some of them, depending on the objectives and agendas. Such initiatives
could be:
- A short and "punchy" summary, such as the 10 IRP principles (done)
- the so-called "section 2" on the role of different actors at different
layers (in progress)
- Internet HR curricula, such as what I suggested during the meeting with
CoE (to be done)
- Specific principles in a given Internet sector or "population", such as
what Olivier suggested for registrants (to be done)
- Specific and more precise principles w.r.t. to one given HR or
"principles", such as what the CoE is trying to achieve for Internet
governance (in progress on their side, to be done or at least discussed from
our side)
- Adaptation to a specific national or regional context (relevance???)
- etc.

So, these are my ideas as for now. I would like to hear what you think. If
we adopt this strategy, then we should probably:
- elaborate it and write it down,
- make clear what we mean by the Charter being an "open source" document
(i.e. probably rather a kind "creative commons" reference - I'm not saying
licence - that would clearly state that the given work has orginated from
the Charter, following this or that process and with this or that objective)
- define some kind of commitment to be agreed upon (i.e. no one could
reference an initiative as originating from the Charter in case this
initiative contradicts any of the Charter aspect, etc.).
- (not sure at all about the relevance of this last suggestin) establish a
kind of "IRP Coalition Charter Label" that we would give (or not) to any
initiative claiming to originate from the charter


Le 21 avr. 2011 ? 10:15, Dixie Hawtin a ?crit :

Hi all,

On Tuesday we had an informal consultation with some experts from the
Council of Europe to talk about the Charter ? to raise awareness, see what
kind of feedback they had about the initiative and the substance, and to
discuss overlap between Council of Europe and IRP Coalition goals and areas
for collaboration.

Attendance: Jan Malinowski, Lee Hibbard, Michael Remmert, Jan Kleijssen,
Denis Huber, Amb. Thomas Hajnoczi, Sophie Kwasny, Marie Georges, Wolfgang
Benedek, Meryem Marzouki, Parminder Jeet Singh, Katitza Rodriguez, Olivier
Crepin-Leblond, Wolf Ludwig, Dixie Hawtin.

The meeting was a small event but I think it had a lot of really positive
outcomes, and it was certainly great to have such a strong showing from the
Coalition. It was very positive to note that almost all of the CoE people
already knew a lot about the Charter and for those who hadn?t already heard,
they seemed very appreciative of the initiative.

We had some feedback about the actual contents of the Charter, and Lee has
said that he will seek more feedback on the actual contents of the Charter
in written form. The comments we received covered:
a)       E-participation and e-democracy: it was felt that these sections do
not yet cover the full spectrum of enhanced democracy that is possible using
the Internet. In particular the link between online protest and organisation
(which is covered under freedom of association) could also be stressed here.
The important of the internet in Internet campaigning was also mentioned.
Also, it was felt that it was erroneous to leave out e-voting when it is
becoming an important part of the voting system in some countries (e.g.
Estonia and Switzerland). Earlier e-voting was included in the Charter but
it was removed following much concern from Coalition members about the
security of such a system. I think this is something we could continue to
think about and discuss. Council of Europe recommendations and guidelines in
this area were drawn attention to as possible sources to consult.
b)      Privacy and data protection: it was felt that more needed to be done
to distinguish the right to privacy and the right to digital data
protection, and also to make sure that the principles of data protection
come across clearly in a user friendly way. The concepts of ?personal data?
and  ?consent? would benefit from more explanation. We need to include the
fact that privacy policies must be clear and understandable(as well as
accessible). And the ?right to be forgotten? also arose as something we
might want to address outrightly in the Charter. Does anyone have any
thoughts on this?
c)       There was also interest in the matrix of responsibilities of
different actors that Meryem has been working on. It was felt that it would
be very valuable for this document to also include information about
collaborations between actors (i.e. which actors should work together to
achieve certain goals)

One initiative that the CoE is toying with quite seriously at the moment,
and that there may be an opportunity to derive some content/approach from
the Charter in future, is creating a charter of enforceable remedies for
Internet users which would operate similarly to airplane passenger rights by
Europe (http://www.caa.co.uk/default.aspx?catid=125). We also heard (from
Olivier) about an initiative at ALAC to put together a registrants rights
charter which sounds very interesting and is exactly the type of thing which
I think we would like the charter to be supporting and feeding into.

Most of the conversation was spent talking about CoE work in this area and
possible areas for collaboration. Possibilities included: *Having a formal
meeting at the CoE for 1.5/2 days and go through each of the Charter
sections individually. *Spin-off education materials based on the Charter
could be used for training and education as part of the North-South Centre.
*Put the text to the parliamentary assembly to have them approve it (please
note this is just an option, and if it were to happen it would be them
taking it as an open source document and building on it, rather than taking
over our Charter.)

-Lee Hibbard will circulate the Charter around CoE staff with expertise in
different areas covered by the Charter but who were unable to attend the
meeting, asking for feedback particularly on drafting and also on our
approach to different rights more generally. -Katitza Rodriguez has taken
responsibility for the ?privacy? and ?data protection? sections of the
Charter and will work (with her many privacy expert friends) on honing in
the language. (many thanks to both of you!)

Overall, I think that the Charter is now definitely on the CoE agenda and
that this could be the start of a really useful dialogue and one that we
should definitely invest some energy in cultivating! And if anyone has
thoughts on any of the above please do share. Also, see Meryem?s email
before ? it would be really useful to think about where our Charter fits in
the patchwork of principles and standards which are emerging at different

All the best,
Dixie ___________________________________________________________
Dixie Hawtin
Researcher Global Partners and Associates
338 City Road, London, EC1V 2PY, UK
Office: + 44 207 239 8251
dixie at global-partners.co.uk<mailto:lisa at global-partners.co.uk>

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