[IRP] Ten punchy principles

Lisa Horner LisaH
Mon Mar 21 12:59:58 EET 2011

Hi Allon

Thanks so much for these comments - they all make a lot of sense to me.  I've responded with my comments in line below.

It would be great if people could look at these suggested changes, and comment asap... If you'd like to comment but haven't had time yet, please drop me a quick line to say when you'll be able to, so we can still try to get them ready for next week.

All the best,

From: irp-bounces at lists.internetrightsandprinciples.org [mailto:irp-bounces at lists.internetrightsandprinciples.org] On Behalf Of Allon Bar
Sent: 19 March 2011 12:54
To: IRP at lists.internetrightsandprinciples.org
Subject: [IRP] Ten punchy principles

Hi all,

The ten punchy principles look great, it's obvious that a lot of brain power has gone into drafting them. Thanks for all your work!

If I may give a few suggestions to make them even punchier:

-- re: Neutrality
Censorship and filtering are listed as two different control mechanisms, whereas the former perhaps is mentioned as a rebuke of certain government policies and the latter as a technical method of control, but maybe delineating the same (or at least a widely overlapping) phenomenon. In line with the other control mechanisms mentioned, I would suggest taking out 'censorship'.

	--> Good point.  I suggest we move "censorship" to the "expression" principle?  

-- re: Expression
First, I would suggest making this principle more along the lines of ICCPR art. 19. The ICCPR only makes mention of 'holding' opinions separately, as expressing them is part of imparting information. Moreover, what does 'holding' an opinion online exactly entail? I suggest two options: either rename this principle 'Opinion & expression' (and then remove 'and express'), or take out the opinion part of it altogether. If you then still like to stress that personal opinions are part of this you can follow on --impart information-- by adding 'including opinions'. I think this second option would be the strongest.

	--> Good point.  The right to HOLD opinions is absolute, but, within the ICCPR, we don't always have the right to express them (e.g. hate speech).  I think taking opinion out will be best, as that's not directly related to the Internet. I like your formulation below, but perhaps without opinion and with censorship. So it would read, "Everyone has the right to freely seek, receive, and impart information on the Internet without interference or censorship. Everyone has the right to communicate anonymously online."

Second, if you mention surveillance and 'arbitrary' interference here then you probably also would need to include other control mechanisms, like filtering. I would opt to instead suffice by stressing the *freedom* to seek, receive and impart information, as that in itself implies that it happens without surveillance etc. Also, surveillance is already covered under the 'Privacy' principle. Regarding 'arbitrary' interference: would that not suggest that non-arbitrary interference (e.g. government regulation deciding that no one is allowed to access the Internet anymore) is acceptable? 

	--> I think this is largely addressed by adding "censorship" to the principle, as that encompasses any censorship technique, including filtering. We've had some discussion about terms like "arbitrary" before... According to the ICCPR, some surveillance and control is acceptable, as long as it meets one of the objectives outlined in the ICCPR and is narrowly defined and strictly necessary.  I think arbitrary captures that (bearing in mind we want to be punchy rather than legalistic with this).  What do people think?  Or would something like "extra-legal" be better? Or nothing at all, as in formulation above - "Everyone has the right to freely seek, receive, and impart information on the Internet without interference or censorship. Everyone has the right to communicate anonymously online."

Perhaps this principle can be rephrased in this way:
Everyone has the right to freedom of expression, which includes the freedom to seek, receive, and impart information (including opinions) on the Internet without interference. Everyone has the right to communicate anonymously online.

Or, more succinct:
Everyone has the right to freely seek, receive, and impart information (including opinions) on the Internet without interference. Everyone has the right to communicate anonymously online.

-- re: Governance.
Not all forms of accountability that we should strive for, especially that of corporations, are (currently) prescribed by law. I would suggest taking out 'prescribed by law', as in any case the preceding words indicate principles "openness, inclusive participation" without a foundational framework attached to it. If you prefer to maintain a clearer legal obligation, then perhaps end the 'principles sentence' with accountability (period), then add something along the line of: Legal obligations of public and private bodies also apply to the online environment.

	--> Agreed...I think we should just take "prescribed by law" out.

Good luck!


(The Netherlands)


Sent: 13 March 2011 17:50



All humans are born free and equal in dignity and rights, which must respected, protected and fulfilled in the online environment

Everyone has an equal right to access and use a secure and open Internet.

Everyone must have uniform access to the Internet's content, free from prioritization, discrimination, censorship, filtering or traffic control.

The Internet is a space for the promotion, protection and fulfillment of human rights. Everyone has the duty to respect the rights of all others in the online environment.

Everyone has the right to hold and express opinions, and to seek, receive, and impart information on the Internet without arbitrary interference or surveillance. Everyone has the right to communicate anonymously online.

Life, liberty and security
The rights to life, liberty, and security must be respected, protected and fulfilled online. These rights must not be infringed upon, or used to infringe other rights, in the online environment.

Everyone has the right to privacy online free from surveillance, including the right to control how their personal data is collected, used, disclosed, retained and disposed.

Cultural and linguistic diversity on the Internet must be promoted, and technical and policy innovation should be encouraged to facilitate diversity of expression.

Standards and regulation
The Internet's architecture shall be based on open standards that facilitate interoperability and inclusion of all for all.

Rights must form the legal and normative foundations upon which the Internet oper
ates and is governed. This shall happen in a transparent and multilateral manner, based on principles of openness, inclusive participation and accountability as prescribed by law.

Brett Solomon


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