[IRP] Ten punchy principles

Tapani Tarvainen tapani.tarvainen
Wed Mar 23 12:14:47 EET 2011


I haven't had time to participate in this as I'd hoped, but
I must say I like the 10 principles very much!

A few notes (apologies for missing sattributions):

> -- 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?

In any case don't take it out altogether. Filtering is not the
only means censorship can be done. I would consider
"filtering or other censorship", but it is perhaps too verbose.
Is there really any danger of the present formulation being

> -- re: Expression
> --> 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'm not sure I understand what you mean here. As I see it,
right to hold opinions has no meaning at all without a right
to express them - that is, without *any* way to express them.
There may be restrictions on *how* they may be expressed,
and that's where I see hate speech laws come in, but there should
be *some* legal way to express *any* opinion whatsoever.
(Compare shouting "Fire!" in a crowded theater vs. writing
an opinion piece in a newspaper the next day arguing that
there was fire in the theater even though nobody noticed...)

>"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."

I like that.

> 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?

>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?

No! While arbitrary is not ideal, "extra-legal" is worse -
after all, we're trying to say what kind of things *should*
be legal, what governments *should* legalize, so deferring
to what they've decided (legalized) doesn't work here.

>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."

I think that'd be best. Leave qualifications to the longer,
explanatory document.

> 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.

I don't think parentheses are appropriate in principles,
let alone punchy such. Even though opinions are technically
information, I'd prefer "information and opinions".
Otherwise, I prefer the longer version - freedom of expression
is sufficiently well-known term and makes this stronger,
it doesn't dilute the punchiness here.

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


Tapani Tarvainen

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