[IRP] [governance] Declaration of Internet Freedom
Thu Jul 12 12:43:11 EEST 2012
To follow-up on these points and reflections; the need to keep momentum
up and increase participation and knowledge about human rights issues in
all Internet governance fora has been an ongoing priority, for the IRP
DC at least and all its partners. However, this is a loose coalition,
all labour is voluntary and this lack of human and financial resources
particularly now our website is not functioning puts us on a different
footing to funded organizations. As far as I can tell nearly all of us
have fulltime employment and affiliations elsewhere so it's a wonder the
Charter has come this far, and the coalition!
Back to the current debate; Brett's point about the need to consolidate
the success of the anti-SOPA/ACTA mobilization is one I certainly agree
with. Jeremy's timely reminder however of how not only the IRP Charter,
the Ten Punchy Principles, and now the Five-Point Declaration (not to
omit Max's individually-focused Oath) have not emerged out of nowhere is
one I also think we need to be aware of. This historical perspective is
crucial to maintain not only intellectually (I'm an academic so this
matters to how I view these debates) but also politically.
On this note, the Charter's genesis, and then the process of drafting
are distinct from the consultation process since Draft 1.0/1.1 emerged
along with the 10 Principles. These are in turn distinct from how the
coalition has proceeded to refine the Charter as a legitimate document
(or 'source' for others to work from) and also create an advocacy
impetus (i.e. the 10 Punchy Principles) alongside the more legalistic
and technically focused Charter.
Getting a sense of how the IRP Charter/10 Principles came about, were
written, and then disseminated over these last 3 years does relates to
what came before (e.g. during WSIS, in UNESCO meetings in the 1970's
with the MacBride commission and even earlier) but it is also a very
'live' process so the events of the Arab Spring, Wikileaks, Anonymous
and other issues have also played a role in how younger generations (aka
the 'Google Generation' or 'Generation Y') are starting to perceive the
Web in their lives.
During the drafting and internal consultation process and launches,
numerous forms of outreach over the last couple of years took place on
the ground. Not only online within or beyond this listserv. Whilst
'impact' is not measurable (here I differ from many who attempt to do
just this) in a straightforward sense, these efforts based on face to
face outreach are integral. A lot got done online. A lot got done on the
ground (e.g. outside the "Suez Room" in Sharm, or in empty cafeterias in
Vilnius, or on the steps outside during various 'smokos', formal
meetings, poolside conferences, conference calls, government-sponsored
meetings e.g. in Stockholm, in the classroom or academic seminar, in
social networking sites, and all the rest).
These moments, what really happened and/or who can take the credit etc,
are also distinct from what we do next, and where we do this. And who
For the record, to answer Dixie's comment about whether anyone is
reconstructing the IRP Charter process, I am doing this right now. It's
an academic project (part of a book coming out next year) so this is a
form of "slow writing" (a bit like "slow food"!). However, with IGF in
Baku coming up, and as people have different memories and ideas about
the Charter-writing and consultation process itself, I can provide a
draft outline of the process to date if this would be useful to figuring
out how to create momentum through many charters/declarations as opposed
to fragmentation (as Jeremy notes is a danger).
My point here is that when it comes to reconstructing how we got to the
point we are now, all historical narratives are contestable so the more
input from people with memories and experiences would be invaluable.
2 final points, (1) to nuance my quip about Tweet-sized condensations of
the Charter in my last mail. If this is a way to get another sort of
audience thinking about issues of privacy, FoE, and such like then I
think it would be creative and worthwhile challenge. The Ten Punchy
Principles is a very effective educational and awareness raising tool;
they create debate and raise questions. However, these distilled
versions are only the tip of the iceberg.
(2) I think the IRP Coalition should sign up to the Declaration of
Internet Freedom. Even as a multistakeholder coalition this would be
appropriate; we sent out declarations during the Tunisian and Egyptian
revolutions to this effect. If others think it is not appropriate for us
to join the petition then I am interested to know why not. Baku is also
an IGF meeting where human rights are pressing matters. As an IGF
coalition along with others, e.g. the FoE and Gender DCs, we have a
chance to put the topic on the agenda. There are workshops already
planned and submitted to the IGF. I hope they get on the program!
On 11/07/2012 09:37, Jeremy Malcolm wrote:
> On 10/07/2012, at 7:41 PM, Brett Solomon wrote:
>> No one person or group 'owns' the internet, should determine how it
>> is governed, or has the mandate to create theset of internet
>> principles. Instead a willingness to enter into conversations, to
>> understand what came before and improve from one's own starting point
>> should be a defining factor with which to judge initiatives. In the
>> context of principles, I am of the opinion that we should not only
>> allow, but encourage a thousand connected flowers to bloom. And that
>> is exactly what is happening, in many different and varied forums
>> (the compiled list is a great resource - thanks Jeremy for putting
>> this together). Seeing how some of those initiatives may converge and
>> support each other I think is the next step.
> I broadly agree, however there are some purposes for which a
> half-dozen statements or declarations are not as useful as one. In
> particular this applies to talking with policy-makers. Their
> attention spans are limited, and they will read one (short) document,
> but won't read six. Actually, you've said the same thing yourself
> about the original IRP charter.
> At last year's IGC meeting at the IGF there was broad agreement that
> we should develop a short statement on Internet governance principles
> for the following year's meeting, on which we would consult with
> broader civil society, and to advocate for the IGF to use this,
> together with the various governmental and intergovernmental
> principles documents, as inputs into the development of
> a multi-stakeholder set of principles perhaps for the 2013 meeting.
> All the other civil society statements of rights and principles would
> be inputs into the development of such a civil society statements for
> presentation at the IGF, but it wouldn't be useful to try to present
> all half-dozen of them there.
> An alternative to drafting something new for the IGF would be to
> choose one of the existing documents and table that, but I don't think
> that as they stand, either the Internet Declaration or the punchy IRP
> principles (for example) have the same emphasis on Internet governance
> processes that I thought would be contained in the IGC's statement
> (Wolfgang, who is leading that process, will correct me if I'm wrong).
> A third alternative is to work with you and the other groups on
> improving the Internet Declaration, and maybe folding the IGC effort
> into it, so that it would be suitable for us to rally around at the
> IGF and in engaging with policy-makers in other fora.
> As you know (but some won't) this is one of the options that could be
> discussed in a planned side-meeting and teleconference at the
> Asia-Pacific Regional IGF. There will be other online and offline
> opportunities between now and WCIT to continue and broaden the
> conversation. More on this below.
>> To my mind, there are certainly things that are missing from the
>> Declaration. For example, whilst all of the principles are rights
>> based (hence why Amnesty International and we signed on) the words
>> 'human rights' are not mentioned. It does not include some of the
>> elements of the 10 Internet Rights and Principles. 'Life, liberty and
>> security' for example is missing. It also does not recognize properly
>> the principles and documents that have come before, including WSIS
>> commitments. In its defense it says /"We are joining an international
>> movement to defend our freedoms because we believe that they are
>> worth fighting for."/There is some momentum towards addressing these
>> concerns (including putting or referencing other initiatives in the
>> Preamble) and I with others have been pushing for this.*
> Your explanation of the process has been very helpful; in this light I
> think that the main mistake that the drafters made was just failing to
> clearly say "this is draft number zero". It was announced with maybe
> a bit too much fanfare for a draft zero, but then again everything
> Access does comes with a lot of fanfare. ;-) (Seriously though, I say
> that with much admiration. The way you guys rally people is amazing.
> It would be impossible for many of the more established NGOs to get
> as many sign-ons in such short a time as you have.)
>> Getting buy in, let alone consensus as we all know can be a total
>> nightmare. It can lead to paralysis, but I think its worth trying. I
>> also want to note, that many groups haven't ever heard of the IGC,
>> the IRP Dynamic Coalition or Enhanced Cooperation - why would they
>> have? We need to engage more people (particularly Americans?) in the
>> WSIS process, to understand the commitments and to take the IGF
>> process forward (incidentally I dont think we need a new IGF or
>> otherwise). One last point on this - with so many active and informed
>> individuals on this list, some of the conversations can bepretty
>> overwhelming/intimidating, so its hard to invite new people here.
>> I was also thinking that the IGF might be the right time to try to
>> bring the stakeholders together. A quo vardis meeting (let's not call
>> it that!) or IRP meeting would make sense. I would love to be part of
>> that. I also think that there is lots of room for cross pollination
>> before then and look forward to discussions online ahead of a face to
>> face meeting. Sam's suggestions of curation and coordination should
>> be encouraged.
> Yes, apart from what APC and ISOC have planned, there is support for
> another "big tent" meeting between now and WCIT (and probably before
> the IGF, but not in Azerbaijan) that will bring IGF/WSIS/development
> people and US/digital rights/technical community people together. I'm
> in discussions about this with some supporters and that's part of what
> we'll talk about in the APrIGF meeting and call.
> *Dr Jeremy Malcolm
> Senior Policy Officer*
> Consumers International
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