[IRP] Internet Regulation and the Need for “Human Rights Impact Assessments” (HRIA)
Tue Jul 24 21:14:48 EEST 2012
Dear friends and colleagues,
Please find below a new article available in English at?http://ebertoni.blogspot.com.ar/2012/07/internet-regulation-and-need-for-human.html
I hope the article may be in your interest and I would be more than welcome in receiving comments on it.?
The main aspect of the article is the proposal we include in it. Briefly:
* There are Internet regulatory proposals that may result
in negative consequences
* To avoid this, we propose the ?human rights impact
* The HRIA are an initial step before introducing formal
proposals for bills or administrative regulations
* The idea to carry out these types of impact assessments
is not new
* The HRIA would be a sort of ?self control? of
legislators and regulatory bodies
* Before any kind of proposal is made, it would be important to have a
HRIA made by experts or specialized bodies? ??
Internet Regulation and the Need
for ?Human Rights Impact Assessments? (HRIA) - a Proposal for Debate in Latin
A recent studyfrom the Initiative for Freedom of Expression
Online ? iLEIby its Spanish acronym ? from the Center for the
Study of Freedom of Expression and Access to Information (CELE) analyzed the growing interest on the part of governments in the region
in monitoring the Internet.? This
interest often turns into regulatory proposals that, despite the good
intentions on which they are based, result in negative consequences in those
cases that are approved and implemented, specifically when it comes to
fundamental rights like privacy and freedom of expression.? To avoid this, we propose the need to
carry out a human rights impact assessment (HRIA) as an initial step before
introducing formal proposals for bills or administrative regulations.
In large part, we approached the iLEI study after learning about several
legislative proposals in Argentina that were designed to create mechanisms for
online content monitoring or detection.? In that study we concluded that content monitoring, particularly in the
way that it was proposed in some of the legislative proposals, puts citizens?
fundamental rights at risk and threatens to dismantle the open and pluralist
digital environment we know.
In the study we included a general overview of Internet architecture and
an analysis of the concept of network control, emphasizing intermediaries and
the use of technologies such as deep packet inspection (DPI).? We presented both topics (architecture
and control), if even simply and briefly, because we observed in many of the
legislative proposals we analyzed that the lawmakers or regulatory entities
that were proposing the laws didn`t seem to have good information about these
To fill this gap, we recommended that bills that seek to establish
mechanisms to monitor content on the Internet begin with a HRIA. We also
recommended that the results of the impact assessment be included explicitly in
the presentation of motives for the initiative.
The idea to carry out these types of impact assessments is not new, and
certainly not when it comes to dealing with issues that are technically
complex.? Since the beginning of
the 1970s for those public policies that could have a negative impact on the
environment, there has been regulatory legislation in the United States that
requires the federal government to evaluate the environmental impact of its
decisions and the decisions of the states and private contractors that are
financed by the federal government or with which the federal government is
involved.? The European Union has
made these environmental impact assessments obligatory since the mid 1980s for
both public and private projects that could have a significant impact on the
Impact studies are already required in many places for projects that
could affect privacy. These studies, known as ?privacy impact assessments?
(PIA) have been identified as obligatory in different government offices in the
United Kingdom.? In fact, the Information
Commissioner?s office has prepared several guideson how assessments should be carried out.
In conclusion, the need to have impact assessments before implementing
public policies has been underway for many years.? Because of this, our proposal is to learn from these cases
and the benefits that have come from impact assessments to be able to demand them
for those public policies related to Internet, particularly when it comes to
proposals for mechanisms for monitoring online content.? In this way, there would be a sort of ?self
control? of legislators and regulatory bodies: before any kind of proposal is
made, it would be important to have a HRIA made by experts or specialized bodies.?
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