Digital Freedoms in International Law

Global Network Initiative, 2012

54 Pages Posted: 17 Jun 2012

See all articles by Ian Brown

Ian Brown

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Douwe Korff

Oxford Martin School - Global Cyber Capacity Centre; Eur. Univ. Viadrina - Centre for Internet & Human Rights; Yale University - Information Society Project; London Metropolitan University

Date Written: June 14, 2012


With around 2.3 billion users, the Internet has become part of the daily lives of a significant percentage of the global population, including for political debate and activism. While states are responsible for protecting human rights online under international law, companies responsible for Internet infrastructure, products and services can play an important supporting role. Companies also have a legal and corporate social responsibility to support legitimate law enforcement agency actions to reduce online criminal activity such as fraud, child exploitation and terrorism. They sometimes face ethical and moral dilemmas when such actions may facilitate violations of human rights.

In this report we suggest practical measures that governments, corporations and other stakeholders can take to protect freedom of expression, privacy, and related rights in globally networked digital technologies. These are built on a detailed analysis of international law (particularly the ICCPR), three workshops in London, Washington DC and Delhi, and extensive interviews with government, civil society and corporate actors.

JEL Classification: K33, M14, O33, O38

Suggested Citation

Brown, Ian and Korff, Douwe, Digital Freedoms in International Law (June 14, 2012). Global Network Initiative, 2012, Available at SSRN:

Ian Brown (Contact Author)

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Douwe Korff

Oxford Martin School - Global Cyber Capacity Centre ( email )

University of Oxford
34 Broad Street
Oxford, OX1 3BD
United Kingdom

Eur. Univ. Viadrina - Centre for Internet & Human Rights ( email )

Grosse Scharrnstr. 59
Frankfurt (Oder), Brandenburg 15230

Yale University - Information Society Project ( email )

P.O. Box 208206
New Haven, CT 06520-8206
United States

London Metropolitan University ( email )

United Kingdom

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