The Humanization of Internet Governance: A Roadmap Towards a Comprehensive Global (Human) Rights Architecture for the Internet
17 Pages Posted: 22 Jun 2016
Date Written: December 2, 2008
The promotion and protection of human rights on the Internet is discussed in different settings with varying intensity. Stakeholders regularly commit to human rights as an overarching goal, but fail to agree on ways to effectively ‘humanize’ Internet Governance models. This paper aims to fill this lacuna by clarifying what elements a human rights-sensitive Internet Governance set-up should contain and what a roadmap towards a comprehensive global (human) rights architecture for the Internet may look like.
After a brief introduction (Section 1) we argue that the protection of (human) rights in cyberspace is particularly difficult in light of the global institutional ecology which is characterized by the progressive subversion of hierarchies and the subsequent change in relationship between states and individuals. An analysis of the rights relevant in the Internet and the architecture established for their protection leads to the conclusion that drafting a new convention on (human) rights on the Internet – in the traditional UN framework – will not enhance the information society-related protection level of the already-existing collection of human rights treaties (Section 2). Subsequently we show, with the help of the example of the struggle against hate speech, why the current framework for protecting human rights in cyberspace is in need of further improvement (Section 3). Section 4 is devoted to the standards, actors and the structure of a humanized Internet Governance solution. They address the influence of the International Bill of Rights on an Internet Bill of Rights and analyze the role of the Dynamic Coalition on an Internet Bill of Rights in furthering a humanized Internet Governance solution. Section 5 considers the feasibility and assesses the impact of developing a human rights platform for the Internet as a transnational, non-hierarchical, integrative social contract providing for an institutional ecology to promote a global humanistic, rights-based Internet Governance regime.
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