[bestbits] Council of Europe multi-stakeholder consultations on Internet freedom

Nick Ashton-Hart nashton at consensus.pro
Wed Apr 15 05:52:17 EDT 2015

I disagree entirely that the idea that human rights apply equally online and offline is just a slogan. I know from direct, repeated personal experience that the agreement on that point at the Human Rights Council that all rights apply equally online and offline is a landmark. It is continually used to push back against attempts to justify censorship in other international agreements and it works.

If you are just talking about the implementation of this concept at the CoE that’s a different thing.

We need more international understandings like the one at the HRC, because they can be built upon in other places.

> On 15 Apr 2015, at 10:11, Halbersztadt Jozef (jothal) <jozef.halbersztadt at gmail.com> wrote:
> Rysiek,
> a few words on two sentences (HR on-line/off-line). It is just a
> slogan without real policies. We have no choice but to acknowledge
> that the core of the problem lies elsewhere. With the Council of
> Europe consultations on Internet freedom we are not at the beginning
> of a process. We are after many years of debating the issue in the CoE
> how human right should operate in the digital environment. And as a
> result they arrived to a position that - for example - is very much
> against the suggestion that blocking orders could only be made by a
> court. Why? Because it corresponds to the national laws of some member
> states. And all member state would like to have non-judicial
> arrangements in relation to national security and intelligence.
> Regards
> Jozef H
> On 15 April 2015 at 00:30, rysiek <rysiek at hackerspace.pl> wrote:
>> Dnia wtorek, 14 kwietnia 2015 14:56:34 Jeremy Malcolm pisze:
>>> On 14/04/2015 1:44 am, Carolina Rossini wrote:
>>>> The Council of Europe is working on a draft recommendation by the
>>>> Committee of Ministers to its member states on Internet freedom
>>>> (attached). The draft is currently being elaborated by a committee of
>>>> experts operating  under the authority of the Council of Europe’s
>>>> Steering Committee on Media and Information Society.
>>>> As part of its multi-stakeholder outreach and dialogue, the Council of
>>>> Europe would like your feedback, comments and suggestions on the draft
>>>> recommendation to be sent to us, at the latest by *_30 April 2015_*,
>>>> by E-mail to Marta.WIELOCH at coe.int <mailto:Marta.WIELOCH at coe.int> .
>>> It has been a while since we collaborated on a joint submission through
>>> Best Bits.  Is there a group interested in writing something together
>>> and presenting it for submission jointly?
>> /me rises his hand, and looks around
>> And right off the bat:
>> "1. The European Convention on Human Rights (hereinafter the ECHR) applies
>>    without any distinction to the physical world and to the Internet. The
>>    Council of Europe member States have both negative and positive
>>    obligations to protect and promote human rights and
>>    fundamental freedoms on the Internet."
>> This has to be one of the best bits (pun not indented) of language in this
>> kind of "Internet freedom" text I've read for a long, long time.
>> My main beef with many "lists of Internet freedoms" is that as soon as new
>> technology comes around, we will have to re-do them, again and again, for the
>> new technology.
>> This is what has happened in Brazil, as far as I understand from talking to
>> people there -- Brazilian Constitution protected (explicitly) privacy and
>> freedoms in phone communication, and hence large portion of Marco Civil had to
>> (explicitly) deal with them in the new domain of the Internet.
>> Don't get me wrong, Marco Civil is a great piece of work, and brings a lot of
>> good into the world; but large parts of it were needed because authors of the
>> Brazilian Constitution didn't future-proof it well enough against new
>> technologies.
>> I much prefer the approach visible in these two quoted sentences -- clearly,
>> unequivocally reaffirming the rights and freedoms we all have regardless of
>> the medium we choose to exercise them in.
>> These rights and freedoms are, I feel, well enough future-proofed, as long as
>> we don't dismantle them by explicitly reiterating them for each new
>> technological medium (and thus making it possible for future authoritarians to
>> claim that "these do not apply in $TECHNOLOGY, as they have not been
>> reiterated for it explicitly").
>> --
>> Pozdrawiam,
>> Michał "rysiek" Woźniak
>> Zmieniam klucz GPG :: http://rys.io/pl/147
>> GPG Key Transition :: http://rys.io/en/147
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> --
> jozef [dot] halbersztadt [at] gmail [dot] com
> Internet Society Poland http://www.isoc.org.pl
> pubkey&address: http://pgp.mit.edu/pks/lookup?search=0x6A332CA03C4ACB9A
> ____________________________________________________________
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