Edited by Ian Brown
Chapter 14: An internet bill of rights?
The issue of a specific internet bill of rights has been a reoccurring topic over the past years, not least as part of the annual Internet Governance Forum. From its emergence as an international policy topic, internet governance has been intersected by debates about human rights, not least the implications of article 19 (freedom of expression) and article 12 (the right to privacy) of the UN’s Universal Declaration on Human Rights and how these and other human rights standards may be applied to the internet and the information society more generally. This chapter will argue that an internet bill of rights may in fact be a useful tool for ‘translating’ human rights standards to the online universe, presuming that such a bill is formulated within the framework of existing human rights standards. The chapter will first provide a broad and historical account of the human rights regime, and second, will examine some of the attempts to relate human rights to internet governance during the WSIS and follow-up process, not least via a Charter of Human Rights and Principles on the internet. The latter will include examples of how information society principles may be derived from the human rights standards enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Concluding the chapter, the author will discuss some of the controversies related to the drafting of a Charter of Human Rights and Principles on the internet.
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