IRIS Actions / SMSI / Droits de l'homme - Human Rights

Proposal for the Plan of Action

Human Rights in the Information Society (HRIS) Caucus
WSIS PrepCom3 - September 19, 2003

Submitted to governement representatives at PrepCom3, September 15-26, 2003, Geneva, Switzerland

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1. The Declaration of Principles must be realized through a plan of action based on human rights, the needs of people and communities, and sustainable democratic development can be translated into concrete actions by promoting the use of ICT-based products, networks, services and applications in order to create. With the Millennium Goals at its core, the Action Plan commits to policies and practices designed to ensure the full participation of all in the information society, with a measurable impact on societal development. , and achieve development goals. In order to make the inclusive information society a reality, all actions shall promote non-discrimination and diversity in their formulation and realization.

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3. Governments have a fundamental role in developing and implementing comprehensive, forward-looking and sustainable e-strategies, in compliance with human right standards and reflecting the stage of development and the structural characteristics of the national economy and society. They also have a shared responsibility to develop and implement actions that work to eliminate current divides, including those between women and men, in access use and benefits.

5. Building confidence, trust and security in the use of ICTs

- NEW proposals, also supported by the Privacy and Security Working Group
- A UN privacy commissioner shall be established to ensure that national and international ICT regulation and practice is compliant with international privacy standards.
- In order to promote an international management standard on privacy protection, the International Standards Organization (ISO) shall develop standards on the protection of personal information.
- It shall be researched and tested whether privacy-enhancing technologies are feasible technical means for enhancing privacy in online communication.

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- Strong support of this proposal: A global investigation on the impact of ICT security policies on civil liberties and human rights should be initiated under the supervision of the UN. The assessment would cover threats to privacy, freedom of expression, freedom from surveillance, etc. A public benchmarking on the evolution of this impact would be provided by dedicated mechanism.

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- Comment: The Council of Europe's Convention on Cybercrime has been heavily criticized by international civil liberties and human rights organisations for not laying down balanced standards with regard to privacy protection. It is therefore recommended that the OECD guidelines for the Security of Information Systems and Networs are used as the international reference point, rather than the Convention on Cybercrime.

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- Comment: We need to clearly separate illegal criminal content such as child pornography from legal content that could be considered harmful by certain groups, such as pornography. Content that is legal offline is also legal online.

6. Enabling environment

- NEW proposals
- Establish an international mechanism to ensure that national and international ICT regulation and practice is compliant with international human rights standards.
- Governments shall take measures to mainstream a principle of diversity with regard to gender, age, sexual orientation, ethnicity, faith and disability in all ICT policy areas and actions.
- National ICT strategies shall encourage the use of ICTs to conduct e-governance as a means to strengthen democratic institutions and processes by involving the public in decision-making.
- National ICT regulation shall promote a principle of limited liability for Internet Service Providers, i.e. Providers should not be held liable for content transmitted through their services, nor should they be subject to an obligation to monitor the information to which they give access.
- Governments should develop appropriate legislation and implementation measures ensuring access by citizens to public information on an equal basis, with due regard to protecting privacy. Complaint mechanisms shall be established for citizens and media who do not get legitimate access to public information.
- A principle of digital information access shall be part of every new ICT-project in the public sector.

Contacts in Geneva for Human Rights Caucus
Diana Bronson, Rikke Frank Jorgensen, Meryem Marzouki
Web site and mailing list of the HRIS caucus: www.iris.sgdg.org/actions/smsi/hr-wsis/

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