Switzerland ready to quit the European Convention on Human Rights?

Some politicians in Switzerland seek popularity by proposing even to quit the European Convention on Human Rights
How this can happen in one of the most wealthiest countries and with one of the oldest constitutions in the world? An answer is populism and political extremism mixed with the tools of direct democracy. The right-wing populist party Swiss People’s Party – SVP intends to remove all obstacles introducing their legislation changes (accepted earlier by referendums) initiated by them even if human rights (the European Convention on Human Rights) would have to fall as victim to it.

Slacktivism, clicktivism, and “real” social change

Like its corollary clicktivism, slacktivism is a term that unites entrenched technosceptics and romantic revolutionaries from a pre-Internet or, more precisely, a pre-social media age as they admonish younger generations for their lack of commitment to “real” social change or willingness to do “what it takes” to make the world around them a better place.

The Case for Anonymity 

Anonymity should be the default and identification a choice in online networks, suggested Robert Bodle in Workshop 146, “Anonymity by Design: Protecting while Connecting”, at the 2014 Internet Governance Forum in Istanbul, Turkey.
Bodle is Co-chair of the IRPC and in making the case for online anonymity, asked the audience: If online anonymity is disappearing due to data monitoring and people’s own online behaviour and attitudes, why should anonymity exist in the first place?
The answer to this lies in the value of anonymity as an enabler of broader democratic rights, suggests Bodle.

PUBLIC CONSULTATION – An African Declaration of Internet Rights and Freedoms

The Internet is bringing great things to Africa profoundly changing its infrastructure, society, economy and even politics. Across the continent, there are now critical questions being asked about how the internet environment can be cultivated to best meet the social and economic development needs and goals.
Unfortunately, many political leaders across the continent seem to be learning from or replicating international worst practices in internet policy and practice and, in doing so, are harming this great opportunity.

Combatting Online Surveillance by Simplifying the Message

By Phoebe Yu
A year after Edward Snowden revealed the scale of the NSA and GCHQ mass surveillance, the debate over citizens’ online privacy continues on.
I attended the Don’t Spy on Us Day of Action in London, a daylong symposium discussing the different facets in the debate between upholding digital rights and protecting national security.
For people of my generation who grew up with the Internet, the technology doesn’t intimidate or scare us the way it does for our parents. Back when we shared files using Napster or MySpace, we developed a crude understanding of freedom and democratization through the use of the World Wide Web.

EuroDIG 2014: Pockets of inspiration amid the protocol and formality

By Catherine Easton

The 7th European Dialogue on Internet Governance (EuroDIG) took place in Berlin in June 2014. The event’s overarching aim is to provide an open arena for inclusive dialogue between European stakeholders in order to develop best practice and raise awareness. So, how far did it go towards achieving its remit?

The German Federal Foreign Office provided the venue which, while impressive, may not have been the most conducive environment for relaxed, informal discussions. The divide between the conventional schedule and the energy of grassroots activism was very quickly demonstrated in glaringly stark terms through a dignified, powerful show of support for Snowden during the Federal Foreign Minister’s welcome address. The very next session in this “inclusive dialogue” was an open plenary with a sweepingly non-diverse membership of men in suits. This “manel” attracted a large amount of criticism both in the audience and on Twitter, and, again, showed a basic gap between the multistakeholderism repeatedly referred to by the panel and the reality of the power balance in a high-profile event.

The London meeting that could shape the future of the internet

By Catherine Easton The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers is holding its 50th public meeting in London from June 22. An international crowd spanning business, politics and civil society will be meeting across 60 events to try to reach agreements on some important issues about the shape of the internet. The summit comes at a time of great […]

NETmundial: Going Forward

In a brilliant rhetorical move, civil society representative Nnenna Nwakanma proclaimed in the opening ceremony of NETmundial, “My name is Nnenna. I come from the Internet.”
In articulating Internet citizenship Nnenna downplays statehood and promotes an internet inhabited by global citizens, or netizens, connected and sharing a common resource – a global commons; an inspiring vision that also suggests the human rights obligation of governments and private industry to enable this vision in the future management and development of the Internet, the web, the mobile web, digital networked communications –as a public resource and utility.
One successful outcome of NETMundial could be found in the details of the outcome document, suggests Mueller, parsing the inclusion of “full and balanced participation of all stakeholders” that replaces “rights and responsibilities” language in the Tunis Agenda (2005). This could suggest that civil society might be considered to be on more equal footing with the state. In addition to the outcome document, a concerted expression of support was made for the IGF as the appropriate forum for IG discussions and that it should be financially supported (perhaps subsidised by ICANN) and made sustainable. This would help hosting countries float the forum and could provide support for the Ministerial staff, Multi-stakeholder Advisory Group (MAG), Dynamic Coalitions, Civil Society and Academic Participants.

By Robert Bodle

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