internet infrastructure and human rights at CPDP, 29 January

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On January 27-29 I attended the annual Computer, Privacy and Data Protection conference, this time dedicated to the theme '[In}visibilities and Infrastructure'. Together with Monika Zalnieriute, we put together a panel on 'Internet infrastructure and human rights' which was sponsored by ICANN. Participants include Sophie Kwasny (Council of Europe), Stephanie Perrin (University of Toronto), Corinne Cath (University of Amsterdam), Niels ten Oever (Article 19/University of Amsterdam), and Monika and myself. A special issue of the journal 'Policy & Internet' is in the workings: co-edited by Monika and myself, it will include articles from the session's participations and more. Read the abstract of the session below.

There is a growing recognition among a variety of members of the international Internet community that the Internet architecture, including names and numbers, standards and protocols and related policies, might have human rights implications, in particular with respect to privacy and data protection. At the same time, the articles of incorporation of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) – the body responsible for Internet’s names and numbers – bind the organization to operate in conformity with international law, including respect for privacy, data protection and free speech. Dedicated working groups to explore these challenges have thus emerged within both ICANN and the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). This panel will connect the debate within those organizations with the CPDP expert community to spur a much-needed discussion on the implications of technical decision-making on users’ privacy, data protection, free speech and participation in the definition of these key policies. In particular, the panel will consider the following questions:
• What is the role of the different communities within the multi-stakeholder model governing Internet Architecture for the protection of human rights, and personal data protection and free speech in particular?
• Who in the community is to ensure accountability for personal data protection within Internet Governance circles, such as ICANN and IETF?
• What is needed to improve accountability for human rights protection within the Internet Architecture?
• What are the privacy challenges in designing a global policy framework for the WHOIS (system that asks the question: who is responsible for a domain name or an IP address)?
What is the current status of the discussion on the WHOIS and how is it possible to participate in the policy-making processes of WHOIS?