This document defines ten key rights and principles that must form the basis of Internet governance. They have been compiled by the Internet Rights and Principles Dynamic Coalition (IRP), an open network of individuals and organisations working to uphold human rights in the Internet environment. The principles are rooted in international human rights standards, and derive from the coalition’s emerging Charter of Human Rights and Principles for the Internet.
The Internet offers unprecedented opportunities for the realisation of human rights, and plays an increasingly important role in our everyday lives. It is therefore essential that all actors, both public and private, respect and protect human rights on the Internet. Steps must also be taken to ensure that the Internet operates and evolves in ways that fulfill human rights to the greatest extent possible. To help realise this vision of a rights-based Internet environment, the 10 Rights and Principles are:
1) Universality and Equality
All humans are born free and equal in dignity and rights, which must be respected, protected and fulfilled in the online environment.
2) Rights and Social Justice
The Internet is a space for the promotion, protection and fulfilment of human rights and the advancement of social justice. Everyone has the duty to respect the human rights of all others in the online environment.
Everyone has an equal right to access and use a secure and open Internet.
4) Expression and Association
Everyone has the right to seek, receive, and impart information freely on the Internet without censorship or other interference. Everyone also has the right to associate freely through and on the Internet, for social, political, cultural or other purposes.
5) Privacy and Data Protection
Everyone has the right to privacy online. This includes freedom from surveillance, the right to use encryption, and the right to online anonymity. Everyone also has the right to data protection, including control over personal data collection, retention, processing, disposal and disclosure.
6) Life, Liberty and Security
The rights to life, liberty, and security must be respected, protected and fulfilled online. These rights must not be infringed upon, or used to infringe other rights, in the online environment.
Cultural and linguistic diversity on the Internet must be promoted, and technical and policy innovation should be encouraged to facilitate plurality of expression.
8) Network Equality
Everyone shall have universal and open access to the Internet’s content, free from discriminatory prioritisation, filtering or traffic control on commercial, political or other grounds.
9) Standards and Regulation
The Internet’s architecture, communication systems, and document and data formats shall be based on open standards that ensure complete interoperability, inclusion and equal opportunity for all.
Human rights and social justice must form the legal and normative foundations upon which the Internet operates and is governed. This shall happen in a transparent and multilateral manner, based on principles of openness, inclusive participation and accountability.
Get involved with developing the IRP Charter at www.irpcharter.org, follow us at @netrights on Twitter or join the Internet Rights and Principles Facebook group.