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    Gisw2011_en Gisw2011_en Document Transcript

    • Global InformatIonSocIety Watch 2011Internet rIghts and democratIsatIonFocus on freedom of expression and association online AssociAtion for Progressive communicAtions (APc) And HumAnist i nstitute for cooPerAtion witH develoPing countries (Hivos)
    • This edition of Global Information Society Watch is dedicated to the people of the Arab revolutions whose courage in the face of violence and repression reminded the world that people working together for change have the power to claim the rights they are entitled to.
    • Global Information Society Watch 2011Steering committee Cover illustrationAnriette Esterhuysen (APC) Matías BervejilloLoe Schout (Hivos) ProofreadingCoordinating committee Stephanie Biscomb, Valerie Dee and Lori NordstromKaren Banks (APC)Monique Doppert (Hivos) Financial partnersKaren Higgs (APC) Humanist Institute for Cooperation with Developing Countries (Hivos)Marjan Besuijen (Hivos) Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida)Joy Liddicoat (APC)Pablo Accuosto (APC) The views expressed in this publication are those of the individualValeria Betancourt (APC) authors and not necessarily those of APC or HivosProject coordinatorKaren Banks Printed in Goa, IndiaEditor by Dog Ears Books & PrintingAlan Finlay Global Information Society WatchAssistant editor Published by APC and HivosLori Nordstrom South Africa 2011Publication productionKaren Higgs, Analía Lavin and Flavia Fascendini Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Licence <creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/> Some rights reserved.Graphic designmonocromo ISSN: 2225-4625info@monocromo.com.uy APC-201111-CIPP-R-EN-PDF-0105Phone: +598 2 400 1685 ISBN: 978-92-95096-14-1APC and Hivos would like to thank the SwedishInternational Cooperation Agency (Sida) for its supportfor Global Information Society Watch 2011.
    • Table of contentsPreface . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Internet charters and principlesUnited Nations Special Rapporteur onthe Promotion and Protection of the Right Internet charters and principles:to Freedom of Opinion and Expression - frank la rue Trends and insights . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49 Global Partners and Associates - dixie hawtinIntroduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8Electronic Frontier Foundation - jillian c. york Mapping rightsThematic reports Mapping internet rights and freedomConceptualising accountability of expression . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55and recourse . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 ict Development Associates - david souterAssociation for Progressive Communications -joy liddicoat Country reportsFreedom of expression on the internet:Implications for foreign policy . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63European University Institute - ben wagner Alan Finlay Argentina . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66Towards a cyber security strategy Nodo TAUfor global civil society? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21The Canada Centre for Global Security Studies Australia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70and the Citizen Lab, Munk School of Global Affairs, EngageMedia Collective Inc.University of Toronto - ron deibert Bangladesh . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 74 VOICEInternet intermediaries:The new cyber police? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 Benin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 78 CréACTION BENINEuropean Digital Rights - joe mcnamee Bolivia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 81E-revolutions and cyber crackdowns: REDES FoundationUser-generated content and social Bosnia and Herzegovina . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 85networking in protests in MENA oneworld-platform for southeast europe (owpsee)and beyond . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29Justus Liebig University Giessen - alex comninos Brazil . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 89 GPoPAI-USPThe internet and social movements Bulgaria . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 92in North Africa . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 BlueLink FoundationEgyptian Blog for Human Rights - ramy raoof Cameroon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 96 PROTEGE QVWorkers’ rights and the internet . . . . . . . . . . . 40LaborNet - steve zeltzer China . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 99 DanweiSexuality and women’s rights . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44 Colombia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 103Association for Progressive Communications - Colnodojac sm kee and jan moolman Congo, Republic of . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 107 AZUR Développement Costa Rica . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 110 Sulá Batsú
    • Côte d’Ivoire . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 113 Nepal . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 195nnenna.org Panos South AsiaCroatia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 116 The Netherlands . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 198ZaMirNET Institute for Information LawEcuador . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 119 New Zealand . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 202IMAGINAR Jordan Carter Ltd. Internet ConsultingEgypt . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 123 Nigeria . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 206ArabDev Fantsuam FoundationEthiopia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 127 Occupied Palestinian Territory . . . . . . . . . . . 209Ethiopian Free and Open Source Software Network Applied Information Management (AIM)(EFOSSNET) Pakistan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 212France . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 130 Bytes for All PakistanVECAM Peru . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 215India . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 134 Red Científica Peruana and CONDESANDigital Empowerment Foundation Romania . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 218Indonesia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 138 StrawberryNet FoundationEngageMedia Collective Inc. Rwanda . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 222Iran . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 142 Media High CouncilArseh Sevom School Saudia Arabia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 226Italy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 146 Saudi Arabian Strategic InternetWith the support of Centro Nexa Consultancy (SASIc)Jamaica . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 150 Spain . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 229Telecommunications Policy Pangea and BarcelonaTech (UPC)and Management Programme,University of the West Indies Sweden . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 233 Association for Progressive Communications (APC)Japan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 154Institute for InfoSocionomics and information Switzerland . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 236 Comunica-chSupport pro bono Platform (iSPP)Jordan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 159 Tanzania . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 240 Collaboration on International ICT PolicyAlarab Alyawm for East and Southern Africa (CIPESA)Kazakhstan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 163Adil Nurmakov Thailand . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 243 Thai Netizen NetworkKenya . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 168Kenya ICT Action Network (KICTANet) Tunisia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 247 Arab World Internet InstituteKorea, Republic of . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 172Korean Progressive Network Jinbonet United Kingdom . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 251 Open Rights GroupKyrgyzstan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 176Civil Initiative on Internet Policy (CIIP) United States . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 257 Sex Work AwarenessLebanon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 180Mireille Raad Uruguay . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 261 OBSERVATIC, Universidad de la RepúblicaMexico . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 184LaNeta Venezuela . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 264 EsLaRedMorocco . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 188DiploFoundation Zambia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 268 Ceejay Multimedia ConsultancyMozambique . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 191Polly Gaster
    • PrefaceUnlike any other medium, the internet enables offer, amongst other things, an analysis of howindividuals to seek, receive and impart informa- human rights are framed in the context of thetion and ideas of all kinds instantaneously and internet, the progressive use of criminal lawinexpensively across national borders . Unlike to intimidate or censor the use of the inter-any other technological development, it has net, the difficult role of intermediaries facingcreated an interactive form of communication, increasing pressure to control content, andwhich not only allows you to send information the importance of the internet to workers inin one direction, but also to send information the support of global rights in the workplace .in many directions and receive an immediate Some call for a change of perspective, as in theresponse . The internet vastly increases the report on cyber security, where the necessitycapacity of individuals to enjoy their right to of civil society developing a security advocacyfreedom of opinion and expression, including strategy for the internet is argued . Without it,access to information, which facilitates the ex- the levels of systems and controls, whetherercise of other human rights, such as the right emanating from government or military super-to education and research, the right to freedom powers, threaten to overwhelm what has overof association and assembly, and the right to de- the years become the vanguard of freedom ofvelopment and to protect the environment . The expression and offered new forms of free asso-internet boosts economic, social and political ciation between people across the globe .development, and contributes to the progressof humankind as a whole; but it is especially an Many of these issues are pulled sharply into fo-instrument that strengthens democracy by fa- cus at the country level in the country reportscilitating citizen participation and transparency . that follow the thematic considerations . Each ofThe internet is a “plaza pública” – a public place these country reports takes a particular “story”where we can all participate . or event that illustrates the role of the internet in social rights and civil resistance – whether posi-The past year has been a difficult time globally: tive or negative, or both . Amongst other things,whether the aftermath of the tsunami in Japan, they document torture in Indonesia, candlelightunsteady global markets, post-election riots in vigils in South Korea, internet activism againstNigeria, civil war in Libya and a military clamp- forgetting human rights atrocities in Peru, anddown in Syria . But there have been positive, and the rights of prisoners accessing the internetequally challenging, developments in countries in Argentina . While the function and role of thesuch as Tunisia and Egypt . Throughout the year internet in society remains debated, and neces-people around the world have increasingly used sarily so, in many contexts these stories showthe internet to build support for human rights that to limit it unfairly will have a harmful im-and social movements . This edition of Global pact on the rights of people . These stories showInformation Society Watch (GISWatch) offers that the internet has become pivotal in actionstimely commentary on the future of the internet aimed at the protection of human rights .as an open and shared platform that everyonehas the right to access – to access content and GISWatch makes a valuable contribution toto have access to connectivity and infrastructure . dialogue on freedom of expression, freedom of association and democratisation and seeks toThrough the lens of freedom of expression, inspire and support collaborative approaches . nfreedom of association and democracy, the Frank La Ruethematic reports included here go to the heart united nations special rapporteur on theof the debates that will shape the future of the promotion and protection of the right tointernet and its impact on human rights . They freedom of opinion and expression Preface / 9
    • IntroductionJillian C. York rights (such as the necessity to keep public order) .Electronic Frontier Foundation Similarly, the Charter also frames the freedom of as-eff .org sembly or association online within the space of the UDHR, including in its definition the right to “form, join, meet or visit the website or network of an as-Early visionaries imagined the internet as a border- sembly, group, or association for any reason” andless world where the rule of law and the norms of noting that “access to assemblies and associationsthe so-called physical world did not apply . Free ex- using ICTs [information and communications tech-pression and free association were envisioned as nologies] must not be blocked or filtered .” The twoentitlements, a feature of cyberspace rather than aforementioned definitions comprehensively ad-rights to be asserted . dress online rights as defined within the framework These early conceptions quickly gave way to the of the UDHR .realisation that, just as the internet was embraced But while the freedoms of expression and asso-by people, so would it be controlled: by corpora- ciation are guaranteed by Articles 19 and 20 of thetions, by policy makers, by governments, the latter UDHR, and by the individual constitutions of manyof which began asserting control over the internet of the world’s nation-states, their application onlineearly on, enacting borders to cyberspace and pre- has proved troublesome for even the most demo-venting the free flow of information, not unlike the cratic of governments .physical borders that prevent free movement be- The internet is unique, both structurally andtween nations . practically . A medium unlike any other, it enables in- For more than a decade, academics and activists dividuals to cross borders in an instant, to seek andhave dissected and debated the various challenges share information rapidly and at little cost . But justto a free and open net . But the use of digital tools as it provides a unique means of communication, soin the uprisings in the Middle East and North Af- too does it present unique challenges for regulatorsrica, as well as the subsequent restrictions placed who, so far, have relied upon outmoded legislationon them by governments, have inspired new pub- to regulate the digital space .lic discourse on the subject, bringing to light the For example, defamation laws in Turkey haveimportance of and highlighting new challenges to led to an environment where any individual or or-internet freedom . ganisation can all too easily petition a judge to In Tunisia and in Egypt, the ability to organise block an allegedly defamatory website, thereby si-and share information online proved vital to many lencing what may very well be legitimate criticism .in organising the revolutions that eventually led Similarly, in Tunisia, not long after the country’sto the downfall of both countries’ regimes . There, decade-long censorship of the internet ended, aand in Syria, Viet Nam, Iran, the Occupied Pal- group of judges successfully petitioned the court toestinian Territories, and beyond, the videos and order the Tunisian Internet Agency to block accessimages disseminated from protests have demon- to a large swath of pornographic websites in the in-strated precisely why online freedom must be a terest of “morality” .policy imperative . The desire to restrict access to “adult content” The Charter of Human Rights and Principles exemplifies the challenges of enforcing existingfor the Internet,1 developed by the Internet Rights age restrictions on online content . Where a maga-and Principles Coalition, defines online freedom zine can be restricted for sale to minors or hiddenof expression to include the freedom to protest, in opaque packaging, and a television programmefreedom from censorship, the right to information, or film can come with age-appropriate warnings,the freedom of the media, and the freedom from online content is not so easily restricted . Instead,hate speech . Framed by Article 19 of the Universal the most oft-used method of restriction, technicalDeclaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the Charter filtering, cannot differentiate between the adultrecognises certain legal restrictions placed on such and child user and therefore blocks access to con- tent from all . In any scenario, filtering tends to be1 internetrightsandprinciples .org/node/367 overbroad and expensive, but is also fallible, and 10 / Global Information Society Watch
    • in most cases easily circumvented by commercially States have on numerous occasions relied uponavailable tools . intermediaries to undertake censorship on their be- Blocking websites is not the only means of re- half, such as in the case of South Korea, where thestricting access: in Iran and in Syria, for example, Korea Communications Standard Commission – aauthorities have slowed bandwidth to a crawl, semi-private initiative – has been developed to regu-limiting the ability of users to upload or download late online content, or in the United Kingdom (UK),content such as videos or images . Several coun- where the Internet Watch Foundation, an opaquetries, including South Korea, have attempted to non-governmental agency, determines a blacklist ofcontrol access to certain content, or to track us- child sexual abuse websites, which is in turn used byers by requiring government identification to use internet service providers (ISPs) and governmentalcertain websites or to enter cybercafés . Government- regulators (as was the case with Australia’s proposedenabled or sponsored attacks on infrastructure or filtering scheme) . Currently, several Australian ISPsindividual websites have become increasingly com- have agreed to voluntarily filter illegal content in lieumon . And more recently, governments aware of the of filtering legislation, raising questions about theinternet’s organising potential have taken to imple- role of ISPs in moderating content . These issues arementing “just-in-time” blocking – limiting access to at the core of the debate around network neutral-sites during specific periods of election or protest, ity, a policy framework which has yet to be widelyor worse, arresting bloggers and social media users adopted .or shutting down the internet entirely as has oc- Companies that operate in foreign countries cancurred in Egypt, Libya and Syria . impose or be complicit in limits to free expression . These various forms of restriction leverage the Companies are obliged to abide by the rules of theirability of governments to censor and discredit un- host country, which, in countries where restrictionswanted speech, while fears of “cyberwar” make it to online content are the norm, results in aidingeasy for governments to justify political repression, that country’s censorship . Between 2006 and 2010,blocking access to opposition content or arresting Google censored its search results at the behest ofbloggers under terrorism legislation . A genuine the Chinese government, while Microsoft contin-need for digital security has pushed governments to ues to do so . And several companies – includingdevelop strategies to identify and track down actual US companies Cisco and SmartFilter, and Canadiancriminals; these methods are in turn used to crack company Netsweeper – allow their filtering soft-down on political dissidents and others . Similarly, ware to be used by foreign governments .efforts to enforce copyright have led to chilling ef- These concerns also extend to platforms thatfects, such as in the United States (US) where, in host user-generated content . Across the Arab worldan effort to crack down on copyright infringement, and beyond, the use of social platforms to organisethe intellectual property wing of the Immigrations and disseminate information has garnered praiseand Customs Enforcement seized dozens of domain for sites like Facebook and Twitter . But while thesenames under the guise of “consumer protection” . platforms offer seemingly open spaces for dis-Similarly, proposals such as France’s HADOPI course, the policies and practices of these privately– which would terminate the internet access of sub- owned platforms often result in content restrictionsscribers accused three times of (illegal) file sharing stricter than those applied by government censors,– silence speech while doing little to solve the prob- presenting a very real threat to free expression .lem they are intended to combat . Take, for example, the case of Wael Ghonim, the Lawmakers have also found ways to restrict ac- Egyptian Google executive who created the “Wecess to certain content from users outside of their Are All Khaled Said” Facebook page, a core site forcountries using what is known as geolocational organising the protests . Several months prior toIP blocking . This tactic has a variety of uses, from the uprising, the page was taken down, a result ofmedia content hosts like Netflix and Hulu blocking Facebook policies that require users to utilise a realusers outside of the US in compliance with copy- name on the service, and was only reinstated whenright schemes, to US companies blocking access to another, identified, user stepped in to take Ghon-users in sanctioned countries like Syria and Iran . im’s place . Similarly, Facebook recently removed a Free expression online is challenged not only by page calling for a third intifada in Palestine, follow-governments, but also by private entities . Though ing public objections and numerous user reports .censorship is, by definition, the suppression of pub- Other platforms have acted similarly, removing con-lic communications, the right to free expression is tent when it violates their proprietary terms of use .increasingly challenged by intermediaries, whether While filtering and other means of restrictionby their own volition or at the behest of governments . affect the ability to access content, access to the Introduction / 11
    • physical and technical infrastructure required to The challenges to an open internet are decid-connect to the internet can also be used by gov- edly complex . And with the fragmentation of theernments as a means of restricting the free flow internet aided not only by authoritarian regimes,of information and limiting individuals’ ability to but also democratically elected governments, ISPs,associate and organise . While in many cases, low user-generated content platforms, and other cor-internet penetration is a sign of economic or infra- porate entities, the solutions to creating an openstructural challenges, it can also be an intentional internet are equally, if not more, complex than thestrategy by governments attempting to restrict citi- problems .zens from accessing information or developing civil Censorship does not exist in a vacuum; for everysociety . Though this strategy is best exemplified by step closer to freedom, there is another step back,Cuba and North Korea – where the majority of citi- as governments learn from one another and imple-zens are barred entirely from accessing the internet ment new “solutions” for limiting free expression .– dozens of countries with the capability to do so At the top level lies the simplest yet most dif-have slowed or stifled the infrastructural develop- ficult solution: convincing governments of the valuement necessary to expand access . of a free internet . The ideals of an open internet are These various forms of control have led to what often in direct conflict with the interests of policyscholars have referred to as the “Balkanisation” of makers, whether in debating network neutrality inthe internet, whereby national boundaries are ap- the US or in the current proposal to erect a China-plied to the internet through these various means style firewall in Iran .of control . In 2010, the OpenNet Initiative estimated Solutions to the latter problem abound, butthat more than half a billion (or about 32%) of the often act as mere bandages, offering a fallible so-world’s internet users experience some form of na- lution to a vast and ever-developing problem . Thetional-level content restriction online . That number US and other governments have poured money intois undoubtedly increasing: in recent months, vari- circumvention technology, which can be effectiveous governments across the globe have taken new in getting around internet censorship, but simplysteps to restrict access to content . Egypt, which furthers the cat-and-mouse game between govern-had blocked websites minimally and only sporadi- ments and tool developers, the former blocking thecally, took an enormous step backward when it shut latter as the developers attempt to keep up . Meshdown the internet for a week during the protests . networking has, of late, also become a strong con-Libya, which prior to 2011 filtered only selectively, tender for solving the dual problems of censorshiphas barred access for most of its population since and access, with several nascent projects receivingFebruary . Iran has recently announced plans to attention – and funding – from government entities .withdraw from the global internet, creating essen- Trade restrictions have been proposed to curbtially an intranet inside the country . And even in internet censorship; notably, in 2010, Google pro-states where access remains low – such as in Ethio- posed the idea of stricter trade governance as apia, where internet penetration hovers around 0 .5% means to prevent or lessen restrictions placed by– governments fearing the democratising power of governments on internet access . At the same time,the internet are preemptively putting additional re- the Global Network Initiative, a multi-stakeholderstrictions in place . As of 2011, more than 45 states organisation comprised of academics, activists,have placed restrictions on online content . corporations and NGOs, is working with companies When a country restricts the free flow of infor- to guide them toward better policies around privacymation online, it impacts not only the citizens of and free expression online .that country, but reduces the value of the internet But while attainment of these ideals may atfor all of its users and stakeholders . Just as Chi- times seem nearly impossible, the costs of notna’s extensive filtering of online content prevents fighting for them are too great . It is therefore imper-Chinese users from reaching the BBC, the BBC is ative that we – the users, the citizens – continue toprevented from doing business in China; and just as push for better choices at the hands of governmentsChinese users cannot access Facebook, Facebook and corporations, and keep fighting for the equallyusers from across the world cannot interact with the necessary freedoms of expression and associationChinese populace . in this most unique of spaces . n 12 / Global Information Society Watch
    • Thematic reports
    • Conceptualising accountability and recourseJoy Liddicoat Rights .6 Other international human rights standardsAssociation for Progressive Communications (APC) followed, including the Convention against Torturewww .apc .org and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment .7Introduction Accountability and remediesThe modern foundations of international human When the UDHR was being negotiated, litigationrights rest on the Universal Declaration of Human was not seen as the appropriate way to seek rem-Rights (UDHR) and the Charter of the United Na- edies or accountability between nations (nor wastions (UN) .1 The UDHR affirmed human rights are there an international court system) . New forumsuniversal, inalienable and interconnected . The hu- were established, including the Security Council,man rights framework recognises both the right of the Human Rights Committee and, more recently,states to govern and the duty of states to respect, the Human Rights Council . Accountability to theseprotect and promote human rights . The global forums was primarily by way of periodic report-transformation of human rights from moral or philo- ing . Once a state had ratified a treaty (such as thesophical imperatives into a framework of rights that ICCPR) it agreed to periodically report on imple-are legally recognised between nations continued mentation, but ratification was also permitted withinto the 21st century, but this basic framework has reservations . Some treaties adopted complaint pro-been reaffirmed by UN member states and remains cedures for individual complaints (which are knownthe foundation of human rights today .2 The inter- as optional protocols), but states are not obliged tonet has been used to create new spaces in which submit to these . Each treaty has different standardshuman rights can be exercised and new spaces in for accountability . For example, states are obligedwhich rights violations can take place . This report to implement economic, cultural and social rightslooks at human rights concepts, the internet and as resources allow, through a system known asaccountability mechanisms for internet-related hu- “progressive realisation” . Civil and political rights,man rights violations .3 on the other hand, must be implemented immedi- ately and some, such as freedom from torture, canThe human rights framework never be suspended or limited, even in emergencyThe UDHR is not legally binding but has a power- situations .ful moral force among UN member states . Binding The premise underlying these forms of ac-standards have been developed, including the In- countability is that states, as equal members ofternational Covenant on Civil and Political Rights the international community of nations, will sub-(ICCPR)4 and the International Covenant on Eco- ject their conduct to the scrutiny of other states .nomic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) .5 In doing so states also agree to abide by recom-Together with the UDHR, these two standards have mendations or take into account observationsbecome known as the International Bill of Human made about matters within their own borders . States therefore agree to be publicly accountable1 The United Nations officially came into existence after ratification for their human rights performance . This was a of the Charter on 24 October 1945 .2 The 1993 Vienna World Conference on Human Rights reaffirmed major transformation in the international commu- that human rights are indivisible and interrelated and that no nity of states . right is superior to another . UN General Assembly (1993) Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, Article 5 . www .unhchr .ch/ huridocda/huridoca .nsf/(symbol)/a .conf .157 .23 .en3 “Accountability mechanisms” range from international 6 Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (1996) Fact mechanisms, to litigation, to community action and lawful forms of Sheet No. 2 (Rev. 1) The International Bill of Human Rights, United protest . Nations, Geneva . www .ohchr .org/Documents/Publications/4 The ICCPR includes rights related to the right to vote, freedom of FactSheet2Rev .1en .pdf expression, freedom of association, and the rights to a fair trial and 7 Others include the International Convention on the Elimination due process . of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD), the Convention on5 The ICESCR includes rights related to the right to health, the right the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women to education, the right to an adequate standard of living, and the (CEDAW), the Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCROC), and right to social security . the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) . Thematic reports / 15
    • In practice, the effectiveness of these account- • Engagement with special procedures of the UNability mechanisms varies widely . Some treaty (for example, the Special Rapporteurs on Free-body processes8 are seen as very ineffective: the dom of Opinion and Expression, Freedom ofreporting processes are cumbersome, lengthy and Association and Human Rights Defenders)time consuming for states and civil society groups • State peer review in the Universal Periodic Re-alike . Some states simply do not file their periodic view processreports . For these and other reasons the treaty bodyprocesses are currently being reviewed .9 Other • Formal complaints to regional mechanisms, formechanisms, such as the Universal Periodic Review, example, the European Court of Human Rights,are seen as much more effective . the Inter-American Court of Human Rights or the This variability has implications for civil society African Court on Human and People’s Rightsgroups, which must strategise carefully about the • Complaints to or investigations by ombudsper-use of different or multiple mechanisms depend- sons or national human rights institutionsing on a number of factors, including the issue, and • Litigation (where national constitutions allowwhether the context is national or local . Multiple for this or where international standards havemechanisms might be used at the same time, over been incorporated into domestic law) .time, or not at all, depending on the particular is-sues and context . As human rights violations in relation to the internet The human rights framework also has limitations . increase,10 questions arise about accountability andAs a forum of governments the UN is necessarily in- remedies . The implications for internet-related hu-fused with politics . Agreed human rights standards are, man rights violations cannot be considered withoutgenerally, the product of the best possible political first looking at the internet-related forums in the UN .consensus . The result is often a minimum standard:the lowest common denominator of agreement . The Human rights and the internet at the UNinternational human rights system is still evolving, Despite the centrality of human rights to the crea-with the UN’s mandate under constant scrutiny, tion of the UN, the World Summit on the Informationand its utility questioned in the face of the mod- Society (WSIS),11 the WSIS Geneva Declaration ofern horrors of human rights violations . In addition, Principles12 and the Internet Governance Forumthe framework itself is not static . The UN system is (IGF),13 discussions about accountability for hu-evolving with new processes such as the Universal man rights violations remain limited . Tensions havePeriodic Review providing new opportunities for emerged given the openness of the internet, whichscrutiny and leadership . While changes may be posi- has been both a factor in its success and a point oftive, these take time to implement, requiring civil political contention in debates about internet govern-society organisations (CSOs) to develop or enhance ance .14 Early adopters of the internet and informationcapacity to engage and use them effectively while and communications technologies (ICTs) reachedalso trying to advance their issues and concerns . for rights as a way to navigate these tensions by Yet the UN – and the Human Rights Council in articulating their freedom to use and create onlineparticular – remains the central global human rights spaces, to assert their rights to communicate andforum . Opportunities for recourse against states, share information, and to resist state or governmentas ways to hold them accountable for human rights interference with rights to privacy .15 The simple ap-violations, must be considered taking into account plication of existing human rights standards was theboth strengths and limitations of the internationalhuman rights framework . And today there are more 10 La Rue, F . (2011) Report of the Special Rapporteur on theprocesses for state accountability for human rights promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion andviolations than have ever existed . These include: expression, 26 April, A/HRC/17/27, p . 8-15 . 11 World Summit on the Information Society, United Nations• Scrutiny by treaty bodies and International Telecommunication Union (2005) WSIS Outcome Documents . www .itu .int/wsis/documents/doc_multi .• Complaints to UN bodies under optional protocols asp?lang=en&id=2316|0 12 Article 19 of the UDHR is cited in paragraph 4 of the Geneva Declaration of Principles (2003) . 13 www .intgovforum .org8 Treaty body processes refers to the various mechanisms for 14 Cavalli, O . (2010) Openness: Protecting Internet Freedoms, in oversight of implementation of treaties; for example, the Drake, W . J . (ed) Internet Governance: Creating Opportunities for Committee for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination All, United Nations, New York, p . 15 . Against Women oversees the CEDAW convention and the Human 15 One of the more famous examples was John Perry Barlow’s Rights Committee oversees the ICCPR . Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace (February 1996) .9 www2 .ohchr .org/english/bodies/HRTD/index .htm projects .eff .org/~barlow/Declaration-Final .html 16 / Global Information Society Watch
    • starting point for civil society groups and, building on • The complexity of the internet ecosystem (forthe work of the People’s Communication Charter, the example, no single point of governance andAssociation for Progressive Communications (APC) network operation, diverse standard-settingdeveloped the first Internet Rights Charter in 2001- systems, the role of internet intermediaries and2002 (subsequently updated in 2006) .16 In 2010, the platform providers, and so on) and the variousDynamic Coalition on Internet Rights and Principles connection points of that ecosystem with thereleased a Charter of Internet Rights and Principles human rights ecosystem (or lack of connectionand, in 2011, a more condensed set of ten principles .17 points) . But further elaboration and clear explanation of • While there may be a single international hu-how existing human rights standards apply seemed man rights standard (for example, on freedomnecessary . New charters and statements of princi- of expression) there is no single way and no sin-ples have emerged in regional bodies (such as the gle correct way to give effect to that standard .Council of Europe) and nationally (for example, inEstonia and Finland) .18 It is not yet clear if a new • The diverse ways that human rights issues arise;“Super Charter” will emerge or if a new model na- for example, from privacy and surveillance, totional law will be developed . the ICT production line (conflict minerals, the The internet-related aspects of freedom of ex- rights of workers), to content filtering, contentpression and freedom of association have received blocking and harassment, arrest and detentionsome scrutiny in UN human rights mechanisms . of online human rights activists .The 2011 annual report of the Special Rapporteur • Human rights violations may involve multipleon Freedom of Opinion and Expression19 was the and intersecting rights across different treatiesfirst time the Human Rights Council had considered and affect groups differently (such as women,a report specifically focused on human rights and sexual and gender minorities, people with dis-the internet . In 2010, the Human Rights Committee abilities, or racial and cultural minorities) .began a review of General Comment 34 (a key docu- • The application of human rights standards toment which the Committee uses to interpret Article the fast-changing forms of connectivity (mo-19 of the ICCPR) and released its preliminary report bile is outpacing other forms of connectivity, forin May 2011 .20 The new general comment includes instance) .22specific reference to “electronic and internet-basedmodes of expression” .21 This will strengthen the • The nebulous legal environments of many coun-mechanisms for recourse and reporting internet- tries, including absence of the rule of law (orrelated violations of freedom of expression under ineffective legal systems), lack of legislationArticle 19 by requiring states to include these in and constitutional protections or, conversely,their reports . The final revised comment was re- over-regulation and extensive direct or indirectleased in June 2011 and should be available for use censorship .23in periodic reporting and other accountability • The diverse human rights situations in diversemechanisms by early 2012 . countries, especially within and between devel- These various initiatives are welcome, but more oped and developing countries .work needs to be done to ensure the internet is across-cutting issue within all treaty bodies and hu- • The actual and perceived limitations of humanman rights mechanisms . The topic of human rights, rights remedies where the state violates humanthe internet and accountability mechanisms re- rights or where non-state actors can act withmains complex for a variety of reasons, including: impunity . • The frequent need to obtain remedy or recourse quickly and the slow and cumbersome nature of16 www .apc .org/en/node/5677 most legal processes .17 www .internetrightsandprinciples .org18 In relation to Estonia, see Woodard, C . (2003) Estonia, where being wired is a human right, Christian Science Monitor, 1 July . In relation 22 See, for example, Southwood, R . (2011) Policy and regulatory to Finland, see Ministry of Transport and Communications (2009) issues in the mobile internet, APC . www .apc .org/en/node/12433; 732/2009, Decree of the Ministry of Transport and Communications Horner, L . (2011) A human rights approach to the mobile internet, on the minimum rate of a functional Internet access as a universal APC . www .apc .org/en/node/12431; and Comninos, A . (2011) service . www .finlex .fi/en/laki/kaannokset/2009/en20090732 Twitter revolutions and cyber-crackdowns: User-generated content19 La Rue (2011) op . cit . and social networking in the Arab Spring and beyond, APC . www .20 Human Rights Committee (2011) Draft General Comment No. 34 apc .org/en/node/12432 (upon completion of the first reading by the Human Rights Council, 23 For example, in relation to Turkey, see Johnson, G . (2011) 3 May, CCPR/C/GC/34/CRP .6 . Censorship Threatens Turkey’s Accession to EU, unpublished21 Ibid ., para 11 . research paper . Thematic reports / 17
    • • The cost of litigation and the lack of access to judicial and other officers adequately understand this remedy for many individuals and groups . internet-related human rights issues .• The geopolitics and how these play out in vari- New avenues for global recourse and account- ous forums . ability mechanisms are emerging . The Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression has empha-• The multiple and sometimes conflicting mecha- sised the need for effective remedies, including nisms for remedy within countries (for example, in rights of appeal .30 In addition, he noted that the relation to content censorship, the intersections internet has created more avenues for use of tra- of defamation law, constitutional protections ditional remedies including the right of reply, where these exist, and criminal or civil legislation publishing corrections and issuing public apolo- for different types of material) . gies .31 In one defamation case, for example, the settlement agreement included the defendantWhat future for accountability mechanisms? apologising 100 times, every half hour over threeGiven these complexities it is perhaps no surprise days, to more than 4,200 followers of his Twitterthat those discussing internet rights charters and account .32principles have steered away from creating newaccountability mechanisms – none appear to con- A rights-based approach to the internettain new complaints procedures . The question is, and human rightscan the existing human rights framework provide The rights-based approach, or human rights ap-adequate accountability mechanisms for internet- proach as it is also known, was developed as arelated human rights violations? practical way to implement human rights standards . The answer is unclear . A mixed picture emerges The rights-based approach was first articulated infrom current practice . Some CSOs have been active the UN in 2002, when the Office of the UN High Com-in the Universal Periodic Review process .24 Regional missioner for Human Rights convened an ad hochuman rights mechanisms (such as the European expert committee on biotechnology . The committeeCourt of Human Rights) are receiving increasing noted this was a new and emerging area of humannumbers of complaints25 together with strategic rights, with no specific human rights standards . Tointerventions in litigation by CSOs .26 But no com- overcome this difficulty the committee decided toplaints have been received by the African Special rely on a “rights-based approach” for its task, indi-Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression in relation cating that such an approach should:33to freedom of expression and the internet .27 Therehave been few complaints to national human rights • Emphasise the participation of individuals ininstitutions, possibly because these have not yet decision makingadequately considered how to deal with internet- • Introduce accountability for actions and deci-related complaints .28 Civil litigation remains a pri- sions, which can allow individuals to complainmary way to gain recourse in many countries .29 about decisions affecting them adversely More research is needed to develop a better • Seek non-discrimination of all individualsglobal picture of the use of these various mecha- through the equal application of rights and obli-nisms and monitor change . For example, some gations to all individualsmechanisms may be best suited to certain types ofcomplaints and offer different remedies . Capacity • Empower individuals by allowing them to usebuilding also may be needed to support civil society rights as a leverage for action and legitimiseadvocacy and strengthen the mechanisms to ensure their voice in decision making • Link decision making at every level to the agreed24 Universal Periodic Review (UPR), Thailand: Joint CSO Submission human rights norms at the international level as to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (March 2010), endorsed in whole or in part by 92 Thai organisations . set out in the various human rights covenants25 For a summary of recent European Court of Human Rights cases in and treaties . relation to the internet and human rights see the European Court of Human Rights “New Technologies Fact Sheet” (May 2011) .26 For example, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Privacy International . 30 La Rue (2011) op . cit ., para 47 .27 Advocate Pansy Tsakula, personal communication to APC, 2011 . 31 Ibid ., para 27 .28 See, for example, New Zealand Human Rights Commission (2010) 32 www .thejournal .ie/malaysian-man-apologises-via-100-tweets-in- Roundtable on Human Rights and the Internet. www .hrc .co .nz defamation-settlement-147842-Jun201129 Kelly, S . and Cook, S . (eds) (2011) Freedom on the Net 2011: A 33 High Commissioner for Human Rights (2002) Report of the global assessment of the internet and digital media, Freedom High Commissioner’s Expert Group on Human Rights and House, Washington . Biotechnology: Conclusions, OHCHR, Geneva, para 21 . 18 / Global Information Society Watch
    • This approach has been extended into a wide range Conclusionof areas, particulary those where no specific human There are more opportunities at global levels for re-rights standards seem to apply . The approach is course for human rights violations than ever before .increasingly being used to critique internet regula- Yet these appear largely underutilised in relationtions on access to the internet, privacy, filtering34 to the internet and human rights . Diverse and com-and the mobile internet .35 The UN Special Repre- plex factors interact to create this situation and itsentative on Business and Human Rights has also is difficult for CSOs to develop effective strategies .drawn on the rights-based approach to consider lia- At the same time, new human rights standards andbility of transnational corporations for human rights mechanisms are emerging in relation to freedomviolations . The resulting framework highlights the of expression and freedom of association, creatingneed for access to effective remedies, both judicial new opportunities for recourse . Taking a rights-and non-judicial .36 based approach to the internet and human rights There is scope to use this approach in other may provide a way to negotiate these complex is-areas, for example, with the mandates of various sues, to build broad consensus on the applicationUN forums that focus on the internet . The recent of human rights standards, and provide greaterappointment of a Special Rapporteur on Freedom access to, and measurement of, accountabilityof Association provides an opportunity to explore mechanisms . nsuch an approach taking account of modern hu-man rights movements, the use of the internet andICTs to mobilise, and the special situation of humanrights defenders seeking to improve democraticparticipation . New forms of accountability may yetemerge, as well as new remedies that relate specifi-cally to the internet .34 Access (2011) To Regulate or Not to Regulate, Is That the Question? A Roadmap to Smart Regulation of the Internet, discussion paper released ahead of the OECD High-Level Meeting on the Internet Economy on 28-29 June 2011 . www .accessnow . org/policy-activism/docs35 See footnote 22 .36 Ruggie, J . (2011) Report of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises. Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights: Implementing the United Nations “Protect, Respect and Remedy” Framework, 21 March, A/HRC/17/31, para . 26-31 . Thematic reports / 19
    • Freedom of expression on the internet:Implications for foreign policyBen Wagner Following Clinton’s remarks, several EuropeanEuropean University Institute, Department countries began to develop internet freedom ini-of Political and Social Sciences tiatives, which were generally understood to be awww .eui .eu response to the suppression of mass public protests in Iran in 2009 . Perhaps the best known of these is the Franco-Dutch initiative which was launched in aIntroduction joint communiqué by Bernard Kouchner and MaximeSince the birth of the public internet, questions of Verhagen, then French and Dutch foreign ministers,global internet governance have also been questions in May 2010 . The initiative culminated in a meetingof international affairs .1 However, while internet se- at ministerial level on “The Internet and Freedom ofcurity has historically been heavily politicised at an Expression” in July 2010 .6 Here too the key aspectsinternational level, it is only more recently that the of the meeting agenda were the support of the sup-questions of internet expression and free speech posed revolutionary activities of “cyber dissidents”have been perceived as a foreign policy issue . The and the ambiguous role of the corporate sector . How-following analysis will provide an overview of the ever, the Franco-Dutch initiative includes significantlytwo key foreign policy debates on free expression stronger references to a human rights framework toon the internet, before suggesting paths for the de- guarantee freedom of expression, compared to thevelopment of future internet foreign policy and what US State Department’s internet freedom initiative .consequences these paths are likely to have for free- Since the Franco-Dutch initiative, however, it ap-dom of expression on the internet . pears that the two countries have taken divergent paths in their approach to internet freedom . This canInternet freedom as foreign policy be attributed in significant part to cabinet reshufflesThe “internet freedom debate” has become one of the and shifting balances of power within the respectivemost important international debates on international governments . The French foreign ministry has beenfreedom of expression and foreign policy .2 One of the hit by a turbulent period following the resignationmost important public statements of such a foreign of Bernard Kouchner . In this period the presidentialpolicy initiative was United States (US) Secretary of palace increasingly came to dominate internet for-State Hillary Clinton’s “Remarks on Internet Freedom”3 eign policy following President Nicolas Sarkozy’smade on 21 January 2010 . Despite including other call for a “civilised internet”, with the state acting ascountries, the obvious focus of her statement was a civilising force .7 In the Netherlands, parliamentaryChina and Iran, which are both mentioned more than elections in 2010 and the resulting cabinet reshuf-any other country . Moreover, within this foundational fle has also led to the appointment of a new foreignstatement on internet freedom as foreign policy, two minister, Uriel Rosenthal . In contrast to France, hekey aspects stand out: the assumption that ensur- recently stated his interest to go beyond existinging freedom of expression might serve to foment “US internet freedom initiatives, suggesting that indus-friendly revolutions”4 and the highly ambiguous role of try self-regulation is insufficient and that additionalthe corporate sector in securing free expression .5 governmental regulation is necessary .81 Tallo, I . (2011) eGovernment and eParticipation, paper presented 6 de la Chapelle, B . (2010) Remarks by Bertrand de la Chapelle during at the European University Institute workshop Government and the the Dynamic Coalition on Freedom of Expression and Freedom of Internet: Participation, Expression and Control, Florence, Italy, 8-9 the Media on the Internet Coalition Meeting, at the 5th Internet March . Governance Forum, Vilnius, Estonia, 14-17 September . webcast .2 Ross, A . (2010) Internet Freedom: Historic Roots and the Road intgovforum .org/ondemand/?media=workshops Forward, SAIS Review, 30 (2), p . 3-15; McCarthy, D . R . (2011) Open 7 Woitier, C . (2011) Sarkozy préfère «l’internet civilisé» Networks and the Open Door: American Foreign Policy and the aux cyberdissidents, Le Figaro, 20 May . www .lefigaro .fr/ Narration of the Internet, Foreign Policy Analysis, January . politique/2011/05/20/01002-20110520ARTFIG00584-sarkozy-3 Clinton, H . (2010) Remarks on Internet Freedom . www .state .gov/ prefere-l-internet-civilise-aux-cyberdissidents .php secretary/rm/2010/01/135519 .htm 8 Rosenthal, U . (2011) Speech by Dutch Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal4 Nye, J . S . J . (2009) Get Smart: Combining Hard and Soft Power, at the International Digital Economy Accords (IDEA) Brussels Meeting, Foreign Affairs, 88 (4) . Brussels, Belgium, 23-24 March . www .rijksoverheid .nl/documenten-en-5 Human Rights Watch (2006) “Race to the bottom”: Corporate complicity publicaties/toespraken/2011/03/24/speech-by-pieter-de-gooijer-at-the- in Chinese internet censorship, Human Rights Watch, New York . international-digital-economy-accords-idea-brussels-meeting .html 20 / Global Information Society Watch
    • The internet freedom debate has also reached the expression on the internet within existing human rightsGerman foreign ministry . Despite widespread public law, looking for ways of applying existing norms anddebates about national internet governance and developing “new rights” for the internet .11 This strategyregulation within Germany, these debates have had is typically pursued in co-operation with existing inter-a limited impact on German foreign policy outside of national institutions which promote human rights andEurope until relatively recently . Following this model, freedom of expression, including the United Nations (UN) .the first statement on internet freedom made by the A recent report by UN Special Rapporteur Frank LaGerman Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle in May Rue entitled “Report on the promotion and protection2011 draws significantly more on international dis- of the right to freedom of opinion and expression” iscourses on internet freedom than national debates primarily devoted to developing “general principles onabout internet governance and regulation .9 the right to freedom of opinion and expression and the Consequently, the challenge facing the German, internet”12 as well as a framework within which internetFrench, Dutch and US foreign ministries is to create a content can reasonably be restricted . This report wascoherent overall frame for internet governance that based on an extensive consultation process with gov-considers both national and international debates . ernments, civil society, international corporations andIt is important to note that the US, Dutch, French and experts . Consequently, it represents probably the singleGerman foreign ministries have all created internal most well-developed framework for applying humanstructures that are explicitly tasked with pursuing in- rights norms to freedom of expression on the internet .ternet freedom policies which promote freedom of The Swedish foreign ministry has been particularlyexpression internationally . This should in the medi- actively following this strategy at various different lev-um and long term lead to noticeable development of els, most notably through consistent support of theinternet foreign policy initiatives . However, as was pre- Special Rapporteur .13 Its long-standing support of hu-viously noted, their ability to effect meaningful change man rights frameworks on the internet gives the foreignon government policy depends heavily on dynamics ministry a considerable level of international credibilitywithin the respective ministries and governments . when it comes to free expression on the internet, as Equally, there are signs that the internet freedom does its ability to organise statements on freedom ofdebate is maturing, both in regard to the development expression on the internet representing a broad inter-of substantive policy initiatives on internet freedom national coalition at the UN Human Rights Council .14and a greater coherence between national and interna- The pursuit of a human rights-based approachtional policy . A recent report by the Washington think has also led to the development of a wide varietytank Center for New American Security, entitled “Inter- of declarations, principles and charters of rights onnet Freedom: A Foreign Policy Imperative in the Digital the internet . These are typically developed withinAge”,10 proposes eight “principles” which should guide international organisations or multi-stakeholderinternet freedom policies in the US, many of which coalitions and attempt to develop human rightsinvolve substantive policy initiatives for promoting frameworks which also apply to freedom of expres-freedom of expression such as reforming export con- sion on the internet .15 The content of these documentstrols, creating economic incentives for corporations to is extremely diverse and ranges from an elaborationsupport freedom of expression, and an attempt to cre- of basic principles such as the Brazilian Principlesate international norms . for the Governance and Use of the Internet (2009), the Global Network Initiative Principles (2008) or theInternet human rights as foreign policy Council of Europe’s Internet Governance PrinciplesWhile the internet freedom debate continues, another (2011), to more extensive documents which seek tostrand of the international debate on freedom of expres- elaborate and apply rights such as the Association forsion on the internet is noticeably distinct and could betermed the “human rights-based approach” . This strat- 11 Benedek, W ., Kettemann, M . C . and Senges, M . (2008) Theegy has specifically been pursued by a number of states, Humanization of Internet Governance: A roadmap towards a comprehensive global (human) rights architecture for the Internet.particularly Sweden and Brazil, as well as a variety of www .worldcat .org/title/humanization-of-internet-governance-international organisations and civil society actors . This a-roadmap-towards-a-comprehensive-global-human-rights-discourse seeks to situate the debate on freedom of architecture-for-the-internet/oclc/619152167&referer=brief_results 12 La Rue, F . (2011) Report of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression,9 Westerwelle, G . (2011) Gastbeitrag von Guido Westerwelle: Die Freiheit UN Human Rights Council, Geneva, p . 6 . im Netz, Frankfurter Rundschau, 27 May . www .fr-online .de/politik/ 13 Bildt, C . (2011) Carl Bildt’s remarks on Digital Authoritarianism . meinung/die-freiheit-im-netz/-/1472602/8496970/-/index .html www .sweden .gov .se/sb/d/14194/a/16924610 Fontaine, R . and Rogers, W . (2011) Internet Freedom: A Foreign 14 Knutsson, J . (n .d .) Freedom of Expression on the Internet Cross- Policy Imperative in the Digital Age, Center for a New American regional Statement . www .sweden .gov .se/sb/d/14194/a/170566 Security, Washington, D .C . 15 Benedek, Kettemann and Senges (2008) op . cit . Thematic reports / 21
    • Progressive Communications (APC) Internet Rights into foreign policy . The three key aspects that are per-Charter (2006)16 or the Charter of Human Rights and sistently mentioned in this regard are (1) a linkage toPrinciples for the Internet (2010) . existing human rights frameworks, (2) the perceived Common to all these documents is their reference to role of the internet in enabling or fuelling revolutions,international human rights law, most frequently to the and (3) the questionable role of the private sector .Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) . More- However, these aspects are developed in very differentover, they are typically developed by a wide range of policy contexts . “Internet freedom strategies” focusstakeholders from various institutional backgrounds, more on specific foreign policy goals and specific eventsincluding civil society, the private sector, and the aca- which are perceived to be causally linked to freedom ofdemic and technical communities . Foreign ministries, expression, typically protest events and revolutions . Inwhile often directly involved in the drafting process, contrast, “internet human rights strategies” focus morehave not typically taken leadership in the drafting of on developing and embedding aspects of freedom onsuch documents . the internet into existing human rights frameworks . One of the most interesting examples of such In the case of internet freedom-based strate-collaborative efforts is the Charter of Human Rights gies, overall government internet policy coherenceand Principles for the Internet,17 which was devel- is particularly important . This stems from very differ-oped by the Internet Rights and Principles Dynamic ent international and national policy strategies onCoalition of the Internet Governance Forum . To give the internet, leading to value conflicts which may besome idea of the diversity involved in the drafting particularly harmful for foreign policy . The tension be-process, the Steering Committee of the Coalition is tween internet policies at a national level – WikiLeakscomposed of academics from Japan, Brazil, the UK in the US or the HADOPI law in France – and a foreignand the US, Indian, US and Brazilian civil society policy which promotes internet freedom is by no meansrepresentatives, German, US and UK private sector lost on those addressed by these policies . The chal-actors, representatives of the Council of Europe and lenge here is not just to bring the relevant policy areasUNESCO, and a Swedish diplomat . together in one document, as was the case in the US Fundamental to all of these documents is the belief International Strategy for Cyberspace,18 but to developthat human rights are a relevant frame for promoting the a coherent framework with principles that can be ap-rights of individuals on the internet . Consequently, this plied across ministries and policy areas .approach stands and falls with the acknowledgement of Here internet human rights strategies are at an“internet human rights” within the wider human rights advantage, as they already have a clear set of princi-community and international human rights law . It would ples, but are dependent on the acknowledgement ofseem that with the report by La Rue, which was present- “internet rights as human rights” .19 They also profited to the Human Rights Council, a significant step in this from a wide base of stakeholders who are involveddirection has been taken, but it remains to be seen how in the drafting process . Considering the number ofthe report itself is received . charters and principles currently circulating, it re- mains to be seen whether a coherent overall internetThe paths ahead? Internet policy coherence… human rights framework can be developed .While many states are prepared to affirm the im- Finally, as internet freedom policies mature andportance of human rights and rights to freedom of internet human rights frameworks develop, there isexpression on the internet, as mentioned, relatively likely to be an increasing overlap between both in-few have been actively involved in the process of ternet freedom and human rights-based strategies .developing the charters and principles which have While the divide between states pursuing separateproliferated over the last five years . Although these foreign policy strategies on these issues is likely to re-processes do not necessarily have to lead to interna- main, due to differing strategic interests and foreigntional treaties like the Council of Europe Cybercrime policy objectives, there is reason to suggest that thereConvention (2001), they do provide a space for de- might be space for greater cooperation between statesfining and elaborating concepts and principles on in developing policies which pursue greater freedom offreedom of expression on the internet . expression on the internet . n Increasingly, foreign ministries have to wrestle withtranslating initiatives related to freedom of expression 18 US National Security Council (2011) International Strategy for Cyberspace: Prosperity, Security, and Openness in a Networked16 Association for Progressive Communications (2006) APC Internet World, Executive Office of the President of the United States, Rights Charter . www .apc .org/en/node/5677 National Security Council, Washington, D .C .17 Internet Rights and Principles Dynamic Coalition (2010) Charter 19 Association for Progressive Communications (2011) Internet Rights of Human Rights and Principles for the Internet: Beta Version 1.1. Are Human Rights. www .apc .org/en/pubs/briefs/internet-rights- internetrightsandprinciples .org/node/367 are-human-rights-claims-apc-human- 22 / Global Information Society Watch
    • Towards a cyber security strategyfor global civil society?Ron Deibert Prior to laying out the elements of such a strat-The Canada Centre for Global Security Studies egy, it is useful to take a step back and look at someand the Citizen Lab, Munk School of Global Affairs, major social forces that are shaping the domain ofUniversity of Toronto global communications . The internet’s de facto andwww .citizenlab .org distributed regime of governance – largely informal and driven up to now by decisions of like-minded engineers – has come under massive stress as aCyberspace is at a watershed moment . Techno- function of the internet’s continuing rapid growth .logical transformations have brought about an Not only have there been continuing exponentialarchitectonic change in the communications eco- increases in users and deeper penetration intosystem . Cyber crime has exploded to the point of everyday life (a recent Cisco report1 said that bybecoming more than a nuisance, but a national se- 2020, there will be 50 billion “things”, meaningcurity concern . There is a seriously escalating arms devices, connected to the internet), but there hasrace in cyberspace as governments scale up capa- been a vast growth in the developing world, as mil-bilities in their armed forces to fight and win wars in lions of new digital natives come online . With thesethis domain . Telecommunication companies, inter- new digital natives come new values and interestsnet service providers (ISPs) and other private sector that in turn are affecting internet governance, asactors now actively police the internet . Pressures governments like China, Russia and India exerciseto regulate the global network of information and their influence . The latter are now key players incommunications have never been greater . several internet governance forums, and have been Although states were once thought to be pow- collectively pushing for the legitimisation of na-erless in the face of the internet, the giants have tionalised controls, such as those over the domainbeen woken from their slumber . How exactly gov- naming system . They also have a shared interest inernments react to these problems will determine limiting the voices of civil society in these decision-the future of cyberspace – and by extension the making forums, an interest exemplified by the pushcommunications platforms upon which global civic to have the United Nations and the Internationalnetworks depend . Telecommunication Union (a state-based organi- Global civil society, now increasingly recog- sation) take the lead on internet governance . Civicnised as an important stakeholder in cyberspace networks need to be vigilant that such a strategygovernance, needs to step up to the challenge . A does not succeed .constitutive moment awaits . What is required is Another major force shaping cyberspace arisesnothing less than a serious and comprehensive out of technological innovation and economic fac-security strategy for cyberspace that addresses tors that have created the architectonic shifts in thethe very real threats that plague governments and nature of the ecosystem of global communications .corporations, addresses national and other security Whereas before the internet was largely a self-seg-concerns in a forthright manner, while protecting mented and isolated network generally separateand preserving open networks of information and from other means of communication, such as televi-communication . It is an enormous challenge but sion, telephony and radio, all of these media havealso a great opportunity that, if not handled well, integrated into a single system of planetary commu-could end up having major detrimental conse- nications, which we call cyberspace . The integrationquences for human rights online . Of course, “global of these media into a common space has happenedcivil society” is not an undifferentiated whole, but at the same time that business models and servicean amalgam of multiple and diverse local networks . delivery mechanisms for information and communi-Regardless of their differences, citizens who share cations have changed fundamentally, with the risean interest in democracy and human rights also of social networking, cloud computing, and mobileshare common interests in a secure but open global forms of connectivity . This paradigm shift has upsetcommunications space . Those common interestscan lay the basis for a civil society cyber security 1 www .readwriteweb .com/archives/cisco_50_billion_things_on_strategy . the_internet_by_2020 .php Thematic reports / 23
    • the principles, norms and rules of what used to be a voluntary arrangement . Across the industrialisedjust the “internet”, with implications for freedom of world, it is considered standard practice for largespeech and access to information . Today, our data is carriers to “clean their pipes” of malicious networksentrusted to vast transnational information empires and traffic that is associated with file sharing orwho act as gatekeepers and increasingly arbiters similar “undesirable” activities . The bottom line ofof what gets communicated, and what information business now demands it .is accessible or not . Market considerations can Of course what is considered “intermediary li-easily outweigh privacy and other rights concerns, ability” or a market imperative in Canada and the USand have already made largely irrelevant so-called differs quite fundamentally from Belarus, Iran, Viet“end-to-end” principles that once ensured network Nam or China . In non-democratic countries, ISPs,neutrality . Even something as benign as a spam fil- telecom carriers and mobile operators are beingter gone wild can end up unintentionally disrupting asked to police political content, track dissidents,political communications, as our research on Ap- identify protesters, send threatening messages overple’s MobileMe filtering system2 has shown . their networks, and disable certain protocols used More serious, however, are the ways in which by adversaries – all as part of what my colleaguethe private sector is being pressured, compelled, Rafal Rohozinski6 and I have dubbed “next-genera-and even incentivised to “police the internet” by tion controls”7 that we see emerging throughout thegovernments looking to download their growing developing world . During the Arab Spring, for exam-cyberspace controls . For example, in Canada, the ple, the Egyptian government took the drastic stepStephen Harper government is introducing an Om- of forcing ISPs to shutter the internet, and requirednibus Crime Bill3 through parliament that would the country’s main mobile phone operator, Vodafone,require ISPs and telecommunications companies to to send mass text messages encouraging pro-regimeretain user data, process the data in ways that make sympathisers to take to the streets to counter theit amenable to law enforcement and intelligence, protesters . This shift towards intermediary liabil-and then share that data with law enforcement ity is perhaps one of the greatest practical changesrepresentatives – all without judicial oversight . around internet governance in the last decade, par-Arrangements like these are not uncommon . Pri- ticularly when considered in the context of growingvacy researcher Chris Soghoian has made a career cyberspace securitisation, of which it is a part .documenting4 how private sector actors not only fa- The securitisation of cyberspace – a transforma-cilitate access to information for law enforcement, tion of the domain into a matter of national securitybut actually derive revenues from doing so . He has – is perhaps the most important factor shaping thealso documented extensive variation among these global communications ecosystem today . Facedactors on the specifics of their data retention and with the combined pressures above, and seem-privacy policies . As a result, citizens using different ingly incessant and embarrassing large-scale datacommunications services can live in entirely differ- breaches, policy makers around the world are rac-ent universes of rights . ing to develop cyber security strategies . Some are The downloading of policing functions to the following the lead of the US, standing up withinprivate sector – a phenomenon known as “inter- their armed forces dedicated cyber commands andmediary liability” – extends to the protection of laying out formal doctrines for cyberspace . Othersintellectual property . At a recent meeting5 on the are adopting less conventional means, includinginternet economy organised by the Organisation for providing tacit support for pro-patriotic groups toEconomic Co-operation and Development (OECD) engage in offensive cyber attacks in defence of theirin Paris, the final communiqué argued that ISPs country, as seems to be the case in Iran, Syria, Rus-should take on more expansive roles chasing down sia, Burma and China .copyright violators using their networks . Civil so- Cyberspace securitisation includes a politicalciety stakeholders refused to sign on to the final economy dimension: there is a growing cyber indus-communiqué largely in objection to this component . trial complex8 around security products and servicesThe OECD communiqué is but a reflection of a larger that both responds to, but also shapes the policytrend . In the United States (US), several ISPs andcarriers have already taken on this responsibility as 6 Rafal Rohozinski is a Senior Scholar at the Canada Centre for Global Security Studies at the Munk School of Global Affairs,2 opennet .net/apple-mobileme-brief University of Toronto . He is a co-principal investigator of the3 www .michaelgeist .ca/content/view/5808/135 OpenNet Initiative and Information Warfare Monitor projects .4 www .dubfire .net/#pubs 7 www .access-controlled .net/wp-content/PDFs/chapter-1 .pdf5 www .oecd .org/document/59/0,3746, 8 www .theglobeandmail .com/news/opinions/opinion/the-new- en_21571361_44315115_48173819_1_1_1_1,00 .html cyber-military-industrial-complex/article1957159 24 / Global Information Society Watch
    • marketplace . Corporate giants of the Cold War, like Rohozinski and I have summed up these cu-Northrup Grunman, Boeing and General Dynamics, mulative forces as the coming “perfect storm” inare repositioning themselves for lucrative defence cyberspace . With threats seemingly multiplying,contracts, alongside an array of subterranean niche and mutually reinforcing tendencies like thosecompanies that offer computer network exploita- above growing, the prospects of extreme solutionstion products and services . The global cyber arms finding widespread acceptance are high . Whether ittrade9 now includes malicious viruses, zero-day is a proposal for an entirely new internet (as formerexploits and massive botnets . An arms race in cy- CIA director Michael Hayden recently argued)16 orberspace has been unleashed, with international the gradual metamorphosis of the existing openimplications . For every US Cyber Command, there communications space into sovereign-controlledis now a Syrian or Iranian cyber army equivalent . national internets, the securitisation wave is goingFor every “Internet Freedom in a Suitcase”,10 there to have major and potentially damaging conse-is justification for greater territorialisation of cyber- quences for civic networks . What is to be done?space controls . First, as argued, there is an urgent need for the Cyberspace securitisation has also effectively articulation of a cyber security strategy for civicnormalised internet censorship . What was once networks . For many who would characterise them-the province of pariah states, like China and Saudi selves as part of global civil society, “security” isArabia, is now quickly becoming the norm among seen as anathema . In today’s world of exaggeratedliberal democracies and authoritarian regimes threats and self-serving hyperbole from the compu-alike . Our OpenNet Initiative11 project tracks inter- ter security industry, it is easy to dismiss securitynet filtering and information controls in more than as a myth to be demolished, rather than engaged .40 countries worldwide . But perhaps the best in- Securitisation is associated with the defence in-sight on the normalisation of internet restrictions dustry, Pentagon strategists, and the cyber securitycomes from data provided by Google . As part of military industrial complex . Many might questionits Transparency Report,12 Google now discloses whether employing the language of security onlyrequests from governments for user data or the re- plays into this complex and the growing might ofmoval of information on its websites and services, cyberspace controls .like YouTube . The data it released for the July- But the vulnerabilities of cyberspace are veryDecember 2010 period was perhaps most remarka- real, the underbelly of cyber crime is undeniablyble not so much for confirming the usual suspects, huge and growing, an arms race in cyberspace is es-but rather for the way it revealed that censorship is calating, and major governments are poised to setnow normal among democratic countries . The gov- the rules of the road17 that may impose top-downernments of Germany, the United Kingdom, Brazil, solutions that subvert the domain as we know it .Italy and others make thousands of take-down Dismissing these as manufactured myths propa-requests every year .13 Here too, as a complement gated by the power elite will only marginalise civicto these new developments, internet censorship networks from the conversations where policies areservices – produced primarily in the West14 – have being forged .become a major commercial sector . When Cana- Civic networks need to be at the forefront of se-dian filtering software companies who provide curity solutions that preserve cyberspace as an openservices and products to Yemen, Kuwait and the commons of information, protect privacy by design,United Arab Emirates are actually applauded15 for and shore up access to information and freedom oftheir efforts by the Canadian government, we can speech, while at the same time address the growingsafely say that internet censorship has become a vulnerabilities that have produced a massive explo-global norm . sion in cyber crime and security breaches . How can security and openness be reconciled? Aren’t the two9 www .businessweek .com/magazine/cyber-weapons-the-new-arms- contradictory? Not at all . The answer lies in the in- race-07212011 .html ternet itself . As my colleague Jonathan Zittrain has10 www .nytimes .com/2011/06/12/world/12internet .html?_ forcefully argued, there are open and generative r=1&pagewanted=all self-healing and protective mechanisms that are a11 map .opennet .net12 www .google .com/transparencyreport part of the everyday functioning of the internet itself .13 www .washingtonpost .com/blogs/blogpost/post/web-censorship- Zittrain’s views are backed up by a recent European moves-to-democracies-the-west/2011/06/27/AGPi4xnH_blog .html14 opennet .net/west-censoring-east-the-use-western-technologies- middle-east-censors-2010-2011 16 www .nextgov .com/nextgov/ng_20110706_1137 .php15 opennet .net/blog/2011/07/canadian-government-lauds-uae- 17 arstechnica .com/tech-policy/news/2011/05/france-attempts-to- internet-service-provider-pervasively-censors-political-r civilize-the-internet-internet-fights-back .ars Thematic reports / 25
    • security study which explained how the open and campaigns – like the Electronic Frontier Founda-decentralised organisation that is the very essence tion’s (EFF) privacy scorecard19 – are the best meansof the ecosystem is essential to the success and to ensure the private sector complies with humanresilience of the internet .18 What is remarkable, in rights standards worldwide . Going further, however,other words, is that the internet functions precisely civic networks should make the case that govern-in the absence of centralised control and because of ment pressures to police the internet impose costlythe thousands of distributed, loosely coordinated burdens on businesses that should be concededmonitoring mechanisms . While these decentralised only with the greatest reservations and proper over-mechanisms are not perfect and can occasionally sight . Such self-interest-based arguments will havefail, they should be bolstered and enhanced as part much greater traction with the private sector thanof a coherent distributed security strategy . Bottom- either pleas for magnanimity or pressures of nam-up, “grassroots” solutions to the internet’s security ing and shaming ever will .problems are consistent with principles of open- Lastly, civic networks need to be players in theness, avoid heavy-handed centralised controls, and rule-making forums where cyberspace rules of theprovide checks and balances against the concentra- road are implemented . This is not an easy task .tion of power in cyberspace . Part of a civil society There is no one single forum of cyberspace govern-security strategy should be to find ways to facilitate ance; instead, governance is diffuse and distributedcooperation among the existing, largely scattered across multiple forums, meetings and standard-set-security networks while simultaneously making ting bodies at local, national, regional and globaltheir actions more transparent and accountable . levels . The idea of civil society participation in these Part of the civic strategy must also include a centres of cyberspace governance varies widely,serious engagement with law enforcement – an- and is alien to some . Civic networks will need toother traditional anathema for civil society . Law monitor all of these centres of governance, openenforcement agencies are often stigmatised as the the doors to participation in those venues that areOrwellian bogeymen of internet freedom (and in now closed shops, and make sure that “multi-stake-places like Belarus, Uzbekistan and Burma, they holder participation” is not just something paid lipare), but the reality in the liberal democratic world is service to by politicians, but something meaning-more complex . Many law enforcement agencies are fully exercised by networks of citizens . The civiloverwhelmed with cyber crime, are understaffed, society rejection of the OECD final communiqué is alack proper equipment and training, and have no model in this regard .incentives or structures to cooperate across bor- The idea of security is most closely associatedders . Instead of dealing with these shortcomings with the tradition of realpolitik, and the denizens ofhead on, politicians are opting for new “Patriot Act” the national security apparatus . Global civil society,powers that dilute civil liberties, place burdens on on the other hand, is most often associated with re-the private sector, and conjure up fears of a surveil- spect for rights, democracy, diversity and openness .lance society . What law enforcement needs is not As the securitisation of cyberspace builds momen-new powers, it needs new resources, capabilities, tum, it may be tempting for civic networks to eitherproper training and equipment . But alongside those concede the terms of the security debate to thenew resources should be the highest standards of national security community, or resist it altogether .judicial oversight and public accountability . Civic That would be a mistake . There is a long-standingnetworks can articulate the differences between and very powerful tradition of liberal security, as-powers and resources, and highlight the impor- sociated with distributed checks and balances,tance of public accountability to liberal democracy respect for individual rights, and decentralisation .as an example to the rest of the world without alien- What is urgently required now is the translationating what could be an important natural ally . of that tradition to the domain of cyberspace, and The same basic premise of oversight and ac- the practical application of its principles by citizenscountability must extend to the private sector as worldwide . Otherwise, the great gains in network-well . Civic networks are inherently transnational ing that have produced an explosion in global civiland are because of this best equipped to moni- society over the last decades could gradually evap-tor globe-spanning corporations who own and orate . noperate cyberspace . Persistent public pressure,backed up by credible evidence-based research and18 www .lightbluetouchpaper .org/2011/04/12/resilience-of-the- 19 www .eff .org/pages/when-government-comes-knocking-who-has- internet-interconnection-ecosystem your-back 26 / Global Information Society Watch
    • Internet intermediaries: The new cyber police?Joe McNamee Limitations of intermediary liabilityEuropean Digital Rights The need for an open internet was recognised bywww .edri .org both the US and the EU at the end of the 1990s . The US adopted the Digital Millennium CopyrightIntroduction Act (DMCA) in 1998, offering significant “safe har-The purpose of this report is to look at the increas- bours” to internet intermediaries for unauthoriseding trend for internet intermediaries to be used to content on their networks, while the EU adoptedpolice and enforce the law on the internet and even the E-Commerce Directive in 2000, which took ato mete out punishments . As well as undermining horizontal approach to safe harbours for all formsthe fundamental rights of freedom of communica- of illegal and unauthorised content . The publiction, privacy and right to a fair trial, this approach is policy objectives on both sides of the Atlantic wereserving to create borders in the online world, under- clear, namely to maintain an open internet . This wasmining the very openness that gives the internet its seen as necessary to allow the economy to take fullvalue for democracy and, indeed, for the economy . advantage of the internet and, as a collateral ben- This issue is becoming increasingly important efit, freedom of expression and almost unrestricteddue to four different trends, which are developing access to information . The benefits of such ansimultaneously and synergetically . These are: approach can be seen in the economy5 and in the ef- fect of the internet in opening closed societies right• The increased technical possibilities for online around the world . surveillance by internet access providers . The Nonetheless, despite this comparatively robust use of some of these possibilities is required by legal framework, weaknesses appeared almost legal obligations such as the 2004 Communica- from the start . This occurred particularly in Europe, tions and Law Enforcement Act (CALEA)1 in the where the wording of the E-Commerce Directive is United States (US) and the European Union’s too vague (due to the political compromises that (EU) Data Retention Directive .2 were made during the adoption process) to allow• The increased business interest that larger ac- intermediaries to feel completely secure, resulting cess providers see in blocking or limiting access in significant infringements of the right to commu- to certain online content, as illustrated by re- nication . In 2004, a study by the Dutch NGO Bits cent discussions in both the US and Europe on of Freedom tested twelve hosting providers, nine “net neutrality” . of which deleted innocent material as a result of an obviously bogus “notice” sent from a Hotmail• A concerted push at an intergovernmental level account set up solely for that purpose . This experi- to legitimise and spread privatised enforcement ence was duplicated by a team of United Kingdom measures .3 (UK) academics,6 also in 2004 (although it should• Mergers of access providers and media com- be pointed out that this project did find the DMCA’s panies, and distribution agreements between process comparatively robust), and Dutch firm content providers and intermediaries where ICTRecht in 2009 . Unilateral actions by internet the contract includes obligations for the in- providers have now effectively shifted their core termediary to undertake policing/punishment activities from hosting providers to internet access measures .4 providers, who have started “blocking” content, very often outside the rule of law . This started in the UK in 2004, supported by the Internet Watch1 en .wikipedia .org/wiki/Communications_Assistance_for_Law_ Foundation, and spread to Denmark, Sweden and Enforcement_Act Finland in the ensuing years, as well as into the2 eur-lex .europa .eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ .do?uri=OJ:L:2006:105:0 054:0063:EN:PDF3 See, for example, article 5 .3 of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement at www .ustr .gov/webfm_send/2379 5 eur-lex .europa .eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ .do?uri=OJ:L:2006:105:04 www .bof .nl/2011/01/04/vrije-internettoegang-ook-in-nederland- 054:0063:EN:PDF onder-vuur 6 pcmlp .socleg .ox .ac .uk/sites/pcmlp .socleg .ox .ac .uk/files/liberty .pdf Thematic reports / 27
    • mobile environment, thanks to an agreement bro- and highly controlled regimes . As a result, therekered by the European Commission .7 It is worth has been a veritable rash of international-levelnoting the heavy overlap between parts of the inter- measures which seek to encourage or coerce inter-net access market most opposed to net neutrality mediaries – many with their own long-term vestedand the parts most favourable to voluntary internet interests in this – to filter, block and punish allegedblocking . online infringements . Operators that have been at the forefront of In November 2010, the negotiating parties“voluntary” internet blocking – such as British published the final text of the Anti-CounterfeitingTelecom, Telenor, Virgin and the mobile industry Trade Agreement (ACTA) . Although significantlyin general – have also been the loudest voices op- improved from earlier versions, the section of theposed to net neutrality . In January 2011, British agreement on intellectual property enforcementTelecom announced plans to charge certain online circuitously talks about maintaining an internetvideo providers more for prioritised traffic,8 as did service provider (ISP) liability regime which pre-Telenor,9 while Virgin Media announced plans to serves “the legitimate interests of rights holders”launch a deep packet inspection of the traffic of and obliges parties to “endeavor to promote coop-40% of its customers in 2010 .10 Similarly, there have erative efforts within the business community tobeen multiple examples of mobile industry efforts effectively address trademark and copyright or re-seeking to exploit and reinforce their control over lated rights infringement”13 – a footnote in a leakedaccess to their clients, such as the blocking of voice draft explaining that “an example of such a policyover internet protocol (VoIP) applications .11 This cre- is providing for the termination in appropriate cir-ates a situation where these providers are eager to cumstances of subscriptions and accounts in theaccept demands from regulators for so-called “self- service provider’s system or network of repeat [al-regulatory” blocking measures as, in the long term, leged, presumably] infringers .”it will be difficult for regulators to sustainably argue In February 2011, the World Intellectual Propertythat access providers should be voluntarily interfer- Organization (WIPO) tried and failed14 to launch aing in traffic for public policy reasons but not for discussion15 on internet intermediary liability forbusiness reasons . trademark infringements . This was followed in June 2011 by a side-event at a WIPO event in Geneva onThe beginning of large-scale privatised the “role and responsibility of internet intermediar-enforcement ies in the field of copyright” which, interestingly,At the moment there appears to be a “tipping point”, included no internet intermediaries at all! WIPOwith governments apparently feeling that the open- has also recently commissioned and published twoness that gives the internet its economic value is independent studies on intermediary liability .16 Itnow so unbreakable that unfettered meddling by has successfully tabled a workshop proposal forintermediaries for the protection of (mainly) intel- the Internet Governance Forum in Nairobi in Sep-lectual property can be actively promoted .12 They tember 2011 to discuss “thought-provoking ideas”are not only promoting this approach internally, and such as in ACTA, the US Combating Online Infringe-not only in countries with strong democratic tradi- ments and Counterfeits Act (COICA) (which requirestions, but across the globe, potentially blocking off “blocking” by internet intermediaries) and the EUmarkets and legitimising privatised surveillance Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement Directiveand control on communication in totalitarian (whose use for mandatory internet blocking and surveillance is currently being assessed by the Eu- ropean Court of Justice) .177 ec .europa .eu/information_society/newsroom/cf/itemlongdetail . In June 2011, the Organisation for Economic cfm?item_id=3153 Co-operation and Development (OECD) adopted8 www .wired .com/epicenter/2011/01/bt-rejects-accusations-of-net- its Communiqué on Principles for Internet Policy neutrality-breach-sort-of Making .18 Under the heading “limit internet inter-9 www .dn .no/forsiden/etterBors/article2067200 .ece10 technology .timesonline .co .uk/tol/news/tech_and_web/the_web/ mediary liability” it calls for states to undertake article6989510 .ece multi-stakeholder processes to “identify the11 www .ft .com/cms/s/0/1ce4e1c8-1fd7-11de-a1df-00144feabdc0 . html#axzz1STK17d9n 13 www .ustr .gov/webfm_send/237912 The draft PROTECT IP Act in the US was accused of allowing 14 www .ccianet .org/index .asp%3Fsid=5%26artid=213%26evtflg=False “the government to break the Internet addressing system” 15 www .wipo .int/edocs/mdocs/sct/en/sct_25/sct_25_3 .pdf and “breaking the Internet’s infrastructure” by a group of 108 professors in a recent public letter on this proposed legislation . 16 www .wipo .int/copyright/en/internet_intermediaries/index .html blogs .law .stanford .edu/newsfeed/files/2011/07/PROTECT-IP- 17 European Court of Justice Case C70/10 letter-final .pdf 18 www .oecd .org/dataoecd/40/21/48289796 .pdf 28 / Global Information Society Watch
    • appropriate circumstances under which internet commercial benefit have kindly offered to throttleintermediaries could take steps to educate users, bandwidth to users who have been repeatedlyassist rights holders in enforcing their rights or re- accused of copyright violations .duce illegal content” (this communiqué itself was In addition to their business interest in thisthe subject of a multi-stakeholder process that civil anti-net neutrality approach, the changing naturesociety rejected) .19 The text avoids supporting net- of the business (demonstrated inter alia by Com-work neutrality and instead meaninglessly refers to cast’s purchase of NBC and Verizon’s recent move tomaintaining “appropriate” quality . It also pointedly movie distribution)23 creates new incentives for thisavoids even a single reference to “due process”, approach . Smaller access providers will be increas-opting for the less restrictive and legally meaning- ingly “squeezed” – they are obliged to incur the costless “fair process” instead . of implementing technologies to be able to interfere with internet traffic in the absence of the economiesPrivatised policing in practice of scale that would permit this to be done in a cost-So what does all of this mean on a practical level? effective way, or in a way which could be used forAs this approach is generally outside the rule of non-net neutral purposes .law, implementations tend to be very ad hoc . Across In addition to the threats to citizens’ ability toEurope, internet hosting providers and social net- access the internet at all, to access an open andworks delete material which they fear could result neutral internet, and to access material “voluntar-in them being liable, based on random criteria . As ily” or accidentally blocked by their ISP, there areseen in the 2004 Bits of Freedom study, the same also increasing efforts to use the structure of thecontent will be deleted or left online depending on internet itself as a law enforcement tool . The EUthe unpredictable internal practices of the compa- and the US, for example, have an ongoing project tonies in question . Dutch social networking site Hyves discuss the revocation of domain names (on whichwill automatically delete anything if users with ten the US claims wide-ranging jurisdiction)24 and IPdifferent IP addresses click the “report material” addresses25 (the regional registry for Europe, thebutton . Remarkably, the European Commission has Middle East and parts of central Asia is located inactively encouraged hosting providers to change the Netherlands) . While the US approach is partlytheir terms of service to give them an unfettered based on law, with COICA and the PROTECT IP (Pre-ability to delete anything they want .20 Similarly, in- venting Real Online Threats to Economic Creativityternet providers who started “blocking” websites and Theft of Intellectual Property) Act26 planned toaccused of containing child abuse material are now regulate the blocking and revocation of domainbeing asked and sometimes required to introduce names, a non-legislative approach is also fol-blocking measures for other content . lowed in some circumstances, such as regarding In Ireland, the former monopoly internet pro- unlicensed online pharmacies . In the EU, blockingvider Eircom has agreed to become judge, jury and is regulated by law in some countries (France andexecutioner on accusations of illegal downloading Italy, for example), without law in others (the UK– cutting off consumers repeatedly accused of in- and Sweden) and with and without law in others,fringements21 and blocking websites22 accused by depending on the subject (such as in Denmark and,music industry interests of facilitating infringements . possibly in the future, the UK) . Revocation of do-The Spanish “Sinde” law offers an interesting mix main names, on the other hand, is generally withoutof rule of law and extra-judicial coercion . Under that a legal framework .27approach, the plaintiff requests extra-judicial actionfrom the internet provider first and, afterwards, if the Conclusioninternet provider wants to incur the expense of pur- The promotion of a closed internet regulated outsidesuing a court case, a judicial procedure is foreseen . the rule of law undermines efforts of Western gov-In the US, the large ISPs that have been lobbying ernments to support the democratising potential ofhard for the right to throttle bandwidth for their own the internet in closed and totalitarian regimes . The19 www .edri .org/files/CSISAC_Press_Release%20_0628011_FINAL .pdf 23 www .nytimes .com/2011/07/17/opinion/sunday/17sun3 .20 www .edri .org/edrigram/number8 .15/edri-euroispa-notice- html?partner=rssnyt&emc=rss takedown-comission 24 digitizor .com/2011/07/06/us-jurisdiction-com-net-websites21 www .theregister .co .uk/2009/02/03/eircom_agrees_to_three_ 25 www .theregister .co .uk/2010/04/27/eu_cybercrime strikes_enforcement 26 en .wikipedia .org/wiki/Protect_IP_Act22 www .theregister .co .uk/2009/02/23/irma_demands_irish_isps_ 27 www .theregister .co .uk/2011/05/18/nominet_wrestles_with_net_ block_access_to_piracy_sites cop_role Thematic reports / 29
    • imposition of unreasonable jurisdiction claims over Next stepsparts or all of the IP address allocation and domainname systems creates dangers for the integrity of • Activists should demand that the spirit and thethe global internet . The outsourcing of policing of letter of constitutional28 and human rights29 bethe internet and imposition of punishments by in- respectedternet intermediaries contradicts basic democratic • The dangers of pushing world regions or individ-values and our democratic societies’ view of the rule ual countries into developing “splinternets” toof law . The outsourcing of these activities to large avoid EU/US jurisdiction should be recognised .corporations who have a publicly stated vestedinterest in the development and imposition of a • Positive positions of international organisationsnon-neutral internet creates an online environment should be publicised as much as possible .30which is diametrically opposed to the openness of • Positive political statements on the need tothe internet . This openness gives us the democratic keep the internet open should be publicised– and the economic – value of the internet and is and promoted .31too important for governments to simply take for • The contradictions between calls for an opengranted and to experiment with as if it were insig- internet in certain countries and support for anificant . Our social interaction is increasingly online privately regulated and closed internet domesti-and freedoms which were previously unquestioned cally should be highlighted .are now increasingly at the whim of private com-panies: our freedom of expression, our freedom of • More attention should be given to the economicassembly, our privacy and our right to due process damage of moving from an innovative, competitiveand presumption of innocence . and open internet to a closed non-neutral internet . n 28 Such as the US First Amendment . 29 Such as Articles 8 and 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights and Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights . 30 www2 .ohchr .org/english/bodies/hrcouncil/docs/17session/A . HRC .17 .27_en .pdf 31 www .physorg .com/news/2011-02-clinton-renews-internet-access . html 30 / Global Information Society Watch
    • E-revolutions and cyber crackdowns: User-generatedcontent and social networking in protestsin MENA and beyondAlex Comninos elsewhere? Was UGC, created on mobile phonesDoctoral candidate, Department of Geography, Justus and distributed over platforms like Facebook orLiebig University Giessen Twitter, among the causes of these uprisings?www .comninos .org, www .uni-giessen .de/cms/faculties/ The usage of mobile phones, social networkingf07/07/geography/depart-geo websites and UGC in protests in MENA is not unprec- edented . Twitter was used in protests in MoldovaIntroduction and Iran in 2009 and both cases were referred to by some as Twitter revolutions .1 The popular oust-The recent protests and uprisings in Tunisia and ing of President Joseph Estrada in the PhilippinesEgypt have both been called “Twitter revolutions” in 2001 was referred to as an “SMS revolution”and “Facebook revolutions” due to the widespread due to the use of text messages to mobilise pro-use of user-generated content (UGC) disseminated tests . It was described as “arguably the world’s firstover social networks like Facebook and Twitter by ‘e-revolution’ – a change of government broughtprotesters, activists and supporters of the protests, about by new forms of ICTs .”2as well as by those following the events around the Many feel that the role of UGC and social net-globe . This report investigates the usage and role working should not be overstated,3 that theseof UGC and social networking websites in the recent were not the cause of protests and uprisings in anyprotests and uprisings in the Middle East and North MENA country . The causes involve a combinationAfrica (MENA), as well as other cases outside of the of decades of repression, political and economicregion . marginalisation, the long-term structural decay of In addition to being effective tools for commu- effectiveness and legitimacy in some state institu-nication and coordination by protesters, UGC and tions, and soaring food prices, along with a desiresocial networking have also been used by govern- by citizens for political representation and partici-ments in response to these protests, often to crack pation and the recognition of their human rights . Ondown on protesters . Content and social networking the ground, popular sentiments, grassroots organ-platforms are areas of contestation between pro- ising and allegiance of the state security forces aretesters and governments not necessarily balanced important factors .in favour of protesters . UGC refers to internet content (text, images, vid-eos and sound clips) that is created and uploaded 1 The term was applied by Evgeny Morozov to the Moldovan proteststo the internet by users, usually for no explicit fi- in 2009 . See Morozov, E . (2009) Moldova’s Twitter Revolution, Net Effect, 7 April . neteffect .foreignpolicy .com/posts/2009/04/07/nancial gain, but rather for enjoyment or passion . moldovas_twitter_revolution; see also his other posts, MoreUGC is created usually by amateurs, rather than analysis of Twitter’s role in Moldova, Net Effect, 7 April . neteffect .professionals . It includes blogs, video clips, audio foreignpolicy .com/posts/2009/04/07/more_analysis_of_ twitters_role_in_moldova and Moldova’s Twitter revolution isclips (podcasts), as well as comments on internet NOT a myth, Net Effect, 10 April . neteffect .foreignpolicy .com/forums or “status updates” on social networks like posts/2009/04/10/moldovas_twitter_revolution_is_not_a_myth Morozov has since criticised the Western media’s haste to applyFacebook or micro-blogging platforms like Twitter . the term to Iran and protests and uprisings in MENA, as well asIn MENA, UGC created on mobile phones enabled admitting that he might have hastily applied the term to Moldova .protesters or witnesses to report on events live He writes about it in his 2011 book, The Net Delusion: The Dark Side of Internet Freedom, Public Affairs, New York .and to communicate with others and spread their 2 Cout, J . (2001) People Power II in the Philippines: The Firstmessage . Social networks like Facebook and the E-Revolution?, Overseas Development Institute . www .odi .org .uk/micro-blogging platform Twitter were used to dis- resources/details .asp?id=3147&title=people-power-ii-philippines- first-e-revolutionseminate this content . 3 The debate between techno-sceptics and techno-idealists with regards to the role of ICTs in Tunisia and Egypt is well outlinedTwitter and Facebook revolutions? in Vargas, J . A . (2011) Egypt, the Age of Disruption and the “Me” in Media, The Huffington Post, 7 February . www .huffingtonpost .Can the uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia, as well as com/jose-antonio-vargas/egypt-age-of-disruption-me-in-others in the MENA region, be called Twitter or Face- media_b_819481 .html; see also Kravets, D . (2011) What’s fueling Mideast protests? It’s more than Twitter, Wired Magazine,book revolutions? Was social networking unique to 28 January . www .wired .co .uk/news/archive/2011-01/28/middle-these protests? Has similar usage been seen before east-protests-twitter . Thematic reports / 31
    • TABLE 1. ICT access in MENA Country Mobile Fixed internet Estimated Fixed Facebook Facebook cellular subscriptions internet users broadband users users per 100 subscriptions per 100 per 100 subscriptions per inhabitants per 100 inhabitants inhabitants 100 inhabitants inhabitants Algeria 93 .8 … 13 .5 2 .3 1,138,240 3 .00 Azerbaijan 87 .8 5 .9 27 .4 1 .1 184,660 2 .00 Bahrain 177 .1 10 .0 53 .0 9 .6 232,960 29 .00 Egypt 66 .7 2 .8 24 .3 1 .3 5,651,080 7 .00 Iran 70 .8 … 11 .1 0 .5 no data no data* Iraq 64 .1 … 1 .1 0 .1 254,840 less than 1 Israel 125 .8 … 63 .1 25 .8 308,760 40 .00 Jordan 95 .2 3 .9 26 .0 3 .2 954,580 15 .00 Kuwait 129 .9 … 36 .9 1 .5 525,000 17 .00 Lebanon 56 .6 … 23 .7 5 .3 969,240 23 .00 Libya 148 .5 12 .0 5 .5 1 .0 191,120 3 .00 Mali 34 .2 0 .2 1 .9 0 .0 44,360 less than 1 Mauritania 66 .3 … 2 .3 0 .3 33,700 1 .00 Morocco 79 .1 1 .5 41 .3 1 .5 2,158,680 7 .00 Oman 139 .5 2 .8 51 .5 1 .4 156,200 5 .00 Palestine 28 .6 … 32 .2 5 .0 no data no data Qatar 175 .4 10 .4 40 .0 10 .4 405,100 24 .00 Saudi Arabia 174 .4 7 .3 38 .0 5 .2 2,489,320 9 .00 Sudan 36 .3 … … 0 .4 no data no data* Syria 45 .6 3 .6 20 .4 0 .2 no data no data* Tunisia 95 .4 4 .0 34 .1 3 .6 1,708,700 16 .00 UAE 232 .1 30 .5 75 .0 15 .0 1,689,300 36 .00 Yemen 35 .3 1 .9 10 .0 0 .2 107,520 less than 1 * Denotes lack of data due to the US comprehensive economic embargo on Iran, Sudan and Syria . There is no official Facebook data for these countries due to the trade embargo – technically they are not supposed to be offered Facebook, which is a US product . Sources: International Telecommunication Union 2009 (www .itu .int/ITU-D/ICTEYE/Indicators/Indicators .aspx) and Social Map (geographics .cz/socialMap, statistics are from May 2011)ICT access in MENA Nonetheless, many protesters used UGC toCalling the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt Twitter express popular demands . Linkages were demon-or Facebook revolutions overlooks information and strated between the mobilisation of demonstratorscommunications technology (ICT) access in these by social media as well as offline (on-the-ground)countries . In 2009 in Tunisia and Egypt there were mobilisation .4only 34 .1 and 24 .3 internet users per 100 inhabit- UGC and social networking in MENAants respectively . In Egypt only 7% of inhabitantsare Facebook users, while 16% are Facebook users The terms “Twitter revolution” or “Facebook revolu-in Tunisia . From the ICT access and usage figures tion” may not be accurate . The assertions that “thelisted in Table 1, there is little correlation between revolution will be tweeted” and “the revolution willICTs and the level of unrest . be streamed” have more credence in the cases of Throughout MENA social networking users gen- Egypt, Tunisia, Syria, Bahrain and Libya . Many usederally comprise a minority of the population . Claims mobile phones to organise demonstrations and tothat UGC speaks for the demonstrators must be tak- spread their messages . UGC and social networkingen critically . The usage of the internet in developing platforms play an important role in protests andcountries is often disproportionately urban . Media political transitions, but not necessarily a decisiveattention is generally drawn to urban protests, for one .example, Cairo, Alexandria, Tunis, Tripoli and Beng- 4 Meier, P . (2011) Civil Resistance Tactics Used in Egypt’s Revolutionhazi . Use of UGC and social media also often reflects #Jan25, iRevolution, 27 February . irevolution .net/2011/02/27/income and literacy biases . tactics-egypt-revolution-jan25 32 / Global Information Society Watch
    • Before investigating the usage of UGC, the con- up on the story . Often state media in MENA avoidedtext of its use in MENA will be examined by looking reporting on it . Some internet content (like YouTube)at internet freedom in the region . was blocked at the time by the Tunisian internet fil- ter . Facebook, which was not blocked at the time,Internet freedom in MENA became an important platform for spreading newsIn November 2005, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) of Bouazizi and the Sidi Bouzid revolt . Twitter waslisted fifteen “enemies of the internet”, four of which also instrumental in covering the protests .were in MENA: Libya, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Tunisia . Around the globe, many used Twitter andIn 2010, RSF listed twelve enemies of the internet, Facebook as a first port of call for information aboutincluding Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Syria and Tunisia . In Tunisia . UGC about events in Tunisia served to inspireMarch 2011, only Saudi Arabia and Syria were “en- people throughout the region . Egyptian activist Gigiemies of the internet”, although Bahrain, Belarus, Ibrahim, upon witnessing the downfall of TunisianEgypt, Libya, Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, tweeted: “The(UAE) were listed as “under surveillance” . Saudi Ara- Tunisian revolution is being twitterised . . .history isbia, Syria and Egypt had netizens in prison .5 being written by the people #sidibouzid #Tunisia .”8 Internet filtering is common in MENA . The Open- In Egypt, Facebook and Twitter were used to an-Net Initiative reports that Bahrain, UAE, Qatar, Oman, nounce and publicise the planned protests on 25Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Yemen, Sudan and Tunisia January 2011 . Facebook groups such as We are all Kha-used Western technologies to block internet content, led Said9 and the 6th of April Youth Movement10 called“such as websites that provide sceptical views of Is- for demonstrations . The plans and message of thelam, secular and atheist discourse, sex, GLBT [gay, protest were also disseminated through conventionallesbian, bisexual and transgender content], dating means like word of mouth, photocopies and emailingservices, and proxy and anonymity tools .”6 of a PDF file explaining the plans for the protests .11 According to a 2007 study of Arab media, “the Facebook was used to announce protests inimpact of censorship across the region is mixed .” other countries in the MENA region . Many pro-Despite persistent censorship, “governments have tests in 2011 were supported by Facebook pages,not been able to silence dissent on the internet .”7 events and groups . UGC communicated the mes- sages of protesters nationally, regionally andThe use of UGC and social networking globally, and provided live coverage, news andin protest in MENA opinions . On Twitter, protests (both online and off-Mohammed Bouazizi was a poverty-stricken Tuni- line) had their own Twitter hashtags . The Twittersian vegetable trader from the small town of Sidi hashtags #SidiBouzid, #Jan25, #Jan30, #Feb14,Bouzid who had been repeatedly harassed by the #Feb17, #Mar11/#ksa/#tal3mrak,12 #Yemen/#Yamen,police, who often asked him for bribes and con-fiscated his wares . In the last encounter they beat 8 Gigi Ibrahim (@Gsquare86) 17:28:11 Jan 14 2011 twitter .com/him . After being denied an appointment with a local gsquare86 . Tweet curated in Nunns, A . and Idle, N . (2011) Tweetsgovernment official to discuss this harassment, he from Tahrir, OR Books, New York .doused himself with fuel and set himself alight in a 9 See Anonymous, “‫ - ‬ ديعس دلاخ انلك‫‬We are all Khaled Saeed”, www .facebook .com/ElShaheeed as well as “We are all Khaledpublic square . He died in hospital weeks later . Said: Working against torture and inhuman treatment of Egyptians News of Bouazizi inspired protests in Sidi Bouz- in their own country . Standing up against corruption in Egypt”,id, elsewhere in Tunisia, and throughout MENA . www .elshaheeed .co .uk . The pages were created in response to the murder of Khaled Said . Said was beaten to death by police afterInitially television and print media were slow to pick being caught in an internet café attempting to upload footage of Egyptian police selling drugs . 10 See “6th of April Youth Movement - ‫,”. ليربإ 6 بابش ةكرح‬5 Reporters Without Borders (2005) The 15 enemies of the Internet www .facebook .com/shabab6april and other countries to watch, Reporters without Borders, 11 See a copy in English and Arabic in Madrigal, A . (2011) Egyptian 17 November . en .rsf .org/the-15-enemies-of-the-internet- Activists’ Action Plan: Translated, The Atlantic, 27 January . and-17-11-2005,15613 .html; Reporters without Borders (2010) Web theatlantic .com/international/archive/2011/01/egyptian-activists- 2 .0 vs Control 2 .0, Reporters Without Borders, 12 March . en .rsf . action-plan-translated/70388 . Interestingly, the document stated org/IMG/pdf/Internet_enemies .pdf; Reporters Without Borders not to use Twitter, Facebook or other websites for dissemination as (2011) Internet Enemies, Reporters without Borders . march12 .rsf . “[t]hey are all monitored by the Ministry of the Interior .” org/i/Internet_Enemies .pdf 12 Tal3mrak means literally “May God prolong your life” and is6 Noman, H . and York, J . C . (2011) West Censoring East: The Use of used to address the wealthy and powerful respectfully in the Western Technologies by Middle East Censors, 2010-2011, OpenNet Gulf region . It is also used sarcastically to make fun of rich and Initative . opennet .net/west-censoring-east-the-use-western- powerful figures and has been used to make fun of the king of technologies-middle-east-censors-2010-2011 Saudi Arabia around the Arab world . See Shibab-Eldin, A . (2011)7 Hofheinz, A . (2007) Arab Internet Use: Popular Trends and Public #Tal3mrak: A Hashtag Challenges Saudi Arabian King, The Impact, in Sklar, N . (ed) Arab Media and Political Renewal: Huffington Post, 31 August . www .huffingtonpost .com/ahmed- Community, Legitimacy and Public Life, IB Tauris, New York, p . 60 . shihabeldin/tal3mrak-a-hashtag-challe_b_941231 .html Thematic reports / 33
    • #Kuwait, and #Syria were used for protest in Tu- Some governments used internet filters to blocknisia, Egypt, Sudan, Bahrain, Libya, Saudi Arabia, content during the protests . In Tunisia, Egypt, Libya,Yemen, Kuwait and Syria respectively . Syria and allegedly Gaza there were state crack- UGC acted as a conduit for news around unfold- downs on UGC and the internet in general throughing events not covered by or outside the reach of the internet blackouts and slowdowns .14conventional media . Micro-blogging and picture and The Mubarak regime virtually shut down allvideo sharing over mobile phones became avenues to Egyptian access to the internet from midnight 27/28disseminate and consume news about protests . The January until 2 February 10:30 GMT .15 In Libya, thenexus of UGC and mobile phones is an important tool internet was blocked to most Libyans from the begin-for protesters to inform the world of their demands, nings of the protests in areas under Gaddafi control .16the events surrounding the actual protests, and the Hours after the internet had gone back up, Egyptiannature of police, military and civilian responses . UGC security forces arrested, detained and harassedoften offers views and perspectives that state-run and bloggers and Facebook and Twitter users who hadconventional media do not offer, as well as images that shared content or publicised and attended events .other media cannot record . In Syria, where access by In Tunisia, the Ben Ali regime stole usernamesinternational journalists has been almost completely and passwords for Facebook, Twitter and online emailrestricted, mobile phone videos have become one of accounts by injecting Java scripts into the content ofthe few ways to report on protests . these pages before they were sent to end-users . Twitter and Facebook have been used by securityState responses to UGC and intelligence agencies to identify and locate activistsand social networking and protesters . In North Sudan, where Facebook groupsMany have commented on the power of social me- announced protests against the regime, the govern-dia in the hands of protesters and activists . What ment actively monitored social networking websites .of state responses to UGC and social networking When protests did happen, many potential demonstra-during the protests? How have UGC and social net- tors found police waiting for them and were arrested .17working websites been used by incumbent regimes In Azerbaijan, influenced by events in Egypt, ain response to protests? number of Facebook pages and groups called for protests in early 2011 . An opposition activist wasGoliath and the mouse? Twitter revolutions and arrested and charged with possession of narcot-cyber crackdowns ics . Many believe he was detained for comments heAn online campaign by the International Society for made on Facebook calling for Egypt-style protests .18Human Rights (ISHR) depicts challenged incum- Amnesty International called the charges a “pretextbent leaders gripped by fear of the revolutionary to punish Jabbar Savalan for his political activismpotential of ICTs . The presidents of Iran, Zimbabwe, and to discourage other youth activists from exer-Venezuela and Cuba, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi of cising the right to freedom of expression .”19Libya and North Korea’s Kim Jong-il, are portrayedcowering in near paralytic fear of a computer mouse, 14 Global Voices (2011) Syria: Reports of Internet Blackout, Global Voices, 3 June . globalvoicesonline .org/2011/06/03/syria-reports-jumping on furniture and hanging from chandeliers of-internet-blackout; Occupied Palestine (2011) Latest Updatesand curtains in an attempt to flee .13 The real balance on #Gaza | #GazaBlackOut”, Occupied Palestine, 10 August . occupiedpalestine .wordpress .com/2011/08/10/latest-update-on-of power in the electronic terrain, however, is not gaza-gazablackout . The Gaza case may have been an accident,necessarily in favour of the mouse . The campaign or an attempt to stop a planned terror attack, but it still maycould have been balanced with other images: boots represent a crackdown on the internet during protests and unrest . 15 Internet access during the Egyptian revolution can be graphedcrushing mice, keyboards and mobile phones after on Google Transparency (transparency .google .com); see is .gd/being identified as threats for spreading content . Or VwQM29 . The web was not entirely blocked: the ISP Nour, whichperhaps the regime’s technicians unplugging the ran the stock exchange, was functional . The web more correctly slowed to a microscopic trickle into Egypt .mice, terminating lines of communication . 16 See Google Transparency for Libya from mid-February on at is .gd/ UGC and the infrastructures through which it XKhikC and is .gd/jTwIISflows are areas of contestation between protesters 17 Meier, P . (2011) Civil Resistance: Early Lessons Learnedand pro-incumbent groups, not necessarily bal- from Sudan’s #Jan30, iRevolution, 31 January . irevolution . net/2011/01/31/civil-resistance-sudans-jan30; Babington, D .anced in favour of those creating content for protest . (2011) Sudan’s cyber-defenders take on Facebook protesters, Reuters, 30 March . reuters .com/article/2011/03/30/us-sudan-13 The campaign cannot be found anymore on the ISHR website (www . internet-feature-idUSTRE72T54W20110330 . ishr .org), but it can be found in many other places online, for example 18 Krikorian, O . (2011) Azerbaijan: Blowing Up in Their Facebook, at Duncan (no surname given) (2010) ISHR Scared Dictators and The Global Voices Advocacy, 10 March . advocacy .globalvoicesonline . Mouse, The Inspiration Room, 24 September . theinspirationroom . org/2011/03/10/azerbaijan-blowing-up-in-their-facebook/ . com/daily/2010/ishr-scared-dictators-and-the-mouse 19 Cited in Ibid . 34 / Global Information Society Watch
    • Crackdowns on internet communications dur- Mobile phones and geolocationing protests were not only witnessed in MENA in Facebook and Twitter, as well as mobile phone ap-2011, but also in the United States (US) and United plications, offer geolocation functionality, whichKingdom (UK) . In response to protests in the UK, may add location to a user’s content . The position ofthe government has asked for cooperation from a mobile phone can be tracked by mobile operators,Research in Motion (RIM) – the creators of the and potentially by governments or third parties .Blackberry smartphone – to provide it with encryp- Under certain circumstances the use of the mobiletion keys in order to be able to eavesdrop on the internet can actually enhance the surveillance capa-Blackberry Messenger service (BBM) . The UK gov- bilities of repressive regimes .ernment has summoned Twitter, Facebook and RIMto a meeting discussing ways to restrict the use of Removal of UGC from social networkssocial media during civil unrest .20 The San Francisco Facebook policies can often result in the FacebookBay Area Rapid Transit (BART) authority (a state- pages of political activists being shut down . The “Weowned transport corporation) shut down mobile are all Khaled Said” Facebook page, which was usedphone access at subway stations as a response to (among others) to call for protests on the 25 Janu-planned protests against the killing of a homeless ary revolution in Egypt, was actually opened in Juneman by the BART Police .21 2010 but was quickly shut down by Facebook . This was because the user who opened the account – “ElProblems presented by the use of UGC Shaheed” – was not using a real name . Facebook’sin struggles for democracy and human rights terms of service prohibit the use of fake names or monikers .Social media and surveillance In the UK in April 2011 a group of students fromAs WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange recently noted, the University College London called UCL Occupation,internet is not only a force for openness and trans- protesting over fee increases and cuts to higherparency, “it is also the greatest spying machine the education funding, claimed that in twelve hoursworld has ever seen .”22 Social networking platforms Facebook had deleted over 50 Facebook profiles ofoften link an online identity to a real name, home activists in the UK .25town, occupation, interests, pictures, and net- Guy Aitchison, a student at UCL and blogger forwork of friends – providing many opportunities for openDemocracy .net, said:surveillance . Information on social networks may potentially These groups are technically in violation ofbe mined by third-party applications and advertis- Facebook’s terms of agreement (…) . But the timingers . Facebook’s API,23 which is a language or set – on the royal wedding and May Day weekend –of commands for retrieving information from Face- is deeply suspicious . ( . . .) [T]his purge of onlinebook, is openly accessible by anyone turning their organising groups could be linked to the wideraccount into a developer account . The API makes it crackdown on protest by authorities in Britain .easy to obtain and analyse such information .24 Either way, it is a scandalous abuse of power by Facebook to arbitrarily destroy online com- munities built up over many months and years [which] provide a vital means for activist groups20 Somaiya, R . (2011) In Britain, a Meeting on Limiting Social Media, to communicate with their supporters .26 The New York Times, 25 August . www .nytimes .com/2011/08/26/ world/europe/26social .html?_r=1&src=tp Facebook officially responded to UCL Occupation21 For an overview of the operation in protest against BART see: The War and Peace Report (news show), 16 August 2011, Democracy with the following explanation and advice: Now! www .democracynow .org/2011/8/16/stream and Vince in the Bay, Disorderly Conduct - Operation BART Recap (podcast), 17 Facebook profiles are intended to represent August 2011, www .blogtalkradio .com/vinceinthebay/2011/08/17/ individual people only . It is a violation of disorderly-conduct--operation-bart-recap-122 The Hindu (2011) World’s greatest spying machine, The Hindu, Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Respon- 6 April . www .thehindu .com/opinion/editorial/article1602746 .ece . sibilities to use a profile to represent a brand,23 API originally stood for Advanced Programming Interface, but is now more commonly known as Application Programming Interface . An API is “a particular set of rules and specifications that software programs can follow to communicate with each other . It serves as 25 UCL Occupation (2011) Over 50 political accounts deleted in Facebook an interface between different software programs and facilitates purge, UCL Occupation, 29 April . blog .ucloccupation .com/2011/04/29/ their interaction, similar to the way the user interface facilitates over-50-political-accounts-deleted-in-facebook-purge interaction between humans and computers .” en .wikipedia .org/ 26 Aitchison, G . (2011) Political purge of UK Facebook underway, wiki/Application_programming_interface OurKingdom, 29 April . www .opendemocracy .net/ourkingdom/guy-24 Moderated, of course, by the user’s privacy settings . aitchison/political-purge-of-uk-facebook-underway Thematic reports / 35
    • business, group, or organization . ( . . .) If you and spontaneous, but are actually campaigns by would like to continue representing your or- political or commercial identities .31 ganization on Facebook, we can convert your Members of the hacktivist collective Anony- profile to a Page .27 mous claim to have discovered the existence of an advanced astroturfing software allegedly com-In Palestine a page calling for a “Third Palestinian missioned by the US Air Force .32 This software canIntifada” was shut down . It was seen by some as create online identities with corresponding socialhate speech and reported to Facebook .28 Many won- networking profiles on multiple platforms, whichdered why all other Arab countries were allowed to can create content with identities that appearhave pages dedicated to a “day of rage” against contingent to previous posts, as well as accord-their governments, but one was not allowed for a ing to culture, age or gender . This software is alsoprotest against Israeli occupation . a surveillance platform, as “fake friends” on social These examples demonstrate that it is not us- networks to monitor unsuspecting users .33 The pos-ers of the platforms, but the social networking or sible existence of this software raises importantcontent platforms themselves, that have ultimate concerns about the nexus of UGC and astroturfing .control of their content . ConclusionReliability and veracity of UGC UGC, social networks and mobile phones are notUGC can be used for misinformation and propa- unequivocally tools for the benefit of protesters,ganda . UGC presents problems with regards to the but rather a part of a contested terrain used by bothreliability and veracity of information . A famous ex- governments and protest movements in societalample from MENA was that of the “lesbian Syrian conflicts and transitions . Social networking sitesblogger” who turned out to be a married US man .29 like Facebook and Twitter could be used to spy onThis ended up being counterproductive for the protesters, find out their real-life identities andprotest movement and fuelled rumours of foreign make arrests and detentions .intervention in protests, propagated by the Syrian These dilemmas will remain relevant in Egyptgovernment . Social networks can be mechanisms and Tunisia now that political transitions have start-for spreading rumour and falsehood . As there is ed . Egypt and Tunisia both remain under militaryusually no moderation of this content, it is the re- rule . Democracy and freedom to create and distrib-sponsibility of the user to critically examine the ute content will not necessarily prevail . Neither willveracity of UGC . the role of UGC and social networking sites cease toSockpuppetry and astroturfing be of relevance . UGC is still being used actively in Egypt and“Sockpuppets” are an important problem in UGC . Tunisia to expose violations of the security forc-Wikipedia defines a sockpuppet as “an online iden- es . In Egypt, the military recognised the power oftity used for purposes of deception within an online Facebook and made a Facebook page after the fallcommunity” and, in earlier usage, “a false identity of Mubarak to try to garner support and make peacethrough which a member of an Internet community with the protesters .speaks with or about himself or herself, pretending The transition in Egypt and Tunisia is stillto be a different person .”30 “Astroturfing” is us- unfolding – elections need to be planned, politi-ing sockpuppets on a larger and organised scale, cal parties organised, reorganised and new onesdesigned to fake the appearance of grassroots or formed . These processes cannot be conducted to-“netroots” movements (conventionally the word day without the internet and ICTs .“astroturf ” refers to synthetic grass) . Astroturfing Some issues the online activist needs to bear incan disseminate views that appear to be legitimate mind include:27 UCL Occupation (2011) Facebook forced to respond to our campaign for restoration of accounts, UCL Occupation, 29 April . blog .ucloccupation .com/2011/04/29/facebook-forced-to-respond- 31 en .wikipedia .org/wiki/Astroturfing; see also Monbiot, G . (2011) to-our-campaign-for-restoration-of-accounts The need to protect the internet from ‘astroturfing’ grows ever28 Neroulias, N . (2011) Jews Pressure Facebook over Palestinian more urgent, The Guardian, 23 February . www .guardian .co .uk/ Intifada Page, The Huffington Post, 31 March . www .huffingtonpost . environment/georgemonbiot/2011/feb/23/need-to-protect- com/2011/03/30/jews-pressure-facebook-ov_n_842741 .html internet-from-astroturfing29 Al Hussaini, A . (2011) Lesbian Blogger is Married American Man, 32 Bright, P . (2011) Anonymous speaks: The inside story of the Global Voices, 13 June . globalvoicesonline .org/2011/06/13/syria- HBGary hack, ars technica, 15 February . arst .ch/o9q lesbian-blogger-amina-is-a-married-american-man 33 Anonymous (n . d .) Operation Metal Gear, AnonNews . anonnews .30 en .wikipedia .org/wiki/Sockpuppet_(Internet) org/?p=press&a=item&i=752 36 / Global Information Society Watch
    • Anonymity and monikers Backup and mirroring of contentUser-generated content can, if not used carefully, At the end of the day, it is the social networkingexpose content creators to surveillance . Many UGC platform or content platform on which the contentplatforms do not allow for anonymity . In light of is hosted that has the ultimate control over theirthe concerns raised above about astroturfing and online content . Unless, of course, users have thissockpuppetry, anonymity is not ideal for activism, content backed up or mirrored (duplicated on an-especially if the source of the activism is not known . other website) .Nonetheless, in the context of repressive regimes,the protection afforded by anonymity does have its There are alternatives to Facebookmerits . It would be beneficial if activists were afforded Anonymity cannot and should not, as Randi access to social networking tools that they couldZuckerberg, ex-marketing director of Facebook has exercise more control over, especially with regardssuggested, “go away .”34 Despite calls by some au- to the hosting of their content, and their privacy andthorities – the British Police for example – to end anonymity .the use of anonymous monikers on platforms like There are alternatives to social networkingTwitter,35 many platforms will not do this . There are platforms such as Twitter or Facebook . The sociallegitimate reasons (including personal security) for networking platform Diaspora is nodal and peer-to-activists not to use their real names . Content crea- peer . Users can host their own identities or “pods”,tors should be informed about the possibilities of and choose from a range of hosts to host their pod on .creating content anonymously and securely and Self-hosted or smaller social networking plat-decide whether to use real names or monikers . If forms have many advantages . However, they mayanonymity is chosen, creators of content must be not be able to invest as much in security as theiraware that small things like a network of real-life larger counterparts . Even big “brand” social net-friends, one picture or an accidental use of geoloca- works can experience problems securing privatetion could expose a user’s identity . data .Safe and informed use of social networking UGC under surveillanceUGC and social networking present the challenge of If the avoidance of state surveillance is required,balancing activism with privacy and online safety . certain practices should be followed whereverDifferent platforms offer different strengths and possible when disseminating UGC . Platforms of-weaknesses regarding the often diverging goals of fering end-to-end encryption should be defaultedactivism and privacy: Facebook does not allow for to wherever possible . Facebook, Twitter and otheranonymity, and the use of monikers is not permit- social networking applications, web-based emailted, while Twitter does allow monikers . and web-based applications should always be ac- Facebook users need to be aware of the range of cessed through HTTPS encryption if it is availablepossible privacy settings and their implications . Pri- (by typing https:// instead of http:// before a webvacy settings can protect users, but minimal privacy address) .36 HTTPS will help avoid the stealing ofsettings in certain conditions may be useful for on- usernames and passwords as well as eavesdrop-line activism to build and coordinate communities, ping . Anonymising tools such as proxies, virtualand spread content virally . private networks (VPNs) and Tor can also be used Each platform for the creation and dissemi- for protecting the identity of content creators, asnation of UGC, as well as each social networking well as for circumventing filtering and censorship .website, has terms and conditions which users Tor has been particularly helpful in protecting activ-should be aware of . Users should also be aware of ists and journalists in the MENA region .37 nthe national legal and regulatory environments gov-erning privacy and the internet in the countries inwhich these UGC platforms are hosted . 36 The Electronic Frontier Foundation has a plug-in for Firefox34 Bosker, B . (2011) Facebook’s Randi Zuckerberg: Anonymity which can be downloaded from its website (www .eff .org/https- Online “Has to Go Away”, The Huffington Post, 27 July . www . everywhere) . The plug-in will instruct the browser to always huffingtonpost .com/2011/07/27/randi-zuckerberg-anonymity- connect to HTTPS (if available) when viewing a website . online_n_910892 .html 37 Zahorsky, I . (2011) Tor, Anonymity and the Arab spring: An Interview35 Chen, A . (2011) Clueless British police suggest Twitter require real with Jacob Appelbaum, Peace and Conflict Monitor, 1 August . www . names, Gawker, 26 August . gawker .com/5834776 monitor .upeace .org/innerpg .cfm?id_article=816 Thematic reports / 37
    • The internet and social movements in North AfricaRamy Raoof human rights in the country online, as well as videoEgyptian Blog for Human Rights clips of different torture cases, and pictures andebfhr .blogspot .com footage from previous peaceful assemblies . Practi- cal information was also provided, such as legal and medical tips for participants taking part in peacefulCreating free space assemblies, tactics for using online platforms andMany taboos and “red lines” are imposed on offline mobile phones to organise, the locations and tim-spaces like newspapers and TV channels in several ings of demonstrations on 25 January, and hotlinestates in North Africa, as well as many limits on numbers for immediate legal and medical help fromfreedom of expression and the right to assembly . It human rights NGOs .is not easy to establish a newspaper in Libya or a From 25 January to 6 February 2011 Egyptians ex-human rights organisation in Algeria or to call for a perienced a series of crackdowns on communicationsmarch in Bahrain . platforms . Activists’ mobile lines and hotline numbers Cyberspace is almost the only free space for were shut down and social media websites (includ-many groups and individuals to practise not only ing Twitter, Facebook and Bambuser) and newspapertheir right to freedom of expression and speech but websites were blocked, while landlines did not workalso to practise their right to assembly and to form in some areas in Cairo . Later, when communicationsassociations and groups with common interests . were restored, netizens gradually posted what had Since 2004, Egyptian netizens and bloggers happened when communications were shut down,have been able to utilise online platforms for dif- including content showing violations and violenceferent causes effectively . Many taboos were broken committed against peaceful demonstrators . The time-by online spaces, empowering offline media to ad- line of the communications shutdown by the Egyptiandress several topics that they considered “red line” . authorities is shown in Figure 1 .1These topics included torture in police stations, Before the internet was totally blocked, somesexual harassment issues, religious minorities, vio- activists were able to post information, videos andlations committed by Mubarak supporters, etc . pictures from demonstrations and to cover what was Human rights NGOs, bloggers and journalists happening offline . This was very important: besidesplayed complementary roles at that time – and still offering concrete evidence to the world of the clamp-do – confronting violations and providing immedi- down, it proved the government was just spreadingate help to victims and those in need . Journalists rumours and false information of the security situa-used to share information and pass multimedia re- tion . There had been, until now, a big gap betweencordings of torture to bloggers so that they could what individuals posted and circulated online andpost them online when their editors refused to pub- what the state-run media broadcasted and pub-lish details of the cases in newspapers . This fear lished . At times this gap was extreme . For example,was due to local laws or the response from security when netizens and activists posted pictures onlineauthorities or even that a publication would lose of hundreds of thousands of demonstrators in Tahriradvertisements . Square, the state media was showing a picture of an During the revolution, the Egyptian cyberspace almost empty square which it called “live” footage!erupted in extremely rich content, which took dif- Although some downplay the role that the inter-ferent forms – text, videos and pictures . Two main net played in the revolution, during the uprising onlinethings affected the content in cyberspace: the first platforms were the only space where Egyptians couldwas what happened on the ground and the second share what they really faced and went through .was the accessibility of communications platforms . Of course, many taboos are broken in offline From 14 January to 24 January 2011, netizens spaces, but still – even now – online platforms arekept sending invitations to demonstrate on 25 in some cases the only space where Egyptians canJanuary – National Police Day in Egypt – against address topics that offline platforms cannot . Thesecorruption, unemployment and torture . In order include human rights violations committed byto motivate participation, netizens posted humanrights reports and statements on the status of 1 Online version of the diagram: flic .kr/p/9RNhpz 38 / Global Information Society Watch
    • FIGURE 1. Timeline of the communications shutdown in Egypt during the revolution Twitter .com Activist blocked lines shut down Bambuser .com Network coverage shut down blocked 02:00pm in Tahrir Square Last internet service BlackBerry services provider shut down shut down 07:00pm Internet shut down - except one internet service provider Facebook .com Short message services blocked shut down 10:00pm People shut down Internet service Mubarak 06:30pm restored 12:30pm Mobile phone calls shut down for one day State media campaign against protesters Short message services Landlines shut down restored 12:35am in some areas Al Jazeera Cairo bureau shut down 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 01 | 02 | 03 | 04 | 05 | 06 | 11 January Februarymilitary officers and other topics related to the army . pictures and videos of what was happening on theThese online spaces continue to put pressure on the ground . Offline platforms did not pick up on whatauthorities to address issues in the offline world . happened in Tunisia in the beginning and even Nevertheless, it is important not to magnify when coverage took place it was limited .the role of the internet during the revolutions and In Libya, Tunisia and Syria, where there is exces-uprisings; the Egyptian revolution is not a “Face- sive control on offline media platforms, the internetbook revolution” or “Web 2 .0 revolution” or similar was the place where individuals could share whatmeaningless terms . But online platforms were the was happening .media arm for Egyptians during the revolution, aspace for Egyptians to share their experiences and Media tent in Tahrir Squarethoughts and to show the truth of what happened . One of the first media tents set up in January in Tahrir Square was organised by a group of friendsCircumventing repressive regimes (including bloggers, human rights defenders, politi-Online spaces are frequently utilised to expose hu- cal activists) using their personal laptops, cameras,man rights violations that governments try hard to memory sticks, hard disks, cables and other deviceskeep unknown . Videos published online showing that might be needed . We also put up a sign4 thatparticular violations taking place create a strong said “Point to upload pictures and videos” . Thewave of resistance over time in different online and main thing we did was gather all kinds of multime-offline platforms – like the videos exposing police dia from demonstrators in Tahrir Square, then madecorruption in Morocco2 and torture in police sta- the content available online .tions and violence in Egypt .3 For me, doing this was very important because During the revolution in Tunisia, the Tunisian I believed that making those pictures and videoscyberspace in general – and blogosphere in par- public would help everyone to really understandticular – was almost the only source of information, what was happening on the ground . It would allow them to follow the situation and be able to assess2 Video from July 2007: youtu .be/K6FCsv8RhsM and October 2008: it, as well as have an overview of what happened youtu .be/4XpMmyUVdLo3 Video from November 2006: youtu .be/HMeXkZX9_E8 and youtu . be/YVxeyq__KD4 4 flic .kr/p/9eEabY Thematic reports / 39
    • in different cities in Egypt, given that those peo- This is just what we knew after Egyptiansple who had pictures or videos were not only from stormed SSI headquarters, discovering theCairo . documentation . Providing the content5 also helped to prove that Even without the use of such programmes, neti-the government at that time was just spreading lies zens might face trial due to content posted online .and rumours and manufacturing fake images of This happened to human rights activist Nabeelthe protests . The content that we uploaded proved Rajab, director of the Bahrain Center for Humanthat violations were taking place, whether a video Rights . Rajab was criminally charged in April 2011showing police shooting at peaceful demonstra- for publishing images on his personal account ontors, or a picture showing a sniper pointing his gun Twitter .6at someone . Twitter and Facebook usage in North AfricaChallenges facing online communities The Dubai School of Government issued a reportThere are several challenges facing online commu- in May 2011 on social media in the Arab region; thenities and activists . These frequently relate to the statistics on Twitter and Facebook usage in Northviolation of an individual’s privacy and legal threats Africa are presented in Table 1 .7that any netizen could face based on their online From the numbers in the table, it is clear thatactivity . the percentage of Twitter and Facebook users is These threats have become more intense due not high compared to the population sizes . Conse-to international companies providing technical quently, online content does not have a high, directsurveillance and monitoring systems to govern- impact on offline communities . Instead it can bements around the world . These companies simply said to influence offline activist platforms, which indevelop programmes that enable governments and turn may influence offline communities .security agencies in the ruling regimes to violateanyone’s privacy, monitor anyone’s activity and im- Conclusionpose censorship . Consequently, they are helping Each space used to share information and knowl-governments to fabricate cases against political ac- edge has its own key players, target groups, andtivists and human rights defenders on charges like positive and negative points . There are differences,“destabilising order”, “defaming state leaders”, not gaps, between the press and radio stations .“spreading rumours to overthrow the regime” and There are also differences between online and of-many other charges that regimes set to minimise fline tools and communities, and these differencesthe work of civil societies and activists towards se- are normal – the “gap” should not be the maincuring human rights . concern . For example, in 2009 – and maybe even earlier Individuals and groups use online tools to com-– a European-based company with its headquar- plement their offline work in mobilising people forters in the United Kingdom called Gamma Group events, and online tools are used to provide cover-International offered the State Security Intelli- age of and document what is happening offline . Thegence (SSI) in Egypt security software . SSI units relationship between both online and offline com-describe this software in their internal communi- munities can be complementary .cations in August 2009 as a “high-level security “Crossposting” is the main way that online com-system that has capabilities not provided in other munities help spread information and create a wavesystems . Its most prominent capabilities include or buzz on particular incidents . Bloggers from Syria,hacking into personal Skype accounts, hacking Bahrain, Morocco and other states played an impor-email accounts associated with Hotmail, Yahoo tant role by crossposting the content coming out ofand Gmail, and allowing the complete control of Tunisia and Egypt . This pushed offline media to usetargeted computers .” In December 2010 the SSI online content in their work, enabling more peoplereported that the software can “record audio and to become aware of what was happening and help-video chats, record activity taking place around ing the content reach more and more communities .hacked computers with cameras and make copies The internet is a free space that enables individ-of their content .” uals and groups to practice their rights in a different way when they have no space offline . Online tools 6 www .anhri .net/en/?p=24125 Content available online through torrent links: is .gd/bAFmHg and 7 www .dsg .ae/NEWSANDEVENTS/UpcomingEvents/ is .gd/SaZJVZ and pictures available at: flic .kr/s/aHsjtogRvz ASMROverview2 .aspx 40 / Global Information Society Watch
    • TABLE 1. Twitter and Facebook users in North Africa Country Population Twitter users Facebook users (average between 1 Jan and 30 Mar) (4 May) Algeria 35,953,989 13,235 1,947,900 Egypt 85,950,300 131,204 6,586,260 Libya 6,670,928 63,919 71,840 Morocco 32,770,852 17,384 3,203,440 Sudan 44,103,535 9,459 443,623 Tunisia 10,476,355 35,746 2,356,520help social movements to better communicate, On 2 February I realised it was a revolution, andshare their ideas and achieve impact and improve- people would not leave the streets until Mubarakments . Building movements and improving human was brought down .rights and political situations can only be done During the revolutionary events, and on a dai-offline with the mobilisation of people, using all ly basis, it was clear that we went through a wideavailable tools, including the internet . range of feelings . You get angry, upset, aggressive, I joined the street demonstrations in Egypt afraid, feel courage and fear and suddenly happi-on 28 January . Before that, together with my ness and hope .colleagues, I was providing legal and medical as- The most important thing that made me feelsistance as well as documenting violations . In the comfortable and believe that anything is possiblebeginning, for me, the day was just another dem- was that I was not alone in the streets . Many peopleonstration that might continue for several days were around helping, showing support and solidar-and end up in a brutal clampdown by the police . ity . This would not be possible on the internet alone . n Thematic reports / 41
    • Workers’ rights and the internetSteve Zeltzer and Greg Dropkin, developed the first internationalLaborNet web page to support a struggle globally .1www .labornet .org The web page allowed the Liverpool dockwork- ers to bring their struggle to Australian dockers asCommunication, solidarity and the internet: well as longshore workers throughout the world . It included messages of solidarity and helped solidifyHow the internet, information technology an international defence campaign that even includ-and new media are shaping the world ed workers’ action by dockers in the US, Canadaworking class and Japan against the ship the Neptune Jade .2From textile factory workers at the Egyptian Mahalla One of the lessons of this struggle for thetextile plants, to Chinese workers in Honda facto- working class was that the anti-labour laws and re-ries, to Wisconsin public workers: social networks, strictions on solidarity, and the corporate effort tothe internet and new communications technologies prevent knowledge of workers’ struggles and soli-are playing a critical role in linking up workers lo- darity efforts, could be overcome using the internet .cally, nationally and internationally . In fact, during the West Coast boycott of the Nep- In each of these struggles the use of mobile tex- tune loaded by the union-busting company, videoting, Twitter, YouTube and video streams is playing footage was provided to CNN for broadcast in thea vital role in helping to get the word out, defend- UK for the first time showing that the struggle hading against repression and linking up with workers international support .throughout the world . This multimedia use of computer networks, The global economy and the drive for greater video and the media has been replicated manyprofitability is the key driving force in the develop- times worldwide, and the growth of social mediament of communications technology . International and live streaming now make this a 24-hour-a-dayproduction lines are linked up through the internet, occurrence .and the export and transfer of labour through theuse of the internet is endemic . Temporary workers and communication Central to the power and information network Capitalists have also sought to use technology toof working people globally has been the rollout of control temporary workers . A document called Themobile phone coverage . In 2010 there were 4 .6 bil- Beeper Revolution from Korea tells how workerslion mobile phones in service and this is set to go were contracted by being beeped on their mobileto five billion by 2011 . Even in parts of Africa where phones, and had no contact with other workers .only 5% of the population has electricity, workers This also prevented workers from linking up withglobally, and particularly migrant workers, are now each other and beginning to organise . The atomi-linked up through their mobile phones . sation of workers, who do not work together in the One of the first uses of the internet and the web old way through a union hall, but only when beepedfor education and solidarity was the Liverpool dock- or called, is a major obstacle to organising workers .workers strike in 1995 . The 500 dockers who were This is especially the case with the use of tem-members and local leaders of the Transport and porary workers on a global level, such as in SpainGeneral Workers’ Union (TGWU) refused to cross a and other parts of Europe, as well as in Korea, wherepicket line . This solidarity action was labelled as il- 30% or more of the work force are temporary work-legal under the Thatcher anti-labour laws, and the ers . In Japan where these mostly young workers aredockers not only faced a fight with the government called Freeta workers, their marginalisation throughlaws, but also the acceptance of these laws by their their isolation is a conscious policy of the corpora-national union . The workers, in order to fight back, tions and their governments . They have done thishad to break the information blockade . LaborNet, in through deregulation and anti-labour laws, whichcollaboration with the Association for Progressive inhibit unionisation and collective action .Communications (APC) in the United States (US),working with APC member GreenNet in the United 1 eastbound .eu/site_media/pdf/060111bailey .pdfKingdom (UK) and labour supporters Chris Bailey 2 www .youtube .com/watch?v=F3Wva4XbMVs 42 / Global Information Society Watch
    • In one document called Workers Under Surveil- Another report, by Hossam El-Homalawy, a jour-lance and Control: Background, presented by Korean nalist and labour activist, shows how the role of theprofessor Kang Soo-dol of Korea University at the Third mobile phone and computer networking was criticalAnnual Seoul International Labor Media conference in in the building of the workers movement in Egypt2001, it was pointed out that this means of controlling – and in fact led to the foundation of the mass move-and using labour was critically connected to the use of ment that removed Mubarak .6digital and communication technologies .3 Mobile phones also have the potential to be The great fear of capital is that through their used to spy on workers and to prevent their strug-collective power, labour will refuse management gle to unionise for labour rights . The most shockingcontrol and threaten their power to govern . This case is again in Korea, where the Korea Samsungfear was confirmed in the 1997 general strike in workers were seeking to organise . They visited theirSouth Korea, when the young Korean Confedera- labour lawyer to find out what their rights were andtion of Trade Unions (KCTU) led a general strike in when they returned to the factory, their boss repeat-part through the use of computer networks . At the ed word for word what they had questioned their1999 Second Seoul International Labor Media con- lawyer about . Their phones had been used to trackference, reports were presented about the Seoul their locations and record their private meeting withSubway Workers Union’s use of a computer users their lawyer by the virulently anti-labour Samsunggroup (CUG) to help organise the general strike . Corporation .Trade unionists reported that they had to go under- Again, the independent labour media move-ground to conduct the strike, and did this through ment was able to develop a video about how mobilethe use of computer networks to keep their commu- phones are being used against the workers . Seoul-nication open in the successful strike . This was also based Labor News Production made a documentarythe first general strike in which workers used video called Big Brother is Watching: The Other Side ofto document the strike throughout the country with Samsung (2006), which was also screened to work-the development of a labour video network . ers around the world, including in Turkey, Argentina The growth of LaborFests4 and international and the US .working class film and video festivals have alsobecome a tool for the expansion of communication Tracking workers on the internetand knowledge about labour and the democratic Another dangerous use of ICTs is the use of thestruggles of workers throughout the world . The internet in the tracking of union activists and organ-first LaborFest in San Francisco in 1994 has now isers, as well as sick and injured workers, to allowexpanded internationally with film festivals in employers to gather information that will help themTurkey, Korea, Japan, Argentina, South Africa and terminate their contracts . Today, everything that isother countries around the world . These can also done on the internet stays in the internet world .be streamed live, and the development of an inter- Actions including labour rallies, strikes and othernational labour video channel on the internet and activities are now being recorded both by the main-cable would be a powerful vehicle for building soli- stream media and independent journalists, and thisdarity and increasing education . material, once posted, is traceable on a global level . The use of a variety of communication technolo- Artificial intelligence developed by Google andgies in labour struggles is a vital lesson of the new other corporations is now being put to use to col-age of telecommunications . This was also the case lect and examine, effectively amounting to spyingwith the Egyptian Mahalla workers who used their on people to determine what they are interested inmobile phones to organise workers’ actions and for future sale of products . This includes book pub-overcome the government control of information . As lishers such as Amazon and other online consumersuggested, the use of mobile phones has become a businesses . The information about the books youhistoric vehicle for workers’ and peoples’ struggles buy and look at are now being held by private cor-throughout the world . Today, the Mahalla workers porations that have private interests . And somenot only use their mobile phones for mobilisation, of this information is made public . To find out if abut also use social media sites like YouTube to get worker is looking up books about labour history, fortheir action plans out .5 example, you could do a search under US laws and most laws around the world .3 lmedia .nodong .net/maybbs/view .php?db=nodong&code=lmedia_ pds&n=165&page=144 www .laborfest .net5 www .youtube .com/watch?v=Z6UC9Lme7PE 6 blip .tv/file/4699784 and blip .tv/file/4700355 Thematic reports / 43
    • Digitalisation of the health industry effort to repress his free speech . The effort to pre-threatens privacy rights vent workers and unions from sending email to their fellow workers and getting information out throughIn a world with private control of health care, this is email was thwarted .9especially the case with the digitalisation of medi- The fight to defend the workers who make tech-cal records by private health care companies and nology is critical . The brutal conditions faced bycapitalists, who seek to limit their liabilities . Foxconn workers in China, leading to many suicides, A powerful example of this is the recent case show the real story behind iPhones and the otherof Adventist Health System . IT worker Patricia new communications tools . Workers and humanMoleski was ordered by the company to delete rights supporters have mobilised nationally and in-the electronic records of injured workers to ne- ternationally to demand justice for these workers .10gate workers compensation due to them . She Foxconn even sought to force the workers towas also ordered to delete records of deaths and sign documents pledging that they would not com-other malpractices that had become corrupted due mit suicide, working through the government tradeto a computer glitch . The failure to have backup union federation ACFTU in 2006 . But this meant veryrecords in an electronic medical system and the little when it came to conditions on the factory floorlack of any serious regulation potentially allow the for workers, as their slave-like conditions continuedmassive manipulation of information, threatening under the new “union agreement” .11basic human rights for workers and the public .7 This is not to say the conditions of workers even The development of communications tech- at technology companies like Google are proper . Atnology and the digitalisation of our society have Google workers are separated by coloured badgesgenerally left organised labour behind, despite the and lower-level workers are discriminated againstwork that has been done . Most unions in the world in the company on the grounds of the colour of thedo not do media training and do not educate their badge they wear . A former Google videographermembers in the use of technology and the dangers declared:of it to their unions and the public . Issues of netneutrality and calls for a strong independent media Speaking for myself, what worries me is thatthat would support workers’ causes are usually not there is apparently a class of workers (yellows)addressed . who are denied privileges that are given to other workers of an equivalently non-skilled or imper-Tech workers organising on a global manent nature (reds)… The only differenceslevel grows between these two classes of workers are theThe potential for organising technology workers glo- exact nature of their work (data entry versus, forbally is growing . IBM workers, who are pro-union, example, janitors), and their overall racial mix .have organised and some important struggles have Neither of these reasons is a legitimate reasondeveloped over freedom of information .8 to withhold a privilege like free transportation Ken Hamidi, an employee of Intel who installed from one group while granting it to the other, insystems, was injured on the job while driving . He my opinion . You, of course, may not agree .12continued working until he could not do the workand complained about growing health problems . Labour using social media to organise:Intel refused to take care of his injury and as a re- A double-edged swordsult Hamidi formed an organisation called FACEIntel (Former and Current Employees of Intel) . He There is no question that social media have becomethen was provided with the email addresses of vital tools in protecting democratic and labourover 30,000 workers by a supporter, and sent out rights . These tools have helped link up trade union-messages to Intel workers throughout the world . ists and human rights organisers throughout theFor this action, Intel went to court and got an in- world . At the same time, however, workers are nowjunction that charged that Hamidi had entered the being fired by their boss for putting material about“chattel” of Intel by sending the messages . With their job on their Facebook page in their own time .support from the US trade union federation AFL-CIOand the Electronic Frontiers Foundation, as well as 9 www .faceintel .com/hamidismessage .htm 10 www .youtube .com/watch?v=V3YFGixp9JwLaborNet, Hamidi was successful in defeating this 11 www .boingboing .net/2011/05/05/foxconn-workers-forc .html and www .workerscapital .org/connected/news/in-focus-students-and- labour-activists-protest-foxconns-working-conditions/#In%20Focus7 www .youtube .com/watch?v=F91hN9nR1KA 12 Andrew Norman Wilson recorded the segregation of Google8 www .endicottalliance .org workers in this video: vimeo .com/15852288 44 / Global Information Society Watch
    • In a recent US Federal Labor Relations Board This was a concrete international expression ofcase, the board ruled that the actions of five workers solidarity for their hunger strike and showed howwho had been fired for using Facebook to publicise workers can link up directly . Videos about thesebad working conditions were not cause for firing .13 struggles were also streamed worldwide, including This effort by employers and corporations to one called The Wind Blows From The Workers .18silence their workers who use Facebook and the in-ternet is growing . In a recent case in the UK, Uncut Pizzas from Egypt in the Wisconsin struggle:reported that UK Facebook had illegally removed Will the revolution be televised?material and sought to change workers’ pages .14 The most recent example of social media in the la- Additionally, governments have sought to shut bour struggle was a major battle in Wisconsin todown labour and civil rights organisations’ websites defend public workers against the attacks by Gover-in many countries throughout the world, including nor Scott Walker . While workers and students werethe shutdown of the internet in Egypt during the occupying the capitol building, labour and commu-recent uprising . This will likely take place again nity supporters were using tweets to organise foodas mass movements seek to break the information and other supplies . Tens of thousands of workersblockade . The likelihood of this in most indus- were mobilised to support a workers’ picket linetrialised countries however is quite small, since the minute by minute also through the use of Twittershutdown of the internet would result in the com- and other social media including live streamingplete shutdown of the entire economy . In the US on smartphones .19 There was also an explosion ofand Europe, the closure of the internet would vir- labour music videos, giving an important culturaltually close the world economy from the airlines to expression to this struggle, including Cheddar Rev-all financial transactions . This would obviously be olution and Union Town .20a doomsday scenario for those governments that When someone in Egypt helped buy a pizza forhave contemplated these tactics to silence critics the workers occupying the capitol building, workersusing the internet . knew that their struggles were crossing all borders This includes attacks on independent media, in a way that was impossible in the past .and, again in Korea, the suppression of independ- The digitalisation of the world and the grow-ent media groups such as MediAct has brought ing awareness of the world working class oninternational solidarity and protests .15 APC took up how these communications and media tools canan international campaign to defend this commu- be used to build their unions and support theirnity media centre .16 democratic workers’ rights will only grow in the The worldwide growth of independent labour future . The development of a powerful world work-media platforms has led to significant and powerful ing class mass movement offers the potential toexamples of using streaming media to defend work- change the fundamental dynamics of who controlsers struggles . Sendika .org, a project of LaborNet and runs the world, and these tools are critical toTurkey, supported the hunger strike by fired Tekna these developments . nTobacco workers in Istanbul by live streaming theirstrike and interviewing the workers about why theywere taking the action .17 The live video streamingreached an international audience and solidaritywas expressed through SMS text messaging .13 www .sfgate .com/cgi-bin/article .cgi?file=/n/a/2011/05/18/ 18 iscinet .org/index .php?option=com_content&view=article&catid= national/w151508D64 .DT 45%3Avideolar&id=168%3Atekel-direnii&Itemid=9214 www .guardian .co .uk/technology/2011/apr/29/facebook- 19 The use of the smartphone to stream labour struggles directly onto accused-removing-activists-pages and www .guardian .co .uk/uk/ websites is already taking place through www .ustream .com and video/2011/feb/10/uk-uncut-protest-movement other servers .15 labornetjp .blogspot .com/2010/02/movement-to-support- 20 www .youtube .com/watch?v=a5ZT71DxLuM&feature=play independent-media .html and www .facebook .com/group . er_embedded; www .youtube .com/watch?v=rCNaBe2Sl10; www . php?gid=273091817582&ref=nf youtube .com/watch?v=9nGeWyV4Vec; www .youtube .com/16 www .apc .org/en/news/south-korean-govt-threatens-public- watch?v=wTHo5CBeIRk; a report of this was made by J . Eric media-centre-me Cobb, executive director of the Building Trades of South Central17 Background about this struggle can be found at: www .sendika . Wisconsin, in a recent speech in San Francisco: www .youtube .com/ org/english/yazi .php?yazi_no=29021 watch?v=04zzzFcjkJ Thematic reports / 45
    • Sexuality and women’s rightsJac SM Kee and Jan Moolman opinion and, in turn, policy that regulates their lives .Association for Progressive Communications (APC) It is a site where transitional or long-term allianceswww .apc .org are forged in the form of informal social groupings, communities of shared interests or communicationRights and the internet: spaces for action . Here, the internet convenes an especially vital public sphere due to the multipleSexuality and women’s rights barriers to access found in more traditional forms ofThe universality of human rights means that, some- “publics”, like the media or political representation,times, the specific needs of sections of society, due due to their marginalised position in society .to the multiple forms of discrimination and inequal- Feminist and sexual rights activists in the Demo-ity faced, can disappear from the understanding and cratic Republic of Congo turned to the internet as thetranslation of rights into reality . Women’s rights only viable safe space to organise against a proposedmovements have struggled for decades to gain the homosexuality bill, in a climate of extreme intolerancerecognition that women’s rights are human rights, and violence in the region . In Lebanon, the queer move-culminating in the 1993 Vienna Declaration that states ment named the registration of www .gaylebanon .that “the human rights of women and of the girl-child com as a historical marker of when the sexual rightsare an inalienable, integral and indivisible part of uni- movement began to formally organise in the country,versal human rights .” With the increasing urgency to and has since moved to greater visibility in physicalapply the human rights framework to understanding spaces . Black lesbians in South Africa mobilised sup-the impact of the internet on all facets of our lives, port for a pride march and organised mass solidaritycloser attention needs to be paid to how this might for cases in court against “corrective rape” throughimpact on women and people of diverse sexualities online platforms for communication and informationin different contexts, to ensure that the principle of dissemination . These examples clearly show the de-universality is truly universal in the sense of being ap- mocratising potential of the internet in enabling theplicable to all people, equally . This report attempts to public participation of people who face great risk toforeground some of the key insights from the work of their personal safety in organising for change .the Association for Progressive Communications (APC)in the area of women’s rights, violence against women Self-representation, expression, writing historyand sexual rights in relation to the internet . and countering discriminatory norms and cultureRole of the internet in realising rights As noted by Frank La Rue in his report to the 17th ses-Public participation, right to assembly sion of the United Nations Human Rights Council inand citizenship March 2011, the right to freedom of opinion and ex-The findings from APC exploratory research into the pression is critically facilitated by the internet, and isarea of sexuality and the internet (called EROTICS) both a fundamental right on its own as well as an ena-as well as our work on information and communi- bler of a broad range of human rights . In terms of thecations technologies (ICTs) and violence against heavily regulated realm of sexual speech in all partswomen in twelve countries clearly indicate that the of the world and the barriers to accessing channelsinternet is a critical space in the struggle for funda- of communication like the mass media, the internetmental rights and freedoms . This is especially true at present provides a relatively more open space forin contexts where civil liberties are restricted or non-normative expressions, subaltern histories andthreatened . In contexts where people are discrimi- less readily accessible information to proliferate andnated against because of their gender or sexual be obtainable . This can have an important impact ofidentity, the restriction of and threats to their basic participating in the shaping of history and culture,rights is a daily struggle and reality . For them, the and to dismantle discriminatory norms that contrib-internet is an especially vital space for democratic ute to inequality and discrimination .deliberation and political contestation where dif- In India, the EROTICS research uncovers theferent actors, struggles and concerns are able to complex ways that young women experiment withconverge to inform or transform norms and public the ideas of “sexy” through self-representation in 46 / Global Information Society Watch
    • dating, matrimonial and social networking sites . and in moralistic terms, with India banning sex edu-Through this, they are able to push the boundaries cation in twelve states and the United States (US)of cultural and social barriers that place intense emphasising “abstinence only” sex education .scrutiny on the sexuality and mobility of women and In the US, young people under the age of sev-girls . Mothers create popular blog sites that provide enteen are unable to access unfiltered content inpeer support and information and commentary on publicly funded libraries . Added to the lack of com-contemporary issues, challenging the traditional prehensive sex education in schools, this has anand patriarchal discourse in India that holds mother- impact of significantly limiting their right and evolv-hood in a sacred and moral position . In Lebanon, an ing capacity to exercise agency and decision makingimportant strategy of the queer feminist movements about a critical component of their development .is in writing, documenting and analysing personal In situations of violence against women, whereand political accounts of their activism and sexuality, many victims are socially isolated as a key tacticwhich acts to resist the colonisation of perspectives by abusers, the internet can be a critical space forand knowledge by people outside of their commu- getting information on how to safely exit the violentnity . Women’s rights activists and women survivors situation and to get support and help .of violence in Pakistan and the Philippines chal-lenged the dominant construction of victimhood in Challenges, barriers and limitationssituations of domestic violence by creating powerful Infrastructure and accessdigital stories . The digital stories enable them to takecontrol of the narrative and to tell the complex reali- At the most basic level, there is a persistent genderties of domestic violence through their own words divide in society . Despite rapidly increasing levelsand experiences, and present an important and often of internet penetration in all countries, particularlymissing account of their strategies of survival as ac- through the use of mobile phones, literacy levels intive subjects instead of passive victims of violence . terms of language and technical skills, relevant con- tent and costs are still significant determining factorsAutonomy, integrity of the body and right in achieving access . Given the gendered dimensionto security of the person of technology, economic empowerment and controlThe ability to access relevant and meaningful over resources, these act as barriers to equal accessinformation is critical to enable individuals to make and engagement with internet technologies .informed decisions about their lives . It allows in- Shared or public internet access points, which canformed consent, the exercise of self-autonomy, and help address some of the cost issues, provide a limitedthe realisation of a broad range of rights, such as the solution to access for women and girls . As touchedright to education, health and safety . Meaningful on earlier, the only law that mandates restriction toaccess to the internet and the engagement with internet content in the US applies to publicly fundedonline spaces and communities can greatly enable libraries, which affects approximately 77 million us-the capacity of individuals who face discrimination ers, and can disproportionately impact on the poorerand inequality to exercise their right to self-deter- sections of the community . In India, cybercafés aremination and integrity of the body . dominated by men and a culture of masculinity, with The EROTICS research showed that transgen- increasing state regulation placed on their operationder people in South Africa are able to access online including taking photographs of users, collection ofinformation on medical procedures of gender transi- users’ personal data, and restrictions on their physicaltioning, including their risks, details of trustworthy location and arrangement, in part for reasons of control-medical practitioners and the experiences of others ling consumption of pornography . Submitting personalwho have gone through the procedure . This helps information without a corresponding data protectionthem make an important decision about their own policy means that women and girls who use cybercaféslives and bodies . In India, where arranged marriages can become subjects of harassment by predominantlyby parents are commonly practised, young women male cybercafé managers, making them unviable andare able to gain greater control over their choices of unsafe internet access points for women and girls .life partners through a range of online matrimonial Laws and policysites . The internet in India has also become a sig-nificant, albeit controversial, site for sex education National policies on gender and ICTs are prima-on a range of topics including HIV/AIDS, contracep- rily viewed through the framework of economiction, menopause and sexual pleasure . It meets an development . This translates into initiatives andimportant information gap faced by young people in budgetary allocations that only aim to build theschools where sex education is regarded with alarm capacity of women to improve their income, and Thematic reports / 47
    • usually through a very limited lens . For example, activity . This can range from young women who arein Malaysia, the recent national development plan using the internet to challenge the boundaries ofsees ICTs as being beneficial for women because acceptable sexual expression, as we found in a casethey enable them to work “flexi-hours” while still in India; to people of diverse sexualities who arejuggling their domestic responsibilities . However, exploring their identity and building communities, assuch work, which is often considered low skilled in a case in Lebanon where homosexuality is crimi-and dispensable, does not provide an adequate nalised; to women’s rights defenders who are usingsocial safety net with women being the first to lose the internet to provide support, document violationstheir jobs during times of economic instability . and organise for change, such as abortion rights In many parts of the world, new legislation activists in parts of Latin America .and policies are being developed to regulate the There is a need to ensure greater protection offree flow of information on the internet . These are the right to privacy and security when it comes tooften accompanied by the mobilisation of anxie- the internet . Content regulation is almost alwaysties around the dangers of sexual content and the accompanied by surveillance measures, and in therisks of online interaction, the most familiar being face of missing privacy protections, this raises seri-the need to regulate or prohibit pornography, and ous questions about the vitality of online spaces inincreasingly, content or activities that are harmful advancing social justice .to children . However, such measures often hide It also bears reminding that even with the po-other agendas and interests . For example, a draft tential of the internet to realise freedoms, manybill proposing a ban on sexual content on the women and girls still need to negotiate existing cul-internet and mobile phones submitted to the South tural and social barriers to fully and meaningfullyAfrican Department of Home Affairs in May 2010 engage with online spaces . The EROTICS researchclaimed to have the best interests of women and in India showed how young women have developedchildren in mind . In fact, the bill was drafted by an strategies to avoid surveillance of their activitiesorganisation known to be anti-choice and homo- by their family and boyfriends, and to manage thephobic, which raises serious questions about the real risks and dangers that they can face online,actual intent of the proposed bill . Further, this runs including that of harassment, manipulation of pho-counter to the constitutional guarantee of the right tographs and violation of their right to privacy .to freedom of expression and information in the Technology-related violence also acts as a sig-country . In Brazil, the controversial cyber crime bill nificant barrier to women’s meaningful engagementknown as the “Azeredo Bill” that was fronted on the with the internet . Cyber stalking, online sexual har-grounds of addressing paedophilia has its roots in assment, blackmail through the use of private andthe banking industry wanting to shift liability for often sexualised information, photographs andinternet fraud onto the shoulders of its customers videos, and the forwarding of content that depicts,instead of on banks . promotes and normalises violence against women Regulatory measures are also often introduced are becoming increasingly documented and facedor passed at great speed with little public consulta- by women and girls who use the internet . Theytion, as shown by the EROTICS research . Legislation create a hostile online environment and can causecan include provisions with wide-ranging impact on women and girls to disengage from the internet dueexpression, including censorship, mandated block- to fear for their safety . They also contribute to theing and filtering of content, and invasions of privacy, creation of a communication culture that is discrimi-such as increased surveillance and data retention . natory and tolerant of violence against women .They can have a disproportionate and wide-rangingeffect on the ability of marginalised sections of soci- Conclusionety to use the internet in the exercise of their rights . It is clear that when internet-related rights areFor example, in Indonesia, the anti-pornography bill examined through the lens of the diverse realitieswas recently used to block a website that features of women’s lives and from the vantage of sexualinformation on the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual rights, it provides a richer, nuanced and more com-and transsexual people . prehensive analysis of the different dimensions that need to be considered in the realisation of the inter-Privacy, safety and violence against women net’s potential for fulfilment of human rights . SuchPrivacy and anonymity are critical components of an effort is necessary to ensure that our collectivemeaningful access to the internet, particularly by struggle to promote the transformative impact ofpeople who face great risk to their personal safe- the internet is one that is inclusive of diversity andty should they be “outed” through their internet affirming of equality . n 48 / Global Information Society Watch
    • Internet charters and principles Thematic reports / 49
    • Internet charters and principles: Trends and insightsDixie Hawtin as national and international law . Some chartersGlobal Partners and Associates and declarations have emerged as an alternative,www .global-partners .co .uk providing the basis for self-regulation or co-regu- lation and helping to guide the actions of different stakeholders in a more flexible, bottom-up manner .Introduction In this sense, charters and principles operate as aA growing phenomenon in the internet govern- form of soft law: standards that are not legally bind-ance arena is the emergence of charters and sets ing but which carry normative and moral weight .of principles which aim to guide policy making and On the other hand, there is an increasing arrayto influence the behaviour of different stakeholders of attacks on the open nature of the internet fromusing the internet . The phenomenon is predomi- governments (both authoritarian and democratic)nately driven by two separate but overlapping who seek to control the environment and from busi-purposes: to articulate and promote a particu- nesses who seek to monetise it . Concerned thatlar vision of the internet; and as an alternative to the capacity of the internet to support freedom oflegislation and ex-ante regulation which is often expression and association is being eroded, civilconsidered ineffective, impractical and/or harmful . society groups are developing charters and sets This report provides an overview of the trend . of principles to push back against these threats byIt examines the different types of charters and sets articulating and campaigning for a progressive ap-of principles that are emerging and analyses the proach towards the internet .opportunities and challenges these present for free-dom of expression and association on the internet . A summary of internet charters and principlesBackground An enormous variety of charters and principles haveThe internet developed in a “laissez-faire” envi- been developed, each involving different models,ronment – where regulation did exist it was mainly stakeholders and issues . It is possible to divideaimed at ensuring that the sector was open and these into a number of broad groups, although thecompetitive, for example, through unbundling and examples outlined below are not exhaustive:common carrier obligations . However, it has grownto be a foundational infrastructure for social, eco- • Civil society charters and declarations Johnnomic, political and cultural life . At the same time, Perry Barlow’s 1996 Declaration of Cyberspacea number of significant challenges have emerged, Independence is one of the earliest and mostsuch as protecting privacy and combating the rise of famous examples . Barlow sought to articu-cyber crime . The combination of these two factors late his vision of the internet as a space that ishas led to a growing consensus that the internet is fundamentally different to the offline world, intoo important to be left alone . The pressing debates which governments have no jurisdiction . Sincenow are about the content, form and processes by then civil society has tended to focus on char-which governance is exercised . ters which apply human rights standards to the Governing the internet is a challenging under- internet, and which define policy principles thattaking . It is a decentralised, global environment, are seen as essential to fulfilling human rightsso governance mechanisms must account for many in the digital environment . Some take a holisticvaried legal jurisdictions and national contexts . It is approach, such as the Association for Progres-an environment which is evolving rapidly – legisla- sive Communications’ Internet Rights Chartertion cannot keep pace with technological advances, (2006) and the Internet Rights and Principlesand risks undermining future innovation . And it is Coalition’s (IRP) Charter of Human Rights andshaped by the actions of many different stakehold- Principles for the Internet (2010) . Others areers including governments, the private sector and aimed at distinct issues within the broader field,civil society . for instance, the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s These qualities mean that the internet is not Bill of Privacy Rights for Social Networks (2010),well suited to traditional forms of governance such the Charter for Innovation, Creativity and Access Internet charters and principles / 51
    • to Knowledge (2009), and the Madrid Privacy diversity) which member states should uphold Declaration (2009) . when developing national and international in-• Initiatives targeted at the private sector The ternet policies . private sector has a central role in the inter- • National level principles At the national level net environment through providing hardware, too, some governments have turned to policy software, applications and services . However, principles as an internet governance tool . Brazil businesses are not bound by the same confines has taken the lead in this area through its multi- as governments (including international law stakeholder Internet Steering Committee, which and electorates), and governments are limited has developed the Principles for the Governance in their abilities to regulate businesses due to and Use of the Internet – a set of ten principles the reasons outlined above . A growing number including freedom of expression, privacy and of principles seek to influence private sector respect for human rights . Another example activities . The primary example is the Global is Norway’s Guidelines for Internet Neutrality Network Initiative, a multi-stakeholder group (2009) which were developed by the Norwegian of businesses, civil society and academia which Post and Telecommunications Authority in col- has negotiated principles that member busi- laboration with other actors such as internet nesses have committed themselves to follow to service providers (ISPs) and consumer protec- protect and promote freedom of expression and tion agencies . privacy . Some initiatives are developed predom- inantly by the private sector (such as the Aspen Advocacy, campaigning, dialogue Institute International Digital Economy Accords and networking which are currently being negotiated); others Civil society uses charters and principles to raise are a result of co-regulatory efforts with govern- awareness about the importance of protecting free- ments and intergovernmental organisations . dom of expression and association online through The Council of Europe, for instance, has devel- policy and practice . The process of drafting these oped guidelines in partnership with the online texts provides a valuable platform for dialogue and search and social networking sectors . This is networking . For example, the IRP’s Charter of Hu- part of a much wider trend of initiatives seeking man Rights and Principles for the Internet has been to hold companies to account to human rights authored collaboratively by a wide range of indi- standards in response to the challenges of a viduals and organisations from different fields of globalised world where the power of the largest expertise and regions of the world . The Charter acts companies can eclipse that of national govern- as an important space, fostering dialogue about ments . Examples of the wider trend include the how human rights apply to the internet and forging United Nations Global Compact, and the Special new connections between people . Rapporteur on human rights and transnational Building consensus around demands and ar- corporations’ Protect, Respect and Remedy ticulating these in inspirational charters provide Framework . civil society with common positions and tools with• Intergovernmental organisation principles which to push for change . This is demonstrated There are many examples of principles and by the number of widely supported civil society declarations issued by intergovernmental or- statements which refer to existing charters issued ganisations, but in the past year a particularly over the past year . The Civil Society Statement noticeable trend has been the emergence of to the e-G8 and G8, which was signed by 36 overarching sets of principles . The Organisation different civil society groups from across the world, for Economic Co-operation and Development emphasises both the IRP’s 10 Internet Rights and (OECD) released a Communiqué on Principles Principles (derived from its Charter of Human Rights for Internet Policy Making in June 2011 . The and Principles for the Internet) and the Declaration principles seek to provide a reference point of the Assembly on the Right to Communication . for all stakeholders involved in internet policy The Internet Rights are Human Rights statement formation . The Council of Europe has created submitted to the Human Rights Council was signed a set of Internet Governance Principles which by more than 40 individuals and organisations and are due to be passed in September 2011 . The reiterates APC’s Internet Rights Charter and the document contains ten principles (including IRP’s 10 Internet Rights and Principles . human rights, multi-stakeholder governance, As charters and principles are used and reiter- network neutrality and cultural and linguistic ated, so their standing as shared norms increases . 52 / Global Information Society Watch
    • When charters and statements are open to endorse- agreement around the normative dimensions ofment by different organisations and individuals internet policy . The influence and input from civilfrom around the world, this helps to give them legit- society can be inferred from the fact that most setsimacy and demonstrate to policy makers that there of principles invoke similar language to that of civilis a wide community of people who are demanding society declarations – particularly with respect tochange . freedom of expression . While the continuance of practices which are Nonetheless, principles will not automaticallydetrimental to internet freedom indicates that these promote human rights; for example, the OECDinitiatives have not, so far, been entirely success- Communiqué, while widely praised for following aful, there are signs of improvements . Groups like multi-stakeholder process and recognising princi-APC and the IRP have successfully pushed human ples including freedom of expression and access torights up the agenda in the Internet Governance infrastructure, also includes language that wouldForum . Other groups are hoping to emulate these push intermediaries to police and enforce laws onefforts to increase awareness about human rights their networks . Because of this it is an ongoingin other forums . The At-Large Advisory Committee, challenge to ensure that the principles approachfor instance, is in the beginning stages of creating a furthers rather than reduces respect for humancharter of rights for use within the Internet Corpora- rights .tion for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) . Charter overload?An alternative to hard law A growing concern is that there are now too manyAn increasing number of governments around the different charters and principles . This could frag-world are introducing new laws and regulations ment civil society efforts: when different groupsdesigned specifically to govern internet commu- congregate around different sets of principles theynications . These can have adverse implications have less power than if all civil society groups werefor freedom of expression and association . One to promote the same set . However, those chartersillustration of this is the increasing trend of govern- and principles which are high quality and perceivedments placing formal requirements on intermediary to be legitimate are likely to stand the test of time,service providers to monitor the activities of their being adopted by a critical mass of stakeholders .users . This effectively stifles innovation among Those with less support will be neglected . Further-service providers and reduces the range of plat- more, different kinds of charters may be useful informs that people can use to express themselves different contexts . For example, the Brazilian prin-and associate online . On a global level, there are ciples are useful for advocacy in Brazil as they wereincreasing calls for a global treaty to govern the formulated by local stakeholders for a nationalinternet . Many human rights advocates are con- audience . However, charters with a more specificcerned that, given the present push back against international orientation may be more useful in in-human rights standards by powerful countries, the ternational advocacy work .outcome of such a treaty may erode rather than This viewpoint, however, neglects the fact thatadvance freedom of expression and other rights . charters with support from economically and po-Policy principles offer a more flexible alternative, litically powerful groups are more likely to prevail .enabling coordinated policy making without run- Civil society declarations usually do not have thening the risk of enshrining detrimental standards in same power as those developed by large compa-international law, or stifling innovation . Freedom of nies, powerful governments or intergovernmentalexpression and association are already enshrined agencies . Because of this there is no guaranteein internationally legally binding conventions such that these will provide adequate protections foras the International Covenant on Civil and Political freedom of expression and other public interestRights . Many argue therefore that we do not need dimensions of the internet . This is exacerbatednew legal standards, but to find ways of enforcing by a lack of meaningful multi-stakeholder par-those which already exist in the context of digital ticipation in the formulation of many charters andcommunications . declarations . Furthermore, processes for defining policy The proliferation of charters and principles canprinciples tend to be more open than those es- also contain conflicting standards . This enablestablishing international conventions or national governments and companies to pick and chooselaw, allowing civil society greater opportunity those standards which are most in line with theirto influence and shape the approaches adopted . own interests . Similarly, soft law and voluntaryOver time, charters may help to forge international standards can lack effective enforcement and Internet charters and principles / 53
    • accountability mechanisms, allowing stakeholders and to ensure that rigorous protection of humanleeway in how they interpret and implement the rights is upheld in them all . A further challenge is tostandards . Charters can be manipulated to sup- ensure that governments and companies act in ac-port brand and image without actually resulting in cordance with the charters and policy declarationsa change in policy or practice . that they sign up to, scrutinising their policies and behaviour to guarantee that they are in line withConclusion their commitments .The proliferation of charters and sets of principles While charters and declarations are importantin recent years has been, to date, a positive phe- tools in internet governance, recent years have seennomenon, raising awareness about the importance growing calls for formal and binding internationalof protecting and promoting freedom of expression treaties on the world stage . Any standards that areand association; building consensus about what codified in the future are likely to follow the courseinternational human rights standards mean in the of emerging agreement around existing chartersinternet environment; and allowing diverse actors and declarations . Because of this it is critical thatto feed into internet governance processes . As new civil society engage with all ongoing processes tocharters and declarations continue to emerge, the promote the highest protection for human rightschallenge for human rights advocates is to push in the emerging consensus on internet governancefor policy coherence between different initiatives norms and principles . n 54 / Global Information Society Watch
    • Mapping rights
    • Mapping internet rights and freedom of expressionDavid Souter and other civil society organisations, presented inict Development Associates Italy in 2010, suggests that more complex mappingdavid .souter@runbox .com is required to place rights issues such as freedom of expression within the broad picture of debates around internet public policy . This more complexIntroduction mapping focuses on two dimensions, concernedThe intersection between the internet and human respectively with issues and with institutions andrights, including freedoms of expression and as- stakeholders .1sociation, is increasingly important as the internet Mapping internet issues enables us to identifybecomes more universal, and increasingly complex a number of core themes within current internet de-as the internet affects more aspects of society, bates . Some of these are concerned with technicaleconomy, politics and culture . This report suggests issues such as internet standards and coordination/two ways to map this intersection, and raises a administration; some with broad issues of publicnumber of questions that need to be considered by policy such as economic interchange, developmentthose concerned with the internet, with rights, and and environmental impact; some more specificallywith wider public policy . with issues of rights, culture and governance . They The first of these mapping frameworks is based can be illustrated conceptually as in Figure 1, eachon the location of rights within current debates section of which can be broken down into moreabout internet public policy . The second is based specific issues if required . The section that is con-on the relationship between the internet and the cerned explicitly with rights is located at the bottomframework of rights set out in the Universal Decla- of the diagram .ration and the International Bill of Human Rights . The value of mapping issues in this way is twofold . Firstly, it helps to move beyond a broadInternet public policy, rights and freedom discussion of the overall interface between theof expression and association internet and rights towards a more nuanced discus-A number of attempts have been made to map de- sion of the relationship between the internet andbates around internet governance (decision making specific rights, such as freedom of expression andthat concerns the internet itself ) and internet public association . A lot of current debate is based aroundpolicy (decision making that concerns the inter- the idea that the internet necessarily enhances hu-face between the internet and other public policy man rights, or that particular decisions regardingdomains) . Many of these, like that of the Working the internet necessarily threaten rights . LookingGroup on Internet Governance in 2004, locate is- at individual rights issues and debates more spe-sues along a spectrum from cifically enables us to build a more sophisticated understanding of what is happening and why .• Highly internet-centric issues such as critical in- Secondly, it helps to identify links between ternet resources, through rights issues and aspects of other public policy do-• Issues which are internet-specific but have pub- mains which have significant rights implications, lic policy implications such as spam and cyber but which appear in different areas of the map . crime, and Examples of these include affordability aspects of• Issues of wider public policy which are strongly “access” and diversity aspects of “culture” . impacted by the internet, such as intellectual The rights issues identified in Figure 1 are wide property, to ranging, including freedom of expression and con- sumer rights, privacy and defamation, intellectual• Broad public policy issues such as development property and child protection . This is not a com- and democratic participation . prehensive list, and individual rights agencies willWhile this is useful, the increasing complexity and have different priorities . They can also drill down inreach of the internet into public policy make it in-sufficient for in-depth analysis . Research for the 1 A full report on this research can be found at: www .apc .org/en/Association for Progressive Communications (APC) pubs/books/mapping-internet-public-policy Mapping rights / 57
    • FIGURE 1. Mapping internet public policy issueseach of these to a deeper level of granularity, and This is a complex multi-stakeholder environ-to considering the implications in different national ment, but it is possible to overlay a map of thecontexts in which rights are more or less guaranteed authority of different institutions on the kind ofin law and practice and more or less established as issues mapped in Figure 1 in order to gain clar-public norms . ity about which institutions exert decision-making The second dimension of this mapping exercise power, whether globally or in national contexts .is concerned with institutions and stakeholders . To Figure 2, for illustrative purposes, suggests theunderstand how decisions concerning the internet principal areas in which the Internet Corporation forand rights are taken, and where the pressure points Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) influencesat which rights agencies can exert influence lie, it is internet public policy .2necessary to map the decision-making environment The final aspect of this mapping exercise to con-that overlays these issues of internet public poli- sider here is the relationship between internet rightscy . In practice, that environment includes diverse and rights in general . Two issues are important .institutions from both mainstream public policy The first concerns the relationship betweenand internet governance contexts . Decisions or internet rights, human rights (as set out in theoutcomes concerning the extent of freedom of ex- Universal Declaration) and other rights which indi-pression, for example, emerge from the interaction viduals may hold (including, for example, consumerbetween international rights frameworks, national rights and employment rights, which result fromgovernments, private businesses such as internet legislation that is enacted at national level) . Thereservice providers which can open or close access is often confusion between these, while there areto information or expression, citizens who use the also significant areas of overlap and interpreta-internet as a means of expression (and often to tion, which have been changing over time . Articlebypass legal constraints), and civil society organi-sations, some of which seek to broaden freedom ofexpression and some to place boundaries around it . 2 Thanks to Dr . Konstantinos Komaitis for input on this diagram . 58 / Global Information Society Watch
    • FIGURE 2. Mapping internet public policy – the example of ICANN19 of the Universal Declaration, for example, grants • Internet rights advocates, by contrast, ofteneveryone the right “to seek, receive and impart build their analysis of rights on the foundinginformation and ideas through any media and re- principles and ways of working of the internet,gardless of frontiers .” Does the reference to “any which enable people to extend the exercise ofmedia” imply a right of access to media such as the rights by bypassing constraints rather thaninternet, or merely a right to make use of such me- through legal instruments .dia as are available to the individual at the time andplace in which s/he lives? Opinion on this is divided These are significantly different paradigms, andand has been changing over time as the internet has they raise important questions about whether theregrown in reach and in importance . is at present a consistent understanding of the re- The second concerns the relationship between lationship between internet rights and mainstreaminternet rights and mainstream human rights advo- human rights amongst those who are concernedcates and networks . As in other interfaces between with the legal framework for rights and means forinformation and communications technology (ICT) their expression . This is especially significant wherespecialists and those in other public policy fields, the second mapping framework discussed in thisthere can be a substantial difference of perspec- article is concerned (see below) .tives here: It is also important to recognise that these de-• Mainstream human rights advocates tend to bates are taking place within a multi-stakeholder build their analysis of rights issues, threats and context . Rights debates are not the preserve of rights opportunities on the international Covenants, activists, but are part of a broader discourse that on interpretations by UN and other internation- involves governments, intergovernmental organisa- al agencies, and on international and national tions, international non-governmental institutions, legal instruments to enable individuals to exer- businesses, civil society organisations with varying cise their rights . perspectives, and individual citizens whose rights are Mapping rights / 59
    • under discussion and who have highly varied views 19’s guarantee of freedom of expression is centralabout them . The significance which multi-stakehold- to many contests over censorship and other con-er participation has achieved in internet governance straints on freedom of expression/publication .adds to the complexity of this multi-stakeholder These arise generally, in relation to different inter-context, as does the exceptional prominence in the pretations of the imprecise terms “morality, publicinternet world of non-governmental international order and general welfare in a democratic society”,entities such as ICANN and the Internet Engineering but also specifically, in relation to constraints onTask Force (IETF) . the scope of freedom of expression or publication which are implied in other articles of the Declara-Human rights, internet rights tion . These arise in:and freedom of expression • Article 3, which asserts the right to life, libertyThe second mapping exercise which is proposed and security (the root of constraints against in-here also concerns the relationship between in- citement to violence against the person, hateternet rights, human rights and rights in general . speech, etc .)Particular attention has been paid in discussion • Article 7, which guarantees protection againstabout the interface between the internet and incitement to discriminationrights to ways in which the internet has enhancedopportunities for people to exercise freedom of • Article 11, which guarantees legal protectionexpression, obtain access to information (freedom against “arbitrary interference with … privacyof information) and organise collectively (freedom [and] correspondence” and against “attacksof association) . How do these relate to the broader upon … honour and reputation”rights regime? • Article 27, which asserts a right to intellectual The international human rights framework property (“protection of the moral and materialas we know it was established by the Universal interests resulting from any scientific, literary orDeclaration of Human Rights (UDHR) in 1948 and artistic production”) and, arguablysubsequently entered into international and nation- • Article 10, which guarantees the presumption ofal law in the 1960s/1970s through the International innocence (often interpreted as imposing con-Covenants on Civil and Political Rights and on Eco- straints on the reporting of criminal arrests andnomic, Social and Cultural Rights . It also includes trials) .other international instruments such as the UN Con-vention on the Rights of the Child . These articles represent limits to the scope of Discussions of the UDHR often present it as a freedom of expression as declared in Article 19 . Inlist of individual rights which have cumulative force, practice, all societies have imposed constraints onthe most prominent of which tend to be those con- freedom of expression, for a variety of reasons rang-cerned with freedom of conscience (Article 18), ing from political censorship and protection of socialfreedom of expression (Article 19) and freedom of or religious norms to protection against incitementassociation (Article 20) . Some of that discussion to racial hatred and protection of individual rightsappears to give those articles primacy over other of privacy . Some restrictions on publication haverights within the Declaration . In practice, however, high levels of public support, particularly wherethe Declaration recognises that the exercise of it is perceived to conflict with privacy (e .g. healthrights can be conflictual – that there are occasions records, credit card information and other personalon which the exercise of two different rights, or details) or with children’s rights . While no articlesof the same right by different people, can be in- so clearly affect freedom of conscience or associa-compatible – and therefore involves the need for tion, many governments have interpreted “morality,balance . Article 29 addresses this in two ways, by public order and general welfare” as enabling themasserting that the rights set out in the Declaration to restrict the latter .are “subject only to such limitations as are deter- Debates concerning what, if any, boundariesmined by law solely for the purpose of securing due should be placed around freedom of expression andrecognition and respect for the rights and freedoms association were current long before the Universalof others and of meeting the just requirements of Declaration, let alone the internet, and this is notmorality, public order and the general welfare in a the place to rehearse them further . What is signifi-democratic society .” cant here, however, is that the internet has greatly Article 29 is obviously open to interpreta- extended the ability and means to exercise freedomtion, and the relationship between it and Article of expression and association, changed the ways in 60 / Global Information Society Watch
    • which they are being exercised, and thereby altered Fourthly, it has made the protection of intellec-the balance which prevailed in the pre-internet era tual property rights much more difficult, disruptingbetween Articles 19, 20 and other rights . This is the constraint of freedom of expression wherewhy the meaning of freedom of expression is now these are concerned which was set out in Article 27central to discussion of international and national of the Universal Declaration, as well as the elabo-rights regimes . rations of that balance in international intellectual There are four main ways in which the inter- property law .net has impacted here which are important from a The internet’s ability to change the relation-public policy perspective . Internet specialists need ship between different types of rights, generally into understand the dynamics of these from that favour of freedom of expression and association,perspective in order to address the implications of is substantial and significant . For most within theinternet rights effectively . internet community, this has been a matter for Firstly, the internet – particularly the web and celebration . Some activists and internet users havesocial networking – has changed the nature of also seen it as an opportunity to ignore or overturnpublication . Rather than being largely restricted legal constraints which they oppose, particularlyto a relatively small number of official agencies where intellectual property is concerned . Otherand businesses, the opportunity to publish has rights organisations argue that a legal frameworkbecome effectively universal, making constraints is the only way in which the exercise of rights canon publication (in its widest sense) more difficult be effectively enforced . Governments and othersor impossible for governments to enforce . This is have sought to find ways of adjusting legal frame-particularly important in the expression of opin- works to accommodate new internet realities, withion, where it is analogous to the early impact of the varied success from their and from citizens’ pointsprinting press 600 years ago . of view . Secondly, it has made it much easier for those The question of whether the internet changeswho wish to publish or access material which is the rights and freedoms set out in the Universalillegal in a specific jurisdiction to bypass legal con- Declaration is not new but is important . The argu-straints . The most prominent area of debate here has ment here is that it changes the ability to exerciseconcerned pornography, particularly child pornogra- those rights, and that this has changed the meaningphy, but there are wider public policy issues around of rights to stakeholders in ways that were notquestions such as restrictions on religious content in envisaged when the Declaration was agreed . Thatsome jurisdictions, the publication of incitement to makes the relationship between the internetracial hatred, the marketing of pharmaceuticals and and the international rights regime a significantweaponry, the sharing of identifying information and public policy issue, which governance institutionsthe publication of websites and online content which and other stakeholders must address . Those whoare designed to extort money . are concerned about rights and internet rights Thirdly, it has made it much easier to publish need to understand and analyse what is happen-material anonymously . On the one hand, this has ing, whether they see it as an opportunity to extendencouraged transparency, freedom of expression the exercise of rights, sustain the existing rightsand association, especially where these have been regime, or move towards a new understanding ofconstrained . On the other hand, it has disrupted the rights and the exercise of rights for a post-internetbalance between freedom of expression and the era . Mapping the impact of the internet on rightsrights concerning privacy and defamation which are and on their exercise is an important step in thatincluded in Article 11 of the UDHR . direction . n Mapping rights / 61
    • © 2010 Zapiro (All rights reserved) . Printed with permission from www .zapiro .com . For more Zapiro cartoons visit www .zapiro .com
    • Country reports
    • IntroductionAlan Finlay [T] he common citizen ( . . .) took refuge in the so- cial and citizen media channels to lead a radical change of the idea of the state-citizen relation-The authors of these country reports were encour- ship . This relationship was based on a top-downaged to select a story or event to write about that approach to decision making when it came toillustrates the role of the internet in defending hu- state policies – while the internet helped toman rights . The result is a rich collection of reports make these decisions evolve around the citi-that approach the topic of the internet, human zens’ needs .rights and social resistance from different angles – In Tunisia (Arab World Internet Institute), thewhether discussing the rights of prisoners to access internet catalysed an essentially “leaderless” revo-the internet in Argentina, candlelight vigils against lution, and in Costa Rica (Sulá Batsú), “the essential“mad cow” beef imports in South Korea, the UK Un- part [of the internet] is the spirit and the power ofcut demonstrations in London, or online poetry as organising without organisations .”protest in China . Reports show that it is not always civil society The contexts in which these stories occur are organisations with formal mandates that galvanisediverse, with different implications for social mobi- social resistance . Often protests are catalysed bylisation using the internet . In many, the potential of self-organising individuals who meet online andthe internet to galvanise progressive social protest instigate protests and campaigns for change, andhas proved critical . In the United Kingdom (Open who otherwise would have very little to do with civilRights Group) events demonstrated how social me- society causes . Resistance to importing “mad cow”dia have become the “standard mobilisation toolkit” beef into South Korea (Korean Progressive Networkfor civil protest . In Bosnia and Herzegovina (owpsee Jinbonet) is sparked by spontaneous interactionsfoundation), “Facebook, with all the criticism of amongst young people: “In the beginning, the mostits privacy and security, is today the space where energetic participants were young people who hadgrassroots initiatives and informal groups in Bosnia spent the entire day at school and used the internetHerzegovina start their activities, connect with each and SMS to organise their friends and debate vari-other and do things .” ous issues .” These reports also show how the internet has The role of satire in social protest is seen in aan extraordinary power of making visible that number of reports collected here . In China (Danwei)which many would prefer to keep secret . Indone- this is felt in poems written in response to a hit-and-sia (EngageMedia Collective Inc .) demonstrates run incident involving the son of a deputy director athow difficult and delicate documenting the in- a public security bureau (known as the “My dad is Livisible can be – and the country report is worth Gang” online protests), made all the more strikingreading for practical (and ethical) issues to take in that they draw on classical Chinese poetry andinto consideration . “Making visible” is not only philosophy:a way of documenting and speaking out, and of The philosopher Mencius (Mengzi in Chinese,mobilising widespread support for a cause; it 372-289 BC) said:is also used to hold authorities accountable for 君子穷则独善其身their actions . Activists in Jordan (Alarab Alyawm) 达则兼善天下“always take into consideration the worst that If a gentleman is poor, he does good works inthe police could do . Because of this they assign solitude; if he is rich, his work is for the good ofsome participants the task of documenting eve- the whole world .rything in the events, especially if police attackdemonstrators .” The Li Gang version: While countries like Iran (Arseh Sevom School) 穷则独善其身look to create a “halaal” internet – “one that is pure 富则开车撞人from immoral websites” – Morocco (DiploFounda- If a gentleman is poor, he does good workstion) shows how the internet can disrupt entrenched in solitude; if he is rich, he drives his car intoideas of citizenship: people . Country reports / 65
    • But what is equally striking is that many authors – the reports suggest a growing discomfort with theoften long-time activists for internet rights – show internet as a place of refuge, with its negative impli-a growing ambivalence to the idea of the internet cations for active engagement in civil protest . Manyas simply a positive social phenomenon . The role reports mention the difficulty of translating supportof the internet activist, the reports suggest, is an for a cause expressed through clicking on “Like”increasingly complex one; and few unequivocal or “I’m attending” buttons on a Facebook pagestatements can be made about its social agency . into public mobilisation . As Iran puts it: “The in-Countries such as Bulgaria (BlueLink Foundation) ternet has also effectively turned the activist into ashow that as much as the internet can be a force for solitary, protesting computer user, fighting againstprogressive political change, it offers a vehicle for multiple government computers .”reactionary politics too – a different kind of “social This attention to the dangers of over-relying onresistance” . In that country reactionary groups are the internet for social mobilisation is felt sharplyincisive in using the internet to push their agenda: in countries that either do not have access or ad- equate infrastructure (whether through censorship [E]xtremist online groups are meeting more or underdevelopment) . In Lebanon (Mireille Raad), frequently offline than online social activists . for instance, activists felt excluded from the social While social researchers point out the grow- protests taking place in the region: ing number of Facebook groups and causes in support of neo-fascism, reminiscent of Hitler’s With the Arab Spring and revolutions being treatment of minorities, and protest against shared online, activists in Lebanon are feeling social policies supporting the long-term un- helpless not being able to broadcast their opin- employment of Roma, offline incidents show ions and take on events that directly affect their the neo-Nazis do act in accordance with their own country . This showed the Lebanese that claims . In the summer of 2010 two cases of vio- they are actually suffering from a subtle and lence emphasised the fact that the problem of worse form of censorship . intolerance is not a dormant or discursive one In Kazakhstan (Adil Nurmakov), even the most any more . creative online interventions – a “remixed” andThe revolutions in North Africa have shown how “redubbed” Shrek animation satirising a referen-social media can be an ally in the organisation and dum – have little widespread impact because ofmobilisation of people, but also how authoritarian the low levels of access in the country . In a differ-regimes use the internet to counter progressive so- ent way, Japan shows that, in the wake of the recentcial and political change . Similarly, in Thailand the tsunami, even highly developed countries face theinternet has been used effectively to support the danger of over-dependency on technology for civicconservative politics of the monarchy, as Arthit Suri- mobilisation and communication .yawongkul (Thai Netizen Network) observes: “What The power of the internet to “make visible” alsocan then be called a ‘digital witch hunt’ emerged, as has the inverse effect of a kind of visibility that im-users began hunting down those who were against pacts negatively on other rights, particularly whenthe monarchy .” it serves the state . In the Netherlands (Institute The tension between online activism and social for Information Law), advocating for privacy rightsmobilisation in public is felt throughout these re- is a key concern – it is a country that could beports – at times with a sense that it is difficult for “sleepwalking into a surveillance society .”1 Whileauthors embedded in internet practice and thinking the internet can “protect” against authoritarianto find words for “offline” protest and demonstra- regimes, it can also expose those who are alreadytion . Even though the idea that the revolutions in vulnerable . In Thailand:North Africa were “Twitter revolutions” or “Face-book revolutions” has been debunked by most, The personal data of victims, including theirthere is still a tendency to think of the internet home addresses and phone numbers, werenot just as an alternate public sphere – a place of posted online . One person was even physicallymultiple counterpublics – but as something more threatened, as the groups tracked down withliteral: a vehicle for the creation of “cybercountries” reasonable accuracy – within a one-kilometrepopulated by “netizens” that can, the South Koreanreport suggests, offer “cyber asylum” . 1 Richard Thomas, the English Information Commissioner, quoted While these are just ways of describing the phe- in Ford, R . (2004) Beware rise of Big Brother state, warns datanomenon that the internet has become, some of watchdog, The Times, 16 August 2004 . 66 / Global Information Society Watch
    • radius – where she lived (probably using social as there are moments of unexpected community, of media), and offered a cash bounty to anyone spontaneous and shared struggle made possible by who would “surprise” her at home . the internet . Many of these reports also offer practical ad-But it is precisely this ambivalence towards the vice and solutions to harness the potential of theinternet that makes the focus on online social ac- internet to galvanise progressive social resistancetivism for human rights such an important area effectively – actions steps for civil society – and of-to explore – and these reports, from 55 countries fer ways to avoid its pitfalls . But they are not just foracross the globe, make an important contribution ICT4D specialists or internet activists . They unpackto the discussion . The stories captured here have in a concrete way the growing implications of theimplications for everyone engaged and concerned internet for the political sphere – and the wideningwith the state of the world we live in . And, as you possibilities for social activism and engagementwill see, there are many worrying trends, as much that are opening up for the person in the street . n Country reports / 67
    • ARGENTINA ACCESSING THE INTERNET AS A RIGHT IN PRISONS Nodo TAU Prison policy Florencia Roveri The Argentine Constitution specifies in Article 18: www .tau .org .ar The prisons of the Nation shall be healthy and clean, and used for security and not for undueIntroduction punishment of the prisoners confined therein .In Argentina – as in many other countries across the Any action taken under the pretext of a precau-world – the conditions of confinement in prisons tionary measure that leads to the degradationdo not guarantee life . People in jails are deprived of prisoners beyond what the measure requiresof more rights than their freedom . Prisons do not shall make the judge that authorises this actionensure access to health, education, food, hygiene, responsible for the decision .3dignified conditions in cells and decent treatment ofprisoners . The main problems that affect the condi- Argentina, as a federal republic, has a federal peni-tions in correctional facilities are overcrowding and tentiary service and several provincial services withinstitutionalised violence . their own regulations . Law 20 .416 governs the per- Meanwhile, public policies that address these formance of the federal service, defining as its mainissues are influenced by two factors . On the one functions:hand, facing a sense of an increase in violent crime, • Ensuring the safety of persons in custody, andmiddle and higher social income groups demand that the prison regime contributes to preservingtougher penalties, with a reprehensible disregard or improving their moral conditions, educationfor the conditions under which sentences are en- and physical and mental health .forced . This claim is amplified by the media . On the • Promoting the social rehabilitation of convicts .other hand, the political power responds to thissituation with a so-called “punitive demagogy”,1 The numbers appear to contradict these objectives .deciding to construct more prisons and increas- According to a 2008 report from the National Systeming police controls, detentions and imprisonment . of Statistics on Enforcement of Sentences (SNEEP),4These measures do not resolve the problem, falling the prison population is 54,537 (increasing frommore severely on impoverished classes and favour- 29,690 in 1997) . This means 137 .22 prisoners pering the penal system as a tool for solving social 100,000 inhabitants . These figures place Argentinaconflicts .2 in sixteenth position in the world, based on official The precarious conditions of confinement and data from each country .5 As for the status of thethe absence of public policies based on civil rights sentence, 47% are convicted and 52% are awaitingare worsened because of the opacity and inacces- trial .6sibility of the country’s prisons . Any resource that SNEEP is meant to publish periodic reports toenables voices to be heard on the plight of prison- assess the implementation of prison policies, but iters helps to illuminate the darkness of the prison has not published reports since 2008, and when itsystem . In this context, access to the internet for does there are many inaccuracies . Its statistics doprisoners, besides offering them a source of infor- not count police station holding cells, for instance,mation, and a way to communicate with the outside which are also overcrowded, making it difficult toworld and to organise collectively, serves as a medi- evaluate the number of prisoners in terms of prisonum for free expression that is indispensible to theirright to tell their own stories . 3 www .argentina .gov .ar/argentina/portal/documentos/ constitucion_nacional .pdf 4 www .jus .gov .ar/media/108979/Informe%20SNEEP%201 CELS (2011) Derechos Humanos en Argentina. Informe 2011, CELS ARGENTINA%202008 .pdf and Ediciones Siglo XXI, Buenos Aires . www .cels .org .ar/common/ 5 International Centre for Prison Studies (2009) World Prison documentos/CELS_FINAL_2011 .pdf Population List, King’s College, London . www .kcl .ac .uk/depsta/2 CELS (2008) Capítulo III: La situación carcelaria: una deuda de law/research/icps/news .php?id=203 nuestra democracia, in Derechos Humanos en Argentina. Informe 6 www .jus .gov .ar/media/108979/Informe%20SNEEP%20 2008 . www .cels .org .ar/common/documentos/carceles_ia2008 .pdf ARGENTINA%202008 .pdf 68 / Global Information Society Watch
    • capacity, and to define measures to address the Work in Prison (CTC) stand out . They work on theproblem . institutionalisation of inmate demands and they all Other sources indicate that in the first half of refer to the difficulties in accessing prisons . They2010, 3,849 acts of violence were reported in the also participate in so-called “dialogue tables”,country’s prisons, which gives an average of 10 .5 which are meetings of “pavilion representatives”,13cases per day .7 Of the total, 929 were cases of prison prison authorities and external actors . Thesestaff violence against inmates, and 849 were fights sorts of initiatives are valuable mechanisms butbetween inmates . Another 348 cases were labelled not always conducive to hearing complaints fromas “self-harm” and 282 as “accidents”, data that prisoners .may be related to acts of violence that have been Prisoners’ rights to communication shouldcovered up . Another statistic from 20068 shows that not be affected except in those cases in which aonly 3 .44% of the cases are brought to trial and only sentence explicitly states that they may not com-0 .36% result in a sentence . municate with the outside world . Law Enforcement Most actors in the judicial system seem to have 24 .660, which regulates the implementation ofbecome accustomed to the conditions of the pris- sentences,14 defines in its Article 158 that “inmatesons and the institutional violence and do not report have the right to communicate regularly, orally or ineither .9 Paradoxically, some groups of inmates con- writing, with their family, friends, lawyers, and rep-sider these conditions necessary to learn to survive resentatives of government agencies and privatein violent prisons . These facts place the problem in institutions with legal status who are interestedthe complex field of cultural attitudes . in their social reintegration” and in Article 164 it Given the continuing violation of detainees’ states that “they have the right to be informed ofrights, in May 2005 the Supreme Court declared events of national and international life throughthe United Nations (UN) Standard Minimum Rules social communication media .” The law also refersfor the Treatment of Prisoners10 as the guideline for to a document dealing with “Rules of Inmate Com-all detention institutions to follow . Furthermore, in munication”, which expands on the legal provisionsJune 2006, Argentina ratified the UN’s Optional Pro- above .15tocol to the Convention against Torture and other From day-to-day descriptions of life in prison,Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punish- detainees report that telephones are frequently in-ment through Law 25 .932 . The protocol establishes accessible for long periods of time .16 Mobile phonesa mechanism of prevention through regular visits are forbidden, but many inmates manage to smug-to facilities, but the issue is still pending, and the gle them in . However, if authorities allow prisonersmechanism is not yet in place .11 to have phones, they would, for instance, be able to log them and track their use in crimes, and wouldSilenced facts behind the walls avoid the difficulty of having to make sure that theInstitutionalised violence is more difficult to at- phones are not smuggled into the prisons . Mobiletend to because of the opacity and inaccessibility of phones have also been used for recording and re-prisons . Although inmates have set ways that allow porting violence .17communication with the outside world, and havecontact with state and social actors that work to im- Voices passing through walls…prove their prison conditions and to institutionalisetheir demands, a shadow is cast over much of what We cannot break down the walls and gates butgoes on in prisons . what we can do is allow the voices of those who Among state actors, the Prison Ombudsman’s are sentenced to silence and oblivion to passOffice12 is in charge of protecting inmates and con- through them. – Rodolfo Walsh Agencytrolling penitentiaries . Amongst civil society, the The headline shouts: “Model Rehabilitation Insti-work of the Centre for Legal and Social Studies tute: 114 fatalities in less than 10 years” . The article(CELS), the Coordinator Against Police and Institu-tional Repression (CORREPI) and the Coordinator of 13 The prisons are divided into so-called pavilions . 14 www .infoleg .gov .ar/infolegInternet/anexos/35000-39999/37872/7 www .comisionporlamemoria .org/comite/informes/informe_2010 .pdf texact .htm8 Ministerio Público Fiscal (2006) Informe Anual al Congreso de la 15 www .spf .gov .ar/index .php?option=com_content&view=article&id Nación . www .mpf .gov .ar =108&Itemid=359 CELS (2011) Op . cit . 16 Information obtained through email interviews with prisoners of10 www .spf .gov .ar/pdf/ReglasMinimasparaelTratamientodeReclusos .pdf Regional Unit 3 and the Coronda Penitentiary .11 www .cels .org .ar/common/documentos/mnpt_proyecto .pd 17 www .enfoque365 .net/N19146-torturas-en-crcel-argentina-fueron-12 Procuraduría Penitenciaria de la Nación: www .ppn .gov .ar filmadas-y-difundidas-por-internet-y-telfonos-celulares .html ARGENTINA / 69
    • was published by “Ciudad Interna” (Inner City) – was unstable – and only a few computers werethe blog of a group of inmates in a so-called model available . They shared these with all of the prison-prison in Coronda – after the death of four detain- ers, which made communication difficult and slow .ees during a conflict . The article complains that the In turn they complained that this was an “excusemeasures that authorities take in general after this used by penitentiaries to leave us cut off [from thekind of episode amount only to punishment and outside world] .”confinement . Because of this, most conflicts result Generally, access is restricted in terms of time .in the death of inmates . The prisoners who do get access send email and Coronda, the biggest prison in Santa Fe prov- search for information; also, “some prisoners haveince, is called a “model” prison because it used met girls with whom they begin a relationship, othersto have a school, a sports field and housed the have found jobs they can go to when they get out .”workshop of a garment and shoes manufacturer Others use instant messaging (IM) to “chat” – dur-that offered the possibility of social reintegration ing a recent conflict an inmate used IM to contact aafter prisoners had served their sentence . Political CTC staff member who called the prison authorities .prisoners were jailed there during the last military Instantaneous communication by chat or mobiledictatorship (1976-1983) and – more recently – it phones (when they are smuggled in) facilitates rapidwas the scene of an uprising which ended with four- intervention to avoid increasing tension .teen prisoners killed, in April 2005 . Computer rooms are frequently the birthplace After the uprising, a group of inmates started of training and communication projects . “Oncemeeting with the objective of publishing a maga- we had the connection, we did not know anythingzine written entirely by them . They were assisted about internet and there was no one to teach us .by two journalists who ran a workshop . The pub- People from outside helped us to create email ac-lication was called “Coronda: Ciudad Interna” counts and later the blog,” Ciudad Interna said .and it was the first step towards a bridge that the The magazine and the blog are mainly dedicated togroup started to build, linking them to the out- complaints about violations of human rights . Whenside world . Later they started a radio station for an article deserves more attention, they also useinmates,18 and then began to negotiate for access email to circulate it . “The group called this proce-to the internet . dure ‘la gatilladita’ [little trigger] because we reach There is no legislation in Argentina that prevents our contacts directly and they do not need to con-access to the internet in jails . In several prisons it sult the blog .”is used in distance learning projects, generally in In a recent post, the prisoners published apenitentiary libraries .19 In Coronda internet access historical analysis of penitentiary service in Argen-for distance learning was already in place through tina .21 They wrote:an agreement with the University of Litoral .20 How-ever, Ciudad Interna wanted to extend the time of Navigating in this expansive virtual field, wethis access . With the support of a group of lawyers learn about how what was used as a militarythey prepared a habeas corpus in which they ar- structure became a prison . But because notgued that “digital exclusion means the deprivation everything is on the internet, we will provideof the human right to communicate,” conceiving reliable information – not disseminated bycommunication through the web “as an extension the mass media – with the intention that anof human possibilities .” They stated: “Nowadays ill-informed society gets to know about prisonthe internet enables us to transcend the prison conditions in increasingly crowded jails . … Aswalls, to take our complaints to the outside, to train it stands, bad men continue to control [prison-ourselves in a job, to keep in contact with the world ers]… torturing and killing… without anyonein order to intervene in reality and thus to have the doing anything to stop it .possibility, perhaps, to transform our present condi- After publishing the article on the blog, they also senttion of exclusion and marginalisation .” it out by email . Nine websites republished the post – The group finally obtained access to the inter- including some recognised independent media .net . The technology and the connection they got This example shows the potential of the internet as a medium to publish to the outside world, and as18 www .ciudadinterna .blogspot .com a source of information and means of contact and19 Román, A . (2008) Pensar Internet como elemento de reinserción en los socialising . Today Ciudad Interna is a self-managed penales argentinos . www .biblioteca .jus .gov .ar/roman_bteca_pen .pdf20 www .unl .edu .ar/noticias/leer/7351/Acuerdo_entre_la_UNL_y_la_ provincia_por_la_Educacion_en_Prisiones .html and www .uba .ar/ 21 ciudadinterna .blogspot .com/2011/04/pareciera-que-del-titulo-de- extension/trabajos/uba .htm esta-nota .html 70 / Global Information Society Watch
    • media site produced by detainees, with the help of Action stepsformer detainees, and even relatives and workingprofessionals . • Contribute to the debate about the importance Similar experiences are found elsewhere: La of guaranteeing widespread access to the inter-Cantora22 from Unit 4 in Bahía Blanca; the blog Cara- net in prisons .coles en Red (Snails on the Web)23 from the Federal • Promote the creation of internet access points,Psychiatric Hospital in Buenos Aires; Rompiendo el so that all prisoners have the possibility toSilencio (Breaking the Silence), 24 a blog by Unit 3 send email or find information . Access can offerand the blog Mujeres tras las rejas (Women Behind various forms of assistance and help, as well asBars) by Unit 5, both in Rosario .25 These publica- training .tions form a network, so that if one is silenced, the • Discuss the ban on mobile phones in prisons,others sound the alarm . and promote the use of wireless connectivity .Conclusions • Demand that data collection tools be developed so that quantitative and qualitative information• The prison system in Argentina is not able to on various issues in prisons can be collated to guarantee human rights due to structural and inform policy . This could also be used to collect cultural limitations . In addition, it is also diffi- stories on the use of the internet in prisons to cult to know what goes on inside prisons . Any analyse the potential of the internet to rehabili- means to shed light on prison conditions could tate prisoners . n help in making the public aware, and reporting on the situation . Self-managed projects and spaces promoted by civil society organisations contribute to this possibility .• Although there is no legislation that prevents inmates from accessing the internet, it is not guaranteed for all detainees – only for those who organise and complain to the authorities .• Internet access would allow inmates to maintain contact with their families, to keep informed about their communities, their country and the world, to build capacities for social reintegra- tion, and to remain emotionally healthy .• The web, specially the blogosphere, is very useful when it comes to awareness of what hap- pens inside prisons, and for reporting on the violation of rights .22 www .lacantora .org .ar/inicio .php23 caracoles-en-red .blogspot .com24 rompiendoelsilenciou3 .blogspot .com25 mujerestraslasrejas .blogspot .com ARGENTINA / 71
    • AUSTRALIA BLOCKING CONTENT, BLOCKING RIGHTS EngageMedia Collective Inc. voice and the will to question and act through the Andrew Garton internet, that are at odds with the so-called clean www .engagemedia .org feed internet filter . The clean feed drew so much public condemnation, and with a minority govern- ment comprised of independents and Greens withIntroduction no stomach for an internet service provider (ISP)- level content filtering system, that it was shelvedThe Australian government’s response to WikiLeaks’ until at least 2013 – though the impetus for its crea-publication of leaked United States (US) State tion is far from idle .6Department diplomatic cables in November 2010sought to criminalise both the organisation and its Policy and political backgroundfounder and editor-in-chief, Australian citizen Julian The ease by which Australia complies with interna-Assange . tional conventions, from cyber crime to intelligence In spite of significant public and media indus- gathering, draft or otherwise, describes an increas-try support for WikiLeaks, both Australia’s Prime ing gulf between Australian politicians and theMinister Julia Gillard and Attorney-General Robert citizens they are meant to represent . Through theMcClelland placed their support squarely behind 1990s Australia continued to display the tolerance,the US1 and its persecution of Assange, WikiLeaks empathy and cultural diversity that grew from theand its staff .2 1970s with the abolition of the White Australia Poli- Parallels emerged with the Howard govern- cy (1973),7 its intake of Vietnamese and Cambodianment’s3 dispassionate response to David Hicks and refugees (1976) and, a decade later, the creation ofMamdouh Habib,4 two Australians held without the Office of Multicultural Affairs and the Australiancharge and in violation of their basic democratic Council of Multicultural Affairs (1986), both of whichrights in the US military prison in Guantanamo Bay . were to create a National Agenda for a Multicultural The call from Australia’s political leadership to Australia . Another decade on and the political cli-seek legal grounds for Assange’s arrest and to crimi- mate in Australia was about to change .nalise the work of WikiLeaks, when no legal grounds In 1996, only four months after the Howardexisted for either,5 also reignited debate about the government took office, they came good with anLabor Party’s single-minded efforts to introduce a election pledge and closed down the Office ofcontroversial mandatory internet content filter . Multicultural Affairs . Multiculturalism was to be The writer and commentator called Stilgherrian “zeroed”, instructed the new treasurer, Peter Cos-asks, “Why aren’t our politicians considering us tello . The remaining Department of Immigrationcitizens and our rights?” It is these rights, the dem- and Citizenship would have the majority of its fundsocratic rights of all Australians who are finding their withdrawn . The breakdown of an increasingly educated,1 Nicholson, B . (2010) WikiLeaks acts ‘illegal’: Gillard government, The Australian, 10 December . www .theaustralian .com .au/in-depth/ knowledge-focused and pluralist society was on its wikileaks/wikileaks-acts-illegal-gillard-government/story- way . With massive cuts to higher education and a fn775xjq-1225968584365 gradual decimation of humanities, language and2 AAP (2011) Australia ‘helps US target WikiLeaks staff’, The Australian, 13 February . www .theaustralian .com .au/news/ religious studies to follow, it would be another four breaking-news/australia-helps-us-target-wikileaks-staff/story- years before the curtain would seek to be drawn on fn3dxity-1226005158805 Australians’ right to privacy and free speech online .3 John Howard was the 25th prime minister of Australia, representing the Australian Liberal-National coalition, which led the federal parliament from 11 March 1996 to 3 December 2007 .4 Lander, K . (2004) Government sceptical over Hicks torture claims, 6 Moses, A . (2010) Conroy’s net filter still alive and kicking, Sydney Lateline, 20 May . www .abc .net .au/lateline/content/2004/ Morning Herald, 10 September . www .smh .com .au/technology/ s1112658 .htm technology-news/conroys-net-filter-still-alive-and-kicking-5 Hayward, A . (2010) Law not broken but WikiLeaks illegal: 20100910-1540s .html PM, Nine News, 17 December . news .ninemsn .com .au/article . 7 Fact Sheet 8 – Abolition of the ‘White Australia’ Policy . www .immi . aspx?id=8185173 gov .au/media/fact-sheets/08abolition .htm 72 / Global Information Society Watch
    • On 11 September 2001, John Howard, visiting It is not the government’s role to be a net nan-the US, invoked the ANZUS Treaty and strengthened ny. It is the role of every single household. Robmilitary ties with the US, unquestioningly entering Oakeshott, independent member of the Houseboth Iraq and Afghanistan . This stirred the flame of of Representatives, Australiahate for minorities, particularly asylum seekers in Since 1 July, leading Australian ISPs, includingAustralia . The freedom to seek refuge and asylum Telstra, Optus and Primus, have voluntarily under-from abuse on Australia’s shores would be severely taken, with the support of their industry association,tested . the Internet Industry Association (IIA), to imple- It was in this climate of fear, suspicion and in- ment the blocking of sites on an Interpol list of childcreasing contempt for informed public discussion abuse websites .8 At the same time, the Australianand transparency that the subsequent Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) isLabor Party which came to power proposed the compiling a list of its own, and it is seeking to havemuch maligned mandatory clean feed filter, and the sites on its blacklist reviewed by the Classificationmeasures that would follow as it simmered on the Board . ACMA’s list is said to include “material thatpolicy back burner . meets the criteria for Refused Classification underBlocking content versus blocking rights the National Classification Code for containing of- fensive depictions or descriptions of children .” It isMuch like the rest of the developed world, Aus- under this basis that the Classification Board willtralians, who once hailed theirs as “the lucky formally classify sites for the filtering scheme .country”, live in an environment governed by eco- Nevertheless, while the ACMA administers a co-nomic concerns, fluctuations in currency markets, regulatory scheme for online content,9 at the time ofincreasing interest rates and threatening statis- writing the Classification Board has not yet set outtics . Traditional media are struggling to define guidelines for the classification of online content asthemselves through headlines that continue to it has done, for example, for films and more recentlyopine economic peril . Many leading politicians are computer games .10 It is also not yet clear which ofturning their back on our experts . Given a minority Australia’s ISPs will agree to implement it .government, held together by three independents The IIA is less than enthusiastic about the ACMAand the Greens, the only wedge of common sense blacklist . The government sees the implementationand courage in a political environment that is by of the Interpol blacklist as an “interim step”, fuel-and large conservative, is driven by short-term ling speculation by the IIA that the government’sgoals and ambitions . mandatory filter could be taken up by ISPs through The definition of insanity is doing the same a “backdoor” mechanism . However, the IIA’s thing over and over again and expecting differ- scheme, according to Electronic Frontiers Australia ent results. Albert Einstein (EFA), provides “no clear governance and oversight from the people affected by it .”When the clean feed was introduced it met with un- The EFA is concerned that being an internation-paralleled backlash from the public, civil society and al list that no Australian agency can contribute toISPs . The clean feed’s architect, Senator Stephen without international cooperation, the Interpol listConroy, Minister for Broadband, Communications will not satisfy the government . David Cake, EFA’sand the Digital Economy, continued to back it time chair, suggests that this position will not only “makeand time again . Tests proved the technology would legislation perhaps easier to sell, but it opens theslow internet usage, but Conroy persisted . Industry way for further (perhaps non-legislative) additionsleaders suggested it would hamper internet usage to the filter – and the decision to add this filteringand stifle innovation . Conroy ignored their concerns scheme, as a voluntary industry scheme, is one withand pressed harder . Campaign after campaign ridi- virtually no consumer or civil society input .”culed the proposal and sought to test the minister’sexpertise, which appeared limited . Conroy continued to condemn those who were 8 Moses, A . (2011) Internet censorship machine quietly revs up,against the policy as supporters of the kind of infor- Sydney Morning Herald, 20 July . www .smh .com .au/technology/mation he was wanting to protect Australians from . technology-news/internet-censorship-machine-quietly-revs-up- 20110720-1ho0y .html#ixzz1V4sQXzkPIt was not until a leaked blacklist of sites appeared 9 Australian Communications and Media Authority,on WikiLeaks that the proposal started to come un- Online regulation . www .acma .gov .au/WEB/STANDARD/done . It took an election to see the policy put on the pc=PC_90169#coreg 10 Classification Board, Guidelines for the Classification of Films andproverbial back burner . But what is driving the clean Computer Games . www .comlaw .gov .au/comlaw/management .nsf/feed? We are not quite done with it yet . lookupindexpagesbyid/IP200508205?OpenDocument AUSTRALIA / 73
    • But it is not all about protecting Australians governments will, on the one hand, speak out againstfrom content governments do not wish them to see . the restrictions imposed on internet access duringThere is an increasing desire to know what people the uprisings in Egypt, but will call for similar impo-are saying to each other, both online and through sitions when the hard issues need to be addressedthe myriad of communications devices in use . and citizens demand that they are . Australia is no exception . In Australia the quality of debate has largely A proposal on data retention, inspired by the Eu- been deplorable: soporific on one side and hys- ropean Union’s Data Retention Directive,13 is being terical on the other, ugly, dumb and bullying, driven by the Australian Federal Police and could marked by a “Gotcha!” approach in sections see all web browsing history of Australian internet of the media, with relentless emphasis on fear, users logged for law enforcement to access .14 A the short term, vested interests and a mindless representative from the Attorney General’s Depart- populism. Barry Jones, Honorary (Professorial ment stated that the Department is “considering Fellow), Melbourne Graduate School of Educa- the merits of comparative data retention proposals tion at University of Melbourne to enable security and law enforcement agencies toAs the appetite for a more informed conversation maintain access to telecommunications informationin the national media increases, one may not be to assist with investigations .”15wrong in thinking that Australians are turning to the The Environment and Communications Refer-internet to stay informed . Here independent me- ences Committee of the Australian Senate produceddia and public debate are flourishing . This has, in a report in April 2011 analysing whether Australiaturn, inspired a new form of media within national should implement such a plan . A report16 consider-institutions such as the Australian Broadcasting ing the adequacy of protections for the privacy ofCorporation’s popular Q and A11 and the Special Australians online made five key suggestions thatBroadcasting Service’s Go Back to Where You Came government should consider prior to proceedingFrom .12 We may well be seeing an increase in the with data retention legislation,17 asking the Austral-number of informed, politically literate and active ian government to:citizens in Australia . If this is the case, why then • Produce an extensive report analysing theseek to criminalise the tools we use to both inform costs, benefits and major risks of data retentionand protect ourselves? legislation The story is the same the world over . Activists • Demonstrate that retaining data is necessary forhave been using computer networks since their law enforcement purposesappearance in the mid- to late-1980s . With everytechnological advance, activists migrated from one • Quantify and justify the costs to ISPs of imple-platform to another exploiting their use to give voice menting a data retention lawto the unheard, to document the perils of the unseen, • Assure citizens that data retained will be storedfrom the forests of Borneo to the streets of Egypt . securely and subject to appropriate account-When once their communications were secure, or ability mechanismsrelatively unknown, new technologies have madeactivists vulnerable, but they have also made them • Consult with a wide range of stakeholders, in-inventive . So long as an open internet can be main- cluding NGOs which the government has yet totained, that inventiveness will serve the cause of free consult .speech and open democracies – but it can also har-bour and protect the practices of really bad people . 13 eur-lex .europa .eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ .do?uri=OJ:L:2006:105:0 Governments will always try to monitor citizens’ 054:0063:EN:PDF “secure” communications – and corporations 14 Jacobs, C . (2010) AFP pushing for invasive data retention, Electronic will always help them. Dan Gillmore, director, Frontiers Australia, 7 September . www .efa .org .au/2010/09/07/afp- pushing-for-invasive-data-retention Knight Center for Digital Media Entrepreneur- 15 Parenell, S . (2011) Canberra rethinks retention regime on ISP ship, Arizona State University subscriber records, The Australian, 26 July . www .theaustralian . com .au/news/investigations/canberra-rethinks-retention-regime-Governments across the planet seek to pro- on-isp-subscriber-records/story-fn8r0e18-1226101609674foundly change the way activists and the general 16 Senate Environment and Communications References Committee (2011) The adequacy of protections for the privacy of Australianspublic at large communicate with each other . Western online . www .aph .gov .au/senate/committee/ec_ctte/online_ privacy/report/index .htm11 www .abc .net .au/tv/qanda 17 Electronic Frontiers Foundation (n .d .) Mandatory Data Retention .12 www .sbs .com .au/shows/goback www .eff .org/issues/mandatory-data-retention 74 / Global Information Society Watch
    • So far the recommendations remain as such: recom- In 1966 the Motion Picture Association of America,mendations with no clear indication as to whether in response to what were already considered antiquat-they will be taken up in any form . ed censorship restrictions of their industry, came up with a rating system of their own . A form of industryConclusions self-regulation created avenues for an independentWhat is the problem these measures are designed scene that saw no reason to rate itself whatsoever .to address? Filters can be circumvented . Data can The independent filmmakers of the past decade havebe encrypted . Voices that wish to be heard will find sought to make films on their own terms and employa way to reach communities that wish to listen and alternative forms of distribution . Theirs is a world thatreally bad people will pay to conceal their activities . seeks not to stifle, but to open debate on all issues; The internet has given Australians a means to not to criminalise taboos or critique, but to encouragenot only express their democratic rights, but also a more open and honest society where the major-to exercise innovation in the use of those rights ity take responsibility for their actions, where theirfor public debate . This report has described a vig- elected leaders protect, but do not parent, and seek toorous, determined, all-embracing attack on those educate and nurture their constituencies . Censorshiprights through political posturing targeting a fear- limits life, but life knows no limits . Australians wouldful population and conservative values . It is wrong do well to not think only of themselves as living in theto not stand up against child abuse, for instance; “lucky country”, but as responsible, creative and nur-but when this is used as an argument to stymie all turing citizens on a lucky planet!manner of online content, one can only wonder whythe same approach is not taken to shut down the Action stepsoperations of those who would pollute the Artesian • Support initiatives that promote an open inter-Water Basin through the controversial practice of net . Become a member of EFA .coal seam mining . There are millions of websites that host ques- • Join GetUp .org .au and advocate for the mainte-tionable content . It would seem far easier to put an nance of civil liberties when they are challenged .end to the practices that harm the health of all peo- • Engage in public debate on the issues raised inple both now and into the future than to attempt to this report . Publish your own views or supportnarrow the means by which we can inform ourselves the views of those whom you respect and raiseof such folly . Perhaps therein lies the answer . the calibre of discussion from passive accept- ance to being informed and active in shaping Call it draconian or whatever they like, but any the future of your community, your nation and society needs supervision and regulation. DD, its contribution to the planet at large . online comment to The Age article, “Censoring mobiles and the net: How the West is clamping • Find the means to use social media sites for down”18 local, community initiatives . Just as Austral- ians gathered on social media sites duringPerhaps Australians prefer to be protected, to be unprecedented natural disasters in early 2011,supervised and regulated . Perhaps Australians do from Cyclone Yasi to flooding across the statenot wish to be reminded that they are, no matter of Queensland, local use of these tools willwhere they came from, part of the rest of the world . strengthen their everyday use and further pre- There is need for “protection”, but by whom and vent intrusion into their use by governmentsfor what end or gain? Responsible parenting, for in- and civil authorities . nstance, is simply that . But the nanny state appearsto want to parent all Australians, at the expense,it seems, of the liberties expressed online . Self-regulation is an option that the IIA is exploring . Ithas worked in the past, in other information com-munication sectors, the motion picture industry forinstance .18 Moses, A . (2011) Censoring mobiles and the net: how the West is clamping down, The Age, 15 August . www .theage .com .au/ technology/technology-news/censoring-mobiles-and-the-net-- how-the-west-is-clamping-down-20110815-1itsx .html#ixzz1V5lJBiiv AUSTRALIA / 75
    • BANGLADESH CAMPAIGNING AGAINST WAR CRIMINALS ONLINE VOICE party formed the International Crimes Tribunal, ded- Ahmed Swapan Mahmud and Farjana Akter icated to the prosecution of war crimes committed www .voicebd .org during the 1971 war of independence . The people of Bangladesh have been united since independence to bring all war criminals to justice and punish themIntroduction for war crimes and crimes against humanity . They are waiting to hear the verdicts against the hatedBangladesh attained independence after a nine- war criminals .month war against Pakistan in 1971, during which While the peoples’ movement against war crimi-local collaborators set up by fundamentalist nals started at independence, it is now strongerpolitical parties engaged in genocide . The United than ever before, largely because of new media . ByNations Human Rights Commission (UNHRC), in its using the internet, young people have promoted the1981 report on the occasion of the 33rd anniversary movement . They have successfully spread its mes-of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, sage, not only in Bangladesh but all over the world,stated that the genocide committed in Bangla- by blogging, using social networking sites, and on-desh in 1971 was the worst in history . It is widely line web forums .accepted, both inside and outside of Bangladesh,that a total of three million Bengalis were killed by Policy and political backgroundPakistani troops and their local allies . The UNHRC Bangladesh has a comprehensive information andreport said that even if a lower figure of 1 .5 million communications technology (ICT) policy, whichdeaths were accepted, the killings took place at a was passed in 2002, and a National Telecom Policy,rate of between 6,000 to 12,000 per day, lasting for which was passed in 1998 . The present government267 days of carnage . This made it the most intense has placed considerable importance on ICT issuesgenocide in history . and on the digital rights of people . Around 10 mil- We achieved our independence through a sacri- lion people now use the internet, while in 2008 thefice of human lives . We had to undergo tragedies of number of users was around 4 .8 million .unprecedented proportions . What finally helped us A National ICT Task Force has been formedto drive the occupation forces out of our sacred land and a programme called the Support to ICT Taskwere our indomitable spirit, sheer grit and determi- Force (SICT) has been initiated by the governmentnation more than anything else . At the same time to help with implementation and monitoring . Theone should also recall with gratitude the support government has also started a multi-stakeholderprovided by our neighbour India, both militarily and e-government forum . This includes several importantby the Indian people .1 ministries, academics, NGOs and the private sector . The genocide in 1971 was helped by many local In 2007, during a military caretaker regime, thefundamentalists, including members of the religious country lacked freedom of expression both in printJamaat-e-Islami party . They formed a militia which and electronic media . One of the most highly circu-allegedly helped identify victims and also took part lated newspapers, Prothom Alo, had to suspend thein the killings . Their leaders were absolved after the publication of its weekly satire supplement calledwar and are now prominent opposition political fig- Alpin . Cases were filed against the editor, publisherures .2 The government wants to put them on trial, and cartoonist of the Bangla daily Prothom Alo .but they claim they are innocent and that this is a Saptahik2000, a popular magazine supplement,political move . was stopped because of a story where the writer On 25 March 2010, after 39 years of independ- compared Kaaba Shareef (a holy place in Meccaence, the current government of the Awami League where the prophet Muhammad was buried and where the holy pilgrimage takes place) to a brothel .31 www .thedailystar .net/suppliments/2011/26_march/pg2 .htm2 www .secularvoiceofbangladesh .org/Fotoes/Report%20on%20 the%20war%20criminals . .%A8%A8/Report%20on%20the%20 3 www .e-bangladesh .org/2007/09/20/attack-against-freedom-of- war%20criminals .htm speech-bangladesh-cartoon-controversy-update 76 / Global Information Society Watch
    • The military government also set guidelines for TV distribute videos . A Facebook group named “50,000talk shows and other programmes . BANGLADESHIS UNITED AGAINST WAR CRIMINALS Before coming to power, the present govern- AND RAJAKARS OF 1971 BANGLADESH” has pub-ment always spoke in favour of freedom of the lished an official list of Razakars . Groups calledpress and freedom of expression – but now that “Trial For War Criminals In Bangladesh” and “Standit is in power, the situation has not improved . The Against RAJAKAR” are vigorously pushing policyelectronic and print media are simultaneously being makers for justice .pressurised by the ruling party . Private TV channels Independent writers, bloggers and journalistshave shut down and one channel did not get per- have formed a pressure group to push for the pros-mission to broadcast, while others have received ecution of war crimes . For example, War Criminalslicences and will be on the air soon . In 2010 Face- in Bangladesh4 is a very strong blog which pub-book was banned for days because it published a lishes photos and stories of atrocities committedcartoon of the prime minister in a commentary on a by Razakars in 1971 . Sachalayatan5 is another veryreligious matter . prominent blog in Bangladesh . It focuses on all Newspapers in Bangladesh are already kinds of injustices in society . It publishes articlescompelled to self-censor to avoid any form of har- and critical perspectives on war criminals in Bang-assment by the state . Bangladesh has a Right to ladesh . Sachalayatan is playing a very decisive roleInformation (RTI) Act and a commission has been in the campaign .formed under the Act . The RTI Act is expected to Amar6 is another blog run by enthusiastic on-create a more open and democratic society . But this line activists . Recently they established an onlinedoes not seem to have happened yet . Under the es- research foundation . The main objective of thetablished exceptions and for security reasons the foundation was to include young people in researchgovernment has blocked people’s right to know . on struggles for freedom, and to make this research available online . As part of its campaign, Amar alsoThe role of ICTs in citizen mobilisation organises meetings and seminars on online cam-ICTs have had a great impact on numerous peoples’ paigns against war criminals .movements in the world because of their ability to The International Crime Strategy Forum (ICSF)7allow the general public to participate . The role of is an active and strong online coalition against waronline social resistance is very important . The inter- criminals in Bangladesh . The ICSF had been formednet allows people to communicate, exchange ideas to promote the cause of justice and at the sameand organise themselves . It also facilitates a kind time to facilitate the fair trial of the perpetrators ofof political process that is different to the conven- the 1971 war crimes, irrespective of where they nowtional political system . A group of people sharing a live, their political connections or their status in thecommon interest and vision collectively have great- society . Through this campaign the ICSF wants toer capacity and resources to campaign when using strengthen the movement against war criminals bythe internet . instilling a sense of justice, independence and free- It has been said that online media allow easy dom in the hearts of future generations . The ICSFaccess to information . The internet is a place of has been providing reference resources to the pub-free-flowing information where people can express lic using the internet . For instance, it has set up theanything anytime . It is a unique place to build peo- e-Library 718 which includes reference materials onple’s mobilisation and give them a voice against an the 1971 genocide .unjust and unfair society . To make the campaign more effective, the ICSF In the case of Bangladesh, the internet can be has been running an online media archive .9 Thisused to publish photos, videos and documentaries archive contains recent media reports and blogwhich offer solid evidence of the genocide in 1971 . coverage related to war crime prosecution in Bang-The war left three million people dead, and 200,000 ladesh . It also has a group blog platform to discusswomen were assaulted . All these hated activities and analyse current developments related to warwere perpetrated by local collaborators such as crimes and criminals of 1971 generally and prosecu-the Rajakar (also spelled Razakar), Al Badar and Al tion initiatives specifically .Sham militias . The online campaign against war criminals is 4 warcriminalsinbangladesh .blogspot .com 5 www .sachalayatan .comintensifying . Different groups have been created for 6 www .amarblog .comthe cause on social networking sites like Facebook 7 icsforum .organd Twitter . These groups are very active in distrib- 8 icsforum .org/blog/category/archives/e-library-71uting messages to their lists . YouTube also helps to 9 icsforum .org/mediarchive BANGLADESH / 77
    • New media are being used to organise protests Action stepson the ground . These include demonstrations andthe collection of signatures for campaigns . These • Lobby government for access to the internet .activities push the government to take action . • Mainstream ICT policy development .Conclusion • Online campaigners should include key policy actors when dealing with important nationalOnline campaigns and resistance are stronger than issues .movements on the ground, and have grabbed atten-tion nationally and internationally . The end result • Content should be in both local and internation-is that the government has considered it its moral al languages so that everybody can access it .and political duty to bring war criminals before tri- • Visual media should be emphasised when seek-bunals . It has started to try war criminals – a move ing to influence public opinion .which has been encouraged by people’s activism . • There could be more coordination among online groups and blogs . n 78 / Global Information Society Watch
    • © 2010 Zapiro (All rights reserved) . Printed with permission from www .zapiro .com . For more Zapiro cartoons visit www .zapiro .com
    • BENIN ICTS IN EDUCATION IN BENIN: ELUSION AND THE LIGHT OF HOPE CréACTION BENIN The challenge of ICTs in education in Benin Barnabé Affougnon The national strategy for ICTs in Benin is well de- www .ogouman .blogspot .com fined . By 2025, Benin must become ‘’the digital district of Africa’’ . This strategy has two essential components . The first component relates to the de-Introduction velopment of e-business . The second componentThe era of people sitting around a tree for endless takes into account e-government and e-education .discussions is now past . Now is the time of screens, The aim is to connect all government and educa-paper and multimedia, with the internet as a corner- tional institutions in order to boost development atstone . This is a fast world, full of images, texts and the national level .sounds, moving as fast as light . However, to keep Unfortunately, in practice, this is more difficult .pace with that light, the true light, is not an easy The ICT learning programme is not yet widespread intask . We mean the light which can help get rid of schools . Therefore, the digital gap is getting wider .ignorance; the light that brings in changes in busi- The rate of internet use is still very low in Benin .nesses, moving them to develop . Among over 200 students surveyed, only 3% have a To ignore new technology is to be a misfit in today’s computer and 15% use the internet for their studies .world . It is to lag behind a story that humankind has The reasons given are threefold . The first is eco-made up . We spoke to Cedric, a student in sociology . A nomic . The students do not have the money to buywriter and poet, Cedric got a scholarship for Brussels computers . The purchasing power of these learn-as a writer-in-residence . One of the requirements was ers does not allow them to acquire these materials .that he had to use a computer with an internet con- The second reason relates to the teaching system .nection while in residence . Too bad, he knew nothing There are few teachers and lecturers who can teachabout computers, even though he attended computer computer classes . Mostly they are individuals whoclasses when he was in high school . Basically, the have attended introductory courses in computerscourses were theoretical and insubstantial . and the internet, and have only partial knowledge Meanwhile, his colleagues, African or European of the discipline .residents, were making good use of the machine, The last reason relates to the difficulties inproudly showing documents they had produced in learning how to use technology well – which comesa relatively short time . from using technology regularly . Ironically, Cedric is from Benin, a country where Because of these factors, we can say that accesscomputer and internet classes in a number of to knowledge is unevenly shared .schools are compulsory, and the use of technology Sad fate, sad situation for Cedric, a young stu-is encouraged and advertised by the media . Howev- dent of eighteen, registered for his first year iner, learners continue to be introduced to technology sociology and anthropology at the University of“in theory”, rather than practically . The government Abomey-Calavi in Benin, truly immersed in thisexercises no control over information and communi- reality . Lured by the attractive and misleading ad-cations technology (ICT) training programmes . The vertisements of ICTs in education in one of theeducation system continues to be run with flaws, computer schools in the city, Cedric realised he hadand there is almost no curriculum guidance . been duped . What motivated Cedric to register at The French political document, the Declaration that school was the computer classes it claimed itof the Rights of Man and Citizen of 1793, states in taught there . To have a good command of typing,Article 3: ‘’All men are equal by nature and before being able to use the internet, chat, find informa-the law .” This right is inalienable . But culturally, this tion, was a dream for the young learner, a stepright is problematic . People in all continents have not towards reality .received the same education, do not have the same But by the end of the year, the only things hehistory; therefore, they do not have the same oppor- knew were the definitions of the different parts of atunities . In this context, even Cedric was lucky . computer: screen, keyboard, mouse, monitor, hard 80 / Global Information Society Watch
    • disk, computer . Generally, the computers he used school for operating expenses . This all contributeswere first-generation computers (Pentium 1) or sec- to the failure of ICT projects in the educational are-ond-generation (Pentium 2), largely because they na such as the GLOBE Project in 1996, NTIC-EDUCwere less expensive to buy . But these computers in 2000 and the Project for Introducing Computersare subject to untimely breakdowns and malfunc- in Schools (PIIES), based in the Ministry of Primarytions during training programmes . The Pentium and Secondary Education .3s that are found in some schools are considered A reluctance is also observed in the school sys-luxury items, sophisticated objects placed on desks tem where teachers who are computer illiterateand covered up for protection . do not want to admit it, because they are afraid of Another serious problem is the instability of losing their jobs . Following our investigations, itelectricity supply . There are frequent power cuts . turned out that many educators do not want to beWhen they occur, classes automatically stop, given taught about computers in their schools at risk ofthe absence of generators . Classrooms are also not being treated as if they belong in the backwaters ofair-conditioned . And up to eight students cluster this changing century . Some argue that they are noaround a single computer to work . The time spent longer able to learn anything . Why?at the keyboard was considered short . “The class They refuse to face the new difficulties a compu-was a boiler and everyone was fighting to breathe ter introduces into their lives . This narrow-mindedeasily,” Cedric told us in our interview with him . attitude reduces the chances of introducing these Given the lack of laws and regulations, educa- tools into school programmes .tional institutions lure young pupils and students Cedric lives this policy failure .to their classes through what amounts to false ad-vertising . The practical arrangements put in place Conclusionsin these schools are outdated and do not facilitate The growing development of ICTs has profoundlyaccess to quality training . Unfortunately, this sorry changed people’s ways of thinking and acting in theand even illegal situation continues, and is legiti- community . ICTs contribute to the strengthening ofmised by a number of school authorities who have social ties . Basic computer literacy and a good com-the protection of a few political leaders . mand of IT applications are essential to getting to As a result, despite attending the school, Cedric know the realities of the changing world .has not yet discovered the advantages and benefits Unfortunately, Western countries have a clearof using a computer and the internet . The students lead over the Southern ones . The result is a digitalknow nothing about discussion groups or social divide which is a key factor of underdevelopment .networking . Cedric has just a poor idea of these ICT development initiatives and forums are set uptools, which many students of his age in other parts by multinational corporations, political leaders andof the world manipulate skilfully . members of civil society in an effort to bridge the divide – regional and international summits such asThe right to access the internet the World Summit on the Information Society beingMy mother often says, ‘’The five fingers are not one such effort .equal, yet they are all together .” The realities of Be- In Benin, efforts to promote an enabling envi-nin are not those of Togo, neither those of the Ivory ronment for the use of ICTs continue . The state’sCoast nor of France . The needs expressed in these regulatory framework, including tax exemptions forcountries reflect the existing emergencies there . In hardware, and the numerous ICT projects, includingBenin, education is an “emergency” and the state an increase in the number of cybercafés in major cit-is well positioned to help Cedric recover his right to ies, help to some degree . Schools and universitiesaccess the internet, one that allows him to access have been gradually introducing computer and in-information . ternet training programmes in their classes . The educational system in Benin, despite the However, real difficulties remain: the availabili-noticeable progress made since the Conférence ty of computer hardware, the training and capacityNationale des Forces Vives de la Nation (National of teachers who are responsible for teaching theConference of Active Forces of the Nation) in 1990 discipline, financial difficulties relating to the man-has faltered . Several ongoing reforms do not ap- agement of computer rooms . As a result, like thepear to be working, especially those related to new computers they use, the training of students isteaching programmes . One is the teaching of ICTs . still not reliable . The courses are unregulated andUnfortunately, many schools in Benin have no elec- inconsistent . There is a mismatch between thetricity, no telephone lines . The cost of hardware is training promised and the course content in thestill too high given the budget allocated to each programmes . Teachers are not evaluated by the BENIN / 81
    • state . The student performance officially recorded in official exams – it should no longer be an op-is not credible . tional subject . Yet the need for training remains high . It is only • Courses should be run enabling teachers toby meeting this demand properly that we can build build their ICT capacity .an “Emerging Benin” where socioeconomic and in-tellectual development is supported by ICTs . • The state should gradually build rooms specifi- cally designed for computer classes .Action steps • All schools and universities with computers• The state should back up its ICT policies and vi- should be connected to the internet . sions by supporting ICT education programmes Action steps for directors and heads of schools in schools and universities . • The heads of schools should develop objective• State strategies should involve both national criteria in the selection of teachers to ensure and international NGOs . quality training for learners .• Computer education should be integrated into • The internet should be used for knowledge all public schools and universities . sharing among teachers, including courses and• Computer classes should be part of free educa- curricula . tion at primary school . • New computer hardware should be installed to• Computer courses should be a separate subject facilitate effective learning . n 82 / Global Information Society Watch
    • BOLIVIA THE NEW INSTITUTIONAL ADVOCACY:* A HUMAN RIGHTS MODEL FOR THE INFORMATION SOCIETY REDES Foundation Development . In August 2010, believing that the J . Eduardo Rojas ETIC was still in a stage of “formulation”, the Agency www .fundacionredes .org for the Development of the Information Society in Bolivia (ADSIB), part of the Vice-Presidency of the State, decided to create a brand new Digital Agenda,Introduction restarting the entire planning process from scratch . Over the last five years the state has invested inThe Bolivian Constitution promulgated on 9 Feb- several infrastructure projects led by governmentalruary 2009 restores a new historical process of entities . Some of the projects include: the instal-structural reconstruction that proposes to change lation of the Túpac Katari satellite; a project calledthe neoliberal corporate state model into a commu- Bolivia: Territory with Total Coverage (TCT) by thenity-orientated one . But since then, the country has state-run telecommunications company ENTEL; Oneexperienced social, political and economic restruc- Computer Per Teacher, a programme by the Minis-turing characterised by excessive state centralism, try of Education; and the academic network calledwhich has gradually affected all spheres of daily CLEAR, run by the vice ministry . Though Bolivia haslife, including internet development . several initiatives aimed at reducing the digital gap, In November 2009 the federal police closed down it does not have many initiatives aimed at eliminatingthe Cyber Crime Division, arguing that there were not the information and knowledge gap .enough cases to justify it . Since then, the situationhas not changed . Between 2009 and 2011, the massmedia reported on an increase in violations of human Institutional advocacy in therights on the internet and using mobile phones, prin- ENREDOMINO programmecipally against young people, women and families . Between 2009 and 2011 the situation of human In response to this situation, since April 2010 rights in the Bolivian information society can bethe REDES Foundation has implemented a pro- summarised as follows:gramme called ENREDOMINO: Developing Active • The new Bolivian Constitution assumes a humanCitizenship in the Information Society . This involves rights approach to societal affairs, and this facili-several initiatives led by volunteers, including high- tates a human rights approach to the internet .ly qualified professionals, unleashing new kinds of • However, no state policies dealing with accesssupport for legislative reforms and for processes of to information on the internet integrate a humancreating awareness and sharing information about rights approach .human rights in the information society . • No state actor has promoted human rights on theA national culture of human rights internet .in the information society • At the same time, there is evidence of the popula-Bolivia has a short history of developing the infor- tion’s overexposure to online crimes (e .g . cybermation society . Between 2004 and 2005, a National bullying, trafficking and child pornography) .Strategy for Information and Communications Tech- • There are no approaches, methods or education-nologies for Development (ETIC) was passed . al strategies that promote the responsible use ofThis was the result of a multisectoral process that the internet or mobile phones .mobilised different sectors of the population . Never- • There are no experiences on human rightstheless, due to the political instability and change of approaches documented in the domain of infor-leadership that took place until 2006, this strategy mation and knowledge .was not adopted by the government, even thoughit has been inserted in the current National Plan for • Internet governance does not exist in Bolivia . • No actor assumes leadership for directing the* Refers to the defence and promotion of human rights in the information society, working with professionals and volunteers development of the digital culture with a multi- from the REDES Foundation . sectoral or transdisciplinary approach . BOLIVIA / 83
    • • Old ways of violating human rights are repro- • Conferences were held on legislative reforms and duced online and are not addressed, due to the the right to information at the Bolivian Catholic lack of institutional capacity . University, UDABOL University, San Andrés Univer- In April, 2010, the REDES Foundation presented sity (UMSA) and the Department of Education .3the results of research – conducted using its own • The issue of digital violence was inserted intoresources – on access to and social use of the inter- a law on school violence presented to the Com-net in Bolivia . The results found that no initiatives mission on Human Rights in the Legislativeexisted promoting the responsible use of the in- Assembly .4 The TV programme Renew You onternet, specifically those incorporating a human the state television channel also devoted a spe-rights approach . This demonstrated the extreme cial programme to digital rights .vulnerability of children, teenagers and women in • Articles were published on the internet aboutthe online world . Despite the impossibility of rais- human rights in the journal DiálogosTransdis-ing financing, we decided to create the programme ciplinarios en la Sociedad de la InformaciónENREDOMINO (a combination of the three words (Transdisciplinary Dialogue on the InformationEN-RED-DOMINO, which can be translated as “In Society) . In December 2010 an issue of thisthe network – or on the internet – I dominate”) . The journal was dedicated to the subject Identitiesagenda of the programme rests on the assumption in the Information Society .5 In addition, a publi-that volunteer professionals might take advantage cation was released with the help of the Officeof their institutional experience and initiate activi- of the Ombudsman in October 2011 exploringties based on their networks and commitment to the subject of human rights in the informationhuman rights . society . In May 2010, a contest for producing mobilevideos called filMóvil was held . With the support of • The National Centre for the Democratisationmore than ten institutional allies and 30 young vol- of Digital Culture6 was created in the city ofunteers, students gathered in the cities of La Paz, Cochabamba to prepare teenagers and womenCochabamba and Santa Cruz for the competition . for the responsible use of social networks . ThisThe mass media was informed about the initiative, is co-managed by the CREPUM foundation .7and Facebook was used intensively to promote it .1 • The Vice-Presidency invited the REDESNevertheless, the experience did not have good Foundation to draw up a new model of regu-results because the daily use of the mobile phone lation for information and communicationswas centred on the consumption of telecommuni- technologies (ICTs) in Bolivia .8 This directlycations services and not on the creative use of the influences ICT and telecommunications law invideo camera . The lack of technical support for the the country . It emphasises human rights, andproduction and editing of mobile videos was also focuses on important aspects of the interneta problem . The volunteer professionals identified such as electronic signatures, e-commerce andthe importance of creating videos and educational e-governance, democratisation of frequencies,animations to be distributed using manuals for telecommunication price control, and universalaudiovisual production; “how to” manuals for up- services projects .loading information to the web; and primers on • A national citizen group was created calledcyber crimes . On two occasions they ran courses on Bolivians for the Right to Communication andproducing digital and interactive mobile content for Information .9students from rural areas . This material is availablefreely on the ENREDOMINO educational portal .2 Towards the end of 2010, the portal received the 3 www .conaric .org .bo/site/php/level . php?lang=es&component=36&item=1institutional support of the Vice Ministry of Science 4 noviolenciabolivia .blogspot .com/2010/11/presentacion-del-and Technology, linked to the Ministry of Educa- anteproyecto-de-ley .htmltion, the Office of the Ombudsman and ADSIB . This 5 fundacionredes .org/index .php?option=com_content&view=sectio n&layout=blog&id=4&Itemid=11promoted the portal across the whole country and 6 www .fundacioncrepum .org/index .php?/2011040557/Ultimas-unleashed a variety of activities that influenced the noticias/crepum-inaugura-en-cochabamba-el-centro-nacional-de-development of the internet with a human rights ap- democratizacion-de-la-cultura-digital .htmlproach . Amongst the actions that stand out: 7 Institution specialising in traditional family development . 8 comunicacionconderechos .org/index .php?option=com_content&v iew=article&id=93:comunicacion-con-derechos&catid=44:noticia s&Itemid=1311 www .facebook .com/pages/ENREDOMINO/104743696237782 9 www .facebook .com/pages/Bolivians-por-el-derecho-a-la-2 www .enredomino .fundacionredes .org Comunicaci%C3%B3n-e-informaci%C3%B3n/188422331209779 84 / Global Information Society Watch
    • • A seminar called Perspectives and Challenges of society, allowing anyone in any context to be part of the the Information Society in Bolivia10 was organised re-shaping of his or her own local-global environment . to commemorate Internet Day on 17 May 2011 . It This vision is summarised as follows: 1) to build addressed a human rights agenda for the internet and promote a human rights approach through the and was broadcast on television with the support strategic use of the internet and mobile telephones, of national and international partnerships . 2) to influence cultural patterns that violate human• We ran a digital journalism workshop11 with a rights that are reproduced in the information society, human rights approach to train 22 journalists 3) to create real and virtual scenarios of global and from the city of La Paz . local promotion and exercise of human rights and prevention of human rights abuses, 4) to demand• A proposal for national research into interactive that we act on and denounce all practices that vio- digital content generation was designed in Sep- late the human rights of future generations through tember 2011 . the internet and mobile telephony, 5) to promote the• An agreement with the Communications Minis- development of technological skills for the exercise try was reached to provide technical advice on of citizenship, 6) To educate people about the func- the right to communication and information to tioning of the internet so that they can surf without 300 teenagers using filMóvil educational units risk, and 7) to undertake structural reforms based on set up in La Paz (September-November 2011) . a human rights agenda in the information society . Recognition of technical and professionalThese activities marked a turning point in the recent experience We are all part of building the society wehistory of participatory construction of the information live in, so it is necessary to assume social responsi-society in Bolivia . The programme continues to be run bility for our environment . REDES suggests that weby ENREDOMINO, attracting the support of new pro- realise present opportunities by projecting theirfessionals, young people and institutions interested in implications for the future, but considering the les-collaborating on initiatives that have a structural im- sons of the past . Under this logic, all activities andpact, low operating costs and the potential to create all employment opportunities result in activism asemployment options for Latin American professionals . a way of life . This recognises the potential of all Most of the interventions were reported on people to imagine and create new forms of socialtelevision channels with national coverage, in print, life . It calls for sensitivity and social solidarity, andon the websites of institutional partners, and on so- an awareness of the opportunities opened up bycial networks . institutional experience and vocational placementThe new model for institutional advocacy for proactive proposals that contribute to living well . Transdisciplinary research/action All activitiesin the information society in Bolivia should be informed by transdisciplinary research withThis relates to how an institution that has no eco- particular emphasis on disciplines such as sociol-nomic resources may influence several issues ogy, communications, anthropology, psychology, law,related to human rights in the information society public management, information technology, telecom-in Bolivia . The analysis can build a new “model of munications and interactive digital content production .institutional advocacy” capable of being replicated This allows the intersection between human rightsby the global community . and the internet to be recognised in the everyday Five elements determine the effectiveness of experience of the general population . Everyday com-new institutional advocacy: a) a clear vision of the munication is the best example of a transdisciplinarywork proposed, b) activism based on professional approach, and easily articulates various areas and ap-experience, c) transdisciplinary research/action, proaches to knowledge and information .d) management of information and knowledge for Management of information, knowledge andsocial innovation, and e) self-sustainability that capacities for social innovation REDES developed acombines volunteering with professional services . set of activities that allow using, sharing, creating Clear vision of the work proposed A view that and disseminating information and knowledge toproposed the use of ICT for development has been re- promote human rights and the internet, involvingplaced with a programmatic approach that promotes individuals and organisations interested in thesecollective structural construction of the information issues . In all cases, information management is directed to realise “actions and events” that are in- novative, whether as a focus (e .g . the information10 www .gobernabilidad .org .bo/noticias/13-web-20/824-organizan- simposio-nacional-por-el-dia-del-internet-en-bolivia society), as a method (e .g . filMóvil) or as knowledge11 www .fundacionperiodismo .org/moodle (e .g . transdisciplinary research) . BOLIVIA / 85
    • TABLE 1. Economic-technological vs. social innovation Type of innovation Economic-technological innovation Social innovation Capital Capital intensive Intensive human intellectual capital, relationships and networks Basic orientation To create monopoly situations (single To cover the extensive needs of social groups product) that generate high returns at low cost with high impact Rights protection Added to ensure the investment effort Very low: knowledge is free for public access and sustain the monopoly Complexity Increasing level of technology Growing at the interpersonal level; nominal risk of failure to use technology due to a lack of know-how . Given this, information management and knowl- are distracted in their search navigation by pop-ups oredge for social innovation can be compared to a hyperlinks; and that all are only aware of the searchtraditional model of economic-technological inno- engines Google, Yahoo or Windows Live . Seven out ofvation, as shown in Table 1 .12 ten accepted unknown contacts on social networks, Self-management model that combines volun- and three out of ten follow up casual online encountersteering with professional services The volunteer in real life . In no cases were there explicit referenceswork of highly trained professionals in some cases about searching for information geared to the prac-turned into job opportunities for consulting servic- tice of their own human rights . It was found that thees . In these cases, professionals voluntarily devoted internet also reproduces old patterns of human rightsvarious percentages of their salaries to support the violations, which affect three main population groups:project activities in ENREDOMINO . These operating young people, women and families .expenses subsidised income, electricity, rent and There are two events which have highlightedmaterials production . The system is open, free and the quiet work of ENREDOMINO activists: a) thecontributions are made voluntarily, building trust WikiLeaks case and b) the design of a new regula-among the team of professionals involved . tory model for ICTs in Bolivia . Both of these events were widely reported in the media and sensitisedConclusions the Bolivian population to the importance of the in-Bolivia has a weak digital culture because of low in- ternet and human rights .ternet penetration levels . In 2011 a penetration rateof 1 .2% was reported, which is equivalent to twelve Action stepspeople in 1,000 having an internet connection • Replace digital literacy with education in aat home . A country with such low levels of dig- human rights approach to technology andital inclusion must promote causes and advocate knowledge . Encourage the production of inter-with the support of traditional media (TV, radio active digital content, strengthening genderand newspapers), interpersonal communication rights in the region using the filMóvil methodol-(conferences, courses, workshops) and strategic ogy licensed under Creative Commons .alliances with institutions and individuals involvedin the field of ICTs . In this context, it also reduces • Coordinate interventions that offer short-term,the possibilities of social organisation and resist- high-impact structural support, and which in-ance in cyberspace . volve actions for strengthening social innovation . According to the National Institute of Statis- • Broaden the base of actors who interact throughtics, in 2008 it was estimated that about 26% of the converging media, such as internet activists, blog-population accessed the internet via public access gers, TV presenters, students, opinion leaders andpoints (telecenters and cybercafés) and household print journalists . All of these actors need to shareconnections . In April 2010, ENREDOMINO research in urban interventions and social innovation .on internet use among teenagers in the city of La Paz • Develop strategies that synchronise govern-showed that all teenagers interviewed know how to mental policy with public strategy .search for information on the internet; seven out of ten • Explore the potential of mobile telephony to pro-12 Based on Morales, A . (2009) Social Innovation: An area of interest mote human rights in the information society . n for social services, Ekain, June . 86 / Global Information Society Watch
    • BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA IS ONLINE MEDIA AN ALLY FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE? TRAPPED BETWEEN HATE AND INFLAMMATORY SPEECH oneworld - platform for southeast europe (owpsee) of the media, including public broadcasting . Internet Valentina Pellizzer fora disseminate discriminatory rhetoric and hate www .oneworldsee .org speech .”4 Only half of the existing 12,000 NGOs are active, and, according to another analysis, “The early concentration on service delivery militated againstIntroduction the development of NGOs with a social vision and the capacity to campaign and advocate .”5 Political partici-Bosnia and Herzegovina is a small country in south- pation is low . Apathy and disillusionment are commoneast Europe .1 There are a number of well-known denominators among people .words and phrases that locate it in the geopolitical Bosnia and Herzegovina is still an internationallandscape: “Former Yugoslavia”, “Balkans wars” protectorate with an ethnic constitution . Due to eth-(1992-1995), “Dayton Peace Agreement”, “Srebreni- nic vetoes, it is still without a national governmentca”, “genocide”, “war”, “rapes”, “ethnic division”, after the October 2010 general elections .“Serbs”, “Bosnians/Muslims”, “Croats”, “reconcili- The country has a high level of corruption, andation”, “mass graves”… The list goes on . is ranked 78 out of 178 on the Corruption Percep- If we consider the information and communica- tions Index (CPI) .6 The unemployment rate is 27%,tions technology (ICT) context, there are interesting and there is no strategy to remedy this .7phenomena that can be observed which are a reflec- Self-regulation safeguards online media con-tion of the highly fragmented and still conflict-ridden tent under the auspices of the Press Council’s Codemacro-political situation . Bosnia and Herzegovina of Conduct, which focuses on professional media .still does not have a National Agency for the Informa- The Communications Regulatory Agency (RAK) istion Society . However, it has three academic research in charge of TV and radio, as well as, more recently,networks (BiHARNET, FARNET and SARNET),2, in line mobile short messaging service (SMS) content .8with the three ethnic groups in the country, and thetop-level domain .ba is not the default for public in- The role of the internet in public demonstrationsstitutions in the country . The use of the three telecom in Bosnia and Herzegovinaoperators (BH Telecom, M:tel and Eronet) also cor-responds roughly to the three ethnic communities . It is always problematic to say that a specific eventNationalism is strong and otherness is the main draw can come to define social resistance in a particularcard used by political parties to divide people . context . In my experience, as a feminist and humanPolicy and political background 4 South and East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) (2011) Press freedom in the western Balkans and Turkey . www .seemo .org;If we look at freedom of expression and association, Marko, D . et al . (2010) Izbori 2010. u BiH Kako su mediji pratiliaccess to information, and media freedoms generally, izbornu kampanju, Media Plan Institute, Sarajevo .Bosnia and Herzegovina has an advanced legal frame- 5 Sterland, B . and Rizova, G . (2010) Civil society organisations’ capacities in the western Balkans and Turkey, TACSO .work .3 But if we scratch the surface, what emerges is a 6 The Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), compiled by Transparencydivided country . According to a recent analysis: “Most International, ranks countries according to perception of corruption in thedivisions are along ethnic lines . Public broadcasters public sector . The CPI is an aggregate indicator that combines different sources of information about corruption, making it possible to compareand privately owned media reflect this situation . ( . . .) countries . www .transparency .org/policy_research/surveys_indices/cpiIncitement of ethnic intolerance is present in much 7 “By Southern Tier Central and East European (CEE) averages, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BH) continues to lag considerably in economic and democratic reform progress and remains ranked near the bottom,1 See the Bosnia and Herzegovina country report in GISWatch 2007: second only to Kosovo . ( . . .) Democratic reforms have stagnated at best www .giswatch .org/en/2007 in BH since the mid-2000s . (…) Overall, BH’s peace and security score is2 See the Bosnia and Herzegovina country report in GISWatch 2008 and sub-average compared to its neighbours; only Albania and Kosovo are 2009: www .giswatch .org/en/2008 and www .giswatch .org/en/2009 ranked lower .” USAID Strategic Planning and Analysis Division, Europe3 “BH is the most advanced in the legal environment and the and Eurasia Bureau (2011) Bosnia and Herzegovina Gap Analysis. least advanced in the quality of journalism .” ARTICLE 19, the 8 Press Council and Code of Conduct: www .vzs .ba and www .vzs .ba/ Global Campaign for Free Expression, International Federation of index .php?option=com_content&view=article&id=218&Itemid=9; Journalists (2005) Case Studies of Media Self-Regulation in Five the Communications Regulatory Agency (RAK) issued a fine for Countries of South East Europe: Bosnia Herzegovina . inappropriate SMS content displayed during a TV broadcast . rak .ba/eng BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA / 87
    • rights activist, I have witnessed a series of small and professional activists to ordinary citizens, who usedvery often unrelated events that contribute to what the opportunity to define the agenda for discussion .we may consider the “story” of social resistance in a The anonymity that the internet providedcountry, sometimes culminating in a “big event” that made people feel safe . This is very important in ais the start of the realisation of a long-nurtured com- hierarchical society which very easily stigmatisesmon social cause . diversity . At the same time, violent reactions were So, my story would have its prelude in February “only verbal” and controlled by moderators and by2008 and its “happening” during the 2010 political the active participation of other users .elections and their immediate aftermath . Without the In 2010 the political situation had become criti-prelude, I would not be able to show how the internet cal: corruption was worse, and state as well as othercan bypass ethnic divisions and the gatekeeper logic institutions had become bankrupt . An increase inwhich is rife in Bosnia and Herzegovina society . tension could be felt throughout the year, as well In 2008 internet penetration in Bosnia and as a rise in nationalist rhetoric and threats of seces-Herzegovina was approximately 20%, and broad- sion and a vicious cycle of accusing different ethnicband access was expanding in towns . The use of communities for the crises .11 Meanwhile, access tonew media was gaining momentum, with users ea- the internet grew and expanded, and in 2010 inter-ger for direct participation . However, websites were net penetration reached 50% . 3G services started tonot yet seen as relevant to the formation of public be provided by the three telecom operators .opinion9 by politicians and NGOs . General elections were scheduled for 3 October In February, a seventeen-year-old boy, Denis that year . With the increase in access, and popu-Mrnjavac, was stabbed to death on a public tram by larisation of the media (more people began to havethree boys without any apparent reason .10 Real-time access to the media), incendiary comments becameinformation provided by internet sites resulted in a way to increase readers . On the internet, commentswidespread public compassion and rage . Demands showed the face of a polarised society where aggres-that politicians attend to public safety and develop a sive, inflammatory, sexist and elitist expressions areyouth strategy were met with arrogance and insensi- the norm .12 Fights even erupted online amongst thetivity . On 6 February, a public demonstration with more activist community, mainly due to inexperience withthan 10,000 people took place . Over the following online communications, but also because of the rigidthree months, public demonstrations were coordi- mindset that is used to hierarchy rather than horizon-nated using the net . During the next administrative tal decision-making processes .elections, those politicians who had been scornful of The enthusiasm and the connection felt betweenpublic demands lost their seats in towns and cantons . activists and the online professional media were al- In 2008, when the administrative elections took ready a thing of the past . The media became moreplace, the internet can be said to have been the tool interested in propaganda than in information . Boththat led to democratisation and direct participation online and traditional media,13 either public or private,by the public . Ordinary citizens fought for a cause had shown their loyalties to political parties and hadthey felt was worthy enough to stand for . A 360o become an integral part of the electoral machine .rebellion against politicians took place; but alsoagainst NGOs perceived as being donor dependent 11 “Bosnia and Herzegovina is politically and ethnically divided . Most divisions are along ethnic lines . Public broadcasters and privately(and therefore driving their agendas), or as ex- owned media reflect this situation . There are three public TVtensions of political parties – a class that lives off channels: one covers the Bosnian Federation, the second addressescitizens’ accounts but are not accountable to them . Republika Srpska and the third encompasses the whole territory . The Bosnian-Herzegovina public RTV is under constant political pressureI would say that the internet opened up a new, free from all ethnic groups . Incitement of ethnic intolerance is present inspace for civic discussion and activism . Participa- most media, including public broadcasting . Internet fora disseminate discriminatory rhetoric and hate speech .” SEEMO (2011) op . cit .tion in discussion forums broke the feeling of being 12 “ . . .destructive, mutually exclusive, ethnic politics .” Commissionalone; people had the opportunity not only to safely of the European Communities (2010) Bosnia and Herzegovinaexpress their own visions and ideas, but also to dis- Progress Report .cover similar thinkers . Forums were flexible enough 13 “In addition to the three state- and entity-wide public broadcasting systems, there are a total of 183 electronic media outlets in BiH – 42to allow a range of people to participate, from television and 141 radio stations . This remains far more than the country’s limited advertising market can support . Most radio stations are local and either limit their broadcasts to entertainment or focus9 The internet is the second most-followed medium in Bosnia on local political and ethnic interests . Most of the 128 registered and Herzegovina after TV . Media Plan Institute (2010) Internet – print media are characterized by strong divisions along ethnic and Sloboda bez granica . ideological lines . Total circulation of the seven daily newspapers does10 See the Bosnia and Herzegovina country report in GISWatch 2008 not exceed 90,000 copies .” Freedom House (2010) Freedom of the for more information on the expansion of online media and the Press 2010 - Bosnia-Herzegovina . www .freedomhouse .org/template . online community . www .giswatch .org/en/2008 cfm?page=251&year=2010&country=7786 88 / Global Information Society Watch
    • Once more, but more structured and techni- Social networking and building civil societycally wise than in the past, websites and blogs Facebook is, without any doubt, the key tool usedmanaged by civil society organisations and ac- to pass on information and attract readers in Bos-tivist groups started to appear . They developed nia and Herzegovina . Grassroots and activist groupsonline applications to help visualise the political such as Dosta, Akcija Gradjana, Zenica, Abrash-situation, including the corruption and lies of the media, Protest .ba, Ostra Nula and many otherspolitical elites . constantly use it to promote their causes, share The issue was how to reach people who had lost information and generate debate . In this contexttrust in politics and who preferred entertainment to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and queerengagement . How could we provide information to (LGBTQ) community is the only community whichcounteract demagogy; how could we bypass the poi- remains careful to avoid the use of open groups orson of otherness and make people feel that diversity pages . The patriarchal and sexist Bosnia and Herze-was a positive factor, that they could become messen- govina society is aggressively hetero-normative andgers of possible change? The fact that the majority of actively dislikes and stigmatises alternative sexualthis kind of information produced was coming from orientations .17civil society activists, and was free to reuse, had a Facebook, with all the criticism of its privacymultiplier effect on our efforts . Tools such as “Truth- and security, is today the space where grassrootsMeter”, “razglasaj .ba” and “Clean Up Parliament”; initiatives and informal groups in Bosnia and Herze-Abrashmedia’s online radio and video production; govina start their activities, connect with each otherthe blog called Gdjelova (“where is the money”); the and do things . It represents the main communica-online and offline guerrilla activism done by Pritisak tion infrastructure for activists, followed by Google(“Pressure”); the Glavuse (“Bigheads”)14 from Akcija Groups, which is considered as the best tool forGradjana (“Citizens Action”):15 all of these initiatives setting up mailing lists and spaces for private con-confirmed the emergence of a network of net activ- versation . Both applications answer activists’ needsists who collaborated across the main cities of Banja to have access to tools that are free of charge andLuka, Sarajevo, Tuzla, Zenica, Mostar and beyond to user friendly . Facebook, and recently Twitter andbring about change . Google+, are considered a public sphere where Civil activists used their own websites and tools the majority of people connect and where activistsnot only to produce information and bypass main- can promote their causes and reach the support ofstream indifference, but to open a direct dialogue critical masses . Whenever there is an action to bewith users/voters . They provided searchable and ver- taken, the first step is setting up a Facebook groupifiable information that anyone could access when and sending out “friend requests”. More and moredeciding if and why to vote . Without this strategic on- debates are moving from forums to Facebook pagesline engagement of civil society, clearly supported by and groups .foreign donors, voter participation would have been Netizens understood that the mainstream me-lower . Participation rose to 55% of eligible voters and dia will, most of the time, ignore their calls, or willresulted in a change of government in the entity of reformat the information disseminated to suit theirthe Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and a trou- needs . Because of this, the trend is moving frombled victory for the Dodik presidency in the entity of social network spaces to the creation of websitesRepublika Srpska .16 It was strategic to gain the trust where information can be published more formally .of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s growing community of Another trend is to publish information on a friend’snetizens which, even if still not ready to engage in blog as well as on activist websites . And it is thethe street, was hungry to read, search and listen to “share” and “like” features of social networks thatevidence-based news . Access to the internet, the bridge the gap between all these disparate groupscontinuous production of information and citizen and initiatives . The “share” and “like” functionsjournalism had proven successful and made people that are linked to blog posts have become an indexfeel their vote was necessary . of social consent or dissent on certain issues .14 Caricatures of politicians’ heads were made out of papier mâché .15 www .dosta .ba, www .akcijagradjana .org, www .istinomjer .org, 17 “In a study from Bosnia and Herzegovina 77% of respondents www .rasglasaj .ba, www .pritisak .org, www .izaberi .ba, www . believed that accepting homosexuality would be detrimental for cistparlament .org, www .abrashmedia .info, www .ostranula .com, the country .” Council of Europe (2011) Discrimination on grounds www .protest .ba, www .pulsdemokratije .net of sexual orientation and gender identity in Europe . See also16 Bosnia and Herzegovina encompasses two entities with their the report from the first Queer Sarajevo Festival (2008) at www . own governments and parliaments: the Federation of Bosnia oneworldsee .org/node/17219 and owpsee (2008) CoE Resolution and Herzegovina and the Republika Srpska (also known as the Condemns Discrimination and Violence against LGBT Community, Republic of Srpska) . 3 October . www .oneworldsee .org/node/17247 BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA / 89
    • Considering the active online links between so- Disillusionment is good when it generatescial networks, it is important to raise awareness on awareness . Social resistance now involves build-the content and privacy policies implemented by ing up nodes of trust, connected offline and online .these global providers . Activists have started producing and collecting al- The current scenario shows a slow but constant ternative stories in alternative languages . Socialmigration from anonymity/nicknames used in pub- networks can be the gear but never the engine oflic forums, to people writing under their real names . social change . Technology needs to be understood At the same time, public discourse remains and learnt, activists need to own and control theirpolarised and trapped in a cycle of hate speech communication infrastructure and, in this way, toand discrimination . The internet has liberated ac- connect better and in a safer way . Without guaran-tivist groups from a dependence on editors and teeing private conversation, emerging local groupsjournalists,18 but not from reproducing stereotypes . will remain sporadic and fragile . The final stage of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s social resistance is theConclusions public acceptance of humanist and secular posi-Members of the new activist scene were disap- tions, and the authentic protection of freedom ofpointed during 2011 by the fact that Bosnia and expression of the LGBTQ community .19 So, to beHerzegovina, despite corruption, poverty and politi- continued . . .cians’ arrogance, did not follow the examples seenin the Arab world revolution . Activists started ac- Action stepscusing what they considered overly easy “one-click • There is no technology that can work for socialactivism” and criticised the minimal commitment activism if people are not ready to take risks andrequired from “like” and “I’m attending” functions stand for their opinions, and to defend humanon Facebook pages when calling for participation in rights and freedom .public demonstrations . Too often these amountedto little more than small groups of people . • Socially engaged ICT geeks should be strategi- Netizens seemed to forget the essence of our cally placed when there is a need for a quickfragmented and divided society, where people are response in setting up online tools and services .locked in exclusive collective identities and do not • It is important to always use tools which peoplesee themselves as citizens . The internet and social already know, share and understand .networks have created a breakthrough, a space • It is important to be aware of existing technol-where people can act and communicate more fluidly . ogy and to adapt it . Updates in local languagesAt the same time, after an initial period of openness, on “how to” use the tools and “tips and tricks”many comments on websites and on Facebook for online activists are necessary .groups and pages started to reflect a growing pres-ence of extremist and intolerant groups – often from • Privacy and security information sheets are nec-people in the diaspora, who share the language but essary to prevent misuse or damage to activists’not the territory . At times this amounted to a rude reputations and causes .duel involving religion, ethnicity and identity, which • The creation of a common, shared communica-began to monopolise public discourse and divide, tion infrastructure and networks database thatthreaten and pressurise people . can be used on demand is needed . Nevertheless, the online space remains one ofthe spaces where identities can be shared, merged, • Encourage informal meetings of ICT geek andand changed . That is why it is important to learn grassroots and social activists, as well as infor-how to mediate and control online violations, with- mal meetings on online content, including theout allowing censorship or control using internet use of stereotypes and inflammatory language . nservice providers (ISPs) . 19 See the ILGA Rainbow Europe Map and Index (May 2011) at www . ilga-europe .org/home/publications/reports_and_other_materials/ rainbow_map_and_index_2011 and www .pulsdemokratije .ba/18 Media Plan Institute (2010) Op . cit . index .php?l=bs&id=1170 90 / Global Information Society Watch
    • BRAZIL FROM A CYBER CRIME LAW TO AN INTERNET CIVIL RIGHTS FRAMEWORK GPoPAI-USP Senate . In June 2006, an opposition Social Democrat Pablo Ortellado senator, Eduardo Azeredo, proposed an amendment3 www .gpopai .usp .br incorporating provisions in accordance with the Eu- ropean Convention on Cybercrime4 – a convention to which Brazil was not a signatory . The amendmentsIntroduction created broad definitions for the crimes, which could result in criminalising trivial things like unlockingIn 2007 a law establishing penalties for cyber mobile phones or making backup copies of DVDs .crimes was on the verge of being approved in the It could also oblige internet service providers (ISPs)Brazilian Senate . The bill had been discussed in to identify users and log all internet connections inCongress for eight years, but it was significantly al- Brazil, opening the way for the criminalisation of filetered at the last stages of the legislative process in sharing .order to include provisions of the European Conven- The change to the legislation was backed by ation on Cybercrime . With such changes – activists coalition of strong corporate and state interests,argued – the government would criminalise every- including the Brazilian Federation of Banks (FEBRA-day practices of consumers and would open the way BAN), which wanted stronger criminal sanctions tofor criminalising file sharing . fight bank fraud; police organisations and public Civil society activists and academics started prosecutors who wanted identification and logs topressurising senators to change the proposed law . help investigative work; and the copyright industryAs the campaign gathered momentum it turned into which wanted a way to identify users, as well asa massive campaign against criminal law being ap- criminal penalties, to combat “piracy” .plied in the context of the internet and a positive After the amendments were included in the bill,push for a civil rights framework for the internet . civil society groups and academic experts grew con-After activists managed to persuade Brazilian Presi- cerned with the potentially negative outcomes of thedent Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of the importance of proposed legislation and became involved in the proc-a rights framework for the internet, the Brazilian ess by opening up discussions with senators fromgovernment set up a model participatory process the ruling Workers’ Party . In 2007, Senator Aluiziofor drafting the legislation, which is now ready to be Mercadante of the Workers’ Party began negotiationsdebated in Congress . with Senator Azeredo to incorporate minor changesEarly legislative process that civil society was demanding . In June-July 2008, a new version of the legislation was agreed on by SocialOn 24 February 1999 Deputy Luiz Piauhylino submit- Democrat and Workers’ Party senators .5 But becauseted the proposed law on cyber crime (PL 84/1999)1 the bill had been further amended it had to be onceto the Chamber of Deputies (the lower house of the again approved in the Chamber of Deputies .Brazilian Congress) . The bill established criminalpenalties for damage to computer data, unauthorised Civil society campaign againstaccess to a computer or computer network, unau- the cyber crime billthorised use of data, the introduction of malware andpublishing of pornography without warning . On 5 No- Four days before the amended bill was to be voted onvember 2003, after four years of legislative processes, again in the Senate, university professors André Lem-the bill, with minor alterations,2 was approved by the os and Sergio Amadeu and internet activist João CaribéChamber of Deputies and subsequently submittedfor further approval by the Senate . Nearly three yearsof additional legislative processes ensued in the 3 www .safernet .org .br/site/sites/default/files/PLS_Azeredo-CCJ-1 www .camara .gov .br/proposicoesWeb/prop_mostrarintegra?codteo versao-protolocada-em-20-06-2006-1 .pdf r=284461&filename=Tramitacao-PL+84/1999 4 conventions .coe .int/Treaty/en/Treaties/Html/185 .htm2 www .camara .gov .br/proposicoesWeb/prop_mostrarintegra?codteo 5 www6 .senado .gov .br/diarios/BuscaDiario?tipDiario=1&datDiario= r=284469&filename=Tramitacao-PL+84/1999 26/06/2008&paginaDireta=23637 BRAZIL / 91
    • launched a petition asking for senators to veto the Rights and Principles for the Internet .10 The demandproposed legislation .6 One week after it was launched, became an integral part of the campaign and foundthe petition gathered nearly 30,000 signatures, with its decisive moment at the 10th International Freethis number growing as the campaign evolved (it had Software Forum (FISL) that took place in Porto Alegregathered some 160,000 signatures by July 2011) . in July 2009 .11 FISL is an annual free software forum, The debate became so polarised that the Brazil- similar to Linux World, although significantly moreian Ministry of Justice intervened in order to work political . At the tenth forum, organisers decided toon a compromise between supporters of stronger place the threats to a free internet at the core of thecriminal penalties and advocates for more freedom proceedings . Both President Lula and Chief of Staffon the internet . NGOs and academic groups, such as Dilma Rousseff (now the president of Brazil) spokethe Getúlio Vargas Foundation’s Centre for Technol- at the closing conference of the event . In his speech,ogy and Society7 and the University of São Paulo’s Lula criticised the cyber crime bill as a threat to free-Research Group on Public Policies for Access to In- dom of information and said that his governmentformation (GPoPAI),8 produced technical studies that would be willing to do whatever was necessary towere sent both to the Ministry of Justice and the Con- correct the situation, including changing civil regu-gress highlighting the negative effects of the bill and lation .12 The Ministry of Justice promptly reacted toasking for it to be stopped . Mainstream media gave the remark by starting a process to build a civil rightsbroad coverage to the controversy – turning what framework for the internet in October 2009 .was on the face of it a sectoral concern into a majorpolitical topic polarising Brazil’s two largest political The public consultationparties . In 2008 and 2009, industry, civil society and for the civil rights frameworkpolice institutions organised seminars all over the The Ministry of Justice decided that the publiccountry, and Congress called for several public hear- consultation process should follow the open andings . The topic was so controversial that even though participatory nature of the internet, and so opted forit had been discussed in Congress for ten years, it a three-step process . First, it commissioned a com-had not been settled (and remains unresolved at the parative study of civil regulations of the internet and,time of writing this article – August 2011) . based on experiences in other countries, it came out with a systematic list of topics that the civil rightsFrom a criminal law to a civil framework should encompass . This list13 was then putrights framework out for public consultation for a period of 45 days, andA significant twist in the debate occurred when posted to a website which allowed free comment andProfessor Ronaldo Lemos from the Getúlio Vargas input, including suggestions for the removal or addi-Foundation published an article9 arguing that a civil tion of clauses . Comment was unmoderated and didregulatory framework had to precede a criminal not require logging in . More than 800 contributionsframework for the internet . Slowly, the idea that civil were received during this phase of the consultation .law must precede criminal law gained support and The contributions were then consolidated and abecame part of the demands of activists opposing draft revised text was published14 for further pub-the cyber crime bill . Lemos’ idea was that we needed lic discussion and comment . An additional 1,168a regulatory framework – that is, regulation of the contributions were received by May 2010 . Publicinternet services provided to customers which is debate spilled over onto blogs, into public seminarsespecially clear on civil liability . However, activists and the press – which itself followed the debateexpanded the idea to include a civil rights framework closely . The process, given its openness and par-– a change probably inspired by discussions at the ticipatory nature, was so successful that it quicklyInternet Governance Forum on a Charter of Human became an international benchmark for participa- tory and transparent law making .156 Lemos, A ., Amadeu, S . and Caribé, J . (2008) Pelo veto ao projeto de cibercrimes: em defesa da liberdade e do progresso do conhecimento na Internet brasileira . www .petitiononline .com/ veto2008/petition .html 10 For more information, see the website of the Internet Rights and7 Centro de Tecnologia e Sociedade (2008) Comentários e Sugestões Principles Coalition at: internetrightsandprinciples .org sobre o Projeto de Lei de Crimes Eletrônicos . www .culturalivre .org . br/artigos/estudo_CTS_FGV_PL_crimes_eletronicos .pdf 11 fisl .softwarelivre .org/10/www8 Grupo de Pesquisa em Políticas Públicas para o Acesso à 12 The full speech is available on YouTube: www .youtube .com/watch? Informação (2008) Carta ao Ministro da Justiça. www .gpopai .usp . v=JqULQ5Yv3vw&feature=related br/wiki/images/f/ff/Contribuicao_pl .pdf 13 culturadigital .br/marcocivil/consulta9 Lemos, R . (2007) Internet brasileira precisa de marco regulatório 14 culturadigital .br/marcocivil/debate civil, UOL, 25 May . tecnologia .uol .com .br/ultnot/2007/05/22/ 15 It has since then been adapted to other law-making processes ult4213u98 .jhtm such as the reform of copyright law . 92 / Global Information Society Watch
    • Current state of affairs Action stepsand the new legislative agenda Given the context of the above discussion, the advo-As of August 2011, both the cyber crime bill and the cacy focus areas for civil society appear clear:civil rights framework proposal have re-emerged as • Work towards the approval of the civil rightspublic topics for debate and discussion . A wave of framework for the internet .hacker attacks on government websites in July 2011and the fact that the civil rights framework is about • Work towards rejecting Senator Eduardo Azere-to be sent to Congress reignited the controversy . do’s cyber crime bill .Because the cyber crime bill was still considered • Work towards the approval of Deputy Pauloexcessive, Deputy Paulo Teixeira called for public Teixeira’s alternative cyber crime bill . nconsultation on an alternative cyber crime law .16 Thedraft consisted of a cyber crime law which was muchmore limited in its reach, and much more practical .Civil society campaigners and government officialsare now rebuilding their legislative agenda in orderto defend the joint approval of the civil rights frame-work and the new cyber crime bill . If both proposalsare approved, the experience would stand out as amodel of democratic process in which strong civilsociety mobilisation succeeded in defeating pow-erful corporate and state interests, and securing apublic-interest legal framework .16 edemocracia .camara .gov .br/web/seguranca-da-internet/ wikilegis/-/wiki/Projeto_de_Lei_Alternativo/In%C3%ADcio BRAZIL / 93
    • BULGARIA IS FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION AND ASSOCIATION ON THE NET WORKING ON THE STREET? BlueLink Foundation model is one of paralegal, post-communist “elites” Vera Staevska in power with little cultural capital, but exerting an www .bluelink .net economic power that is the result of shady deals during the privatisation of state property . The “nor- malisation” of the state regime is currently goingIntroduction through what can be called a “feudal” stage with crime bosses having political impact . This stage hasWith global and national analysts emphasising a shown the general public that the Bulgarian trans-growing number of human rights violations in Bul- formation has been manifestly undemocratic andgaria in 2010, it is no surprise that online activists are has failed the promise of liberal development andsounding the alarm that human rights are similarly civic rights . The ideas connected to Western-typenot well protected online . Ethnic discrimination, democracies have consequently been losing theirpolice violence, the detention of asylum seekers, appeal, and “human rights” and “civil society” arerepression on freedom of speech and surveillance, widely perceived as ideologemes that veil corruptpressure over media and personal communication, practices of stealing EU and international fundspolitical pressure on the judiciary system, child with no effect on the average Bulgarian’s life . Onlineabuse and anti-gay and lesbian aggression are the discourses of hate and virtual communities basedkey human rights violations according to several on intolerance are now striking, given that manyinstitutions . Amnesty International,1 the European used to assume that the internet was a tool to fightUnion (EU) Fundamental Rights Agency,2 the United oppression .States (US) Department of State3 and the Bulgar- At the same time, authentic movements for so-ian Helsinki Committee have identified negative cial change come up against this paradigm of statedevelopments in all major spheres of human rights control, which is being reinforced by capitalist mo-protection compared to previous years . nopolies . The pressure for elites on free speech With regard to human rights on the internet in that is a result of the political economy is evident inBulgaria, this report will focus on two aspects of digital rights violations – both through illegal surveil-freedom of expression and association online: lance and official attempts at introducing legislation• Discursive dominance of hate speech in online to grant the state control of internet communication . activism that raises several questions: Is this This paradigm of state control is specific to Bul- freedom not used to violate the rights of vulner- garia due to economic monopolies being closely able groups? Is civil society too weak to prevent intertwined with political power and the shady undemocratic forces from exploiting online free- privatisation of prior communist-state properties . dom? And if this is so, do we need this right to However, its discourse benefits from the Western be checked and regulated? European model of capitalism, which also imposes• The Bulgarian perspective of the internet as a state control over internet consumption due to pro- basic human right (the right to access vs . the ducer concerns over the free use of their products right to privacy) . – a concern which the Western democracies explain as protecting copyright and stemming from thePolicy and political background need for protection against piracy and cyber crime .In recent years Bulgaria’s continuous transition to a Though broadband access has been a basic right in“normal” country in the Western mould has been ac- Finland since 2009,4 EU policies stress child protec-companied by the growing resentment of its citizens tion and commercial rights rather than free access toover the failed promise of democracy . The dominant online communication, as the debates5 around the1 www .amnesty .org/en/region/bulgaria/report-2010 4 articles .cnn .com/2009-10-15/tech/finland .internet .rights_1_2 fra .europa .eu/fraWebsite/attachments/AR_2010-conf-edition_ internet-access-fast-internet-megabit?_s=PM:TECH en .pdf 5 www .edri .org/files/EDRi_ecommerceresponse_101105 .pdf; www .3 www .state .gov/documents/organization/160182 .pdf edri .org/files/shadow_drd_report_110417 .pdf 94 / Global Information Society Watch
    • E-Commerce Directive (2000/31/EC) and the Data tram and publicly beaten up with metal posts byRetention Directive (2006/24/EC) show . fifteen neo-Nazis . The human rights meeting itself And even as the EU secures measures aimed at was attended by only 100 participants . Anotheronline privacy and anonymity of retained data, na- case in line with growing racism is the group beat-tional legislation can easily bypass this to secure ing of Roma by neo-Nazis in close proximity tolegal state surveillance, as has been the case in the Presidency building in central Sofia on 11 JuneBulgaria .6 2010 . A murder case of a boy, beaten to death in a park, happened in 2008 – and was only solvedFreedom of expression and association in June 2010 when the police arrested a group ofonline used to violate the rights youngsters who said they beat the boy because heof vulnerable groups and to promote “looked like a gay” .hate speech Of course, civic reaction to these stories andA wave of racism and homophobia can be observed a growing number of online protests againstonline in Bulgaria, as tolerance becomes associ- xenophobic aggression marked the end of 2010ated with state and international support for Roma – including responses from new human rightsand homosexuals . This support is felt as “positive protection groups,8 statements by the Bulgariandiscrimination” – discrimination that grants Roma Helsinki Committee9 and the Bulgarian Greens,10specific goods that are not accessible to others and and a well-attended flash mob in the centre ofthus neglects the needs of the majority . And – ridic- Sofia, protesting human rights violations andulously – spontaneously formed online civic groups aggression .11are very often formed in reaction to the overly politi- However, the tendency towards intolerance andcal correctness and thus, for intrinsically non-civic aggression is not checked and is the most populargoals – for example, the extermination of minorities cause in Bulgarian Facebook life . Opposition to thein different forms . attempt to legalise state control of online content, On the other hand, traditional civic rights including from bloggers and online activists, hasmovements have gone online too . Though online amounted to some 5,700 signatures online,12 whileactivism seems to be the fashion and a lot of online people who have declared online that they refuse“profiles” are adorned with affiliations to internet to pay taxes for non-paying Roma citizens totalcauses in defence of human rights, fewer partici- some 20,841 . Extreme groups declaring that “Romapants are seen at offline meetings and protests that should be turned into soap”, or making similarhave the actual weight when attempting to change statements, are created and deleted daily .official policies . In 2011 hate speech flourished in reaction to In fact, extremist online groups are meeting a street murder by the driver of a crime boss whomore frequently offline than online social activ- had been linked for years to political corruptionists . While social researchers point out the growing and cited as a “Roma king” . Online and offlinenumber of Facebook groups and causes in support protests against “Roma crime” began, and callsof neo-fascism, reminiscent of Hitler’s treatment of for the “protection of Bulgarians against Roma”minorities, and protest against social policies sup- have flourished .13 Attempts to review the crime asporting the long-term unemployment of Roma,7 part of political-criminal monopolies in Bulgariaoffline incidents show the neo-Nazis do act in ac- have been ignored in favour of an ethnic perspec-cordance with their claims . In the summer of 2010 tive on the case . Several big cities have witnessedtwo cases of violence emphasised the fact that the street rallies against “tsiganisation”14 and Romaproblem of intolerance is not a dormant or discur- crime .sive one any more . On 4 June 2010 a meeting was organised in 8 stopnazi-bg .blogspot .com/2011/02/25022011 .htmlsupport of human rights of Asian immigrants in 9 e-vestnik .bg/9284Bulgaria . A group of several young people headed 10 www .zelenite .bg/3059for the meeting were stalked in a public transport 11 nookofselene .wordpress .com/2010/06/11/anti-nazi-protest 12 www .facebook .com/group .php?gid=357395585520 13 english .aljazeera .net/news/6 store .aip-bg .org//publications/ann_rep_eng/08 .pdf europe/2011/09/201192653812872853 .html; www .turkishweekly .7 balkans .blog .lemonde .fr/2011/02/21/sur-facebook- net/news/124179/170-arrested-in-bulgaria-after-second-39-roma- aussi-on-naime-pas-les-roms; www .julianpopov .com/ protests-39-night .html main_page .html?fb_1383111_anch=9636455; www .dnevnik . 14 This term is becoming very popular in Bulgaria . It comes from bg/analizi/2010/01/26/848230_ekaterina_i_iskreno_ “tsigane” the polite everyday word for “Roma” (“tsigane” = sujaliava_za_hitler; www .capital .bg/politika_i_ikonomika/ “gypsy”) . “Tsiganisation” is used to indicate that the society is bulgaria/2010/10/12/974755_edna_po-razlichna_kauza changing from a “Bulgarian” to a “tsigane” society . BULGARIA / 95
    • At the same time, social networks are becoming state surveillance . In a broader perspective, the EUthe playground of users “deleting” friendships on context of the right to access is fighting a power-the basis of support for or opposition to hate speech ful counterforce that argues the necessity of stategroups and causes .15 Attempts to clarify that the intervention for internet security . This paradigmcrime had no ethnic character and to bring the issue presumes the internet is intrinsically a tool for cy-back to a crime of politically protected classes and ber crime and violating others’ rights (e .g . piracycorruption of police practice16 are almost unheard, and child abuse) .and largely regarded as yet another dismissal of the As pointed out in the Bulgaria country reports incitizens’ rights of ethnic Bulgarians . GISWatch 2009 and 2010,18 Bulgaria has been wit- However, the case has provoked official reac- nessing a state strategy to legalise the traditionaltion against hate speech, with an emphasis on practice of surveillance over private communica-hate speech on the internet . This official response tion, including online communication . Since 2010is needed, since a lot of the street aggression this has been continued . As an NGO called Accessagainst Roma was initiated on Facebook and online to Information Programme pointed out in its annualforums . Bulgarian Chief Prosecutor Boris Velchev report,19 we are again witnessing attempts to passhas ordered that the prosecution of hate crimes be the draft bill to the Electronic Communications Actintensified, which should have been current police (ECA), whichpractice if Bulgarian law was abided by anyway .17According to Articles 162 and 163 of the Criminal (…) aimed to provide the Ministry of InteriorCode, hate speech and provocation of aggression with unauthorized direct electronic access toin written or oral form, including online communica- the communication data retained by provid-tion, is a criminal offence, subject to a fine of BGN ers of electronic services (…) i .e . information5,000 to 10,000 (approx . EUR 2,500 to 5,000) and on who, where, when and with whom one hasincarceration of two to four years . written or spoken by electronic means (through Online media and forums should cooperate with mobile phones or the internet) . ( . . .) [Since Maypolice to enforce the illegality of online hate speech . 2010] the ECA provides for two categories ofHowever, prosecution against hate speech is often access to traffic data . One is the data used byopposed on the grounds of the right of freedom of the security services for the purposes of theirexpression when specific cases are investigated, operational activities, and another is the accessand priorities between these different human rights of the prosecutors and investigative servicesare never clearly set . According to the Bulgarian for the purpose of specific criminal proceeding .Constitutional Court, freedom of speech should be The two types of access are treated differentlygranted to all kinds of ideas, including shocking and – the first one requires a court warrant and theoffensive ones . Because of this Bulgaria still needs second not . Thus, the standard for securing thepublic debate and regulation of freedom of speech rights of individuals is lower than before theand its limitations in cases when other basic human 2010 amendments to the ECA .20rights are concerned . Given this background, Bulgaria’s concern with internet rights is quite different from the surg-The Bulgarian perspective on the internet ing global cry for securing internet access as aas a basic human right: The right to access tool for human rights movements . Whatever thevs. the right to privacy country-specific debates and consequences, socialSince 2010 the world has been celebrating the uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East sincepower of the internet as a tool for mass protest 2010 have been fought online as much as in themovements (in Egypt, Libya, etc .) and has subse- streets . Oppression has been seen to fight back byquently pleaded the guarantee of access to internet stopping internet access . In reaction, in June 2011,action as a basic right . However, Bulgaria still suf- the UN declared internet access a basic humanfers from self-censorship in online communication right .21 However, in Bulgaria the struggle is not toand passive activism of internet users – mainly secure access to internet communication but ratherdue to internet privacy issues and legal and illegal to secure the right for this communication to be15 globalvoicesonline .org/2011/09/25/bulgaria-clashes-between- roma-people-and-ethnic-bulgarians-in-katunitsa 18 www .giswatch .org/en/2009 and www .giswatch .org/en/201016 stopnazi-bg .org/declarations/73-konfliktat-v-katunica-ne-e- 19 store .aip-bg .org /publications/ann_rep_eng/2010 .pdf etnicheski 20 Ibid ., p . 19 .17 www .dnevnik .bg/bulgaria/2011/09/27/1164246_koga_ezikut_na_ 21 www2 .ohchr .org/english/bodies/hrcouncil/docs/17session/A . omrazata_e_prestuplenie HRC .17 .27_en .pdf 96 / Global Information Society Watch
    • free . Since surveillance results in censorship and Conclusionsmore commonly in self-censorship, the efforts of The growing tiredness of democracy is threateningBulgarian activists have been focused on ensuring to bring extremist aggression to the centre of Bul-legislation that enforces online privacy . This digital garian public norms . Online communication staysactivism is not fighting for offline change, but for virtual when defending human rights, but spillsthe tools that might some day help bring it about . over onto the street when violating them . In thisIronically, nobody would think of denying anyone context, digital activists need more support frominternet access in Bulgaria, largely because it is human rights NGOs and workers, in order to securefar from the active online causes and communities privacy rights online and to join forces in using ICTsthat result in offline protests and change as seen to reinforce weak community links and democraticelsewhere . values . The official Bulgarian discourses – and for thatmatter EU discourses – stress security and consump- Action stepstion on the internet rather than freedom and social • Besides protests against state surveillance ofbonding . The national one due to political oppres- online communication there is a need for formalsion, the EU one due to the commercialisation of regulations to limit violations of human rightspolicies . The result in Bulgaria is a relatively high online, in whatever form that violation occurstechnological society where information and commu- (writing, images, video, etc .) .nications technologies (ICTs) are only passively used . The passivity of virtual activism has often been • Digital rights advocacy should be combinedlamented . The fact that online campaigning and free with the concrete development of ICT tools thatexpression and association on the net have no or in- practising human rights activists can use to pop-sufficient offline impact is well known . However, an ularise “active” online activism – that is, toolsanalysis is needed on why some societies (arguably that help to create a political effect offline . GoodEgypt) do and some (e .g . Bulgaria) do not achieve practices that are inspired by activist platformsoffline social change by means of online campaign- used locally and abroad and slowly encourageing and the free expression and association that the supporters to go beyond the “like” functioninternet provides . include spasigorata .net (online civic alerts on In this context Bulgaria continues to be marked by forest crime), sofia .urbanotopia .eu (online civicfighting for the right to allow online activism but not alerts on urban problems), fairelections .eu (on-practising it yet, and, as mentioned, the right to access line civic alerts on election fraud), and vote .to the internet has never been denied . One reason is bluelink .net (an online election mechanism forperhaps that this is the characteristic of consumption- internal selection of NGO representatives fororiented societies where social goals are not priorities governmental committees) .for the individual – that is, the characteristics of socie- • NGOs need to push state institutions intoties where social bonds are weaker . providing spaces for online consultation and One interpretation for the Bulgarian case services that help citizens exercise their rights .could also be that, similar to other post-socialist Some of the platforms cited above are examplessocieties, Bulgaria is experiencing a rise of individ- of how civil society groups can start a serviceualistic, hedonistic attitudes to technology . This is that should be provided through e-government,a result of an erroneous vision of post-totalitarian and then push the government to follow up andtransition focused on capitalism and consumption, support the piloted e-tool . nrather than democracy, civil liberties, or public par-ticipation in governance and decision making . Onthe one hand, the internet has proven to be a pow-erful tool for civic activism and collective work – thecivil sector of the 21st century cannot do withoutonline collaboration . But on the other hand, withinan individualistic culture, there is a “dark side” tothe world wide web that facilitates a post-modernhedonism and undermines collective social links .And that is why public pressure for legislation thatsecures online activism is very weak and limited tothe very few activists who were the first to take upthe cause of digital rights in Bulgaria . BULGARIA / 97
    • CAMEROON THE INTERNET AND MOBILE TECHNOLOGY IN SOCIAL RESISTANCE AND PUBLIC DEMONSTRATIONS PROTEGE QV Policy and political context Sylvie Siyam, Serge Daho and Emmanuel Bikobo Since Cameroon achieved independence and as- www .protegeqv .org serted its sovereignty at the international level, its successive constitutions have proclaimed its peo- ple’s commitment to human rights as set out in theIntroduction charter of the United Nations, the Universal Decla-Cameroon is a central African country with a popu- ration of Human Rights, and the African Charter onlation estimated at just over 19 million in 2009 .1 Human and People’s Rights .According to International Telecommunication It is therefore fitting that the current Constitu-Union (ITU) figures, the country had 750,000 inter- tion of 18 January 1996, amended in April 2008,net users as of June 2010; this means 3 .9% of the grants constitutional status to all international legalpopulation and a penetration rate of 4% .2 Since 6 instruments duly ratified by Cameroon, giving themNovember 1982, Cameroon has been under the precedence over domestic legislation .leadership of President Paul Biya . At the national level, the preamble to the After the troubled period of 1990-1992, during Constitution declares the Cameroonian people’swhich the opposition staged huge civil unrest ral- commitment to the following values and principleslies to force the head of state out of power – called which are guaranteed to all citizens, without dis-“Opérations Villes Mortes” (Operation Dead Cities tinction based on sex or race, amongst others:or Ghost Towns) – the country enjoyed a decade of • The freedom of communication, expression andrelative stability . However, this came to an end in the pressFebruary 2008, when riots over food prices (latercalled “hunger riots”) erupted in several cities, with • The freedom of assembly and of association .infrastructures ransacked, cars and vehicles smashed, Numerous institutions and laws deal with theshops burnt down and many deaths reported . freedom of expression and communication in our Since the hunger riots, 23 February has been country . These include, to name just a few:the day in the year when discontent Cameroonians • The National Commission on Human Rights andtake to the streets to demonstrate or to commemo- Freedoms created by Biya in February 1992 .rate the February 2008 martyrs . This governmental commission has conducted Echoing what happened in Tunisia and in Egypt, a number of investigations into human rightsthis year’s demonstrations were to be different, abuses and has been involved in training offi-according to the hopes and aspirations of protest cials in matters of human rights .4organisers . During the weeks before the Februarydemonstrations, they announced that this year was • Telecommunication Law No 98/014 of 14 Julythe start of Cameroon’s “Egypt-style” revolt: “After 1998, which regulates telecommunications, butEgypt, Cameroon next” was a message that spread does not deal with internet access .throughout the internet and on flyers . There were • Law No 90/052 of 19 December 1999 on socialcalls for a popular peaceful revolution and for Presi- communication .dent Paul Biya to step down . Cameroonian authorities reacted by suspending • Law No 2010/012 of 21 December 2010 on cyberMTN mobile Twitter service3 for security reasons . In security and cyber crime .fact, the government had grown increasingly wary These guarantees, while important, are deficientof the role Twitter and other social networks could because there appear to be no provisions which lim-play in sparking an Egypt- or Tunisia-style uprising . it how and when these freedoms can be restricted .1 en .wikipedia .org/wiki/Cameroon2 www .internetworldstats .com3 MTN, a mobile telephony company, is the only service provider 4 United States Department of State (1999) Country Reports on offering access to Twitter in Cameroon . Human Rights Practices for 1998, Washington . 98 / Global Information Society Watch
    • The suspension of MTN’s Twitter service from 8 enough to threaten our government? As a com-to 18 March 2011 came as a violation of both Article munication medium unique in its kind, and unlike19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights any other medium before, the internet allowsand the freedom of communication guaranteed in individuals to express their ideas and opinionsnational legislation . It also prompted fears of an directly to a world audience and easily to eachattempt by the Cameroonian authorities to sup- other . This power to give and receive information,press the use of social networks, which had played so central to any conception of democracy, pro-a crucial role in the political unrest in the Arab vides a vital connection between the internet andworld . Speaking on behalf of the government, Tchi- human rights and could be considered a threat toroma Bakary, the minister of communication and repressive regimes .7government spokesman, told the Agence France Because of this, the blocking of MTN’s TwitterPresse that it was the government’s job to protect service can be seen as a human rights violationthe nation . by Cameroonian authorities . Reporters Without Borders condemned the lack of transparency sur-How significant is the internet rounding the block and feared its implications forin social protest in Cameroon? online freedom of expression in Cameroon . It said:Some opposition political parties, associated with “We hope the blocking of Twitter via SMS is notcertain figures of civil society in the diaspora, a prelude to other kinds of censorship of mobilelaunched a series of messages commemorating the phone services or tighter controls on the internet .February 2008 events using printed leaflets and a Everything suggests that the authorities are tryingcampaign blog called the Collective of Democratic to stop microblogging . We deplore the apparentand Patriotic Organisations of Cameroonians in readiness to impose censorship for the least rea-the Diaspora (CODE) .5 The Facebook page of writer son, especially when the target is the peacefulAlain Patrice Nganang6 and SMS text messages expression of opinions .”8were also used . An event was planned during what Yet social networks do not have many users inhad become known as “martyrs’ week” . This start- Cameroon . Facebook, for example, is used by onlyed modestly on the due date, 23 February 2011 . 1 .5% of the population (176,666 Facebook usersProtesters in Douala and in Yaoundé were quickly on 31 December 2010; a 4% penetration rate in theoutnumbered by police . Cameroonian authorities country according to ITU figures) .9 Only around 50were on a high alert over possible riots and flooded people were affected by the suspension of MTN’sthe two major cities with armed police and gen- Twitter service – so was it worth blocking it?darmes controlling major access roads, central According to John Clarke,10 in order to makesquares and government buildings . Vehicles enter- a case for disobeying the law as a significant el-ing the cities were stopped and checked . The troops ement of social mobilisation, it is necessary tomonitored any unforeseen gathering of people that establish three things . First, you have to demon-could form the nucleus of a protest, asking them to strate that the society you propose to challengedisperse . is very seriously unequal and unjust . If the griev- Protesters found a difficult environment partly ance does not rise to this standard, there is littledue to the massive police presence, and also be- basis for taking defiant action . Second, you havecause most of the calls for Cameroonians to stage to show that the state structure and laws of thisan “Egypt-like” revolution indeed had come from same society serve, in a fundamental fashion, tothe diaspora, with even independent media in Cam- perpetuate the injustices you are opposing . Third,eroon giving protests calls little attention and main beyond demonstrating a deep degree of unfair-opposition figures remaining silent . Many Cam- ness, you have to show that the historical recorderoonians therefore felt the initiative was not from and the present situation would suggest thatwithin the country and disconnected from local re- defying the rules of society offers the distinct pos-alities . Outside the cities of Douala and Yaoundé, sibility of success .there were no reports of protests . Besides this massive deployment of troopson the streets, the government blocked MTN’s 7 Centre for Democracy and Technology (2000) TheTwitter service for almost ten days . This raised Internet and Human Rights: An Overview . www .cdt .org/ international/000105humanrights .shtmla fundamental question: Was the internet power 8 www .ifex .org/cameroon/2011/03/25/twitter_blocked 9 www .internetworldstats .com5 lecode .canalblog .com 10 Clarke, J . (2003) Social Resistance and the Disturbing of the Peace .6 www .cause .com/causes/387444 www .ohlj .ca/archive/articles/41_23_clarke .pdf CAMEROON / 99
    • Were these issues combined in Cameroon’s Action stepscase? Yet Bakary attacked the protest organisers A number of steps should be taken to address thesaying they wanted to “destroy the nation” . concerns described above:Conclusion • Policies that limit censorship of online commu-Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human nication should be formulated .Rights states: “Everyone has the right to freedom of • Law No . 90/052 of 19 December 1999 on socialopinion and expression; this right includes freedom communication should be amended to take intoto hold opinions without interference and to seek, account the internet .receive, and impart information and ideas through • The legislation setting up the National Commis-any media, and regardless of frontiers .” Therefore, sion on Human Rights and Freedoms shouldno matter what the means, government restrictions be reformed to conform to the UN principleson speech or access to the speech of others violate relating to the status of national institutions tobasic freedom of expression protections . guarantee its independence .11 Though we have to acknowledge that fewthings could be more threatening to some regimes • Citizens are not mere consumers of content, butthan access to and use of a medium that knows no also creators of content on the internet . Takenboundaries and is very hard to control, protecting as an analogy, activists should not only use thefreedom of expression on the internet is crucial internet to call for protest, but also to formulatebecause free expression is the foundation of de- ideas that can contribute constructively to themocracy, essential to the individual’s pursuit of development of a country . nhappiness and a tool that provides protection forother fundamental human rights . It may have been that the government’s re-sponse to the protests was an anxiety about foreigninfluence in local affairs – including the influence ofCameroonians abroad . The internet is yet to be usedas the most effective means for communicating hu-man rights or to expose human rights violations .Online campaigns inside Cameroon were accompa-nied by print campaigns, as a matter of necessity .And activists used a website run by exiled Cameroo-nians to urge their fellow countrymen to learn fromthe revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt . 11 UN General Assembly resolution 48/134 of December 1993, annex . 100 / Global Information Society Watch
    • CHINA THE INTERNET: CHINA’S FOURTH ESTATE Danwei authors of the letter were some of the parents of Jeremy Goldkorn more than 400 children who had been kidnapped www .danwei .org and forced to work as slaves in a brick factory in Shanxi province . After finding out where their children were imprisoned, the group of parentsIntroduction attempted to rescue their children, but were pre-China’s investigative journalists and a small group vented by security guards and local police workingof news publications have become increasingly in cahoots with the brick factory’s owners .bold over the last decade . But the internet is now Within a week of publishing their appeal for helpthe most powerful force in China’s emerging rights online, the affair became a cause célèbre, and themovements, the exposure of abuses of power, free- Shanxi provincial government shut down the factorydom of expression and the development of a real and liberated the children . The nationwide scandalcivil society . Emboldened by several high-profile erupted online first, driven by citizen anger, whilecases of injustices brought to light by online activ- the traditional news media had to play catch-up . Theism, concerned citizens and reporters are taking to first traditional media to report on the case were thesocial media to air their grievances and attract pub- more commercial and independent local news organ-licity to their cases . isations, but within a week of the scandal breaking The official response usually includes repression online, even the highly controlled central governmentof information . The Chinese government continues news organisations such as Xinhua News Agencyto operate the world’s most extensive censorship were forced to publish stories about it .apparatus, affecting both traditional media and the This pattern has been repeated many timesinternet . Because of this and other factors, not all cit- since 2007: an outrage of some kind occurs; citi-izen grievances or activist and journalist campaigns zens post text, photos or videos about it on theare successfully exposed on the internet . internet; the postings are forwarded virally; and Nonetheless, the huge numbers of Chinese citi- only then do the traditional media catch up and re-zens online – more than 450 million people at the port, usually followed by government action . Oncetime of writing – and the blazing speed with which the public outcry has been appeased, censorshipsocial media spread certain kinds of information usually steps up again, and many of the internetmean that news about breaking events can no long- postings about it disappear .er be hidden by the authorities . To understand how the internet is changing Case 1: My dad is Li Gangchallenges to the abuse of power and social resist-ance in China, it is useful to look at two events that The “My dad is Li Gang” case followed the sametook place in late 2010 and July 2011: pattern . Baoding is a city of more than 1 .5 million people in north China’s Hebei province . On 16 Oc-• “My dad is Li Gang” – a fatal hit-and-run acci- tober 2010, a 22-year-old man named Li Qiming dent by a well-connected young man who was was drunk and driving his Volkswagen Magotan exposed online in October 2010 down a street inside the campus of Hebei Univer-• The Wenzhou high-speed railway disaster on 23 sity in Baoding to take his girlfriend back to her July 2011 . dormitory . Li drove into two rollerblading university stu-Precedent: The brick factory slave children dents, Chen Xiaofeng (20) and Zhang Jingjing (19) .Precedents were set many years before the “My dad Chen died soon afterwards and Zhang was seri-is Li Gang” scandal broke on the Chinese internet . ously injured . Li ignored the injured students andThe watershed moment was perhaps the 2007 ex- drove away . Before he left the university grounds,posure of a brick kiln run using slave labour . some campus security guards tried to stop him, but In June 2007, an internet user posted a letter he screamed out of his car window, “Sue me if youto a Chinese internet forum appealing for help . The dare! My dad is Li Gang!” and drove off . CHINA / 101
    • Li Gang was the deputy director of the Baoding accident that he caused made him a perfect symbolpublic security bureau (i .e . police authority) in Bei- of the fu er dai and guan er dai, and the pimin roseshi district, where Hebei University is located . up in rebellion online . Li Qiming was not pursued or arrested after the As the anger seemed to be directed against theincident, even when Chen died of her injuries the system, not just Li Qiming, government censor-next day . Some bystanders had seen the accident ship efforts stepped up . The story was scrubbedand Li’s escape and complained of it to local news from some news websites . In the last few days ofmedia and on the internet . But nothing happened October, directives from government propagandato Li, and there was evidence to suggest a cover-up organisations, leaked onto the internet, ordered thewas orchestrated to keep the news out of the me- media to stop “hyping” the Li Gang case . Li Qimingdia . The police did not investigate . remained at liberty . Some students who had witnessed the accident But the stink over Hebei University and Li Qimingcontinued to post about it online . In particular, they would not go away, partly because people continuedfocused on Li’s words, “My dad is Li Gang .” Four to circulate fresh information about the victims and Lidays after the accident, a blogger organised an Qiming, and viciously funny “My dad is Li Gang” jokes .online competition which required entrants to use Despite restricted media coverage and athe phrase “My dad is Li Gang” in a poem written perception that the authorities were reluctant to in-in classical Chinese style . There were hundreds of vestigate the case properly, Li Qiming was arrestedsubmissions and thousands of users voted for their in January 2011, and sentenced to six years in jailfavourite poem . and a large fine at his trial at the end of that month . The phrase became an internet meme: pho- Li remains in jail, and “My dad is Li Gang” re-toshopped images and spoof videos of George W . mains a popular catch phrase on the ChineseBush and other famous figures appeared using “My internet .dad is Li Gang” to signify arrogance, corruption anda lack of decency . Case 2: The 23 July Wenzhou high-speed By 20 October, the “My dad is Li Gang” case rail crashwas famous and newspapers started reporting on Just after 8 p .m . on a Saturday night, 23 July 2011,the case . On 22 October, Li Qiming appeared on a bullet train on one of China’s new high-speed rail-the country’s most highly censored and conserva- way lines smashed into the back of another traintive media platform: the state-owned broadcaster that had stalled on the tracks .CCTV’s news channel . He wept and apologised for At 8:47 p .m ., a passenger on the stalled trainhis deeds, but if anything the apology further en- with the pseudonym Yangjuan Quanyang tweetedraged his online critics . from her Sina Weibo microblog: “Help, the train There were two important factors behind the D301 is derailed just ahead of South Wenzhou Sta-strong online reaction to the Li Gang case . Firstly, tion, passengers are crying and we cannot find anythe catch phrase “My dad is Li Gang”, which rolls train crew, please help us!”off the tongue in Chinese (wo ba shi Li Gang), made Since its launch in summer 2009, the Twitter-the case memorable and inspired all kinds of darkly like Weibo, operated by established news portalhumorous creativity . Sina .com, has become one of China’s most popular Secondly, there is a growing resentment felt by web services and a powerful tool for the exposureordinary young Chinese people about the conspicu- and viral spread of information . Weibo played aous wealth gap that now exists in China between large role in the aftermath of the Wenzhou crash .a tiny privileged elite and the rest of the country . Late into Saturday night when most journalistsThis is clearly expressed in the Chinese online slang and government information minders were sleep-for the children of the rich and powerful: fu er dai ing, news of the crash circulated on Weibo . Yangjuan(literally second-generation rich) and guan er dai Quanyang’s tweet was widely cited by media as the(second generation of government officials) . By tweet that broke news of the crash .contrast, many internet users identify themselves By Sunday, the official death toll was above 30as pimin – rabble (or literally “buttocks people”) .1 and officials were blaming the accident on a light-Li Qiming’s expensive car and his confidence that ning strike, an explanation that did not satisfy anhe could escape even being questioned after a fatal outraged citizenry on the internet . Claims emerged in news reports and on the inter-1 “Pi” literally means buttocks or “arse”; “min” means people . net that the rescue effort had stopped after only five Rabble is probably the best translation to convey the sense of the word, but does not have the connotations of rudeness and slang . hours of work . As much as ten hours after that, the final The phrase could also be translated as “ordinary bums” . survivor was rescued, a two-and-a-half-year-old girl . 102 / Global Information Society Watch
    • Even worse, on Monday, eye witnesses postedphotos and video to the internet that appeared to Two poems from the “My dadshow some of the wrecked train carriages beingburied, less than 48 hours after the accident . is Li Gang” online protests, with their One video showed a carriage being pulled from implied classical poetry referencesthe railway viaduct . What looks like a dead body ap-pears to fall out of a window to the ground . It looked The final couplet from the Tang Dynastylike evidence was being covered up and nobody poem “Seeing [my friend] Xinjian Off atbelieved that a thorough investigation could be Lotus Tower”, a sad poem about two friendsmade in such a short amount of time . A Ministry of parting:Railways spokesperson told the media that the car- 洛阳亲友如相问riages were being buried because of marshy ground 一片冰心在玉壶underneath the viaduct, saying that they needed a If my friend at Luoyang asks of me, you maysolid platform for rescue equipment . He concluded answer: “He’s keeping his pure heart and af-his statement with the words, “Whether you believe fection in a jade vase, forever .”it or not, I believe it,” which quickly became an in-ternet meme and, again, the source of darkly critical Li Gang version:jokes . 洛阳亲友如相问 The initial official explanation of the cause of the 就说我爸是李刚accident – that the first train was struck by lighting –was widely criticised on the internet and it fed into If my friend at Luoyang asks of me, you mayan already toxic public opinion of China’s railway answer: “My dad is Li Gang .”authorities . In the first half of the year, as the high-speed rail project was being hyped by foreign media The philosopher Mencius (Mengzi in Chi-and hailed as a glorious achievement of the Chi- nese, 372-289 B .C .) said:nese Communist Party, doubts started to emerge .In February, Minister of Railways Liu Zhijun lost his 君子穷则独善其身job and an investigation began into charges of cor- 达则兼善天下ruption . Some media organisations and bloggers If a gentleman is poor, he does good worksreported tales of massive corruption: huge bribes in solitude; if he is rich, his work is for theand kickbacks, and stories that Liu used some of his good of the whole world .ill-gotten gains to keep eighteen mistresses in a lifeof luxury . There were suggestions that quality was Li Gang version:sacrificed for speed and that some of the corruptionin the Ministry of Railways meant that inferior con- 穷则独善其身struction materials were used to allow officials to 富则开车撞人embezzle the money they saved . If a gentleman is poor, he does good works The combination of public suspicions about the in solitude; if he is rich, he drives his car intorailway authorities and the poor handling of the people .rescue emboldened journalists and editors . In theweek after the accident, small news magazines,websites, newspapers, and even the normallyconservative CCTV News produced investigative There is no doubt that the blitz of media andreports and highly critical commentary . Even the internet reporting on the accident will result in aCommunist Party mouthpiece newspaper The Peo- more thorough investigation . But it remains to beple’s Daily said in an editorial that China should not seen how transparent the authorities will be aboutpursue “blood-stained GDP” – that growth should the results .not take precedence over people’s lives . The period of openness did not last long: eight Conclusionsdays after the accident, news of the accident and The Li Gang and Wenzhou train crash cases illus-its investigation disappeared from newspaper front trate how the internet is allowing Chinese citizenspages . Propaganda organisations began warning and activists to expose abuses of power – but notnews media of consequences for failing to toe the all such cases will captivate the public, and the re-new line, which amounted to “keep quiet, don’t in- sults are mixed, depending on official sensitivity tovestigate and use only authorised reports .” the case . CHINA / 103
    • A key factor in most successful cases is that Action stepsthe wrongdoing has some resonance with China’s The following key points are useful learning expe-internet demographic, which is largely made up of riences for any civil society action planned for theunder-40s with middle-class aspirations . In the two internet:cases discussed here, resentment about the behav-iour of the privileged elite and frustration with a train • Publicising a grievance or a cause in China issystem that has been held up as a national achieve- complex . However, the internet has become thement were key in inspiring a strong online response . key tool for this type of communication, and the The two cases above can be contrasted with Weibo service is currently the most active andattempts by online activists to organise a “Jas- useful method .mine Revolution” along the lines of the Egyptian • Calls to investigate a specific case of wrong-and Tunisian uprisings, which failed to elicit a re- doing, especially when it involves commonsponse from the Chinese public and only resulted resentments, are more likely to be heard . Ab-in a crackdown on activists, lawyers and journalists . stract targets and calls to change the political The key difference is that the Jasmine Revo- system do not go anywhere .lution calls had no concrete goals, nor did theyattempt to redress a specific wrong, but rather to • Eye-witness accounts, photographic and videostart a movement challenging the political system . evidence, particularly of violent or fatal events,Not only do such movements cause much harsher are the most likely materials to attract citizenrepression and censorship from the authorities, interest . nthey do not generate a sympathetic response fromordinary people on the internet . 104 / Global Information Society Watch
    • COLOMBIA SOCIAL MOBILISATION FOR THE DEFENCE OF DIGITAL RIGHTS AND AGAINST THE “LLERAS ACT” Colnodo Likewise, in the present government’s National Lilian Chamorro Rojas Development Plan, intellectual property is defined www .colnodo .apc .org as strategically necessary to promote innovation in the country and essential to negotiate and establish international trade agreements – therefore the needIntroduction to make the required adjustments to the law .6 In the FTA with the US there is a chapter on IPRThe governmental interest to control the use of the with an annexed letter on the responsibility of inter-internet has become a reality in some countries net service providers (ISPs) to fulfil the function ofthrough the introduction of controversial laws such protecting IPR .7as the Sinde and Hadopi Laws in Spain and France,1 As a response to this requirement included inrespectively, or laws introduced – albeit with pub- the FTA, on 4 April 2011, the Colombian governmentlic consensus – in Chile and Canada . International submitted Bill No . 241 of 2011, better known as theorganisations have warned about the danger of Lleras Bill . This bill aims to regulate the responsi-restricting access to the internet without careful bility for infractions of the law regarding copyrightconsideration of the implications, given the rel- and related rights on internet . Many sectors haveevance the internet has for democracy and people’s opposed the bill, especially those that have beenrights .2 working for the promotion of Creative Commons The Colombian government has submitted a bill licensing and GPL (General Public License), amongas part of the preconditions to sign the Free Trade others .Agreement (FTA) with the United States (US), known At the same time, a joint declaration on freedomas the Lleras Bill . It has been widely criticised by of expression and opinion on the internet issued bymany sectors of society because it goes against representatives of the United Nations (UN), the Or-basic rights such as the freedom of expression and ganization for Security and Co-operation in Europecivil and political rights . The response from these (OSCE), the Organization of American States (OAS)sectors has been to organise a campaign against and the African Commission on Human and People’sthe bill using the internet and the media . Rights (ACHPR) has contributed with strong argu-Policy and political background ments for the defence of citizens’ digital rights .8The protection of intellectual property rights (IPR) hasbeen an ongoing issue related to trade, at the nation- Challenging the control of the internetal and international level . In Colombia this issue has On 4 April 2011, Minister of the Interior and Justicebeen discussed in the National Council for Social and German Vargas Lleras tweeted the following on hisEconomic Policy (CONPES)3 plans and documents on Twitter account @German_Vargas: “Let me tell youintellectual property for 2008-2010 .4 According to that today we have submitted the bill on copyrights .many sectors these ignore the new uses and trends No more piracy on the internet . Authors, singers,of digital media, such as free software and free li- composers are supporting us .”9cences among others, and only address traditional Soon his message was retweeted and peopleentertainment and cultural media .5 reacted either with alarm10 or jubilation .11 The bill1 alt1040 .com/2011/01/ley-francesa-antidescargas-ley-sinde 6 National Development Plan 2010-2014: “Prosperity for All”,2 Joint Declaration on Freedom of Expression and the Internet . Executive Summary . www .dnp .gov .co/PORTALWEB/LinkClick . www .cidh .oas .org/relatoria/showarticle .asp?artID=849&lID=1 aspx?fileticket=4-J9V-FE2pI%3d&tabid=12383 CONPES is the body responsible for formulating economic policy in 7 www .tlc .gov .co/eContent/newsDetail .asp?id=5023&IDCompany= Colombia . For more information see: www .eltiempo .com/archivo/ 37&Profile= documento/MAM-221821 8 http://www .cidh .oas .org/relatoria/showarticle .4 www .derechodeautor .gov .co/htm/Planeacion/Audiencias%20 asp?artID=849&lID=2 Publicas/2008cp3533 .pdf 9 twitter .com/#!/German_Vargas/status/549662179617792015 equinoxio .org/destacado/carta-abierta-conpes-plan-accion- 10 twitter .com/#!/ppco/status/54967808211173377 sistema-propiedad-intelectual-2647 11 twitter .com/#!/Juliana_M_L/status/55086053769490434 COLOMBIA / 105
    • was soon shared on the net .12 In less than 24 hours RedPaTo2 (Net for All) was created, and accord-net surfers had started the hashtag #leylleras13 to ing to Freddy Pulido from RedPaTo2,21 it is openexchange information on the subject . Despite the to all members of the public – artists, academics,efforts of Vargas Lleras and Senator Roy Barreras scholars, technicians and lawyers, among others .(who had submitted the bill) to popularise the tag RedPaTo2 aims for the drafting of a consensual#leyderechosdeautor (#copyrightlaw), the hash- bill with the participation of all citizens . To do so,tag #leylleras became widely popular and the bill they are working on the internet and meeting facebecame known as the Lleras Bill by the media and to face,22 campaigning in social networks and theother social networks .14 media, informing the public, and making alternative Bill 241 is defined as the bill “[b]y which re- proposals to the Lleras Bill .sponsibility for infractions against copyright and Likewise, there is also a group called ReCrea,23related rights is regulated” . Vargas Lleras warned formed by professionals – mainly artists and contentin his blog: “Those who continue to support piracy, creators – whose goal is the promotion of culturenow beware! From now on, the law will punish them and education in Colombia . Its main objective is towith prison – and severely – if Congress passes the make remixing of content legal by proposing thebill .”15 The bill will punish ISPs and internet users inclusion of an article in the bill .24 This would en-by blocking or banning content or by cancelling in- able reproduction without payment and/or requireternet accounts . Likewise there will be changes to the user to obtain the permission of authors to usethe penal code, among other controversial issues .16 their cultural, scientific and medical work, as well as It is not surprising that people and groups work- fragments of protected materials, mentioning theing on issues such as free culture, free software source, title and author and making sure that theand freedom of speech on the internet – who knew final product is used for non-profit purposes .about similar processes in Spain and France17 – be- Other movements with more political purpos-came worried and began to meet virtually and face es, such as the recently created Partido Pirata deto face to discuss the bill and organise campaigns . Colombia25 (Pirate Party of Colombia), have also One of these meetings took place in Bogota . expressed their views on the bill and are generat-Carolina Botero, one of the supporters of Creative ing content regarding the bill on blogs and socialCommons in Colombia, got together with free soft- networks .26ware activists for the first time to discuss the bill . The group Anonymous, known in several coun-Given her involvement in promoting “copyleft”18 tries of the world for their protests and distributedin the country, Botero was up to date on laws denial of services (DDoS) attacks, has also takenconcerning copyright, was in contact with the Co- action against the Colombian government andlombian Copyright Office (DNDA) and knew about senators involved in passing the bill . They have at-the government initiative to legislate on the issue .19 tacked Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos’However, she had been expecting wide consultation Facebook profile and the Twitter account of formeron the bill and the involvement of citizens in this president Alvaro Uribe .27 In an interview given to theconsultation . When Carolina and others realised magazine Enter, specialising in technology in Co-the bill was submitted without any consultation20 lombia, Anonymous declared they want to spreadthey started a review of the bill and invited other information about the Lleras Bill in the media and topeople and groups to join in . Ultimately, the group the general public .28 Likewise, in an interview given to the newspaper El Tiempo, they explained in de- tail their reasons for rejecting the bill .2912 twitter .com/#!/Legal_TIC/status/5501242977564262413 twitter .com/#!/carobotero/status/5535927898224230514 equinoxio .org/estancias/reacciones-contra-la-ley-lleras-11065 and 21 Interview on 4 July 2011 . www .delicious .com/knowledgefactory/leylleras?page=20, cited 22 Blog: redpatodos .co/blog; wiki: redpatodos .co/wiki; email list: in www .enter .co/otros/la-transformacion-de-la-industria-cultural- lists .redpatodos .co/listinfo .cgi/general-redpatodos .co; primer-debate-sobre-leylleras Twitter: @RedPaTo2; identi .ca: identi .ca/tag/leyllera15 germanvargasllerasmij .blogspot .com/2011/04/se-regulan-los- 23 www .recrea .co/sobre-recrea derechos-de-autor-en .html 24 www .recrea .co/comunicado/propuesta-recrea16 Colombian Congress Bill No . 241 “By which responsibility for 25 www .soypirata .org infractions against copyright and related rights is regulated” . 26 On Twitter @ppco and on Facebook at es-es .facebook .com/17 The Sinde Law in Spain and Hadopi Law in France . pirataco?sk=wall18 en .wikipedia .org/wiki/Copyleft 27 alt1040 .com/2011/08/anonymous-inicia-ataque-contra-el-19 Audio available at: aumana .typepad .com/el_complejo_de_ gobierno-de-colombia prometeo/2011/01/director-nacional-de-derechos-de-autor- 28 www .enter .co/internet/anonymous-habla-sobre-detenciones-en- cuenta-lo-que-nos-espera-en-el-2011-en-pi-en-colombia .html espana-ley-lleras-y-onda-larga20 www .openbusinesslatinamerica .org/wp/2011/06/18/leylleras- 29 www .infografiando .com/2011/04/entrevista-de-anonymous- cronica-de-una-polemica-social-anunciada colombia-el .html 106 / Global Information Society Watch
    • There are other groups that have contributed Rapporteur Frank de la Rue, the bill violates Articleto the discussion on blogs, networks and audio and 19 of the International Covenant on Political and Civ-video platforms .30 The media have also contributed to il Rights, which stipulates the right of all individualsthe discussion by presenting different points of view .31 to seek, receive and impart information and ideas .36 It is necessary to pause a moment to understand Both defenders and critics of the bill are inin more detail what has prompted this movement, agreement that it is a copy of the Digital Milleniumgiven that the discussion is not limited to the arti- Copyright Act (DMCA), which was adopted in 1998cles of the law, but that the movement’s foundation in the US,37 and that it does not take into accountwas laid before the tweet of Minister Vargas Lleras . the deficiencies of the law in Colombia regardingWhereas the government’s goal through the CON- modern technologies or the fact that Colombia be-PES documents, the National Development Plan longs to the Inter-American Commission on Humanand the FTA has been to strengthen intellectual Rights where “all dispositions on civil rights mustproperty and copyright, surfers have been using be submitted to a judicial process .”38and promoting virtual tools to freely exchange, copy These groups have carried out several actionsand co-create intellectual creation . “Here we are all aimed at modifying the bill .39 Social mobilisationco-creators,” said Alejandra Bonnet, a member of has led Congress to organise discussion forums onReCrea, in one of the talks organised in the Sen- the bill . The social movements have also organisedate .32 The bill served as a catalyst for these persons meetings and invited people to discuss the issues .to gather around a theme . While not all groups use A session in Congress that was seen by more thanthe same strategies, and there are points of disa- 2,000 people on the internet all over the countrygreement among them, in the comments made on was unprecedented – with viewers tweeting theirarticles of the bill there are common elements . comments .40 One of the points of contention for critics of the Some senators have listened to the objections .bill is that judges will be excluded from the act of One of the senators opposing the bill organised sev-censoring, and an ISP can simply block content that eral meetings aimed at sharing information .41 Theis identified by an author or creator as infringing government’s proposed dialogues on the bill42 havethe law . This, as Carolina Botero explains, “changes not been accepted by the social movements, giventhe presumption of innocence, and puts at risk the that they have no impact at the level of Congressdue process of law and rights such as the freedom where the bill has been discussed .43of expression and opinion, with disproportionate RedPaTo2 has submitted alternative modelssentences for the alleged offenders, not only in to the bill based on Chilean and Canadian laws,the process but also in the suggested contractual and expressed well-founded objections to someprovisions for the ISPs .”33 According to Juan Carlos of the articles, such as the need to include excep-Monroy of DNDA, the legal possibility of blocking tions for disabled people, among others . Likewise,content is already in place in the law, and the bill it petitioned Congress to make the process moreaims for the “detection and blocking of content” transparent and to work on consensus building inwithout a judge’s sentence given that the justice drafting the bill .44system does not have the infrastructure required to In order to be approved, the bill has to pass fourimplement the law .34 stages . The first one – in the First Commission of the Another point of contention is the violation ofthe right to privacy, given that the bill allows passing 36 www .enter .co/internet/onu-da-otro-golpe-a-leyes-antidescargason information about the alleged offender without 37 www .enter .co/internet/%C2%BFpara-quien-legislamos-segundo- debate-inspirado-por-leyllerasdue process .35 Likewise, the possibility of prevent- 38 Contribution made by Lorenzo Villegas, solicitor for Googleing people who break the law more than once from Colombia, during the debate on the Lleras Bill in Congress . www .accessing the internet is considered a violation of ustream .tv/recorded/14950504#utm_campaign=unknown&utm_ source=14950504&utm_medium=sociallaws already in place . Here, according to UN Special 39 RedPaTo2 submitted an open letter with 2,300 digital signatures before the debate of the bill . See: redpatodos .co/blog/ley-lleras-a-30 www .netvibes .com/hiperterminal#LeyLleras primer-debate31 www .enter .co/search/leylleras?t=c 40 www .elespectador .com/opinion/columna-277957-librecultura-el-32 www .enter .co/internet/internautas-hablaron-con-los-ponentes-de- proceso-legislativo-leylleras la-leylleras 41 redpatodos .co/blog/y-ahora-que33 www .openbusinesslatinamerica .org/wp/2011/06/18/leylleras- 42 Like the blog derechodeautor .wordpress .com launched on 6 April cronica-de-una-polemica-social-anunciada after the debate on social networks had begun .34 Conversatorio de Ley Lleras realizado en el Campus Party, Bogota, 43 www .karisma .org .co/carobotero/index .php/2011/04/12/ 2011 . participar-en-leylleras-una-cuestion-de-fondo-y-de-forma35 www .openbusinesslatinamerica .org/wp/2011/06/18/leylleras- 44 redpatodos .co/blog/comentarios-juridicos-ponencia-primer- cronica-de-una-polemica-social-anunciada debate-ley-lleras COLOMBIA / 107
    • Senate – was already passed with seven votes in fa- has taken many governments by surprise . However,vour and three against, with some modifications to as Pulido points out, there is a lack of real partici-the articles but not the substantial ones expected pation beyond discussing or sharing informationby the activists .45 This proves the urgency the gov- – therefore the need to get people involved in legis-ernment has in passing the bill instead of reaching lative matters .a consensus . The debate is not over yet . There are still three Action stepsstages left before the bill is passed, and social Considering the mobilisation that has taken placemovements have not given up the hope of securing around the Lleras Bill, and the shared experiencesa law that protects authors’ copyrights and also the of some of the actors involved, it is possible to iden-rights of internet users . tify the following actions:Conclusions • Share and disseminate information .The mobilisation that the Lleras Bill has generated • Convene stakeholders to analyse and tackle thehas shown the social changes brought about by the issue . Find people who can translate the jargoninternet, not only regarding copyrights and intellec- into something understandable for the generaltual property, but also regarding digital rights and public .citizens’ participation in democracies . • Get together in an organised manner . Define On the one hand there are the industries and common objectives and the strategies that fol-people that support and defend the traditional use low, with clear and agreed rules .of artistic and intellectual creations, and advocate • Assemble a group of trusted people to carryfor tools and content created to be protected by out the activities – again, with clear and agreedcopyright . On the other hand, there are those who rules .have found ways to access information that waspreviously inaccessible and, as they point out, they • Search for appropriate technological tools tohave transformed themselves from mere consum- share information in a team, appointing peo-ers to creative producers, generating new ways of ple for administrative matters . For example,creating and distributing their work . Therefore, it is RedPaTo2 has chosen several ways for com-important to consider both the needs of copyright municating, such as a blog to publish pressholders and the need to have access to knowledge releases and documents, using micro-bloggingand information, which is a basic element in the tools such as Twitter and identi .ca, and usingpromotion of culture and education . It is also im- EtherPad46 for creating documents in a group,portant to highlight that what we are looking for is among others .not the suppression of any of the alternatives of cul- • Establish contact with the media and, if needed,tural creation, such as Creative Commons, but the with legislators supporting the mobilisation ofsimultaneous recognition of alternative models of people .cultural creation that have arisen in the digital era . It is obvious that there is no consensus re- • Keep the topic in the spotlight by publishing in-garding digital rights and their impact on human formation and organising virtual and non-virtualrights . While governments are trying to control forums and debates .the internet, users are trying to defend freedom of • Participate in all the spaces in which the issue isexpression and the information it provides . In this debated or solved .regard, the UN and other international organisa- • Submit proposals to actors responsible for thetions, in their declarations on human rights and the decision making, as well as the general public .internet, have taken a big step forward by providingguidance to lead the discussion on key themes such • Support the process by broadcasting theas the freedom of expression, censorship and inter- sessions and debates of legislators and by pub-net neutrality, among others . lishing all related documents . n Finally, this situation shows the changes thatare beginning to take place in our democracies .The internet is a space that has allowed people toshare, discuss and make proposals, something that45 www .lasillavacia .com/historia/la-leylleras-un-proyecto-que-pone- en-jaque-al-congreso-25255 46 ietherpad .com 108 / Global Information Society Watch
    • CONGO, REPUBLIC OF VIOLATING PRIVACY ONLINE IN THE CONGO AZUR Développement extension, freedom of expression . However, its limi- Romeo Mbengou tations regarding the protection of privacy and of www .azurdev .org personal data should be noted . In this environment, besides criminal activity, the invasion of privacy is common practice .Introduction This situation is exacerbated by the fact that many in the Congo are new to the internet – and it isThe internet is revolutionising social, economic, becoming more popular . There is a widespread lackcultural and political life across the world . It has of awareness of online rights and security, and littlebrought an avalanche of opportunities to its mil- legal knowledge amongst the general population .lions of users, and has become a tool that we cannot In such a context, it is no surprise to note seri-do without; almost all services, administrative or ous violations of human rights .otherwise, depend upon it either directly or indi-rectly . It also contributes positively to human rightsin countries like our own, especially with regard to The violation of privacy on the internetfreedom of opinion and expression as set out in The following two cases were widely reported .Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of HumanRights and Article 19 of the Constitution of Congo . Case 1 However, measures to prevent the abuse of This involves the director of a well-known companythe internet are lacking, and the absence of these in Brazzaville, the capital, and one of his secretar-measures impacts negatively on human rights . ies, who were away on work together in an African There are many reasons for this, including the country . They were both married and were havingpublic’s ignorance regarding its rights and how to an affair .demand them . There is also an absence of specific During their trip they photographed their sexuallaws defining and punishing certain online viola- encounters and uploaded them onto the director’stions of rights . laptop . When the director returned to Brazzaville, In this report we present some cases of human his laptop encountered a problem and he handedrights infringements, in particular those that relate it in to be repaired . In the course of his work, theto invasion of privacy on the internet . maintenance technician discovered the file contain- ing the images of the director and his secretary . ThePolitical and legislative context technician, under the pretext that he would not haveThe internet is governed by various laws that regu- been paid by the director, circulated the images bylate information and communications technologies email . These very intimate and somewhat porno-(ICTs) in the Congo . These include a 2001 law on graphic images, which showed the faces of the two,freedom of information and communication; a were circulated to hundreds of email addresses .2009 law regulating the electronic communica-tions sector; another law from 2009 which sets up Case 2a regulatory agency for the sector; and Decree No . In a similar vein, the second case involves a young2010-554 (adopted in July 2010) which requires sub- woman who was raped in the Mansimou districtscribers to landline and mobile telephone services close to the Djoue River in a suburb of Brazzaville .to register with their identity documents, and deals She was photographed while unconscious . The im-with the storing of electronic communication data age of the young woman stripped almost naked wasby service providers . sent to hundreds of people via email . The woman It is important to emphasise that this legal herself may never have known that her picture wasframework establishes and guarantees freedom of circulated online and the perpetrator never cared .access to sources of information through the in- Situations like this arise regularly but are notternet (Article 174 of the 2001 law, Article 3 of the reported; and the victims are not even aware that2009 law on electronic communications) and, by they have rights which they can demand . These two REPUBLIC OF CONGO / 109
    • stories highlight the weakness in the regulation: on the internet is still a worrying issue in the Congo,public awareness . which in part is explained by the lack of stringent regulations .The respect of the right to privacy The violation of people’s privacy on the internetamongst individuals is also to an extent synonymous with violence, asNowadays technology puts powerful surveillance Sylvie Niombo, executive director of AZUR Dévelop-tools in the hands of individuals – for example, a pement, points out:mobile telephone equipped with a camera and in- There is an intersection between the violenceternet connection, or digital cameras, which can be perpetrated against women and young girls andused to invade the privacy of others . the manipulation of the use of information and On the other hand, the November 2009 law on communication technologies . A person forward-electronic communications and the 2010 decree on ing emails which explicitly talk of or allude toidentification of subscribers show that the state has violence incites violence in exactly the sameseemingly unlimited power to invade the privacy of way as publishing private images of a young girlits citizens in the interest of security . or woman . This is the case when it comes to the There are no precise descriptions of situations circulation of images showing women commit-which justify intrusions of privacy by the state in the ting adultery – this is like being lynched nakeddecree . It seems that the state can access personal in public on the internet.data under any pretext without the consent of theindividual concerned, who can do nothing to stop it There have been cases reported of violence againstfrom happening . women and young girls after their partners, hus- bands or fathers have read private email messages .The general public’s poor understanding Cases of this sort are discussed in the issue paperof ICT issues on the use of ICTs and perpetration of violenceMany people do not know that the publication of against women and young girls in the Congo, writ-images in contexts such as those described above ten by Niombo in 2009 and published online by theconstitutes a serious infringement of their right to Women’s Networking Support Programme of theprivacy, and that no one has the right to publish Association for Progressive Communications (APCthese images without the consent of the people in- WNSP) .1volved . For various cultural reasons, it seems that A large majority of the people interviewed in thispeople are not concerned about the protection of study think that the general public is very unawareprivacy on the internet . of these sorts of privacy issues . The general pub- There are lawsuits about defamation involving lic has a poor understanding of the risks and theirtraditional forms of libel (particularly involving print rights in relation to the handling of their personaland broadcasting media), but there are almost no information . “There are currently no laws relating tocases of legal action for people whose privacy is in- the protection of private information that explicitlyvaded on the internet . guarantee respect and sensitivity in the handling of Roger Bouka, executive director of the Congo- personal data . However, such legal protection andlese human rights watchdog OCDH, says that: rights are only useful to people who are aware of their existence and know how to use them to their We believe that the dignity of all human beings advantage,” says Davy Silou, an IT consultant . should be respected, and it is not right for peo- The lack of awareness also explains the lack ple to violate the privacy of another person . At of stringent regulations relating to the protection the very least we believe that measures aimed of private information . Alain Ndalla, director of at the protection of the individual, their privacy new technologies at the Ministry of Post and Tel- and their physical and moral integrity on the in- ecommunications, admits that a large part of the ternet are necessary . telecommunications sector is not regulated . HeWhat happens is this: due to the fact these technolo- states that a series of measures are in the processgies are new and therefore not yet fully understood by of being introduced in order to guarantee betterthe general public, people are still only interested in protection of individuals on the internet . He high-the advantages of the internet and are not concerned lighted that “texts on cyber security and cyberabout the damage the internet can do in society . Many of the people interviewed for this report 1 www .genderit .org/content/violence-against-women-and-recognised that the protection of personal privacy information-communication-technologies-congo-country-report 110 / Global Information Society Watch
    • crime will be made available to users of ICTs and will Conclusiontherefore protect the consumers and users . Punitive This report has highlighted several problems linkedmeasures will also be put in place to punish those to the internet and human rights . If the governmentwho commit acts of internet crime .” is in the process of enabling the development of a true information society, it is clear that in the CongoInternet regulations do not sufficiently the balance between the individual’s freedom of ex-protect human rights pression and the protection of human rights still hasOne must recognise that in the Congo the applica- not been found .ble law on privacy generally falls under Article 9 of This is explained by the absence of adequatethe French Civil Code, which is not the result of a regulation of the issue of privacy as well as a lack ofCongolese legislative process and does not take public awareness of the risks linked to ICTs .into account the reality of the local situation, in It is therefore imperative that all the partiesparticular the general public’s illiteracy and lack of involved (NGOs on ICTs and human rights, the gov-access to ICTs . ernment and international organisations) further Although the law that was brought into effect commit themselves to actions that will lead to thein 2009 makes provisions for the protection of the protection of privacy and human rights in general .privacy of internet users, it does not provide pre-cise descriptions of what we mean by privacy on the Action stepsinternet and the measures guaranteeing its protec- In order to improve the protection of privacy andtion . Article 124 of the law stipulates that “online personal information on the internet, it is neces-communication between members of the public is sary that certain measures be taken by differentfree . The exercise of this freedom can only be lim- stakeholders .ited if it violates respect for human dignity, freedomand other people’s property .” Civil society With such legislative and regulatory impreci-sion, victims of privacy violations are to an extent • It is necessary that NGOs working on ICTs launchdisarmed . In both cases highlighted earlier in this publicity campaigns on the various kinds of pri-report, the victims have not sought reparations . vacy and personal information violations and the In addition to this legislative and regulatory im- legal measures that can be taken to redress them .precision, the judicial authorities and police forces • A collaborative effort between various NGOshave a poor record of investigating and prosecuting working on ICTs and human rights is necessaryacts that infringe people’s dignity on the internet . in order to encourage the authorities to adoptVery few in the police force or even judiciary are well more proactive measures that protect humaninformed on the types of internet crime that affect rights on the internet .Congolese citizens: this is in part because thesecrimes are not reported . However, there is also a • Increased cooperation between the judiciaryneed to reinforce the capacities of the judiciary and and police force and organisations working onpolice . ICTs and human rights is necessary . It is also important to note that the general Governmentslowness of legal proceedings make the public re-luctant to pursue legal action against infringements • It is necessary that the authorities adopt lawsof their dignity, as they have little confidence that that adequately protect human rights on thetheir case will be pursued . . internet . The problem of ICT governance in the Congo • Members of the judiciary and police administra-cannot be ignored . tion need to be educated on the issues relating The government, the private sector and civil so- to the protection of human rights on the internet .ciety must commit to increased investment in thefield of the protection of personal privacy on the International organisationsinternet . This is all the more important given thehigh number of people – the majority of them young • International organisations should make moreadolescents – with mobile phones in the Congo, and financial contributions to public awarenesswith increased numbers accessing the internet at campaigns on the use of ICTs and individual pri-internet cafés . vacy rights . n REPUBLIC OF CONGO / 111
    • COSTA RICA ICTS AND ENVIRONMENTAL ACTIVISM IN COSTA RICA Sulá Batsú by sea, creating dangers not only for Costa Rica Kemly Camacho but for the entire region along the transport route . www .sulabatsu .com The health of families and workers was expected to be seriously impacted by the mine, while techni- cal studies demonstrated the inevitable danger forIntroduction aquifers . Different expert studies from institutions likeThe Costa Rica report for GISWatch 2011 is based on a the University of Costa Rica and national and in-global problem: the exploitation of natural resources ternational environmental organisations like AIDA1by international companies in the poorest countries also showed the environmental, economic and so-in the world . At the moment, natural resources are cial dangers posed by the Crucitas mining project .scarce and very valuable . At the same time, they are The Arias government, despite having promotedoften located in remote regions where the most ex- its “Peace With Nature” programme, declared thecluded social groups are situated . Natural resources project to be in the public interest and of nationalhave been part of the culture and daily life of the importance .communities living in these geographical locations . The Infinito Gold Company has always dis- Excluded populations have fewer opportunities puted arguments related to the environmentalfor education, health, employment and other social consequences of the mining operation . Theyrights . As a consequence, these social groups have counter-argued that the project would generate em-fewer opportunities to access information and to ployment in a region where people do not have anyvoice their feelings and visions . They suffer an im- other opportunities and promised to reforest theportant information gap, which is partly the result devastated area . They never accepted the danger ofof the digital divide . the opencast mining . In addition, there is a disconnect between This case is relevant because despite the decla-rural areas and urban areas . Decisions as to the ration of public interest, the government’s supportexploitation of natural resources by international and the important investment made by the Cana-companies are made in the urban areas and are im- dian Infinito Gold Company to promote the project,plemented in the rural areas after no consultation a social resistance movement at the national levelwith communities, and no information to support has halted the Crucitas gold mining operation . Antheir implementation or regarding their social and Administrative Court has not only annulled the con-economic consequences . cession granted to the Infinito Gold Company, butSocial movements against mining has also ordered it to pay for environmental dam- age already caused . Furthermore, it recommendedCutris in San Carlos is situated on the northern Cos- putting now ex-president Arias on trial for declar-ta Rican border . This is a protected rainforest area ing the project in the public interest despite theand is the habitat of endangered species such as fact that it would have a negative impact on theyellow almond trees, green macaws and manatees . environment and people . Subsequently, the CostaDespite this restriction, in 2008 the former govern- Rican government has declared a moratorium on allment, led by Oscar Arias, gave the Canadian Infinito proposed opencast mining . This was an importantGold Company the concession for mining gold in success for popular movements in the country .over 300 hectares of this region in order to extractone million tons over ten years . The opencast min- The role of ICTs in environmental strugglesing operation – known as the Crucitas gold mining Information and communications technologiesproject – would have created an 85-metre pit and (ICTs) – in particular social networks, email and mo-provoked serious environmental impacts . bile phones – have played a very important role in Amongst other things, the mining operationswere to involve the use of cyanide, a highly toxicsubstance which would be transported by land and 1 www .aidambiental .org 112 / Global Information Society Watch
    • this social resistance movement . They facilitate the José in July and San José to Crucitas in August (somedissemination of citizen information, popular mobi- 200 kilometres each way) . The objective was to in-lisation and communication between multiple and form and protest . The march was conceived anddiverse social groups . popularised using Facebook, YouTube and email . It The Cutris-San Carlos story shows four key el- began with only 45 people but participation grewements that characterised the role of ICTs in the during the march itself and through using the inter-environmental social resistance movement: net . In the end it achieved national media coverage and was followed daily on Facebook, creating a “vir-New media versus traditional media tual march” with many expressions of support bothThe Infinito Gold Company made a substantial in- online and offline .vestment in a campaign to promote the benefits of Graphics, videos, photos and relevant docu-gold exploitation in Crucitas . It used television, radio ments were uploaded to digital spaces, some laterand newspapers in this campaign . It also set up an printed on t-shirts and stickers, and used to informInfinito website2 connected to social networks – but live discussions and video forums, amongst othercould not generate active participation on the site . actions . Community activities were also popular- In contrast, social groups working against min- ised using videos, photos and audio uploaded toing in Crucitas did not have enough resources to use the internet, creating an online-offline dynamicthe mass media . Instead they used social networks, which is crucial in creating a popular movement .email lists and mobile phones to express their disa-greement and mobilise public opposition . There is Bridging the urban-rural gap43 .7%3 internet penetration in Costa Rica, while One importance of ICTs is their ability to connect34 .28%4 of the population are social network users, rural and urban populations, specifically when itas compared to 95% television and 99% radio pen- comes to environmental protests . In general thereetration .5 Despite this, the social mobilisation using is a significant social gap between rural and urbancomparatively low-cost ICTs was successful . By areas including a wide digital divide . Despite thisJuly 2010, 70% of Costa Ricans were well informed divide, the protection of environmental resourc-about the potential hazards of opencast mining in es connects rural and urban interests, and ICTsCrucitas and were against the project . strengthen the communication of information be- The information shared on these networks was tween organisations and people in both locations .developed and updated constantly by citizens, Bloque Verde (Green Bloc),7 an environmentalwithout control or restriction . Very often it was organisation, uploaded examples of urban culture,more significant and effective than the informa- such as dance, music and graffiti, expressing con-tion produced by traditional media . It became so cerns about natural resource exploitation and theinfluential that traditional large-scale media tried to threats to rural life . At the same time, rural commu-“infiltrate” social networks, looking for up-to-date nities voiced their visions using digital audio andinformation provided by social movements and cir- images on platforms such as Fuera de Crucitas (Getculated amongst their networks . Out of Crucitas),8 an active digital space created by the community in San Carlos . The result was aOnline-offline links continuous exchange of knowledge and informationThere is a reciprocal relationship between online between people with a common cause in rural andand offline activities . Social resistance is based urban areas .on a permanent cycle where digital activities influ-ence local actions and citizen action is followed up Mix of voices for information transparencyonline . Innovative strategies and solutions, collec- Another key role of ICTs during the Crucitas social re-tive decisions and collaborative analysis in digital sistance was to provide the Costa Rican people withspaces used in local actions constitute the power of varying and different information from diverse ac-social resistance . tors with multiple opinions: studies from academia, One good example is “La Marcha por la Vida” manifestos from civil society, political discussions(The March for Life),6 a walk from Crucitas to San from the Legislative Assembly, international agree- ments signed by the country, the position of the Infinito Company, as well as the rural community’s2 www .infinito .co .cr3 www .internetworldstats .com/am/cr .htm opinion .4 www .socialbakers .com/facebook-statistics/costa-rica5 www .conicit .go .cr/documentos/costaricadigital .pdf 7 www .bloqueverde .blogspot .com6 www .fueradecrucitas .blogspot .com 8 www .fueradecrucitas .blogspot .com COSTA RICA / 113
    • This included blogs such as “Ni una sola mina” Action steps(Not A Single Mine),9 which guaranteed informa-tion transparency and diversity for citizen decision • Create open spaces with appropriate ICTs tomaking . Environmental organisations and the cul- connect with popular movements in a meaning-tural sector also played an “infomediation” role, ful way .translating into different languages and choosing • Prioritise infomediary roles to connect multipleappropriate media to better communicate between sources of knowledge .social actors and regions . • Remember offline spaces – not everything hap- The viral effect of ICTs also favours disclosure at pens in the digital space .the international level . The process was, as a result,followed by various international media (albatv .org, • Develop citizen capacities to use ICTs .laprensa .com, elnuevodiario .com), observatory in- • Prioritise digital audio, video and images forstitutes (conflictosmineros .net) and environmental meaningful public impact .organisations (humboldt .org .ni), mostly in LatinAmerica . • Follow your collective feelings and do not cen- This role was crucial in demonstrating the im- tralise processes – be open to any opinion andportance of information sharing in allowing citizens information . nto make informed decisions .Conclusion• The use of social networks by itself does not define a social movement as inclusive and dem- ocratic, nor does it guarantee successful results .• Traditional media are losing their power to con- nect with the public .• ICTs promote new communication and informa- tion processes and through these can encourage new forms of organisation and ways to produce knowledge . The essential part is the spirit and the power of organising without organisations .10• Mixed voices, multiple sources of knowledge and diverse information are basic conditions for an informed public, a new interest in politi- cal participation and solid community decision making . ICTs are playing a key role in facilitating these conditions .• Social resistance is based on a combination of online and offline spaces, interaction between different geographical areas and exchange through different social actors with different languages . Infomediation and infomediators are key to facilitate communication in communi- ties of diversity .9 www .niunasolamina .blogspot .com10 Shirky, C . (2008) Here Comes Everybody, The Penguin Press . 114 / Global Information Society Watch
    • CôTE D’IVOIRE INTERNET-ENABLED CITIZEN ENGAGEMENT DURING THE 2010 ELECTIONS nnenna.org Voter mobilisation moved from the streets online . Nnenna Nwakanma Gbagbo launched a much-hyped website . His major www .nnenna .org challenger, Allasane Dramane Ouattara, launched his too, which was radio and TV enabled . Then followed the YouTube channels, the Facebook groups and theIntroduction Twitter accounts, with politicians maximising the po- tential of online media interventions .At the start if its independence in 1960, Côte d’Ivoirewas ruled by Félix Houphouët-Boigny, in a manner Wonzomai, the Ivorian version of Ushahididescribed as “authoritarian and paternal” . In the 33 Wonzomai – meaning “witness” in Beté, the majoryears of his rule, Côte d’Ivoire enjoyed relative eco- language in the western part of the country – wasnomic and social stability as well as growth, with its the first internet-enabled citizen engagement ini-economic capital, Abidjan, becoming what is known tiative dealing with election issues .1 It allowedas the “Paris of Africa” . On his death in 1993, Hou- individuals to report diverse incidents, from trafficphouët-Boigny was succeeded by Aimé Henri Konan conditions, fraud and security, to voting conditions,Bédié, who was ousted from power by a military as well as to share official government information .coup on Christmas Eve in 1999 . General Robert Guei, Citizens could call, text, send email or use the Twit-the head of the military junta, managed to organise ter hashtag to report incidents, which were thena presidential election, albeit amid civil crisis, which mapped .saw Laurent Gbagbo come into power in 2000 . How-ever, it would be another decade before elections #CIV2010 – Côte d’Ivoire onlinewould be held again, sparking civil unrest . In the middle of October 2010, immediately af-2010, the long-awaited elections ter the launch of Wonzomai, the Twitter hash tagand the “ivoire-info-techpreneurs” #CIV2010 was launched . Its aim was to engage citizens on Twitter on all election issues . #CIV2010The 2010 presidential elections were five years over- allowed voters to track candidates, post pictures,due . Several postponements had ended up galvanising analyse TV debates, campaign for votes, report is-ordinary citizens into civil action . In Côte d’Ivoire, presi- sues and much more . #CIV2010 users chose not todential elections are the first in a series of elections . obey the government injunction to not publish theThey are followed by legislative, regional and finally, first round of election results, since the injunctionmunicipal elections . The presidential elections are car- specifically focused on national and foreign mediaried by a simple majority – by a candidate winning 50% in Côte d’Ivoire . As a result, many of the #CIV2010of all valid votes plus one . In the case of no clear win- users felt they were not obliged to respect this .ner, a second round is organised as a run-off for the The first leg of the presidential elections wenttwo candidates with the highest number of votes . relatively well and was declared peaceful across the The government had coupled voter registration world . This gave more impetus to the “ivoire-info-with a national identification process . This meant techpreneurs” . They started meeting regularly onthat a maximum number of voters were expect- Friday evenings for drinks, forging friendships anded . At the end of the initial phase of registration, comradeship . Then came the famous presidential5,784,490 voters were cleared for the process . An- face-to-face debate between Gbagbo and Ouattara .other feature of the elections was the number of Once the debate was officially set for Thursday 25presidential hopefuls . There were fourteen in all, November, the web went into a frenzy . It was goingincluding a woman, a comedian, a human rights to be the first debate of its kind – the very first –activist and a farmer . The state-run national broad- in the recent history of the nation . The capacity ofcaster indicated that each of the candidates was the live web stream of the national broadcaster wasgoing to “face the nation” for 90 minutes and an-swer questions . A face-to-face live debate was alsoscheduled for the two run-off candidates . 1 www .wonzomai .com CÔTE D’IVOIRE / 115
    • increased to cater for more viewers . Those three Managing the humanitarian criseshours were going to see the most viewers in the his- With the outbreak of post-electoral violence, citizentory of Ivorian TV . mobilisation took a different turn . While informa-Shocker! tion battles were raging on #CIV2010, the need for humanitarian aid and support loomed large . PrivateAbout ten hours before the debate, the online plat- vehicles had been snatched by armed combatants,form was shut down . Viewers were required to pay banks had closed their doors, cash flow was mea-a monthly or quarterly subscription for access . gre and medication for the sick was dwindling . Then#CIV2010 took up the issue . Citizens pay for public TV came the curfew, which started at midnight and onlyalready and, by law, access to the state broadcaster ended at six in the morning . There was an unprec-could not be restricted online . Especially not on such edented breakdown of the social system . As if all ofa day! The TV officials said they were not aware of the that was not enough, mobile phone text messagingchanges and that the board of the broadcaster had (SMS) services went down too . Movement was lim-not been informed . In three hours, the ivoire-info- ited, phone calls down to the minimum, hunger wastechpreneurs were able to track down the fraudster everywhere and the number of people hospitalisedresponsible for the shutdown . He was an employee increased . At this time, gas stations had closed,of the broadcaster’s web solutions provider . They re- shops too . Some hospitals ran out of medication,ported his acts, informing the national broadcasting public transport was non-existent and heavy gun-authority and the office of the prime minister . The na- fire could be heard even before the curfew started!tional TV channel came back online for free after four The ivoire-info-techpreneurs decided to use thehours of intense internet-enabled activism! Wonzomai solidarity platform and weave in a kind The debate lasted three hours and nine minutes . of internet-enabled emergency centre . MédecinsEvery word was live-tweeted . Every question, every Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders), the Redgesture . #CIV2010 users were doing direct trans- Cross, and the United Nations were the only inter-lation of the presidential candidates’ comments national organisations offering help in the countrystraight into English – in the same way the official at the time . The solution to this was the CIVSOCIALresults of the first round of presidential elections project .2 The project consisted of six different hubs:were live-tweeted . Beginning from the Thursday ofthe live debate to the time of this report, #CIV2010 • A call centre in Accra, staffed by volunteershas been in the Top 10 Trending Twitter Topics in the • #CIVSOCIAL and #CIVAUTO hashtags on TwitterFrench language . • A website with a fundraising component3When crises set in • A Facebook groupAfter waiting for run-off results for three sleepless • A Blackberry groupnights, ivoire-info-techpreneurs knew danger was • A Skype groupahead . And the crises certainly came . The Inde- All of the above functioned 24/7 . Emergency mes-pendent Electoral Commission announced Allasane sages poured in . In the first days, cases were mainlyDramane Ouattara winner of the polls . The Constitu- from wounded people who needed care, sick peo-tional Council overrode the results of the Commission ple who needed medication, pregnant women whoand gave victory to incumbent president Gbagbo . needed attention, and families who needed food .Each “president” held to his victory, formed a cabinet, Since many people did not have airtime to makeand was intent on exercising power . The international calls and SMS services were down, they wouldcommunity aligned itself with the Electoral Commis- “flash call” the centre, which would call the numbersion and held the challenger as victorious . back . #CIVSOCIAL would then forward the message By this time #CIV2010 had established itself as to all of the six gateways listed above . Once a solu-the “other country” – a cyber country that offered a tion was found, it was relayed to the person in need .parallel expression of people’s rights and needs . All A quick list of resources was drawn up: pharma-stakeholders were using the hashtag . The two pres- cies, available medication, clinics that could receiveidential camps were there, their propaganda too . patients, UN vehicles that could transport people,Violence erupted . As clashes raged on the streets medical personnel willing to do consultations, pointsof Abidjan, details could be read on Twitter minutes where food could be bought, etc . Patients and doc-after events unfolded . Photos, numbers, reports, tors met via remote conferencing using the call centreeye-witness accounts! The international media wasshut down, and Twitter became the “official” media 2 civsocial .akendewa .orgplatform for Côte d’Ivoire . 3 www .gofundme .com/civsocial 116 / Global Information Society Watch
    • in Accra . A husband helped his pregnant wife deliver advisor Alain Logbognon to engage citizens on Twitterher baby relying on a doctor’s instructions via a con- and on #CIV2010, signed up himself as @Boghota andference call! At the height of the crises, the mobile has held serious discussions with citizens on Twitter .telecommunication companies joined #CIVSOCIAL,donating airtime to allow for basic calls . Internet serv- Online humanitarian actions are translatingice providers also joined the effort, offering two weeks to concrete offline activitiesof free internet access to allow #CIVSOCIAL to con- The number of offline cases solved by internet-tinue its work . International media helped, publishing enabled mobilisation before, during and after theinterviews and calling for donations . In less than 72 Côte d’Ivoire crises is significant . Lives were saved .hours, the project raised well over USD 4,000 . People in France donated clothing and medication through #CIVSOCIAL which was then flown down toThe war on PayPal Abidjan . Recently, a blood donation drive was alsoAt a time when #CIVSOCIAL had peaked, another organised in support of the wounded in the war .drama reared its head . PayPal France would notrelease the donated money . One of the ivoire-info- Concerted coordinated actiontechpreneurs, whose PayPal France account was to (re)claim rightsused as an emergency measure, was told that in It was of particular interest to note that citizen internet-France you cannot use a personal account to receive enabled mobilisation is a realisation of the coordinateda public donation . The information was shared with power of the people . The case of PayPal was one inthe Skype “situation room” and, in one sitting, the which the ivoire-info-techpreneurs felt that “this is a war#CIVSOCIAL group decided to take the war to PayPal . we can win, so we must fight it,” with striking success .A formal online petition was launched and in lessthan 24 hours over 1,000 signatures were received in Increase in web activism and greater usesupport, each signature triggering a tweet! Bloggers of social mediafollowed, and the international media were happy to Before #CIV2010, web activism and social media werereport on the crisis . PayPal reacted swiftly and the more or less a domain for the ivoire-info-techpre-funds were cleared . The ivoire-info-techpreneur actu- neurs . But the crises have given rise to increased webally received a hand-written note and a digital photo engagement with greater use of social media, particu-frame from PayPal as a peace offering! larly Twitter . With the realisation of the power of social At the time of this report, the daily sound of media and networks, the country has learned thatgunfire has died down considerably: one camp has these platforms can become real citizen hubs and areapparently won the war and the country is now pick- critical for policy makers, businesses and governance .ing up the pieces . Nonetheless, stolen cars have yet As Côte d’Ivoire rises from the destructionto be returned and #CIVAUTO is still functional, and brought on by war, its citizens are looking forwardbeing used to track the stolen cars and to deal with to a new and a better country . The internet will ena-other vehicle-related issues, such as those that ble them to monitor governance, keep engaged andwere abandoned . The call centre has been discon- mobilise for or against causes in the future . Twittertinued, and the ivoire-info-techpreneurs are now and Facebook have proved powerful, and ordinaryusing #CIVNEXT to track and monitor the next steps citizens have shown capacity .after the crises, while #CIV2010 still remains as aninformation and political propaganda platform . Action stepsMoving forward: Lessons, trends • Use informal face-to-face meetings to strate-and conclusions gise, and to plan a tech hub for the country .Citizen mobilisation on Twitter • Use Twitter and Facebook as platforms for citi-has earned respect zens to keep watch over policies and promises made by the government .Undoubtedly, the huge mobilisation of citizens on Fa-cebook and Twitter has earned respect for the citizens • Promote increased citizen reporting on the leg-themselves . At one point in time, even the G8 coun- islative and municipal elections in 2011 .tries had officials posted to follow #CIV2010 . Official • Generate interest in social media amongst the newcommunications from France, China, the European political leaders . At the moment, Alain LogbognonUnion and the United States on Côte d’Ivoire were all is the new minister of youth, employment and civicposted on Twitter using the #CIV2010 hash tag . Re- service . He sets time aside to interact on Twitter .cently, Prime Minister Soro Guillaume, after asking his The aim is to have more ministers do the same . n CÔTE D’IVOIRE / 117
    • CROATIA FIGHTING FOR A FREE MEDIA ZaMirNET the Law on Electronic Media reaffirm that freedom of Danijela Babic expression and freedom of the media are guaranteed . www .zamirnet .hr The Law on Media also stipulates the obligation of the government to stimulate and protect the plural- ism and diversity of media by financing programmesIntroduction and interventions from the state budget . Concerning the rules for civic journalism, the Law on ElectronicThe reorganisation of the Croatian media landscape Media regulates electronic publications and forbidsbegan in the early 1990s, with the transition from the hate speech as well as content that offends humansocialist system to a democratic political system and dignity and contains immoral and pornographic con-liberal market economy . Yet building a legal environ- tent or might seriously impair the physical, mental orment that enables a free media given an authoritarian moral development of minors .past is a considerable undertaking . The criminalisa- The media are indirectly governed by thetion of journalistic work, including defamation and Criminal Code and Civil Code through provisions re-libel laws, is generally considered to be a direct garding defamation and libel .threat to media freedom . In 2011 the governmentproposed changes to the Criminal Code that includ- Challenges to free media in Croatiaed severe penalties for libel – even jail . At the same The existence of a free and independent media istime, gaps in the current legal system could be seen generally considered vital to democratic govern-as attempts to silence civil society . For example, the ance . In its recent history Croatia has experiencednewly established Electronic Media Agency,1 a regu- most of the problems that post-socialist states havelatory body in the field of electronic media, finances faced regarding the media: self-censorship, pres-the Fund for Promotion of Pluralism and Diversity of sure by advertisers and political groups, threatsElectronic Media with 0 .5% of the total annual gross against journalists, especially investigative report-income earned in the previous year by all media serv- ers, the crisis of the public broadcaster, the use ofice providers offering and engaging in radio and TV hate and nationalist speech, etc . In the latest Free-media services . However, websites – which are the dom House report on press freedom, publishedmain publication platforms for civil society organisa- in 2011, Croatia is tied with Burkina Faso in 85thtions – cannot apply for money from this fund . place on the global press freedom rankings (outPolicy and political background of 196 states) .7 It gives the country a “partly free” status considering the legal, political and economicThe Constitution2 of the Republic of Croatia guar- environment .antees freedom of expression and freedom of the Even though the legal framework ensurespress . It bans censorship, and journalists are en- freedom of expression, political and corporatetitled to report and to access information . The pressures can still be felt . For example, in FebruaryConstitution also guarantees the right of correction 2009, Interior Minister Tomislav Karamarko broughtif legal rights are violated by published news . a criminal case against journalist and blogger Zeljko The Croatian media are governed by the Law on Peratovic for “disseminating information likely toMedia,3 the Law on Electronic Media,4 the Law on upset the population,” after Peratovic accused himCroatian Radio-Television5 and the Law on the Right of obstructing an investigation into the death of ato Access Information .6 The Law on Media as well as witness in a war crimes case . According to Freedom House, legal harassment against Peratovic contin-1 The Agency was established in 2009 based on the Law on ued in 2010 .8 Electronic Media (OG 153/09) .2 OG 56/90, 135/97, 113/00, 28/01, 55/013 OG 163/03, 59/044 OG 153/09 7 www .freedomhouse .org/template .cfm?page=251&year=20115 OG 137/10 8 www .freedomhouse .org/inc/content/pubs/pfs/inc_country_6 OG 172/03, 144/10, 37/11, 77/11 detail .cfm?country=8021&year=2011&pf 118 / Global Information Society Watch
    • In April 2010, Zagreb police searched the home all media service providers offering and engaging inof famous blogger Marko Rakar and interrogated audio and audiovisual media services .him after Rakar published a leaked list of regis- In 2011 the Agency notified civil society organi-tered war veterans on his blog . According to Human sations running non-profit online newspapers thatRights Watch, “the government had resisted efforts they are subject to that tax as well . As it came as ato release the list, which civil society activists be- surprise, organisations could not have planned forlieve contains [the names of ] people fraudulently such a cost within their budgets . Most of the non-receiving pensions as war veterans .”9 profit media are funded through grants under strict Moreover, the changes to the Criminal Code pro- financial rules from donors, and with no incomeposed in 2011 provide that a journalist found guilty from advertising mainly due to the lack of interestof libel could face imprisonment of up to a year, and of the advertising industry . This means that everya fine equalling half of the journalist’s annual wage . extra tax that is not budgeted for affects the sus- The example of blogger Damir Fintic, who has tainability of civil society media .been sentenced to prison for a comment published The Electronic Media Agency regulates TV andon his blog10 back in 2005, underscores the poten- radio broadcasting but also manages the Fund fortial impact of defamation and criminal libel laws Promotion of Pluralism and Diversity of Electronicon new media – especially when they are misused Media . The resources of the Fund are aimed atby a government that feels threatened . The critical stimulating the production of programme contentcomment on his blog was related to a post about published by electronic media (television and radio)Vukovar’s mayor Vladimir Stengl and his wife, and at the local and regional level, which is of publicthe person commenting on his blog had written interest and is of particular importance . However,critically about circumstances in relation to a real online newspapers run by civil society organisa-estate purchase by the Strengl family .11 tions are not eligible for these funds . Considering Prison sentences for libel were abolished in the fact that a concession is not available for online2006, but reappeared in the new proposal for leg- newspapers run by civil society, the reason why not-islative change, causing strong reactions from for-profit organisations should pay the operatingjournalists and international free press watchdog fee to the Agency is not clear .organisations who argued that the government In an interview with Liderpress,12 Damir Hajduk,should rely on civil rather than criminal remedies . a member of the Electronic Media Council, admit-Zdenko Duka, president of the Croatian Journalists ted the mistake and announced a public discussionAssociation, warned that truth was not a defence on the criteria to register the electronic media . Hefor libel charges under the proposal, and that jour- also said that non-profit portals and blogs withnalists could be subject to penalties for reporting several contributors will not be required to pay theitems judged not to be in the public interest . fee – unless they publish media information aimed Eventually, the justice minister announced that at a wider audience than they currently do(!) . Thisthe threat of jail will be removed from its draft law explanation caused additional confusion since ac-on defamation and libel . cording to the Law on Electronic Media, electronic In addition to the legal provisions explicitly publications include edited websites and/or portalstargeting certain media content, there is indirect republishing electronic versions of printed articlesinfluence that can be exercised by way of both in the press and/or media information available tosubstantive rules and their application . There are the general public anyway . The public discussion oncertain shortcomings in current media regula- the criteria for the registry was held in March 2011tions, particularly in relation to the status of the and the deadline for paying the dues to the Agencynot-for-profit electronic publications of civil soci- was May 2011 . At the time of writing this report,13ety organisations . The Electronic Media Agency the new version of the criteria for the registry waskeeps the records of the providers of audio and au- not available on the Agency’s website .diovisual media services and services of electronic At the same time some other legal norms are notpublications . According to the Law on Electronic implemented properly in the country, as the MEDIA-Media, the Agency is financed with 0 .5% of the total DEM report on Croatia shows .14 For example, Croatiaannual gross income earned in the previous year by 12 www .liderpress .hr/Default .aspx?sid=122193 13 2 September 20119 www .hrw .org/world-report-2011/croatia 14 Popović, H ., Bilić, P ., Jelić, T . and Švob-Đokić, N . (2010) Media policies10 www .vukovarac .net and regulatory practices in a selected set of European countries, the11 www .croatiablognews .com/croatian-first-european-blogger-to-go- EU and the Council of Europe: The case of Croatia, MEDIADEM . www . to-prison mediadem .eliamep .gr/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/Croatia .pdf CROATIA / 119
    • has a legal obligation to stimulate and protect plu- only about the particular laws, but the institutionalralism and diversity of the media with support from structure which administers those laws, includingthe state budget . Since 2005 it was due to stimu- the courts and regulatory agencies . During the ne-late the programmes of local and regional media, as gotiations on Croatia’s accession to the Europeanwell as media intended to inform persons with spe- Union, the Croatian media legislation was assessedcial needs . It should have established new printed as fully harmonised with European media stand-media, especially local and non-profit media, and ards and the acquis communautaire .15 However, thesupported the media published by non-governmen- inconsistencies of current legislation and practicestal organisations . Unfortunately the state failed to clearly show that legislative changes are not rootedcarry out this obligation, according to the MEDIA- in coherent media policy aimed at supporting a freeDEM report, due to a lack of money, as well as due and independent media, but reflect a fast-changingto the rather marginal public interest in this media . interplay of different influences and interests . For Although civil society online news portals can- instance, media run by civil society organisationsnot compete with corporate news portals in terms seem to be neglected by the government when itof resources available for content production and comes to the measures that encourage their pro-the number of visitors, they promote public in- ductivity . On the other hand, they were not ignoredterests often marginalised by the state or private when legal instruments that repressed free speechsector . Civil society online newspapers will not be were applied .frequently visited if they do not have the resourcesto provide a quality product on a daily basis . Even Action stepsthe leading Croatian commercial online newspapers Although the number of internet users is growingcontain scarce news compared to advertisements, in Croatia and the media are being easily accessedentertainment and lifestyle stories, as the publish- online, the involvement of citizens in onlineers try to survive the recession . The MEDIADEM content production is low . In the context of a tran-report noted that the political and economic crisis sitional society where the level of consciousnessalso incites the political elites to strengthen their in- about the value and functioning of free speech andterests in the media, and the media to rely more on its practice is low among the citizenry, this shouldpublic sources and funds . In this context independ- not be surprising . It should also not be forgot-ent, alternative and critical discourses are hard to ten that in the 1990s, civil society activities weremaintain, the report concludes . viewed as dangerous when not in accordance with state politics .Conclusions Such circumstances require that civil societyDemocracy requires a media system that provides organisations, as well as professional journalistspeople with a wide range of opinion and analysis, associations, educate the citizenry about the rolefacilitates debate and promotes the public account- that the independent media play in society . It isability of the power holders . also important to strengthen collaboration between In the process of democratisation, the concept professional journalists and civil society activists toof a legal enabling environment that supports a influence the drafting of media legislation, so as tofree and independent media is central . It is not ensure the freedom of public expression . n 15 Wikipedia defines this as the “accumulated legislation, legal acts, court decisions which constitute the body of European Union law .” en .wikipedia .org/wiki/Community_acquis 120 / Global Information Society Watch
    • ECUADOR THE RESCUE OF A PRESIDENT: THE ROLE OF SOCIAL MEDIA IN INFORMING AND MOBILISING CITIZENS IN NATIONAL CRISES IMAGINAR which the Communications Law was declared a pri- Rossana Flores and Hugo Carrión ority law that was to be issued immediately . Two www .imaginar .org years later, however, the debate is stagnant due to completely different positions on key matters . On one hand, the national government claimsIntroduction the citizens’ right to be informed . This administra-Since October 2008, when the new Ecuadorian tion is known for its extensive use of quite efficientConstitution was passed, the country has been government communication strategies, including aundergoing significant changes in its legislative radio programme that is broadcast each Saturdayframework . In May 2009, the National Assembly where the president talks about his activities . The(formerly the Congress) filed 293 new laws or legal presidency also uses Facebook efficiently and aamendments; and 24 months later, 68 of these new Twitter account with around 70,000 followers, mak-laws or amendments had been passed . ing it the fourth most popular account in Ecuador, The new legislation has made changes in dif- sharing honours with showbiz stars, singers andferent areas, such as education, justice, citizens’ sportscasters . Furthermore, for the first time in ourparticipation, and public administration . One of the country, so-called public media has been createdlaws passed on 29 September 2010 was the Organic – one public television channel, one public radioLaw on Government Services which homologated station, and one public news agency .the administration of the national police and army On the other hand, the opposition and groupswith that of the civil public administration . that object to the government’s communication work, The inadequate and insufficient dissemination of amongst other things, oppose government advertis-the contents of the law, in addition to the poor interpre- ing, believing it is disproportionate compared to othertation of the new laws by one sector of the police and advertising on media channels . They also object to thearmy, led to police protests that initially seemed to be government’s control of both public media and pri-focused on the issue of wages, but that ended with the vate media channels that were seized due to unpaidEcuadorian president’s kidnapping and an attempted debts they held with several state banks . According tocoup . The results of the police protests that took place the opposition, the private media outlets now in theon Thursday 30 September, now called “30S” by the hands of pro-government administrators, which theymedia, were unfortunate: eight casualties including call “confiscated media”, have unbalanced the com-policemen, soldiers and civilians . The national po- munications equilibrium in the country .lice’s image was completely shattered and democracystaggered at a time when it seemed the phantom of Police protests erupt…presidential downfalls and moves to overthrow the On 30 September 2010 Ecuador lived an unprece-government had finally been banished from Ecuador . dented episode in favour of democracy . Thousands During the protests, information and com- of citizens filled the streets to protect the constitu-munications technologies (ICTs) played a key role tional order by ensuring the will of the electorateas alternative communication channels by trans- who had voted for President Rafael Correa .mitting the course of events live and encouraging Since its return to democracy in 1978, Ecua-citizen mobilisation . dor has lived through several incidents of political instability that have ended in overthrowing consti-Regulatory context tutionally elected presidents . From 1997 to 2006One of the main achievements in the new Con- Ecuador had seven presidents, excluding a fleet-stitution is the incorporation of the right for all ing triumvirate in 2000 . These periods of instabilityEcuadorians have to access to ICTs, as enshrined have taken place after massive demonstrations byin Article 16 . A debate on communication, freedom citizens who sought fundamental change in theof expression, and the ownership of the media was country’s political management . Back in 2003,held by the National Constituent Assembly, after a citizen movement called “Los Forajidos” (The ECUADOR / 121
    • Outlaws), protesting with the cry of “All leave!”, not hospital and the Presidential Palace where the min-only demanded that ex-President Lucio Gutiérrez isters and other public officials were organising thestep down, but that all appointed politicians vacate president’s rescue, as declared by Minister of For-their positions, showing the little credibility the po- eign Affairs Ricardo Patiño . The people, however,litical class enjoyed . were violently and disproportionately attacked Since 2006, after the election of Correa, Ecuador by the police when they tried to reach Regimientohas experienced stability . This in spite of the chang- Quito .es made by the establishment of the Constituent Early in the afternoon, Correa electronicallyAssembly with full powers to issue a new Constitu- signed Executive Decree No . 488, which declared ation, as well as the passing of a significant number state of exception,1 and issued a world press releaseof laws, many of which affect private interests in explaining the situation in the country . This result-many sectors . After almost four years in office, Cor- ed in international support . After the decree wasrea still enjoys a historic general admiration of the issued, the government started an indefinite andpeople . uninterrupted national TV and radio transmission, The police protests erupted after the passing of and interrupted private radio and TV broadcastingthe new Organic Law on Government Services . This to unify all the media around the official reports oflaw eliminated all bonuses and additional benefits the situation . The decree also authorised the armedfor all government employees, including the police forces’ mobilisation to protect citizen security .and the military . On the morning of 30 September Police demands and violence rose while2010 the media reported on a police strike that was the president refused to revoke the approvedtaking place in Regimiento Quito, the National Po- amendments . The Chief of the Armed Forces Jointlice headquarters in the capital of Ecuador, where Command, General Ernesto González, as well asthe strikers refused to work until the law passed the the high military command, reiterated their sup-night before was revoked . port to the president, promised to restore the Immediately after learning about the strike, country’s stability, and requested the approvedCorrea went to the police headquarters to talk to law’s revision . However, official information sourc-the demonstrators and, in his words, share the es disregarded the armed forces’ demands for theadvantages of the law . When he arrived, how- law to be revised .ever, they greeted him with insults which led to a Throughout the day, politicians opposing theheated speech by Correa, after which he decided government disseminated statements supportingto leave, since no dialogue was possible . The the insurgents . The opposing members of the As-demonstrators blocked his exit and the situation sembly met in a hotel and demanded amnesty forturned violent: live images transmitted scenes of the rebels . Counter-government demonstrators,aggression against the president, who started as- gathered around the public media building, de-phyxiating when tear gas was used, before he was manded that their points of view be published .taken to the police hospital which is next to the The national broadcasting of official news waspolice headquarters . interrupted at approximately 8:00 p .m . and the Confusion reigned in the country while the news private media started transmitting the impressivereported on thefts, looting and chaos throughout military assault executed in the environs of the po-the country after almost the entire public forces lice hospital, during which the police and the armydecided to join the strike . The police who guarded clashed . Correa was rescued by an elite army group,the National Assembly had taken over the building the Special Operations Group (GEO), and an eliteand stopped members from entering . The runway police group, the Intervention and Rescue Groupof Mariscal Sucre Airport in Quito had also been (GIR) . Live TV broadcasts showed the president’sblocked by some members of the air force . The peo- convoy being fired upon .ple’s attention, however, was focused on the news Some minutes later, from the Carondelet Presi-on the president’s situation . dential Palace, Correa addressed the citizens who Around noon, Correa made a phone call to the had gathered in Plaza de la Independencia with apublic radio station and reported a coup against his speech describing that date as “one of the saddest”government, and that he had been kidnapped and in his life and “without a doubt the saddest in hiswas unable to leave the hospital . “Policemen are almost four years in office .”trying to get into my room; if something happensto me, [I send] my endless love to my country andmy family, wherever they are,” he said . After these 1 The state of exception restricts some civil rights, such as the freewords, thousands of citizens gathered around the movement of persons, etc . 122 / Global Information Society Watch
    • FIGURE 1. Daily reach of leading online publications (percentages) 0.03 0.02 0.01 2010 2011 eluniverso.com elcomercio.com 0.01 0.008 0.006 0.004 0.002 0 2010 2011 ecuadorinmediato.com ecuadorenvivo.comThe role of ICTs during the uprising rates in access to the internet in recent years wereICTs played a decisive role in this specific affair by recorded .democratising access to information . The events The journalists and citizens who were inside thewere transmitted by traditional means, such as ra- hospital used Twitter to report the events in detail . Ac-dio and TV, but also by the country’s major online cording to the Twitter 2010 Year in Review report,2 onenewspapers, which experienced a surge in traffic #30S tweet from the Presidency was fifth amongst(as high as three times the normal) . Most of their the ten most “popular” tweets of the microbloggingwebsites crashed and were inaccessible during the network worldwide . The Presidency’s official Twitterentire day . The online newspaper ecuadorinmedia- account3 reported on the “30S” events, while hashtagto.com turned out to be a special case – it quickly #30S described the police crisis, becoming a hot topicmodified its format and was able to keep transmit- and trend on Twitter that Thursday .4 It is worth notingting information . Other newspapers, such as Hoy that the Presidency’s Twitter account is fourth amongand El Comercio, could only publish through Twit- the country’s most viewed accounts, with 70,000 fol-ter because their conventional sites were no longer lowers (as of April 2011) .operating . The graphs in Figure 1 illustrate the online 2 yearinreview .Twitter .com/powerful-tweetstraffic for the main digital publications . The peak 3 Twitter .com/Presidencia_Eccorresponds to 30 September, when the highest 4 Trending topics are the most popular keywords used in Twitter at a given moment . ECUADOR / 123
    • The debate shifted to other social networks, An innovative element was the government’sincluding Facebook . According to statistics, around use of ICTs in times of crisis which facilitated its3 .5 million Ecuadorians were Facebook members decision making in the most decisive moments .in August 2011 (i .e . around 25% of the population) The executive decree’s electronic signature, mobile– for every one internet user, one is a Facebook communication during the president’s kidnapping,member .5 and the Presidency’s communication through Mobile telephony kept relatives and friends Twitter were fundamental in keeping the country in-informed and up to date concerning incidents that formed and reaching a solution to the conflict .were taking place in different areas of the country . Something that seems less innovative, butAs would be expected, journalists also transmitted which was clear on 30 September, is that socialinformation to their respective media outlets using networks and SMS are used to organise even moremobile phones – many of these journalists and cam- than to share media-related information . Onceera people were assaulted by the police . again, these technologies facilitated the citizens’ The electronically signed presidential decree immediate mobilisation .authorised the armed forces’ mobilisation and thecontrol of information broadcast within the country, Action stepswhile private channels transmitted the news over- • Recommend that the government strive to in-seas via the internet, and this situation influenced crease broadband internet penetration as athe national chain’s interruption . way to access the means of communication and The government’s use of ICTs enabled it to information .neutralise a potential coup and to secure interna-tional support and solidarity . By means of social • Implement ways of direct communicationnetworks, the citizens mobilised to defend democ- through the existing platforms between theracy . The information sought through the internet leaders and the public and – along with this –and the government’s national chain fractured the recommend that the access of public officialsmonopoly that the traditional media had held in and authorities to social networks not be re-similar situations internationally in the past . stricted by means of technological tricks or administrative provisions . A proper understand-Conclusions ing of the benefits of social technology and adequate training could lead to the creative useSociety is unquestionably influenced by the peo- of this technology in favour of democracy andple’s access to new technologies . Although internet participation .penetration in Ecuador is still low, it is significantlyhigher than it was five years ago – in 2006 it was • Keep internet, social networks and otherbelow 5%, and by March 2011 this percentage had web applications away from the regulationsincreased to four times that number . that govern traditional media; and, in turn, The combined use of ICTs enabled the presence promote neutrality in the network and its con-of more than one information channel . Through tents as an essential principle of the rights tomobile technology, access to internet and social communication .networks the citizens became information and news • Establish social control mechanisms for theproducers, which gave rise to a new type of journal- management and accountability of the in-ism that some sectors have called citizen, social or formation generated by the media and theparticipative journalism . government . On the other hand, state regulations on thetraditional media do not always include the new • Recommend that the media develop contin-technologies where coverage and dissemination gency plans for high information demand andpotential exceeds the national scope and opens the increased traffic in particular crisis situations topossibility of accessing plural and diverse informa- insure the provision of continuous services .tion . Real-time updating of information generated • Promote the development of ethical codes andby citizens and independent journalists is an invalu- principles for the exercise of citizen journalismable source that secures the citizens’ right to such as a way to insure information quality, accuracyaccess . and veracity . n5 According to Ministry of Telecommunications statistics, internet penetration in Ecuador is 20% . 124 / Global Information Society Watch
    • EGYPT EGYPT’S 25 JANUARY REVOLUTION: THE ROLE OF THE INTERNET AND MOBILE TECHNOLOGY IN SOCIAL RESISTANCE AND PUBLIC DEMONSTRATIONS ArabDev By 2005, the internet and mobile phones had Leila Hassanin become common tools for political activism . By www .arabdev .org 2008, the 6th of April Youth Movement Facebook page became a rallying point for activists . YouTube aired controversial footage . Twitter and mobileIntroduction text messaging (SMS) were the chosen tools to or- ganise demonstrations among core activists . TheWere the internet and mobile technology the tipping government responded by tightening control: thepoint for Egypt’s 25 January Revolution? Internet and notorious emergency law, imposed for 30 yearsmobile-based social networks like Facebook, Twit- since President Anwar Sadat’s murder in 1981, waster, blogs and YouTube have been common tools for extended to online content and mobile use . In aactivism in Egypt for some time, as discussed in a context of increasingly oppressive censorship tar-previous GISWatch country report .1 Though as much geting online activists, it was common for them toas they are tools for activists, they are also excellent be harassed, arrested, and in cases, tortured .tools for tracking and surveillance – an equally com- Mobile ownership became traceable . The statemon practice by governments, the former Egyptian established the National Agency for the Regula-regime no exception . tion of Audio and Visual Broadcasting (NARAVB), So what was the difference between this an enforcement body that engaged in the surveil-revolution and previous attempts that used infor- lance of radio, satellite and website content . Asmation and communications technologies (ICTs) much as “venting” was allowed as part of a gestureto rally people to protest, especially attempts by towards freedom of political expression, laws andyouth groups such as the 6th of April Movement, their enforcement were used to squash any con-independent activists and bloggers, and working tent (or public demonstrations) that were remotelyprofessionals, be they journalists, lawyers or labour perceived as dangerous to the regime .2 Resistanceunionists? How did the revolution succeed despite remained, but it never translated into widespread,nearly a week of internet, mobile, and in some ar- lasting mass demonstrations .eas, landline blackout? This report maintains that as much as the internet A brave new change….and mobile technologies are important tools, without With the uprisings in Tunisia in mid-December 2009,their broader amplification through more widespread culminating in President Zine al-Abidine Ben Alitraditional media like TV and newspapers and with- fleeing from the country on 14 January, the unthink-out a strong trigger changing the perception of the able became reality: masses can uproot entrenched,masses, these ICT tools are only minimally effective . authoritarian regimes, even in the Arab states . Tra-Despite connectivity blackouts, social resistance and ditionally the wider public did not get involved inpublic demonstrations continued in Egypt; and as we protests; it was the domain of journalists, lawyers,are seeing, also in other countries of the region . human rights activists, and, in recent years, newPolicy and political context clusters like “Kifaya”3 and an increasingly secular youth . Tunisia was the long-awaited trigger that un-The Mubarak regime had strongly promoted the leashed the flood of anger that had been building upspread of ICTs in Egypt . Connectivity and the devel- for decades in all strata of Egyptian society .opment of IT skills were a cornerstone of Egyptian In Tunisia, Facebook and Twitter were used toeconomic development – even though this approach organise revolts . The same had been happening inproved to be a two-edged sword with the rapid de-velopment of Web 2 .0 applications that spread the 2 Ibid .use of social networks, collaborative software, user- 3 Kifaya is an opposition movement that began in 2004 . In Arabic itgenerated content, video sharing, and the like . means “Enough” . Kifaya operates in urban areas, especially Cairo and Alexandria, embraces a multitude of political views, from socialist to Islamist, and pushes for regime change . It has been1 www .giswatch .org/country-report/20/egypt built on grassroots protests . EGYPT / 125
    • Egypt . The Egyptian government had been anticipat- on 28 January . This was the same day Mubarak an-ing protests – normally they did not last more than nounced the sacking of his cabinet . The internet anda couple of days, but this time it proved to be dif- mobile blocking had no obvious effect on calmingferent . After several days of small demonstrations, the demonstrations . A deep feeling of dissatisfac-mass rallies throughout Egypt were organised for tion reigned .Tuesday 25 January, the national holiday dedicated Friday 28 January was a major rally day, theto the police force . The brutal police force was the “Friday of Rage” . Fridays after prayers at noon hadmost hated symbol of the regime . The government become the spearhead of protests . More peopledisrupted Twitter nationwide on the 25th in an at- joined the demonstrations, among them leadingtempt to dampen the protests . On the streets tear public figures . Police stations were set on fire .gas and rubber bullets were used . Facebook, in- Mubarak “supporters” infiltrated Tahrir Square,termittent SMS and emails continued to function, stabbing people with knives, attacking them withbut some internet-based tools and sites needed sticks and rocks . The military let this happen,proxies . patrolling the peripheries of the rally without inter- The national pride was ignited: with the success vening on either side . On the evening of the sameof the Tunisians’ revolt, Egyptians could only blame day prisoners were freed in an attempt to createthemselves if they endured the Mubarak regime, havoc, increase crime and frighten people . Generalespecially as Ben Ali’s and Mubarak’s rule had many Mohammed El Batran, the head of prisons in Egypt,parallels . The Twitter hashtags #Egypt and #Jan25 was fatally shot when he refused to obey the orderwere created and helped to consolidate tweets, to let the criminals out on the streets . Chaos wasupdating the media worldwide as events unfolded . everywhere, protesters and the public were tense:When protests continued into 27 January, the gov- there seemed to be no real protection from theernment shut down the internet completely shortly military . The police forces had vanished from theafter midnight on the same day . The 28th was a streets .Friday and mass riots were planned . The regime From that Friday onwards neighbourhoodwas reaching measures it had never used before to groups had been formed by civilians . Each nightblock communications: mobiles did not work any- men gathered under apartment buildings withmore and landlines were dead in several of Cairo’s weapons and sticks to protect their families and thedistricts . streets . People barely slept and started stocking up To circumvent the silence, the hashtag #Jan- on essentials .25voices was created by Scott-Railton in Michigan On 1 February Mubarak declared that he was notto relay the messages he would get through going to run for re-election in September, a movephone conversations with people in Egypt .4 For many had anticipated anyway due to his age andthe more tech-savvy, Telecomix5 provided a dial-up health status . The message was taken as a stallingconnection . tactic, especially as Mubarak’s son Gamal had been By shutting down the internet and mobile com- preparing to take over from his father . Mubarak’smunication for the public,6 the Egyptian government speech led to major protests around the country .set a precedent that had been inconceivable . The Tahrir Square had its bloodiest day on 2 February,blackout remained for five full days: from 12:30 a .m . when thugs entered it on camels and horses attack-early on 28 January to 2 February, when connectivity ing protesters with sticks, petrol bombs and stones .was partially restored . This blackout reflected the Protesters, who had generally been peaceful untilregime’s belief that it was still dealing with a lim- then, grabbed whatever they could get their handsited number of activists, and not a national uprising . on to fight back . Three died and 1,500 were injured .Egyptians who were not on the streets – and they During the early morning hours of 3 February,were many – remained glued to their TV screens, grenades and Molotov cocktails were thrown fromfollowing news minute by minute . the 6th October bridge surrounding Tahrir Square . Protests widened and got bloodier, especially Shots were fired from different parts around Tahrir,in the Suez canal cities, Northern Sinai and Alexan- killing and injuring protesters staying overnight indria . Military troops were deployed on the streets the square . The violence was intended to deter a mass protest planned for Friday 4 February . Since4 Faris, S . (2011) Meet the Man Tweeting Egypt’s Voice the internet was up again, video clips began ap- to the World, Time, 1 Feb . www .time .com/time/world/ pearing on YouTube, and tweets were constantly article/0,8599,2045489,00 .html picked up by news agencies . Al Jazeera was one5 www .telecomix .org6 Online accessibility was maintained for specific security units and of the most active and influential news agencies in the military . Egypt, making it the target of forceful government 126 / Global Information Society Watch
    • intimidation – especially as it was seen as the main worried the people were the conflicting messagesinformation channel for the public . that were emerging from the government . What was During all this time military tanks were circling going on? Who was playing what game, and withTahrir Square and were present in other major cities whom? Was the military co-opting the regime?in Egypt . The demonstrators had made it clear that The following day, Friday 11 February, masses ofthey considered the military neutral, if not on their people took to the streets . For the first time demon-side . To keep the military separate from the regime strations reached the presidential palace . Protestswas crucial for the continuation of the demonstra- were all over Egypt, drawing numbers not seen be-tions . Yet the military’s position remained opaque . fore . That evening Suleiman declared on TV thatProtesters feared that they might be turning against the High Council of the Armed Forces was takingthem . over the responsibility of temporarily governing the It was clear that many protesters were willing country, and that Mubarak was stepping down . Theto face death . On 4 February, Tahrir Square was Egyptian revolution took eighteen days: events werepacked and people demanded that Mubarak step organised and documented online, using mobiledown unconditionally . The government responded communication, and followed closely by the media .by changing the National Democratic Party’s leader . In Egypt the weekend is Friday and Saturday; ConclusionsSunday is the first working day of the week . On That the internet and mobile technology had a strongSunday 6 February, businesses, banks and work- role in Egypt’s political change is indisputable . Buting life resumed in Cairo . An eerie chasm was felt in a country where around 20% of the populationbetween the anti-government protesters and other is connected to the internet, and with a 67% adultsectors of society who were willing to accept that literacy rate, there are limits to the outreach and in-the regime was not going to give up, and wanted fluence of online content and activism . The use oflife to return to normal . This trend abruptly changed Twitter is even more restricted as it needs a smart-when activist Wael Ghonim was interviewed live by phone, a pricey piece of technology and service forthe Egyptian channel Dream TV on 7 February . This a gross national income (GNI) per capita of USDwas shortly after he was released from ten days of 2,070 .8 The events show that the intertwining ofsolitary detention, during which he had been blind- online, mobile and traditional media, especially TV,folded the whole time . His release and the sincerity were crucial in sustaining mass revolts . Without TVof his interview infused the country with renewed picking up the online and mobile messages, mostvigour to fight . Egyptians would not have known what content was On 5 February WikiLeaks posted that Mubarak’s being shared by a relative minority .wealth was estimated at around USD 70 billion . This Al Jazeera9 was pivotal in relaying informationnews was picked up by most media and aired on during the Egyptian internet and mobile blackout,satellite TV, incensing the masses .7 From 9 February as were other satellite channels – Egyptians fromwork stopped at government and public institutions, all strata of society use TV satellites widely . Citi-and hundreds of thousands of union workers went zen journalism was extensively used and pickedon strike across Egypt . The rallies were intense and up by the media, and often the visuals on YouTubethe army said that there would be changes coming were more powerful than words . The ability to re-soon that the protesters would like . It was said that lay events nearly instantaneously from all areas ofMubarak was going to give his resignation speech the country through online and mobile technologyon 10 February . He appeared on TV very late at night gave the professional media incredibly rich, up-to-on the 10th, but repeated that he was not going to date material, from the perspective of people on therun for president in September . He also stated that street .he would remain president until then, although del- Still, the capacity of governments to completelyegating his responsibilities to Vice President Omar block internet and mobile access remains a problemSuleiman . The crowds went wild . There was an in- that needs to be addressed . In Egypt the govern-credible sense of frustration, disbelief and of having ment had always maintained a close grip on ICTs,been mocked . The Mubarak speech was so discon- despite telecom liberalisation efforts . Liberalisa-nected from reality it hardly seemed true . What tion was geared towards the financial benefits of an open market, rather than the reality of centralised7 Though I found the strong reaction to the news a bit strange, as rumours about the Mubaraks’ and their cronies’ wealth were a staple in Egypt since the 1990s . It seems that seeing a clear figure of the alleged wealth at this junction in time was the last straw for 8 www .unicef .org/infobycountry/egypt_statistics .html the masses . 9 english .aljazeera .net EGYPT / 127
    • control .10 This control was facilitated by a limited • Visuals are often better than a thousand words .number of internet service providers (ISPs)11 that of- What is needed is a platform that can showfered the country online and mobile access . When events in the way that YouTube does, but forthe revolution came, the government simply de- millions without computers or mobiles, such asclared martial rule, ordering the companies to cut billboards .off their services to the public . Vodafone has been • There is a need to educate children and youtha much cited example . Because it has a broad clien- on how to use the online and mobile platformstele and is headquartered in Paris, the assumption responsibly, and how to follow reporting ethics .was that it should have maintained connectivityfor longer and not succumbed so readily to regime • There is a need to continue to make certain plat-orders . forms more user friendly and intuitive to grow It seems from recent events that even tradition- the user base . The average user is not up to theal media are not necessarily needed to keep social technical skills and tinkering needed today tomobilisation going once it is in full swing, as is be- use many of the crucial online applications .ing seen in Libya, Syria and Yemen . The momentum • Internet and mobile use for emergency situa-is, instead, driven by the feeling in the bone marrow tions should be part of public training, in thewhen the masses realise their power, when a retreat way that first aid is .is impossible due to ingrained conviction, when the • There is a need to continue to push for condi-sense of right is fully awakened and when national tions that provide internet access to the poor .pride is aroused . Social networking sites rely on the use of expen-Action steps sive technology such as the smartphone that is currently marketed to higher income and higher• Technical alternatives and solutions are needed skills customers only . n to enable people to circumvent communications services when they are blocked .• The ability to share online content through more traditional media so that a wider audience is reached is necessary . In democracy mass ignorance could be fatal to the revolution’s aspirations .10 www .giswatch .org/en/country-report/civil-society-participation/ egypt11 The main ISPs are Telecom Egypt, Vodafone, Etisalat Misr, Link Egypt and Internet Egypt . 128 / Global Information Society Watch
    • ETHIOPIA BUILDING ACCESS AS A HUMAN RIGHT Ethiopian Free and Open Source Software Network Policy and political background (EFOSSNET) The role played by ICTs in the socioeconomic and Abebe Chekol political development of the nation is well recog- abechekol@yahoo .com nised in the emphasis given to the sector in recent years . Its significant contribution to GDP has beenIntroduction growing (for example, 1 .38% in 2008) . However, theEthiopia, the second fastest growing economy in sector remains a monopoly of the government withsub-Saharan Africa,1 is expanding access to informa- no clear sign of liberalisation in the near future . Astion and communications technologies (ICTs), which a result, the sector has not been exploited to its fullare regarded as one of the engines of its ambitious potential in the last few years through diversifiedeconomic growth plan, the Growth and Transforma- and value-added services .tion Plan 2011-2015 . Like many countries in Africa, While the Constitution of the Federal Demo-the explosion of access to telecommunications serv- cratic Republic of Ethiopia guarantees freedom ofices has been most prominent in the mobile market . expression and of the mass media, a number ofThe mobile penetration rate increased from less than people argue that some of the recently enacted leg-0 .55% in 2005 to 4 .89% in 2009 . The expansion of islation could potentially restrict such freedoms .the telecom sector has made record growth in the The recently enacted legislation regarding accesslast two years or so since telecom provider ETC was to and dissemination of information is the Freedom ofrenamed Ethio Telecom following the takeover of its the Mass Media and Access to Information Proclama-management by the French telecom provider Orange . tion (Proclamation No . 590/2008) . This proclamation,In July 2011, Ethio Telecom announced that it had ex- in its Article 4 on Freedom of Mass Media, stipulatesceeded 10 million mobile subscribers . The incumbent that “freedom of the mass media is constitutionallyannounced that the total number of clients, including guaranteed . Censorship in any form is prohibited .” Ar-fixed-line and internet subscribers, had reached 11 .3 ticle 12 of this proclamation on the Right of Access tomillion clients .2 Information states that “all persons have the right to However, other telecom segments have not seek, obtain and communicate any information helddeveloped as quickly as the mobile business . The by public bodies, except as expressly provided for bypenetration rate of fixed-line subscribers, for exam- this Proclamation .” As stated in this article, this rightple, increased from 0 .82% in 2005 to 1 .1% in 2009 .3 includes access to information from any public bodyInternet access across Ethiopia is also very low . The by means of “diskettes, floppies or any other electron-penetration rate in the country is one of the lowest ic mode or through print-outs where such informationin Africa, standing on the same footing as Liberia is stored in a computer or in any other device .”at 0 .5% in 2011 .4 But this penetration rate is slowly Furthermore, the Anti-Terrorism Proclama-increasing as wireless broadband technology be- tion No . 620/2009 provides the executive organscomes more established and prices fall . – for instance, the National Intelligence and Se- This report considers the progress achieved in curity Service – the power under court warrant tothe telecom sector in Ethiopia and its impact on the gather or collect information, intercept or conductsocioeconomic and political development of the surveillance of telephones, faxes, radio, the inter-country, with particular reference to the role of the net, electronic, postal and similar communications,internet and mobile in the socio-political landscape . and to enter into any premise in secret to enforce that interception, or install or remove instruments enabling the interception .1 World Bank (2011) Global Economic Prospects 2011, The World Key issues Bank, Washington, D .C . Over the past five years, mobile and internet serv-2 www .ethionet .et3 www .itu .int/ITU-D/ict/statistics ices have made significant contributions to the4 www .internetworldstats .com socioeconomic and political participation of the ETHIOPIA / 129
    • citizenry . In this regard, a couple of events can be elsewhere . The opposition was particularly effectivecited that can demonstrate such developments in at using text messaging to mobilise its supportersthe country . and get them to the polling stations . One example in the context of social contribu- When the election result was announced andtions, particularly by mobile service, is the use subsequently contested, the government movedof RapidSMS in UNICEF’s work in supporting the quickly to shut down the SMS service to ensuredrought-affected areas in Ethiopia in 2008 . The the opposition party could not use it again .6 Theimpact of this service was dramatic in that UNICEF service, which was interrupted in June 2005, wasEthiopia launched a massive food distribution pro- restored only after two years in September 2007 .gramme to supply the high-protein food Plumpy’nut The restoration of the service improved the politi-to under-nourished children at more than 1,800 cal space and allowed for its use by different actorsfeeding centres in the country .5 for socioeconomic development activities, as seen Previously, UNICEF monitored the distribution in the case of the RapidSMS service for humanitar-of food by sending a group of individuals who trav- ian aid .elled to each feeding centre . The monitoring group However, mobile services have not developedwrote down the amount of food that was received far beyond basic voice and limited data services .and distributed, and if more food was needed . But With the expansion of the currently limited 3G net-there had been a two-week to two-month delay work as well as integrated IP networks as a resultbetween the collection of that data and analysis, of Ethio Telecom’s NGN (next generation network)which in turn delayed action . In a famine situation, project being finalised and implemented, Ethio Tele-each day can mean the difference between recovery com is able to provide data services (simple text/and starvation, or even death . email messaging as well as internet and value-add- With the use of RapidSMS, the delay was com- ed services) in addition to basic mobile telephony .pletely eliminated . After a short period of training, As a result we see a number of initiatives that havemonitors were able to enter information directly contributed to the socioeconomic development ofinto their mobile phones as SMS messages . This the country .data would instantaneously appear on the server The Ethiopian Commodity Exchange (ECX) isand immediately be visualised as graphs showing one recent success story . It provides IVR (interactivepotential distribution problems and displayed on voice response) and SMS-based mobile market in-a map clearly showing where the problems were . formation delivery to farmers and traders, avoidingThe data, therefore, could be seen not only by the the information gap between the ends of the chain .field office, but by the regional office, supply divi- Nevertheless, despite this potential for socio-sion and even the headquarters, greatly improving economic and political participation, the adoptionresponse coordination . The process of entering the and use of the technologies has been slow . Adata into phones was also easier and more cost number of factors could be contributing, includingeffective for the monitors themselves, leading to the illiteracy rate, the relative affordability of thequick adoption of the technology . In this context, telecom services compared to the average income,it is highly important to have accurate and timely and insufficient transfer of technology among pro-data to make decisions, so that where there are fessionals and technology firms .problems, response can be quick, and resources ef- The impact of the internet is lower compared tofectively allocated to ultimately save lives . This is a the increasing penetration of mobile . Ethiopia, withhighly dramatic result of the use of mobile technol- the second largest population in Africa, had onlyogy in social services . 445,500 internet users in early 2011 with a penetra- Mobile technology has also been instrumental tion rate of 0 .5% . Given that broadband internet isfor the active participation of citizens in the recent underpinning the fundamental rights of citizens in apolitical history of the country . The denial of public number of countries like Finland, providing accessaccess to SMS by states is not new in the mobile to basic connectivity is of paramount importance ifarena . The SMS ban was enforced during the po- countries are to benefit from the global economy, andlitical unrest that followed the highly contentious to participate in increasingly global political spaces .May 2005 elections . At that time, the Ethiopian To bring isolated communities into the globalgovernment banned SMS because, it claimed, the socioeconomic landscape, a number of technologymain opposition party was exploiting it to organise solution providers have developed new technologiesactivities during the elections – just as happens 6 www .balancingact-africa .com/news/en/issue-no-374/telecoms/5 www .mobileactive .org/preventing-famine-mobile sms-ban-lifted-in-et/en 130 / Global Information Society Watch
    • to facilitate communication and access to informa- Furthermore, like many countries in Africa, thetion . Nokia, for instance, recognises the impact of new ICTs are unequally distributed in Ethiopia, soilliteracy in this regard, and the launch of mobile that to speak of a new communication revolutionhandsets with local language support in a number is still something that must be interpreted withinof models by the company is a commendable start . specific social perspectives . Seen in a broad per-And as much as technology providers make every spective there can be little doubt that the mediaeffort to provide mobile operating systems as well and the rise of new communication systems haveas software applications in local languages, it is contributed to democratisation in many Africanalso in the interest of governments to open up their countries – including Ethiopia, where at least ittelecom networks to ensure the full participation of has given some people access to information andcitizens in the information society – and in return alternative viewpoints and to channels in which toutilise the network’s full potential for their develop- express their opinions and dissatisfaction .ment goals . Action stepsConclusions Given the low penetration of ICTs across the country,It is widely acknowledged that the internet is still in the role of multimedia community centres is im-its infancy in Ethiopia . Access is limited and slow . portant . These would serve to draw wide and newWhere broadband is available, it is typically very popular sectors into a media environment .expensive – far beyond the financial means of the Low literacy levels and the dominance of in-majority of Ethiopians . This is evident from the low ternational (especially English) rather than localnumber of fixed broadband internet subscribers, languages on the internet serve to limit the use ofwhich stood at around 3,500 subscribers in 2009 . computers . These challenges are part of wider is-The challenge for policy makers is to ensure that sues of underdevelopment central to the role andnetworks are capable of delivering broadband inter- future of communication policies . This includesnet access at affordable prices . connectivity and capacity problems, content devel- To this end, the government has pledged to ded- opment, questions of costs, and unequal social andicate 10% of its annual budget to the development political access .and maintenance of telecom networks .7 This effort Today, access to high-tech communications iswill hopefully improve the expansion of the network accepted as integral to modern life . Communicationand access to information and ICT services . systems are essential for commerce, culture and As seen in the examples above, the role of the politics . More and more they are becoming a basisinternet and mobile in promoting the socioeco- for multifaceted development strategies . Given thenomic and political participation of the citizenry is role of media and communication for social changeof paramount importance . and the full participation of citizens in the socio- Currently, satellite internet is available to some economic and political development of the country,large corporations, but individuals are not permit- all-inclusive and gender-sensitive ICT policy im-ted to have private satellite connections . Ethio plementation is essential to build the informationTelecom also bans call back or use of modern tech- society and benefit from the emerging informationnology such as voice over internet protocol (VoIP) .8 and knowledge economies . n7 en .wikipedia .org/wiki/Internet_in_Ethiopia8 Adam, L . (2010) Ethiopia ICT Sector Performance Review 2009/2010: Towards Evidence-based ICT Policy and Regulation . www .researchICTafrica .net ETHIOPIA / 131
    • FRANCE CONSTITUTIONAL CHALLENGES TO A FREE INTERNET VECAM After HADOPI’s3 internet access suspension Frédéric Sultan (with La Quadrature du net)* measures, calls to ban WikiLeaks hosting and vecam .org recent talks against net neutrality, France is sid- ing with the group of countries hostile to a free internet by adopting administrative filtering ofIntroduction the internet .”The French Constitutional Council released its deci- The following analysis is based on a legal studysion1 regarding the controversial LOPPSI bill on 10 on the screening measures published in 2009 by aMarch 2011 . Judges held that Article 4 of the bill, team of European lawyers .4 It attempts to identifywhich allows the executive branch to censor the – given the European Convention on Human Rightsinternet under the pretext of fighting child pornogra- (ECHR) and related case law – a number of safe-phy, is not contrary to the Constitution . In doing so, guards that must govern any action involving thethe constitutional court has failed to protect funda- freedom of communication on the internet . The re-mental freedoms on the internet, and in particular view of arrangements for supervision of restrictionsfreedom of expression . Hope now lies with European on fundamental freedoms in play shows that the ad-institutions, which are the only ones with the power ministration of internet filtering violates some basicto prohibit or at least supervise administrative web- principles of the rule of law .site blocking and its inherent risks of abuse . The LOPSSI law collated many repressive International law and the protectionmeasures on vastly unrelated subjects . The Con- of freedom of expression and communicationstitutional Council found itself caught out in this Respect for fundamental freedoms is the legal ba-strategy . While it did strike down some of the most sis of democratic societies and the rule of law . Theshocking provisions, it left untouched those that highest legal protections are granted to fundamen-seemed less harmful or were proposed in the name tal freedoms . These protections are enshrined inof noble goals, in spite of having a highly detri- law but also in national constitutions and interna-mental impact on civil liberties – such as the ones tional instruments, and it is traditional for judges torelated to the internet . protect each of these levels . The foundation of this According to Jérémie Zimmermann, co-founder protection is the idea that people who enjoy theseand spokesperson for La Quadrature du Net: freedoms must be protected, especially from any interference by the executive and the parliament .5 This decision on Article 4 is a great disappointment . Measures to regulate online communications It is obvious that internet censorship will not help may, depending on the various cases, violate one or solve the child pornography problem in any way, more fundamental freedoms protected by constitu- as experiments in other countries have shown .2 tions and conventions:* This report is based on two articles by La Quadrature du net: Le 3 The French HADOPI law or Creation and Internet law (N°2009- filtrage d’Internet viole l’État de droit, published 16 November 2010 669 of 12 June 2009), also referred to as the “law promoting the (minilien .fr/a0kwuy) and French Constitutional Council Validates distribution of creative works and the protection of rights on the Internet Censorship, published 11 March 2011 (minilien .fr/a0kwuz) . internet”, was introduced during 2009 as a means to control and These are licensed CC-BY-SA, and were reworked with the approval regulate internet access and encourage compliance with copyright of the original authors . Rewriting and translation by Frédéric laws . HADOPI is the acronym of the government agency created to Sultan, VECAM . administer it, the Haute Autorité pour la Diffusion des Œuvres et la1 www .conseil-constitutionnel .fr/conseil-constitutionnel/francais/ Protection des Droits sur Internet . les-decisions/acces-par-date/decisions-depuis-1959/2011/2011- 4 Callanan, C ., Gercke, M ., De Marco, E . and Dries-Ziekenheiner, 625-dc/decision-n-2011-625-dc-du-10-mars-2011 .94924 .html H . (2009) Internet Blocking: Balancing Cybercrime Responses in2 See the letter sent by ISPs and the Dutch Task Force on Blocking Democratic Societies, Aconite Internet Solutions . www .aconite . Child Pornography: www .bof .nl/2011/03/07/dutch-providers- com/blocking/study abandon-ineffective-web-bl . . .; similarly, Germany gave up on 5 Terré, F . (2005) Sur la notion de libertés et droits fondamentaux, filtering as its efficiency could not be proven: www .laquadrature . in Cabrillac, R . et al . (eds) Libertés et droits fondamentaux, Dalloz, net/fr/loppsi-comment-lallemagne-a-renonce-a-la- . . . Paris, p . 195 . 132 / Global Information Society Watch
    • • The first of these is, of course, freedom of pressing social need”8 and is proportionate to the expression and communication, as these meas- legitimate aim pursued .9 ures prevent the transmission of information Let us examine these two aspects: and access to this information by the public . • One of the requirements attached to the press-• The second is the right to respect for one’s pri- ing social need – for which the states have some vate life and correspondence . Whatever the discretion while remaining dependent on the techniques employed to intercept and block decisions of the Court – implies that the restric- the offending content, private communica- tion of liberty ordered must meet this need . So, tions will be intercepted as well as criminal the measure must be effective . communications . • Second, the measure must be proportionate toIn the ECHR, freedom of communication is protect- the aim pursued . The Court has distinguisheded by Article 10, the second paragraph identifying several criteria to assess the proportionality of acases in which this freedom may be restricted if it restriction . With regard to the screening proce-were to jeopardise “national security, territorial dures or removal of content, the Court will checkintegrity or public safety .” Measures are also neces- in particular if the purpose of the interferencesary “for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the can be satisfactorily achieved by other meansprotection of health or morals, for the protection of less restrictive to rights .the reputation or rights of others, for preventing thedisclosure of information received in confidence, or Are screening measures “a necessityfor maintaining the authority and impartiality of the in a democratic society”?judiciary .” Article 8 of the ECHR, which asserts the Do screening measures meet the criteria of efficiencyright to respect for one’s private and family life, also and proportionality? Are they needed in a democraticprovides a framework if this freedom comes under society? To answer, we must obviously take into ac-question . count the purpose (child protection or copyright, forConditions on challenges to freedom example) as well as technical solutions to prevent ac-of communication in European law cess to litigious content . In the case where we seek to prevent access to child abuse content, which isAs evidenced by the second paragraph of Arti- undoubtedly the most pressing need that has beencle 10, any questioning of fundamental freedoms argued to date to justify screening measures, theseprotected by the ECHR must meet a number of con- measures have very different “legitimate aims” thatditions to be acceptable . With regard to freedom of are included in paragraph 2 of Article 10 of the ECHR .communication and the right to respect for one’s These are the protection of morals and protection ofprivate life, such interference must, in addition to the rights of others – especially children and sensitivebeing required by law, pursue a goal called “legiti- people who may find such images extremely trau-mate” under the Convention,6 and be “necessary matic – and the prevention of crime and punishment .in a democratic society” . This last condition, whichlooks rather vague, seems to be the most importantin terms of interference with freedom of commu- 8 See for example ECtHR, 21 January 1999, Fressoz and Roire v . France,nication, including blocking communications or Grand Chamber . In this case, the satirical newspaper Canard enchainé had published the tax forms of the head of a big company . The Courtremoving content . concluded that the culpability of the newspaper for revealing secret As judges of the European Court of Human information violated freedom of expression and the freedom of theRights (ECtHR)7 had the opportunity to point out in newspaper to disseminate information by publishing a document as proof . It particularly criticised the lack of social need: “The needtheir jurisprudence, in a “society that wants to re- for any restriction on the exercise of freedom of expression must bemain democratic”, the notion of “necessity” of the convincingly established .” cmiskp .echr .coe .int/tkp197/view .asp?item =1&portal=hbkm&action=htm . . .interference implies that interference refers to “a 9 See for example ECtHR, 26 April 1979, Sunday Times v . UK . “Article 10-2 does not give the states an unlimited power of appreciation . In charge with the Commission to ensure compliance with their commitments (Article 19), the Court has jurisdiction to rule on whether6 Article 10 refers in particular to the protection of morals, the a ‘restriction’ or ‘penalty’ is reconcilable with freedom of expression protection of the reputation and the rights of others, the as enshrined in Article 10 .” The national margin of appreciation guarantee of the authority and impartiality of the judiciary, and the goes hand in hand with European supervision . It will be noted that prevention of disorder and crime . the Constitutional Council employs similar words . See Decision No .7 The European Court of Human Rights is a supra-national court, 2009-580 DC of 10 June 2009, paragraph 15: “Freedom of expression established by the European Convention on Human Rights, which and communication is all the more precious since its exercise is a provides legal recourse of last resort for individuals who feel that prerequisite for democracy and a guarantee of respect for other rights their human rights have been violated by a contracting party to the and freedoms, and damage to the exercise of this freedom must be Convention . necessary, appropriate and proportionate to the aim pursued .” FRANCE / 133
    • However, in each of these cases, technical problems The procedural framework of attacks onwith the screening procedures suggest that they are freedom of communication on the internet:neither effective nor proportionate . The role of ordinary courts The availability of technical means to bypass Despite these factors, the French national legislaturescreening curtails the effectiveness of these meas- decided to address a pressing social need (the fightures . A well-known method, often used by political against child pornography) by restricting the freedomdissidents in authoritarian regimes, is, for example, of online communication through content filtering .to set up a proxy (or encrypted “tunnel”) to an- Article 4 of LOPPSI gives the executive power to de-other computer or server connected to the internet . lete information circulating on the internet . ContraryThe criminal networks engaged in the business of to its decision on HADOPI, the Constitutional Councilchild abuse content have long developed distribu- has approved the legislation authorising the admin-tion channels impermeable to filtering techniques . istrative authority to order measures that conflictWhether for prevention or suppression, filtering is with the freedom of online communication . The posi-totally ineffective in this regard . tion of the Constitutional Council seems to be to find, Proportionality of filtering measures is also for each case, a balance between protecting freedomstrongly questioned because of their lack of accu- of communication and other fundamental rights .racy in implementation . There is broad consensus However, the traditional role assigned to the ju-among experts who emphasise that no methods dicial authorities in European law should disqualifyto block access to content can eliminate the risk of the competence of non-judicial entities to imposeover-blocking perfectly legal sites . Several cases of restrictions of freedom of communication on theover-blocking have been identified . In the United internet, and this a fortiori when these measuresKingdom, Wikipedia, which is one of the busiest conflict with other fundamental rights, such as thesites in the world, was blocked for almost three right to respect for one’s private life .days in late 200810 and blacklisted (secretly) by the Three principles justify the exclusion of non-judi-Internet Watch Foundation (IWF), due to the pub- cial authorities when it comes to deciding on caseslication of the original album cover of Virgin Killer concerning the restriction of freedom of expression:by the rock band Scorpions, released in 1976 . Thecover shows a prepubescent girl posing naked . Be- • The declaration of illegality The jurisdiction ofcause of these inevitable collateral effects, filtering ordinary courts is primarily because the judgeis too dangerous compared to its objectives . alone can declare a situation the illegal abuse Finally, when the ECtHR assesses the necessary of freedom . In all liberal democracies, only theaction, it seeks to determine whether alternative judge has jurisdiction to establish the illegalitymeasures that are less restrictive of the fundamental of content, situation or action .freedoms at stake can meet the pressing social need . • The guarantees attached to any criminal chargeFrom this point of view, other measures are more sat- Restrictions on freedom of online communica-isfying than the screening procedures . The first one is tion should be accompanied by the guaranteethat the removal of content from servers should be ac- of a fair trial (Article 6 of the ECHR) .13 Indeed, ancompanied by international cooperation .11 (A negative administrative or judicial injunction of filtering,to this is that a study by two United States researchers removing or blocking access to content, if it re-shows that filtering has the effect of discouraging the lates to offences of a criminal nature, seems toactivation of international cooperation policies already be a charge leading to the respect of guaranteesin existence .)12 The second one is the possibility for attached to fair trial, including the right to beusers (parents) to install monitoring systems on their tried by an independent and impartial court .14computers to block access . These filtering systems, onthe edge of the network and much less intrusive, seemmore proportionate to the objective . 13 “[E]veryone is entitled to a fair and public hearing within a reasonable time by an independent and impartial tribunal established by law .” Article 6-1 of the ECHR .10 Wikinews (2008) British ISPs restrict access to Wikipedia amid child 14 It could be an administrative authority, but the guarantees of Article pornography allegations, Wikinews, 7 December . en .wikinews .org/ 6 will apply . The European Court of Human Rights has accepted wiki/British_ISPs_restrict_access_to_Wikipedia_am . . . the validity of the method of administrative penalty under the11 Before ordering the blocking of the AAARGH site, hosted in the European Convention of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, United States, the French judge had asked the US court to remove but recalled the need to comply with the requirements of Article 6 the offending content servers, but it refused, citing the protection (ECtHR, 21 February 1984, Oztürk v . FRG) . Article 6 applies because of the First Amendment to the US Constitution . the Court will consider administrative sanctions such as criminal12 Moore, T . and Clayton, R . (2008) The Impact of Incentives on Notice charges (ECtHR, 24 September 1997, Garyfallou AEBE v . Greece), and Take-down, Computer Laboratory, University of Cambridge . or because they feel they relate to rights and obligations of a civil www .cl .cam .ac .uk/~rnc1/takedown .pdf nature (ECtHR, 8 December 1999, Pellegrin v . France) . 134 / Global Information Society Watch
    • • Control of proportionality The control of pro- It is regrettable that this principle has not been en- portionality of measures intended to respond shrined in European Community law . It would have to an abuse of freedom of communication is a allowed a rigorous defence of freedom of expres- function traditionally the responsibility of the sion and communication in France . ordinary courts in democracies . Action stepsThe role of prior judicial authority The freedom offered by the internet, such as freein monitoring violations of freedom communication and other fundamental rights, mustof communication on the internet be strictly protected by law . The main issues to as- sert in the context of LOPSSI should include:Given these different observations (declaration ofillegality, the right to due process and control of • A guarantee of the presumption of legality forproportionality), the judge’s role in monitoring vio- any online publicationlations of freedom of online communication seems • We must oppose the requirement for filteringessential . online content because it is disproportionate . Because of their ineffectiveness and their dis- • Citizens must be sufficiently informed of ordersproportionate nature, the screening procedures to remove content, so that they can legally op-proposed in LOPSSI do not seem able to meet Euro- pose it .pean standards and should be discarded . Regarding the withdrawal of content, it seems • Citizens must be sufficiently informed if their ac-more conceivable that the administrative authority cess to the internet is blocked, so that they canmay, for very serious offences, order a hosting pro- legally oppose it .vider to take down content . However, at this stage, • The right to a fair trial must be guaranteed .concerned content will only be “potentially” illegaland the alleged offence needs to be prosecuted .15 • The government should not be able to impose Beyond these considerations, signatories to the sanctions that have the effect of restricting free-ECHR have discretion regarding the definition of dom without trial .serious offences that can be subject to restrictions • The opportunity to speak anonymously onlineof freedom on the part of the administrative author- must be guaranteed . nity as a precaution . In reality, this is a choice of apolitical nature . In 2009, during the review of theTelecoms Package,16 an amendment was made tothis law twice (“Amendment 138”) stating that onlythe judiciary should be able to impose restrictionson freedom of communication on the internet:17 No restrictions may be imposed on fundamental rights and freedoms of end users without a prior ruling by the judicial authorities, notably under Article 11 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union on freedom of expres- sion and information, except when public safety is threatened .15 See on this issue the proposal of La Quadrature du net as part of the consultancy on the European e-Commerce Directive .16 Package of five European Directives on the regulation of communications networks and services .17 www .europarl .europa .eu/sides/getDoc .do?pubRef=-//EP// TEXT+IM-PRES . . . FRANCE / 135
    • INDIA THE INTERNET AND THE RIGHT TO INFORMATION IN INDIA Digital Empowerment Foundation important to provide them a medium to access in- Ritu Srivastava and Osama Manzar formation in a way that they can understand . defindia .net Advocating the need for a citizen’s basic right to demand information that affects their societal well- being and existence is a mandatory requirement ofIntroduction any democratic society . And it is a citizen’s basic right in a democratic society to demand informationThe right to information is a basic human right which is held by governing bodies who are electedfor every citizen, and the internet is an effective by the people to serve the people .medium to access information . The internet is con- Because of this, movements like the Nationalsidered one of the most democratic forums, where Campaign for People’s Right to Information, Savethe expression of one’s views knows few barriers the Right to Information and India Together haveand borders . But this does not mean that the free- been advocating for the internet to be used to se-dom of speech and expression on the internet is cure the right to information as a basic human right .absolute and unrestricted . Transparency International’s 2010 Index rates Birth of the “right to information” in IndiaDenmark, New Zealand and Singapore the highest It has been more than 60 years since India’s independ-when it comes to granting their citizens the right ence – but it is only since 1996 that the government’sto information .1 Finland became the first country stranglehold on freedom of information has been less-in the world to make access to the internet a legal ened . Prior to 1996, India was still burdened by theright for all citizens in 2010,2 and now the Nether- legacy of the Official Secrets Act 1923, put in place bylands has followed suit .3 Although it is one of the the British government . This prohibited people fromworld’s largest democracies, India is also one of getting any information from government officials .the few countries where most state information lies The first step toward recognising the right to informa-with governing bodies rather than being available tion as a basic human right came in 1996 through thepublicly . establishment of the National Campaign for People’s In India, 70% of the population lives in 638,365 Right to Information (NCPRI),5 but it took almost a dec-villages,4 represented by 245,525 panchayat of- ade to conceptualise the Right to Information (RTI) Actfices, mostly located in the remotest regions of and to bring it into effect .the country . However, rural India is not able to ac- The “right to information” campaign started ascess information due to a lack of infrastructure and the Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS) move-means to do so . At the same time, many do not ment in the early 1990s, which campaigned againstknow that they have a right to access information . rampant corruption in the system . It was pushingAccording to the 2011 census, the literacy rate in for transparency in the implementation of minimumIndia is just 64 .32% – with illiteracy most preva- wages in the remotest part of Rajasthan, one of thelent in rural areas . This is the case even though the largest states in India . The spirit of this movementgovernment introduced the Right to Education Act inspired the citizens and administration in the coun-in 2004, which promised free elementary and basic try . The advocacy work done by MKSS gave rise toeducation to all children . Yet 35% of the population the NCPRI, which set out to advocate for the right tois still illiterate, and only 15% of Indian students information at the national level in 1996 . Eventually,reach high school . Because of this it becomes more in 1999, then Union Minister for Urban Development1 www .transparency .org/policy_research/surveys_indices/ Ram Jethmalani6 issued an administrative order that cpi/2010/results enabled citizens to inspect and receive photocopies2 www .nytimes .com/2011/04/28/technology/28internet .html?_ r=2&partner=rss&emc=rss3 www .rijksoverheid .nl/nieuws/2011/05/24/verhagen-gaat- telecomwet-wijzigen-om-vrij-internet-te-garanderen .html 5 righttoinformation .info4 censusindia .gov .in/Data_Products/Library/Post_Enumeration_ 6 For more information on Ram Jethmalani see: en .wikipedia .org/ link/No_of_Villages_link/no_villages .html wiki/Ram_Jethmalani 136 / Global Information Society Watch
    • of files from his ministry . Disappointingly, the cabi- The internet revolution first made a substantialnet secretary at the time did not approve this order, difference in the lives of citizens when peasants,which led to the campaign gaining momentum . The farmers and landholders of Rajasthan raised theirfirst national Freedom of Information Bill (2000) voices demanding the ability to access land recordswas introduced in Parliament in 2002 . After a long directly through the internet . They were cam-struggle by the MKSS and NCPRI campaigns, the paigning against rampant corruption and theRight to Information Act formally came into force on manipulation of records that goes unabated in rural12 October 2005 . areas marked by stark poverty and feudalism . In re- Through this Act, the Constitution of India has sponse, an initiative was launched by the Rajasthanprovided both the right to privacy and freedom of state government aiming to bring more account-speech and expression as fundamental rights, but ability and transparency into the system of landone right cannot override the other . records . The initiative enabled farmers to access Regarding the use of information and communi- their land and revenue records online by selectingcations technologies (ICTs), the government states their tehsil8 name, account and serial numbers,in the RTI Act: and paying a fixed amount to the manager of the internet access point (such as a kiosk) . Through this Every public authority should provide as much project, the state government helped 209 tehsils in information to the public through various means the 32 districts of the state, and digitised the jama- of communications so that the public has mini- bandis (land records) of 37,980 villages – as many mum need to use the Act to obtain information . as 95,490 have been released . This initiative also The internet being one of the most effective released the revenue records of the period before means of communications, the information may April 1996, resulting in around 62,000 pending cas- be posted on a website . es being settled .Since independence, the RTI Act is probably one of The spirit of this movement inspired the Kar-the most influential laws that has been passed mak- nataka state government to launch a project calleding access to information a basic human right . This Bhoomi in mid-1999, which aimed to digitise landAct enables citizens to demand information not only and revenue records . The Bhoomi project digi-from the government and public authorities, but tised 20 million rural land records of 6 .7 millionalso gives power to citizens to access information landowners through 177 government-owned andfrom anywhere in the world using the internet as a internet-enabled kiosks in the state . Now, farmerstool to access the information . and landowners are able to receive their records by Despite the fact that the spirit of freedom of ex- providing data such as ownership, tenancy, loans,pression is strong in India, it is still slow in making nature of title, irrigation details, crops grown, etc .government information readily available, and gov- This small initiative helped farmers in many ways,ernment decisions transparent . It is also not easy from documenting crop loans and legal actions, tofor citizens to access information due to a lack of securing scholarships for school children .infrastructure or technological tools . This project impacted on the whole country, Because of this some have advocated for the in- leading the central government to initiate a na-ternet to be used to ensure the right to information tional-level Digitisation of Land Records project .as a human right in India . The state governments involved include Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and Maharash-Using the internet to ensure the right tra . Under this initiative, landowners are able toto information in India access digitised copies of records of rights, alongWith more than 100 million internet users as of De- with property boundaries .cember 2010 (of whom 40 million use the internet This initiative formed the foundation of a nation-via mobile phones), India boasts the third high- wide project aimed at allowing citizens to accessest number of internet users in the world .7 The information . The Common Services Centres (CSC)internet’s presence is reaching into every aspect programme was launched in 2006 with the goal ofof people’s lives in India: in education, learning, setting up 100,000 centres in rural areas across thehealth and, in this case, in helping citizens exercisetheir right to information . 8 A tehsil consists of a city or town that serves as its headquarters, possibly additional towns, and a number of villages . As an entity of local government, it exercises certain fiscal and administrative power over the villages and municipalities within its jurisdiction .7 www .trai .gov .in/WriteReadData/trai/upload/PressReleases/823/ It is the ultimate executive agency for land records and related Press_Release_Mar-11 .pdf administrative matters . en .wikipedia .org/wiki/Tehsil INDIA / 137
    • country . The project enabled rural citizens to access “India Against Corruption” reached over 145,000real-time information as well as various e-govern- “likes” within a day . Within four days, Hazare’s non-ment services . violent social movement impacted on the central The right to information is included in the Na- government, which accepted all the demands of thetional e-Governance Plan (NeGP), which calls for the movement .internet to be used so that “all information covering Another example is the CIC Online project, a keynon-strategic areas [is placed] in the public domain initiative of the Central Information Commissionto enable citizens to challenge the data and en- (CIC) and National Informatics Centre (NIC), undergage directly in governance reform .” The Plan also the aegis of the NeGP . Now we are also able to filestrengthens the right to information by providing complaints online,10 and check the status of appealsfor disclosure by governments in all non-strategic when the right to information is denied . Effectively,areas . All information should be digitally avail- CIC Online has institutionalised the convergence ofable as it is not possible to fulfil this requirement ICTs with the Right to Information Act 2005 .through traditional paper-based processes . Although these particular examples have Another good example aimed at building shown the impact of the internet in realising thetransparency between government and citizens is right to information as a basic human right in India,the NREGA (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Em- India has also failed in many ways due to a lack ofployment Guarantee Act) programme in the state infrastructure, or when citizens have been unableof Andhra Pradesh . This enables hundreds of la- to utilise or access CSCs . The right to informationbourers to receive real-time information, including could be successfully implemented if it could betransactional information such as work done, wag- directly correlated with a level of commitment with-es paid, and assets acquired . All this information is in the state and central governments of both thepublicly shared through the programme’s website . political and administrative bureaucrats . It is essen-They are able to receive this information through tial that immediate and wide-scale dissemination ofthe internet or with the help of community-based the content of the RTI Act as well as assistance inorganisations that provide the information over implementing the Act is provided to all concerned .telephones . The Act has also set down obligations on the state There is now widespread awareness that ac- and central governments for its implementation andcessing information is a basic human right and that for setting up monitoring mechanisms .the internet can help in securing this right . Many There is a requirement to implement the Actactivists have taken the cause to the next level and uniformly across the country . No doubt, uniform im-use the power of social networking websites like plementation of the Act will bring transparency toFacebook and Twitter to spread awareness about governing bodies and authorities, which will be vi-the right to information . tal for the functioning of a vibrant democracy . It will One example was highlighted recently when create an environment of minimal corruption whereveteran social activist Anna Hazare began a hunger governments are accountable to the people . Thisstrike, demanding the enactment of the Jan Lokpal can be possible only when governing bodies andBill9 that gives wider powers to the Ombudsman authorities allow citizens to access their informa-to keep corruption in check . The protest began on tion from anywhere and anytime . Because of this, it5 April 2011 . For four days Hazare’s fight against becomes necessary to make internet access a basiccorruption spread like wildfire across the internet human right .and he became the most “searched” person onthe Google India page . This was largely because of Action stepssocial media websites like Facebook, Twitter and In developing societies like India, ICTs play an im-YouTube that played an important part in stitching a portant role in bringing disparate activist groupsnation of concerned citizens together . The 72-year- together . Some of the actions that could be takenold activist became a worldwide celebrity on Twitter include:with tweets that were pouring in every minute andwith more than 70,000 “likes” on Facebook . Thou- • In order to remove the constraints on accessingsands of youth joined the campaign and supported information, it is important to push for universalit in a non-violent way on Facebook and Twitter . Fa- access to ICT infrastructure and the availabilitycebook pages such as “Mahatma Gandhi 2 .0” and of information on the internet .9 www .indiaagainstcorruption .org 10 rti .india .gov .in/index .php 138 / Global Information Society Watch
    • • In an era of Web 2 .0, it is important to have free • There is a need to properly catalogue, index, and open models of knowledge creation that and digitise government policies, applications, ensure protection against undue commercial schemes, papers, announcements, etc . so that influence over the free flow of information and these records can be easily accessed . knowledge . • Given globalisation, there is a trend towards• Panchayat Offices can be used as RTI filing cen- developing worldwide restrictive intellectual tres or can be internet-enabled and converted to property laws and practices and the coercive Public Citizen Offices (PCOs) where citizens can implementation of laws, often through technical file RTI applications . The RTI fee could either be restrictions . These need to be opposed . based on the rate of a call or decided by a PCO • Civil society needs to identify political contours officer . in the struggle for rights, democracy, equity and• In a country where the literacy rate is just 64%, social justice, and in a way that enables them to and most are not able to use the internet, there campaign effectively for people’s rights . n should also be a way to utilise the power of mo- bile technology for the filing of RTI applications (for instance, using SMS) . INDIA / 139
    • INDONESIA DOCUMENTING TORTURE: THE RESPONSIBILITIES OF ACTIVISTS EngageMedia Collective Inc. rights abuses, to bring perpetrators to justice, to Alexandra Crosby prevent torture, and to end violence . Our approach www .engagemedia .org is to compare the production and distribution of videos documenting incidents of abuse in order to deepen activist understanding of the mechanics of online distribution of video that has the purpose ofThe ways that human rights activists have employed social change . This focuses on the work of Engage-new technologies have shaped the political upheav- Media as one organisation investing in making thisals that have punctuated Indonesia’s recent history . distribution not only more effective, but more mind-Probably the best-known example is the footage of ful and secure .human rights abuses in East Timor during the late1990s, which was televised globally and became Human rights abuses in West Papuaone of the key factors in garnering international and elsewheresupport for Timor-Leste’s independence .1 The experience of the 1998 political uprising Indonesia ratified the UN Convention Against Tor-that overthrew the Suharto regime also showed ture in 1998, the same year the brutality of the Newthe power of digital video in generating extensive Order regime was meant to end . However, the Asiansocio-political changes by mobilising people in Human Rights Commission says, today “torture issupport of a new government . In the build-up to in fact encouraged as a mean[s] of interrogationthe end of the regime, footage of the shootings and intimidation by the police and the military .”2of Trisakti University students in Jakarta, much of Because military personnel enjoy special immunitywhich was “amateur” footage, was broadcast on from being tried in civilian courts, acts of torturetelevision inside and outside Indonesia . These continue to go unpunished .images sparked sentiments of national solidarity, Amnesty International reports that in recentleading to mass student protests in several cit- years there have been a number of cases of intimi-ies across Indonesia, denouncing the New Order dation and attacks against human rights defendersregime . and journalists in Indonesia . Many of these cases However, today, without the same momentum have occurred in the province of West Papua, givenof mass direct action on the streets that character- “special” autonomy by the Megawati governmentised the end of the 20th century in Indonesia, the in 2001 . West Papua is one of the least accessibleways that video can be used to affect change are places in Indonesia and one of the richest in naturalmore ambiguous . Realising that they cannot rely resources .on the foreign press to expose humiliating human This report does not have the scope to cover therights violation cases, campaigners push their vid- struggle for self-determination in West Papua . Suf-eos through other avenues – such as EngageMedia, fice to say that allegations of torture in the regionYouTube and Facebook – where, instead of relying are hardly new . Since it became part of Indonesia inon news corporation producers, activists can be- the 1960s, there has been both a resilient separatistcome the producers and distributors themselves . movement and a strong military presence .3 AmnestyBut in becoming more independent, their respon- International has documented how victims and wit-sibilities also shift, particularly when it comes to nesses in Papua have few available legal remediescontextualising video information . This report is concerned with what activists cando with video to improve the situation in West Pa-pua and Indonesia more broadly: to stop human 2 Asian Human Rights Commission (2010) Indonesia: Video of the military torturing indigenous Papuans surfaced, press release, 17 October . www .humanrights .asia/news/press-releases/AHRC- PRL-021-20101 KUNCI Cultural Studies Center and EngageMedia (2009) Video 3 For background on the issues in West Papua, see Drooglever, P . Activism and Video Distribution in Indonesia . www .engagemedia . (2009) An Act of Free Choice: Decolonisation and the Right to Self- org/videochronic Determination in West Papua, Oneworld Publications, Oxford . 140 / Global Information Society Watch
    • to make complaints .4 Perhaps more than anywhere same could be said of the mainstreaming of violenceelse in Indonesia, human rights violations in West in Indonesian life – perhaps this acceptance is, sadly,Papua have gone unchecked for decades . universal . The mutilation of genitals in the cases of As recently as July 2010, Tama Satrya Langkun, a both Abu Ghraib and Kiwo’s torture represents a vio-Jakarta-based anti-corruption activist, was severely lence that seems intertwined with the sexualisationbeaten by unknown persons in an apparent move of victims’ bodies .6 Clearly, video evidence of tortureto silence him . That same month, Ardiansyah Matra, presents ethical dilemmas, not only around how it isa journalist covering corruption and illegal logging made and released, but how it is watched and howin Papua, was found dead in the province . Despite those who watch are implicated in the processes ofpolice investigations, no one has yet been held ac- social change .countable for these attacks . Responding to the public attention around the torture video, video testimony was produced byDocumenting torture human rights activists in Jayawijaya . The video tes-On 30 May 2010, Indonesian military personnel timony was an effort to provide more direct evidencetortured Tunaliwor Kiwo, a Papuan farmer, and his for the case and also to respond to some of the di-neighbour, using a number of methods, including lemmas mentioned above by contextualising theclamping their genitals, burning them with an iron rod, event . It was passed along to the Papuan Customarytrying to suffocate them with plastic bags and pulling Council – Dewan Adat Papua – and handed to Humanout their fingernails with pliers . The incident was re- Rights Watch . The interview was conducted in Lanicorded on a soldier’s mobile phone . The ten-minute (the language of the Jayawijaya region – Papua hastorture video was released to the public on 18 October over 200 languages), which was later translated into2010, after being leaked to activists . The video was Indonesian by a Lani activist, and subtitled in bothdistributed on several websites including the Asian Indonesian and English . In November, EngageMediaHuman Rights Commission (AHRC) site from October released both videos of the testimony, one with Eng-and received international attention . Since then, the lish subtitles,7 one with Indonesian subtitles .8AHRC has reported attacks on their website along Video testimony, as opposed to documentary,with the sites of several other groups who featured the allows the victim to create his or her own narrative .torture video, including Survival International, West But in order to be effective, to be able to circulatePapua Media Alerts, the Free West Papua Campaign, in the wider world, these narratives require a greatFriends of People Close To Nature and West Papua deal of context . Translation and subtitling takeUnite . The video also appeared on YouTube . on renewed importance because they are part of Many questions arise from this incident, including the process of getting as close as possible to thewhether or not this is part of a military culture in which victim’s expression of events and making that ex-such actions are not considered criminal . Why would pression the core of social change campaigns . Fora perpetrator want to take pictures of their crime? It is such cases, EngageMedia is currently teaming uphard to believe that with the ease of upload/download with Universal Subtitles, an open source, onlinetechnologies, a soldier would not understand how system that enables collaborative translation andquickly a video such as this could be disseminated and subtitling of video . The system can be accessed oncirculated . Wondering the same about the documenta- the Universal Subtitles website itself, and can alsotions of abuses at Abu Ghraib, the great United States be used in concert with other video sites such as(US) philosopher Susan Sontag wrote that, rather EngageMedia .org, tapping into already existing net-than being trophies, these images are “inspired by works and communities .9the vast repertory of pornographic imagery availableon the internet” and are evidence of the “increasing 6 Carby, H . (2004) A strange and bitter crop: the spectacle of torture, openDemocracy, 10 October . www .opendemocracy .net/media-acceptance of brutality in American life .”5 Perhaps the abu_ghraib/article_2149 .jsp 7 www .engagemedia .org/Members/dewanadatpapua/videos/ kiwotestimony_rev_en .mp4/view4 See the following reports: Amnesty International Papua Digest, January 8 www .engagemedia .org/Members/dewanadatpapua/videos/ 2011 . www .amnesty .org .uk/uploads/documents/doc_21212 .pdf; Open kiwitestimony_id/view letter on unchecked police abuse in Nabire district, Papua (Index ASA 9 The aims for this collaboration are to broaden access to critical 21/024/2009), 30 November 2009 . www .amnesty .org/en/library/info/ human rights and environmental stories from within Southeast Asia, ASA21/024/2009/en; Unfinished business: Police accountability in increasing regional and international exposure; develop a Southeast Indonesia (Index ASA 21/013/2009), 24 June 2009 . www .amnesty .org/ Asia network of volunteer translators and subtitlers of citizen en/library/info/ASA21/013/2009/en; Amnesty International’s briefing media, human rights and environmental video content; enhance the to the UN Committee Against Torture (Index ASA 21/003/2008), 15 April communication between video advocates, campaigners and citizens 2008 . www .amnesty .org/en/library/info/ASA21/003/2008/en in the region to develop shared understandings of the common5 Sontag, S . (2004) Regarding The Torture Of Others, New York Times issues they face; and provide easy access to television stations and Magazine, 23 May . other websites to pick up and run non-native language content . INDONESIA / 141
    • Being sensitive to local languages is just one EngageMedia decided against posting the videoof the practical challenges of using video in tor- on its site, journalist and human rights campaignerture cases . “Given the previous cyber attacks,” Andreas Harsono from Human Rights Watch usedsays Enrico Aditjondro, EngageMedia’s Indonesia his own YouTube account to publish the video . With-editor, “the decision to publish the testimony was in minutes, he received numerous death threats .a calculated risk that required careful preparation After receiving over 100,000 hits, the video wasto ensure the safety of all organisations and indi- flagged and blocked . An anonymous uploader thenviduals involved .” As well as Universal Subtitles, re-posted the complete video on YouTube where itEngageMedia teamed up with Human Rights Watch was still available at the time of writing, but viewersand others to urge the Indonesian government to need to sign in to see it, due to the graphic nature .12mount a thorough, impartial and transparent in- Aditjondro says:vestigation into the episode . This collaborationis important in tracing the way video can be used For credibility and integrity, taking responsibil-in concert with human rights campaigns in raising ity for videos like this is important when they gopublic awareness and bringing about social change . out in public . But such actions can also endan- The Indonesian government responded with a ger advocacy work and made people associatedrapid trial of the soldiers involved . The AHRC says to him [Harsono] vulnerable as well . The storythe trial only came about after heavy national and of Andreas Harsono helped activists realise theinternational pressure, and the result does not security implications of doing digital campaign-provide an adequate remedy for the gravity of the ing, particularly those activists working in morehuman rights violations . The perpetrators have not repressive environments such as West Papua .been charged with their actual crime and AHRC re- Aditjondro also says that EngageMedia, knowingjects this trial as a conclusion of the case . This is that the videos would be on YouTube, was more con-not surprising, considering the track record of the cerned with contextualising the event, and posted aIndonesian government in coming to terms with hu- news story with links to the footage .13 “Watching vi-man rights abuses, evident in other cases such as olence for the sake of it doesn’t achieve anything,”the poisoning of human rights activist Munir Said he says .bin Thalib in September 2004, and the failure to This incident, and the extrapolation of the tor-convict any of the generals accused of war crimes in ture video into Kiwo’s testimony, also point outEast Timor or Aceh . some of the responsibilities video makers and dis- Aditjondro says EngageMedia learns from each tributors have to their subjects and how peopleof these experiences, and continues to face similar watch and interpret disturbing footage . While alldilemmas, most recently concerning the publica- activists have the same aim of exposing violationstion of what is known as the “Ahmadiyyah Video” . of human rights, not all campaigns take the sameIn February 2011, hundreds of villagers in Banten measures to make sure victims and their supportersprovince, west of Jakarta, were filmed marching to a have a voice and still remain secure .house where twenty Ahmadis10 had met . The video In the case of the video of the torture itself, weshows three bloody bodies of Ahmadi men who had cannot know how this video got into activist hands,been stripped, beaten and dragged from the house whether it was intentionally or accidentally leaked .to the ground outside . Police officers appear in the But, having the infrastructure in place for distribu-video, making no attempt to stop the killing, and tion, what we do with these opportunities in a wayscores of young men looked on, recording it with that is responsible and clear is a great challenge .their mobile phones .11 This requires partnerships between technologists EngageMedia and other independent media and human rights agencies . More than ever before,channels were immediately sent the footage by these networks must operate with an unprecedent-some of those who recorded the incident . While ed level of security, speed and collaboration .10 Ahmadis, who practice the Ahmadiyya form of Islam, have been subject to various forms of persecution since the movement’s inception in 1889 . Ahmadiyya is a controversial religious minority 12 www .youtube .com/verify_age?next_url=http%3A//www . in Indonesia that rose sharply in the 2000s with a rise of Islamic youtube .com/watch%3Fv%3DDWHzc8ZxRuQ%26feature%3Dplay fundamentalism . As of 2011, the sect faces widespread calls for a er_embedded total “ban” in Indonesia . 13 EngageMedia (2011) Ahmadiyah bloodied video leads to calls for11 Dewan, A . (2011) Why We Should Support Indonesian Schools, revoke of decree against religious minority, 14 February . www . New Matilda, 16 February . newmatilda .com/2011/02/16/why-we- engagemedia .org/Members/cikeusik/news/ahmadiyah-bloodied- should-support-indonesian-schools video-leads-to-calls-for-revoke-of-decree-against-religious-minority 142 / Global Information Society Watch
    • Concluding notes Action stepsKiwo’s story and the ways video has been gener- The immediate action to be taken around this inci-ated from it tell us a great deal about the potential dent is demanding the retrial of the soldiers whoof information and communications technologies perpetrated the torture of Kiwo and his neighbour .(ICTs) for human rights and social resistance . But This requires ongoing support for local activists inthey also relay the limitations of online video activ- West Papua from regional and global networks .ism . Without an approach that also supports victims More broadly, activists need to:of human rights abuses in their day-to-day lives, in • Be informed . Listen, watch and read storiestheir own languages, what good is such evidence? from West Papua at www .engagemedia .org/ This report has focused on particular incidents taxonomy/countries/WPbecause of the repercussions on activist securityand because of the clear pressure they put on au- • Follow the AHRC campaign to end violence in Westthorities . But this report concerned the impact Papua at www .humanrights .asia/countries/of video in specific incidents . The story of human indonesia/end-violence-in-west-papuarights in Papua and other places is far more com- • Sign the petition opposing US cooperationplex . Infant mortality, sexual health, land rights, with Kopassus (the Indonesian Special Forcesaccess to basic human needs all indicate a grim Command) at www .gopetition .com/petitions/situation for many indigenous people all over the dont-train-indonesias-deadly-kopassus .htmlworld . Yet these stories are unlikely to receive many • Consider security implications to filmmakershits on YouTube . How can these issues also be inte- and witnesses when conducting video docu-grated into a different type of activism, one that can mentation of human rights violationsmove beyond the shock of violence shaming us intoa real world response? • Download Video for Change: A How-To Guide Perhaps more than any other medium, video has on Using Video in Advocacy and Activism fromthe power to reframe stories . Kiwo’s story is much www .witness .orgmore than a file viewed in browsers and copied over • Visit Tactical Tech Security-in-a-Box at www .tac-servers . Taking responsibility for how videos effect ticaltech .org/securityinabox nchange is about making them more than namelessimages of violence . INDONESIA / 143
    • IRAN THE INTERNET AND CIVIL RESISTANCE: FREEDOMS AND STATE REPRESSION Arseh Sevom School and because of this they have always been looking Sohrab Razzaghi for opportunities to create alternative civic spaces, www .3rdsphereschool .org and exploiting those spaces for advancing Iranian women’s collective struggle . For them the internet quickly transformed into an alternative civic spaceIntroduction for social resistance, in place of the many politicalIn recent years, the Iranian political-civil rights and social spaces in which women did not have andmovement has used the internet as an important do not have much influence .tool for free access to and exchange of information . The women’s movement was able to use the in-This has broken the government monopoly on news ternet as a communications tool for spreading newsmedia, expanded social networks, built capacity about the conditions of Iranian women, breakingand empowered both citizens and activists . Howev- taboos, and mobilising and organising women iner, the government is alert to this potential, and has protests against anti-women legislation . The inter-launched its own cyber war on activists . This report net also allowed the Iranian women’s movement thehighlights the important but ambivalent role the in- opportunity to connect with international women’sternet plays in social resistance in Iran . movements and coalitions and raise awareness about the plight of Iranian women within interna-The internet, human rights, tional circles .and civil resistance in Iran One of the successful strategies for using theBlogs have played an important role in the social internet in the social struggle has been the Onestruggle and civic resistance of the Iranian peo- Million Signatures Campaign for Changing the Dis-ple . Civil rights activists in Iran have depended on criminatory Laws against Women in Iran . In a shortblogs more than any other tool for expanding social time, this campaign allowed Iranian women to shinenetworks, and engaging in civil resistance . Blogs light on some of the limitations of Iranian society,offer a vibrant field for challenging dominant ideo- while demonstrating their qualitatively different ex-logical and theoretical assumptions, and for news perience in the world .reporting on Iranian victims of human rights abus- In recent years, civic activists have createdes . Writing blogs has given many Iranian men and campaigns in cyberspace for human rights issues,women the ability to express their beliefs, demands victims of human rights abuses, and focusing onand interests without censorship . They can create single-issue civic demands . The campaign againsttheir own “cyber identity” without fear of being dis- stoning is one such campaign . Here a group of hu-covered (with the concomitant consequences), and man rights activists wrote a letter addressed to thecan make their “hidden self ” public . Chief of the Judiciary demanding the nullification of Blogs are one of the most important politi- the Stoning Law and circulated it online to gathercal advantages progressive Iranians have in the signatures . This letter presented brief reports ofinternet world . In the Iranian calendar year 1383 people who were awaiting stoning sentences and(March 2004-March 2005), Iran ranked highest in expressed the activists’ criticisms about stoningthe number of blogs produced in the world – and being in conflict with Shariah (Islamic law), Iranianalthough that ranking decreased slightly last year common law, and international human rights laws .(2010), Iran is still one of the top ten blog-producing Other campaigns include: Opposition to thecountries in the world . Imprisonment of Students Involved in the 1999 The women’s movement in Iran was one of the Tehran University Dormitory Attacks; Demandingfirst social movements to recognise the importance Freedom for all Political Prisoners (presently 800and influence of the internet . Women activists used political-civic activists are imprisoned); the Cam-the internet as their most important tool in infor- paign Against Sakineh Ashtiani’s Stoning Sentence;mation media for the purposes of advancing their the Campaign Against Execution; the Green Protestsocial struggle . Iranian women have always been Campaign; and the Campaign for Freedom of As-amongst the most marginalised groups in society, sembly and Association in Iran . 144 / Global Information Society Watch
    • Censorship and the shutting down of websites Another useful experience in using the internetand blogs represent some of the major difficulties for civil resistance in Iran comes from the actions ofthat civil resistance in cyberspace faces . Just as the a group of youths who used it for resisting govern-government censors and limits access to and the ment policies and breaking cultural taboos . A groupexchange of information between Iranian citizens, of young boys and girls used Facebook to organiseit continually employs new methods for filtering a public water gun fight at the Water and Fire Parkinternet use . In response, civic activists have in- in Tehran . On the morning of Friday 29 July 2011, avented numerous methods for bypassing filtering . considerably large group of people gathered at theThese include using filter “breaking” sites, proxies, park, and some families came out with their chil-exploiting alternative software, and Google caches, dren as well, to play with water guns and relish theamongst others . joy of being outside . However, the security forces Another act of resistance against the regime’s reacted forcefully and swiftly, stopping the eventpolicies, especially the Iranian “Cyber Army” at- and arresting a number of participants .tacks – essentially online “troops” sent to stifle Meanwhile, alongside the expansion of thecivil resistance – is the hacking of government political-civil rights movement in Iran by using newsites and government-supported sites . In the last communications tools to help democratise Iran, thetwo years, civil activists have attacked government false government has also attempted to use thesesites such as the Islamic Republic of Iran Presidency tools to solidify its rule and silence the Iranian peo-site, the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) site, ple’s civil resistance .Fars News, Raja News, and many others – multipletimes . Through this method, they have expressed Policy and regulationtheir protest against government policies and In 2009, a new political class was able to come toprogrammes . power by widely manipulating the tenth presiden- The Green Movement represented a quali- tial elections, with the full support of the military .tatively new experience in using the internet to These actions resulted in the formation of a garrisonfurther social militancy and expand civil resistance state, the expansion of populism in the societal andin Iran . This movement emerged from the womb political spheres, the renewed rise of ideologicalof a wider-based social movement, which we can discourses, and the suppression of the middle classlabel the movement for political-civil rights . Its and cultural classes . During the past few years,most visible moment of civic resistance was on 12 this new political class in Iran has attempted toJune 2009, the day of elections, when it took to make itself the sole power and independent actorthe streets, demanding: “Where is my vote?” This in the fields of politics, society, economy and cul-movement constituted a reaction to the governing ture within Iranian society . It has also attempted tomethods of Iran’s rulers, the imposition of a par- have a determinant role in all fields of Iranian life,ticular kind of existence, the widespread violation and to govern Iranian society based only upon itsof human and civil rights, and corruption and dis- ideological and theoretical assumptions . Effective-organisation within Iranian society . It called for a ly, it wanted to occupy all civic spaces, preventinggovernment based on the rule of law, the expansion alternative discourses from politicising society, andof democratic relationships, and a commitment to destroy all associations engaging in political resist-standards and criteria of human rights and peace ance . The ultimate consequence of all of this waswithin Iranian society . the obstruction and constriction of civil and politi- By using the internet, this movement was able cal society, the limitation of political-civil freedoms,to communicate the voices of Iranians to the out- and the widespread violation of human rights in Ira-side word . By using new forms of internet media as nian society .a political weapon, Green Movement activists suc- This new political class, in advancing its projectcessfully brought the government’s legitimacy into to homogenise Iranian society and social thought,question, and dispelled the regime’s myths . has likewise attempted to promote and make domi- Facebook, news websites and video exchanges nant a culture of inertia and silence in Iran . It aimson YouTube have been some of the main tools of to disrupt, obstruct and control access to and thecivic activists in the political-social struggle against free exchange of information .government deception and the widespread viola- The most important programmes that the Irani-tion of human rights . For example, the video of the an government has used to limit the people’s rightmurder of “Neda Agha-Soltan” was first published to access the internet, shut down communicationson Facebook and shortly sent shockwaves across and break up civil resistance in cyberspace includethe entire world . the following: IRAN / 145
    • • Preventing the development of and investment and free exchange of information during recent in internet infrastructure, despite the fact that years . Identifying “forbidden” pages and fil- the Fourth and Fifth Five-Year Social-Economic tering them occurs via multiple methods . The Development Plans (2005-2009 and 2010-2014) common methods used are filtering based on emphasise the need to develop and invest in inter- IP addresses, domain names, page addresses, net infrastructure . keywords and page content . According to statistics presented by Iran’s Na- For expanding the reach of filtering, Iranian offi- tional Internet Development Management cials use full-featured blocking software, which Centre, by March 2011, 32 .66% of Iran’s total has been purchased from China and Russia . The population used the internet through various criteria for identifying and blocking websites methods . In addition to dial-up internet, ADSL are determined and announced by the “Commit- has been introduced in the country, and now tee for Determining Examples of Criminal Web wireless internet on the WiMAX platform is Content” comprised of representatives from the available . Based on a report by MATMA (Na- security institutions . Censorship and filtering in tional Internet Development Agency of the Iran happen through the main gateways, com- Islamic Republic of Iran), most internet users in bined with the blocking of certain URLs . Iran is the country are GPRS subscribers, and use their one of the ten countries named as “Enemies of mobile phones to connect to the internet – con- the Internet” by Reporters Without Borders in stituting more than 41% of all internet users in 2011 .2 Iran . • Online attacks by the government’s Cyber However, by the end of the Iranian year 1389 Army is another strategy used to foil civil re- (March 2011), 29% of all internet users in the sistance . The identity of the Cyber Army was country used dial-up telephone services to at first unclear, until Ebrahim Jabbari, Com- connect to the internet . Because of legal limi- mander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard tations for residential users, who constitute Committee (IRGC) Ali Ibn Abi Taleb Ground a large portion of internet users, high-speed Forces Regiment, announced on 20 May 2010, internet bandwidth is only 128 kilobits per sec- “Today, we witness that the IRGC has been ond in Iran (equal to 8 .12 bytes per second), successful in founding a cyber army that is and high-speed bandwidth is generally limited . only the second cyber army to exist in the en- In addition to limited speeds, the high cost of tire world .”3 In May 2009, the public relations high-speed internet and power instability can office of the Revolutionary and Public Court of be added to the difficulties that Iranians face .1 Tehran announced that, following a series of• Shutting down access to and the free exchange complex intelligence operations, 30 people of information and the obstruction of communi- suspected of participating in the group called cation networks . The government has frequently “cyber wars” were arrested . This action followed resorted to disrupting or reducing Iranian inter- a wave of attacks against anti-government web- net speeds in the last two years – especially sites and blogs by the Iranian Cyber Army . from 15-21 June 2009, and in the months follow- Although the IRGC had clearly begun combat- ing the 2009 elections . It is necessary to note ing what it viewed as “immoral sites” through that the Iranian government is the main provid- the creation of GERDAB (the Centre for Combat- er of internet services in Iran through the Iran ing Organised Cyber Crimes), the IRGC did not Telecommunications Company, and it can dis- begin confronting social-political media until a rupt or obstruct internet access and the free directive issued following the events of 12 June flow of information at any time . In the year 2009, and the emergence of the Iranian peo- 1388 (March 2010-March 2011), a majority stake ple’s political-civil rights movement . It appears in the ownership of the government-owned that the IRGC, in addition to dominating all com- telecommunications company was given to the munications infrastructures and information Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps . networks in Iran, has direct responsibility for• Widespread filtering of sites and blogs is one the guidance and management of “cyber wars” of the other actions the government has taken within the Iranian government . In addition to the to stifle civil resistance and prevent access to Cyber Army, other institutions such as the IRGC 2 march12 .rsf .org/en1 www .mehrnews .com/fa/newsdetail .aspx?NewsID=131042 3 english .farsnews .com/farsnews .php 146 / Global Information Society Watch
    • Department of Cyber Defence and the Security Civil activists in Iran have used multiple meth- Police for the Exchange of Information (FATA) ods to protest in the last two years, ranging from were also created in 2010 . Alongside these in- street demonstrations to online campaigns, blog- stitutions, “observational teams” and activity ging, producing and publishing video files using monitoring centres that track internet users are mobile phones, writing graffiti on paper currency, working hard, and the IRGC is making efforts to and even hunger strikes in prison . The use of so- recruit hackers and computer security experts cial networks and the internet has played a very with very high salaries and benefits . important role in publishin