Human rights, Internet policy and the public policy role of ICANN

08 November 2012 - A Workshop on Baku,Azerbaijan


The recent years have proven that the openness of Internet is a fundamental feature for the empowerment of citizens and the
strengthening of democracies. The framing of Internet policy should be oriented towards this goal and the policies governing the Domain Name
System are not a stranger to this debate. On one hand, a human rights assessment on new ICANN policies could provide the community with means to better understand the impacts of the introduction of new policies in the ICANN environment, in addition to economic analyses. On the other, new regulation is being proposed in numerous countries using the DNS system as a resource to prevent or stop illicit activities. The fine balance between law enforcement and the protection of human rights, such as free speech and privacy, among others, is crucial for a number of new Internet regulations that
affects the DNS.

For example there are tensions between the potential benefits of aggregating specific forms of content for communities of people to
support their right to information, and the ease of DNS filtering to further censor or narrow the spaces for expression and information of
already marginalised/discriminated against sections of society, for example, the introduction of dotgay.
Especially at ICANN, free speech concerns over the implementation of new generic top level domains and the traditional debate over privacy
and the WHOIS highlights the need for a more concrete analysis on the impact on human rights on ICANN activities.

However, ICANN is not a human rights standard setting body yet is responsible for public policy making, although in a very narrow
sphere. The role and responsibility of ICANN in relation to human rights needs further exploration and multi-stakeholder dialogue to
better understand how to give effect to human rights related issues within ICANN.

The proposed workshop will provide a comprehensive analysis of internet policy topics handled by ICANN that have human rights
implications and examine how these implications are paramount to the fostering of the public interest in internet policy.

Agenda for Workshop no.123: Human Rights, Internet Policy and the
Public Policy Role of ICANN

10 minutes – Introductions
* Moderator: Framing the questions and setting the stage for the debates
*Each panelist: 2 line introductions from each panelist – their name,
affiliation and why they think the issue is important

60 minutes – What are the most relevant topics regarding human rights
protection on the development of the public policy role of ICANN?
* Panelists have 5 (five) minutes to present their remarks, followed
by 35 (thirty five) minutes of audience discussion

40 minutes – How to implement a human rights assessment on ICANN policies?
* Panelists have 2 (two) minutes to present remarks followed by 30
(thirty) minutes of audience discussion

10 minutes – Wrap up and way forward
*Each panelist: 1 minute takeaways
*Moderator: overall summary