Fostering Respect by Companies for Internet User Rights

05 September 2014 - A Workshop on Istanbul,Turkey


IGF 2014 sub theme that this workshop fall under

Internet and Human Rights


People around the world increasingly depend on digitally networked products and services, from broadband and mobile data services, to devices, to social networks, to cloud computing. These “intermediaries” mediate relationships between individuals and their communities, economies, and governments. It is thus vital that they operate in a manner compatible with the realization of human rights online as well as offline.
Meanwhile the fallout of the Snowden revelations has amplified stakeholder distrust, prompting governments to push for domestic solutions that are not interoperable while the internet governance ecosystem itself is going through a period of uncertainty. The creation of mechanisms that will allow intermediaries to act in a constructive way for the fostering of human rights is key to improving trust across the global Internet.
The proposed workshop will map and debate the impacts of different kinds of initiatives created to improve the level of accountability of intermediaries relating to human rights concerns, particularly regarding users’ rights to privacy and freedom of expression. From drafting human rights commitments into national legislation, to the creation of multistakeholder groups to propose soft law models, to self-regulatory initiatives, to mechanisms for ranking human rights policies and practices, to transparency reporting frameworks, the workshop will invite speakers and audience to debate the different methodologies from each kind of initiative, as well as their challenges, enforcement models and results.
The workshop aims to achieve a better understanding among stakeholders of how such initiatives may interact with each other and what are their advantages and disadvantages.


1. Panel introductions
Panelists speak briefly about different initiatives and methods for promoting ICT companies’ respect for human rights, highlighting successes, potential opportunities, obstacles and pitfalls of such efforts.

2. Audience input
Audience members and remote participants have an opportunity to highlight other initiatives and to ask questions about the initiatives presented.

3. Follow-up
Fostering comparisons between the initiatives, exploring their peculiarities and impacts, identifying other un- or underdeveloped options.

Name(s) and stakeholder and organizational affiliation(s) of institutional co-organizer(s)

Rebecca MacKinnon
Civil society / academia
New America Foundation / Ranking Digital Rights

Allon Bar
Civil Society
Ranking Digital Rights

Has the proposer, or any of the co-organizers, organized an IGF workshop before?


The link to the workshop report

Type of session


Duration of proposed session

90 minutes

Subject matter #tags that describe the workshop

#humanrights, #privacy, #freedomofexpression, #companies, #accountability

Names and affiliations (stakeholder group, organization) of speakers the proposer is planning to invite

- Rebecca Mackinnon, Civil society, Ranking Digital Rights (Y, Y)
- Carlos Affonso Souza, CIvil society, Instituto de Tecnologia e Sociedade (ITS) (Y, Y)
- Ebele Okobi, Private Sector, Yahoo! (Y,Y)
- Moez Chakchouk, Government, Tunisian Internet Agency (Y,Y)
- Ihab Osman, Private Sector, former CEO of Sudatel Telecom Group (Y,Y)
- Cynthia Wong, CIvil society, Human Rights Watch (Y,Y)
- Stephen Lowe, Government, UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office (Y,Y)
- Susan Morgan, Civil society, Global Network Initiative (Y,Y)

Name of Moderator(s)

Charles Mok, Government, Hong Kong Legislative Council Representative

Name of Remote Moderator(s)

Allon Bar, Civil society, Ranking Digital Rights

Description of how the proposer plan to facilitate discussion amongst speakers, audience members and remote participants

The panel aims to explore the advantages and disadvantages of adopting different strategies to keep intermediaries accountable to human rights. For such a purpose the duration of the session will be divided into three moments. In the first one each panelist will present a certain initiative for not longer than five minutes. Right after that we will invite the audience and the remote participants to ask questions about the initiatives that have been presented. In the third moment of the workshop we will foster comparison between the initiatives, exploring their peculiarities and impacts through questions raised by the audience and by the moderator.

Description of the proposer's plans for remote participation

There is no plan to have a remote panelist at this time, but the workshop will foster remote participation by reaching out to all stakeholders involved in the initiatives that will be presented and commented on during the session.

Background paper

No background paper provided