Cuts Right Across: Consent in the Digital Age

11 November 2015 - A Workshop on Other in João Pessoa, Brazil

Agenda

Consent is increasingly emerging as a cross-cutting concept, one that is deeply intertwined with, yet buried beneath key concepts of internet governance: privacy, security and data protection, free speech and expression, human rights and digital trust. 

While consent underpins our digital activities in theory, consent is often not taken, or even violated, in practice. Individuals' personal information and intimate images regularly go viral without their consent. The consent we give as internet users to the terms and conditions of intermediaries is often meaningless. While the Internet has induced a renegotiation of the social contract between states and citizens, revelations such as those made by Edward Snowden indicate that citizens' explicit consent is rarely sought or obtained when the terms of the contract change. In an age when much of our lives is data, consent is essential not just for informational self-determination, or to enable users to freely and safely express themselves, but to foster active citizenship. Without consent, there is no social contract.

This roundtable aims to surface the buried concept of consent and explore its value and significance to strengthen, not only the right to privacy, but human rights online, and what this means for Internet governance in substance and in process. It brings together a variety of actors, each looking at consent through a different lens and explores these questions: 

  • What is online meaningful consent in theory and in digital practice? How can we move from towards meaningful consent?

  • How do cyberlaws address the issue of consent?

  • How can foregrounding consent strengthen privacy and other rights of individuals?

  • How can we build an online culture in which consent is respected and self-regulated? How should we regulate digital consent?

  • What can consent in another domain teach us about consent in a digital world?

  • How can foregrounding consent serve efforts to build a more rights-oriented Internet governance across the board?

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