The Right to Protest Online

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

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Full Session Transcript

>> MODERATOR: Thanks everyone for joining us.  We're still waiting for one speaker.  Apologies.  We're running late.

Okay.  Hello, everyone.  Sorry about the delay.

We are about to start.  Thank you for joining us to this working shop on The Right to Protest Online.

As we know, Internet has increasingly been used as a platform of protest and it gathers in online spaces and engage new forms of literal process.  The thing is that this right to protest online hasn't been recognized as a right to be especially protected and there has been a lot of discussion around right to protest off line, but very little about right to protest online.

So that's what we're going to entail in this workshop.  We will have the participation of Gabrielle Guillemin.  She is a senior legal of ARTICLE 19.  Under the Internet law and Policy Organization, we have Harry Hopin. 

He is from MIT computer science.  We have Obana Tachi from the Council of Europe Secretary, and we will have arriving later Eleanor Ranovich from Google.

So Gabrielle will give us first moment framework that could help us, and introduce the issues around these right to protest online. 

>> GABRIELLE GUILLEMIN:  Thanks, Paulina.  Thanks everyone for joining us today.

As you know, protests are very topical.  We've seen a lot of them from the protests in Turkey to protests in Ukraine, in Europe and the united kingdom for instance, we've seen protests happening against authority measures, but there hasn't really been a reflection about what the

framework should be from a human rights standpoint around the right to protest as such, let alone around The Right to Protest Online.

So what I'm going to try to do today is two things:  One, I'm going to go through what ARTICLE 19 has been thinking about and thinking about the right to protest, what we think it engages in terms of other rights, I'm going to go through some of the issues that arise off line, and then move on to some of the issues that arise online from a first question perspective but all is in relation to issues such as surveillance and reporting on protests.

So what is the right to protest?  If you look at various international instruments you won't find a right to protest as such.  Anality engages other rights and freedoms.  So I've listed some of them here.  Freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and association, the right to liberty and security and so far as relates to detention, the prohibition of torture and integrating treatment.  If you think about police violence, for instance, the right to life would also be relevant and the rights to privacy.

So what does Article 19 think about possible definition of the right to protest?  We've been developing a partnership with others, some right to put us principals and I'm going to come to that in a minute, but when thinking about the right to protest, what we've come up with is the fact that the right to protest, unlike the right to freedom of and verb on which tends to be exercised in an individual capacity, it has a collective element and it is usually the collective and verb on of a positional, dissenting reactive or responsive views, values or interests.

Now, we think about the right to protest and how it applies off line, we usually look at the permissible restrictions on freedom of and verb on and it's a broad test and it is set up here the fact that the restriction on protest is set out by law which aren't sufficiently clear, there is the legitimate aim, which in this case would be the prevention of criminal activity or upholding public safety, public order, and whether the measure is necessary and proportionate in a democratic society.

Now, if we look at the right to freedom of assembly and association, it is actually traditionally it has been a rather weak right because it is very much linked to the policing of protests and because it's also about the use of physical space, traditionally there have been a number of restrictions on the time of protests so that some protests can be held indefinitely, in terms of place, sometimes protestors are told that they can't protest in front of, for example, the embassy or other public building where they want to protest but they have to go somewhere else which might be completely outside of the way and in a place where it would not draw the attention to the issue that they are seeking to protest about, and ultimately it is really looking at how much the expressive activity involved in protests is causing disruption, inconvenience, or violence.

Now, if we think about freedom of assembly, The Right to Protest Online, I think the two major rights are engaged are on the one hand the right to freedom of expression and the right to freedom of assembly.

When thinking about these issues that are online, given the weakness of the right to freedom of assembly we've done it to look at it from the perspective of freedom of expression so as to avoid the sort of restrictions that I was mentioning earlier about timing, for instance, if you think about the organization of protests at any single time on the Internet or if you think about some of the other requirements that you find usually around protests off line, such as a notification requirement.

Now, what forms of protests are we talking about when looking at the right to protest online?  I think we can divide it broadly speaking into two aspects.  One is when individuals use social media or other applications and tools to organize protests.  I'm sure you will all be familiar with protesttors using Facebook, having a Facebook page to organize a protest, you'll also be familiar with YouTube being used to upload videos about protests and recording in real time how they're happening sometimes to document any violence that might object the ground in relation to the protests on the ground.  The use of Twitter in relation to, for example, either meeting points for having a protest or sometimes people alerting each other to violence may be occurring in different places.  And then the use of Google maps to know where the protest is actually happening.

That is the use where we would see as the right to for expression being used here.

Now, the second aspect of online protest is also that it can be used as a venue for protests.  I'm sure you all remember when the Internet went dark and instead of getting access to Wikipedia and other websites, you only got a dot page and protest against the SOPA legislation in the US. 

Their own copyright.

In practice, so what you see in terms of forms of online protests might see the de-face meant of a website.  For example when going to that website you might get a particular message, such as the one below.  So you can't get access, for example, to a government site.

Sometimes it's just redirecting so that once you've been to that particular page you'll be able to get access to the particular website.

Sometimes there is denial of service attack.  So the page won't load and effectively there will be no access to that particular website.

And this site might just be taken down and you will get an error message.

Now, in general, we found that there was very little international guidance or even case law in relation to what the protests online might constitute.  And in reality, a lot of the time these actions may well be criminal.  If you look, for instance, at the European convention on cybercrime, a lot of these would fall on the unlawful interference with the computer system.  But in practice, individuals may well be found liable under a number of provisions.

Another recent example is a Bill under the Spanish criminal code.  This one was about criminalize go the dissemination by my means of messages or orders in citing disturbance of public violence.  That is another example of how it might be criminalized.

So when looking at this and faced with this reality, I think we need to ask ourselves, at the very least encourage the prosecuting authorityes to look at whether or not this is a public interest and the prosecution when these actions were taken for the purposes of protests.

Another thing to look at is whenever these prosecutions are going ahead is the extent to which the purpose of the activity and insofar it was not to create damage in the damage itself was no substantial, should be taken into account when looking at the sanctions.

In developing the right to protest principles and looking at these issues we’ve teased out some of the basic principles that should be taken into account which I've already mentioned to some extent but which you can find here.

Now I'm going to come to some of the other issues that we need to think about.  When talking about protests, this I'm moving back to protesting off line, I this I there are three issues that we really need to focus on and perhaps haven't quite gotten the attention that they need to.  One is anonymity, we've already discussed anonymity for un stance in the Brazilian context, but what that means in terms of the organization of protests, if you think about that notification of requirement that I was mentioning earlier if there is nobody that you can identify from a policing perspective ive to organize the operational policing around it.

There is also the issue of open signals intelligence the extent to which individuals are complaining on Twitter about the protest some of that information may not only be recorded and put into databases and what that means.  So individuals not aware that when they are attending protests maybe their communications might be scooped up in relation to Twitter or more generally just because Nevaday been attending that protest they might be identified and then put in a database.

Finally, there is the issue of the reporting on protests and protecting the media.  This is going back to the issue of having the ability when individuals on the ground to report what is happening.

So these are some of the issues that we've looked at and our right to protest principles.  I would invite you to visit the site and I'll be very happy to discuss it in more detail during the questions.

Thank you. 

>> MODERATOR: Thank you very much, Gabrielle.

Now that she has introduced the issues, I want Harry to help us with some experiences. 

>> HARRY HOPIN:  Yes.  So I work at MIT on open standards related to cryptography and browseers and all of that stuff so some of my work is in everyone's browser today.

Unfortunately, I know quite a lot about the right to protest because I was labeled a terrorist by the US and UK authorities due to being involved in protest activity.  In particular, I was involved in protests against what we thought were rampant corruption in the banking centre and the overreach trade treaties, the WTO and after that I was involved in the UK as a climate camp movement which was a family friendly social move men who basically sort of said that the goal to prevent catastrophic climate change we need to keep the coal in the ground and we need to basically stop, basic releasing anymore CO2 into the air.

In 2008 when I was involved in this this was considered very radical, even though new with the UN sum mat and Climate Change coming up in Paris in a few weeks, this is now viewed, you know, as consensus, both within science and increasingly even within the political lead of the United States, the UK, and the rest of the world.

However, at that time, they were the various police forces were so terrified of protests, they sent undercover police targeted surveillance, targeted surveillance aimed at activists in order to disrupt their right to protest.

I've seen, you know, myself personally, when I had an undercover police officer called Mark Kennedy basically when I told him hey, I got a job at MIT that information and violation of data exchange principles, but don't worry they use the national security exception, was sent to the FBI who then opened a grand jury and then as soon as I got off the airplane into my home Country my laptop was ceased, I was put in a small room and interrogated and told I was never going to get out.

When they finally did let me out, the FBI, MIT to intimidate various professors and threaten me.  They entered of course under false pretenses.  When I returned to the UK I had my DNA taken under schedule 7 which is more or less viewed as not particularly legal in terms of human rights and was more or less forced out of the Country which I had been living and doing my PHD in for seven years.

This isn't really the worse.  I've had friends where undercover police officers basically would engage in sexual relations with them in order to obtain intelligence about climate change protest.  I've seen the British police will use the names of dead children in order to basically make their cover story more believable.  And we've even seen, I mean, you know, we've seen the FBI drive young activists like Erin Schwartz who is a good friend, to sue us, because that is how afraid even supposedly self-centralized countries are of protest.

Fighting back in court, I'm okay today and I have a lot of faith in young people and the right to protest, even though my life was personally destroyed for several years, when we saw the anonymous actions, you know, defending the right to leak acts against human rights and against corruption to the world to make people aware, I was thrilled.

When we've seen even more recently, a young 13-year-old hack the CIA director of the CIAs Email account in solidarity with repressed people, I actually feel that the younger kids today are all right, and they're face ago very grim future.  They're facing catastrophic climate change, long-term unemployment, they're facing problems which my generation has yet to really fully grasp.  I think the best thing that we can do today is in order to ensure that these young people don't have to go through pure hell, they can actually have the right to protest and the right to fix these large scale social problems which are current political class has been unable to fix, if we can guarantee that right, and we can guarantee that right via getting the laws right, and I appreciate Article 19's right to protest, we can eliminate this ridiculous national security exceptions against these laws which conflate activism with terrorism which is completely absurd but is the purpose of these cowardly national security exceptions which make a farce of data protection and human rights, and if we can encode this, if we can't even trust our Governments, if we can encode these fundamental rights into the code of the Internet itself, into the protocols, which is what Snowden is asking for, Magna Carta for the Internet, Sandy Petlin, the new deal for data, If we can encode our rights into the actual infrastructure of the internet we can give future generations the possibility to not only have the right to protest but to actually fix a very broken society and a very grim future that they're inherit sting.  So I think we need do this not just for ourselves, but basically for our children, who I'm actually quite happy with right now.

That's it. 

>> MODERATOR: Thank you, Harry, for encouraging us.

So now that you are talking about the special protection that we need in code, and according to all your recording experience, recorded experience, maybe we can talk about now the -- what the Council of Europe has being doing according to their standard setting on this right.

Thank you. 

>> OBANA TACHI:  Thank you very much.

First let me introduce two words of introduction of the organization I work for.  I work for the Council of Europe, which is an intergovernmental for the European states.  The mandate of the organization is to defend human rights, democracy and rule of laws.  That's the focus of our organization.  I'm working on media and internet policy issues.

Now, as regards the right to protest that we are discussing here, I'll try to explain the engagement of our organization with standards in this field, especially with regard to freedom of assembly and association which Gabrielle mentioned there is a component of the right to protest, which is actually the only right recognized in the European convention on humans rights, the right to protest as you mentioned is not there.

In the past years the highest decision making body of our organization, the Committee of Ministers, has issued a number of statements on the applicability to the right of association online.

For example, in connection with domain names, the committee of ministers issued a statement saying that domain names are not only -- do not only have an address go function, they also have a function of people can use domain names to express themselves, but also to associate in communities.

Another statement has been on the freedom of privately operated platforms, Internet platforms as a means for the exercise for freedom of assembly and association.

In another document guide to Internet users regarding their human rights, we mention there that ICTs and ICT tools and the Internet can be used for freedom of association and the users are also reminded that should these tools be used in a disruptive way there can be legal consequences which is what we heard here about.

Now, what we are doing right now is to explore the gray areas of right to freedom of assembly and association in the Council of Europe.  We are preparing a report on this right online and there we started with a conceptualization of this right, how does it apply?  How does Article 11 of the European convention rights apply to the Internet.

Now there we don't have much guidance, unfortunately by the European courts of human rights on this because there have been no cases brought to the court on Internet and the right of freedom of assembly and association, but regardless of that, there are some principles which the court has pronounced in non-Internet cases, which are relevant to the world of Internet.

For example, the court has said that the notions of assembly and association are autonomous and they are not defined, they are not constrained by whatever understanding member states have in their national laws about these notions.  And that can be a very interesting principle, especially if we explore the so-called informal association that takes place online all the time.  People just getting together, writing a petition, creating a face group or whichever other platform.

Then in our paper we also looked at potential of ICT tools and Internet for association and we explored -- we saw that there are many cases in Europe actually where this is taking place.  Users are using these tools to assemble and associate, especially when they want to demonstrate in the off line world we saw that in the events related to the Gasey park protest in Turkey, there have been expression statements by the counsel group commissioner for human rights on the restrictions that took place in connection with those protests and how the Internet was used.

So in this paper after we explored the potential, the positive views of these tools, then we struggled a little bit with the term peaceful assembly and association, because this is really the term that is used by the European commission on human rights, what is a peaceful assembly online.  And there we very clearly wanted to distinguish the activities such as those which took place, for example, in London in 2011, the riots in London, telephones were used to engage in urban violence, so we distinguished from that, and then we distinguished from the use of the Internet from the so-called DIOSH group to recruit people into terrorists activities.

And on that particular point, I would like to mention that

there is an additional protocol to the council group's convention on prevention of sharism which has just been open for signature and that additional protocol criminalizes the recruitment to find in foreign territories, recruitment of foreign terrorists fighters including through the use of the Internet.

So the word internet appears actually in that a additional protocol.  So this is the first exploration that we did.

Then we moved on in the ways that freedom of assembly and association is being restricted online.  Blocking of internet platforms is one way how this is done, and unfortunately this is down in Council of Europe member states as well where the entire platform is switched off just ahead of major protests or demonstration or a political gathering before even elections.

So, blocking and filtering of Internet is considered one way of interfering with this freedom.

Another way is the prosecution of individuals for their exercise of their right to association online.  And that we have seen also in some Council of Europe member states.  People have been arrested simply for tweeting on a gathering, again linked to political objectives or other societal pre-occupations.  That is another form of interference, legal prosecution.

Another area which is -- now I'm moving into the so-called gray area, is the so-called civil disobedience, which you Gabrielle mentioned.  There are it is taken note in this work that we are doing in this report that there are denial of service attacks which are motivated, perhaps, politically, and yes, they do create disruption in the access to information and Internet content, but perhaps this motivation intent is very interesting and it should be noted.

In the membership, in the 47 council of member states we've been able to identify one case which went before the courts and that was a website de-face meant of the Luftan website in Germany and the case went before the court.  I don't have the details right now.  But the court considered that there was, indeed, a political motivation behind that action and there was no criminal liability derived in that case, publicly recognized in that case.

So the case law in member states is actually not -- there are not many cases going to the courts.  And this is a point I think which is of interest to be taken, to be noted here.

But in our report we have recognized exactly this, that there is disruptive action online, which is maybe politically motivated and maybe might have some other societal present occupations behind it, and we are recommending in this work that we are doing that law enforcement authorities, police and prosecutors, but also courts be mindful of these elements whenever criminal cases are a pursuit in these situations.

We also have looked at the implications of mass surveillance for the exercise of this freedom, assembly and association and this is definitely one form of restriction of interference with this right and freedom.

So, this report will be mostly about taking stock of the situation, the legal standards in Europe, and trying to explore this gray areas as I said, we are not at the moment embarking on a policy -- on policy guidelines on this particular -- on this particular point in this case, we see that there are some hesitations in some Council of Europe member states to actually prescribe a policy right now on this, but it is important to raise awareness of what are the issues involved with regard to the exercise of this right, the right of freedom of assembly and association.

I will just add last word we are doing another in another activity we are developing actually policy guidelines on Internet freedom and there we are recommending this is not finalized yet, this policy is still a draft, but the key recommendation there is to invite all the 47 member states to evaluate themselves, what is the state of Internet freedom.  And one of the components there is the right to freedom of assembly and association and for that we have developed some indicators to help member states to complete this evaluation.  For that we have used the principles that the European court of human rights has established in non-Internet cases but which can kind an application in the Internet related cases.

So I'll leave it at that and I'm happy to take any

questions.

Thank you. 

>> MODERATOR: Thank you, Obana.

Now, we can ask Eleanor that has joined us.  Maybe how is Google doing with protests as a concern or something about the authority's request. 

This online protest. 

>> ELEANOR RANOVICH:  Hi.  Thank you.  I'm sorry for being late.  I was in another workshop which was delayed.

Well, I don't know what you have said before, because I've just arrived, but there are many things that can be said about protests.  Protests is part of the -- okay.  Is included in the right to free speech, so as a company we are committed to the value of freedom of and verb on which is -- which includes protecting opinions, opinions from minorities, political criticism and also the right to protest.

So, some questions that you have asked me to talk about, like what are the trends that we see a as a company, especially in Latin America where I work as a policy manager and what are we doing as a company to allow the users to use our platforms ask the web to express protest, and the audience to see what is happening.

So let me start.  One of the questions that you ask me was what are we doing with YouTube, for example.  YouTube is one of the -- it's okay?  YouTube is one of the platforms that our users use more to show different kind of political opinions and specifically in countries where there are maybe a blackout for example, YouTube and of course other Internet platforms are very important ways of transmitting and showing to the public what is going on in times of protest.

So we believe that protests require disabilities.  Although for example we have some community guidelines to prohibit violence in YouTube, when it is newsworthy, we allow the content to be there.  So we have received many requests to take down and to remove, like, content from YouTube about, like, violence in protests and other issues that come within the protest, but we usually don't remove them because we believe that it is worthy and it's a question, of course, of public interest.  So if you have the process online but nobody can see it, it doesn't have any sense. So, that's one issue.

The issue of take down a user request, well we have to comply with the law and we also, like, give data requested to us on the ground of legal providers.  So we are committed to (Indiscernible) that are in place in many countries but we have, like -- we only, like, comply with, like, the legal requests.  So that may be the answer.

And if you allow me to add some things, I think that we are seen very worse trends all over the world to diminish the right of freedom of expression and to protest online.  Two things that I think we have to do in order to strengthen the right to protest and the right to freedom of expression is first, we believe that like intermediary ease like Google and other companies are like the main, sometimes the main points of control to remove content, to control the information that is on the Internet.  So, we have to protect those intermediaries with safe harbors so we can protect the information that is there which is sometimes information about protests and people presenting on line.

The other way we have to protect, and I'm sure that we have talked a lot about this anonymity online and encryption and also we are fully committed to that and see that many governments try to undermined encryption worldwide because encryption has made content blockers relent less but we are the company committed to improve encryption and protect anonymity also. 

>> MODERATOR: Okay.  Thank you very much, Eleanor. 

So it seems that policy changes need to be made.  And also according to the law enforcement conduct from public forces or policy.  But we would like to continue with some questions that you have directed to any of our guests.

Anyone?  Yes.  Can someone --

>> AUDIENCE:  Of course, everyone have rights to protest online protestors also realization of this right.  But, how to avoid some real criminal activities when those protests are coming to, for example, their wrist activities, not for general protestors, but terrorists movements could use these activities, you know, in some countries.  How to protect the society and protect peaceful protesters from this kind of threats.

Thank you. 

>> MODERATOR: Thank you.  Okay.  Harry wants to answer this one. 

>> HARRY HOPIN:  So I would suggest not using words.  I'm a computer programmer.  So I like words with precise meanings and words such as peaceful and violent and terrorist are notoriously imprecise.  Why don't you talk about what people actually do. 

>> AUDIENCE:  If I cut someone's head off, that is murder.  If the CIA drops a drone that is probably also murder, right.

So if someone does an online protest and it takes a website down for a few hours or a few days, that's taking a website down that has some economic consequences, probably a cost.   Even if it is none, I have 11 civil disobedience by some regards.

So I think we can actually talk about rather than get lost in this giant fog of peaceful and violent and terrorists and law abiding or nation state, whatever, regardless of the actor, why don't we try to talk about the actual crime and what the consequences of that crime are?  Because the consequences for murder are pretty clear.  Someone is no longer alive.  The consequences about tweeting about a protest, you know, I don't think that counts as terrorism on the same at all.  It shouldn't.  So I think that is how I would approach it.

I think then once you approach the problem that way you can go through most of these things and make sense I can cull and non his steer I can cull decisions about that. 

>> I just want to add, I agree with what you said and we've seen in many Latin American countries, Governments are enacting antiterrorist law with very broad and vague words defining what a terrorist act is and they have been used to diminish the right to protest and to dissent online or off line, so we have to be very aware of that kind of legislation also.  Not only, I mean especially the Developing Countries. 

>> MODERATOR: Yes.  Well, not also antiterrorist, and ant cyber laws.  For example, in Mexico, there was -- it happened like two, three weeks ago that a Senator presented an initiative.  Yeah, known as a La Fayad.  Where he actually introduced a felony called terrorism or informative terrorism or online terrorism and according to description it could be a protest online.

Well, it wasn't approved, yeah, thanks to a lot of organizations that had a very specific and human rights standpoint on it.  I just wanted to point out that.

Okay.  Any other questions?  You here.  Yeah.  Here is the

microphone. 

>> AUDIENCE: Thank you.  Thank you.

I would like to ask you if you find worry that nowadays we are so dependent on Google and Facebook companies pro protest online.  Usually we have to have an account in order to have access to search information, you have to log in, you have to -- you need to be part of it to be a member of it, and doesn't it effect the freedom of expression? 

Thank you. 

>> MODERATOR: Thank you.  Google wants to say something. 

>> I won't answer for Facebook.

Well, of course, I mean, you have to register to use an account and you have to include the data that is required.  I think that -- I mean you have a lot of possibilities to use many other -- many services on the web, including Google, Facebook, Twitter and whatever, so I don't think that free speech is encumbered when you need to include certain data to allow the functioning of the services.  The only way that it can work. 

>> HARRY HOPIN:  Just a quick response.  There are alternative platforms.  They don't have many users.  I hope they get more users as more and more people realize that they're being sense order by platforms like Twitter and Google and Facebook.  I work the W3C where part we have a group called the social web working group.  We're trying to make standards around decentralized social networks that allow people to have anonymity.  Google is not part of it though they discussed ask showed up at the workshops but we are seeing increased numbers of alternative platforms, Facebook allowing Facebook reau TOUR, and I think that is an exciting effort. 

>> MODERATOR: Thank you.  We have another question back

there. 

>> AUDIENCE: My name is Nicholi.  am from Pakistan.  I work

for Digital Foundation. 

My question is from Google.  (Indiscernible) was banned in Pakistan.  This is the third year that it is blocked by the government and the reason is the law and the blast famous con ten.  One of the people from the Civil Society filed a suit in the high court to unlock YouTube and Google was one of the parties to that petition but Google refused to respond to the high code because they decide that we do not fall in the jurisdiction of the code.

And governmental Pakistan and Google never came to an agreement to unblock the platform so my question is that the ultimate people who are at the laws, the Internet users in Pakistan who cannot use the platform and the platform, that YouTube had been very critical to criticize government in the event the election was happening and also disclosing some of the really important corruption of the state.

So I don't understand that if the state has failed t the platform has failed, where the Internet users go and ask for the recommend paw de-. 

>> I'm not aware of the details of that case about Pakistan.  I will try to find more information I can provide an answer for you.  I am not aware of the legal case.  I'm sorry. 

>> MODERATOR: Okay.  Yeah.  There was another one back there. 

>> There was an online question. 

>> MODERATOR: An online question? 

>> Yes.  It is from Maria Tereza from the University of Fold Peace in Costa Rica.

I would like to ask include the right to protest an international documents can be good solution for its protection?

>> MODERATOR: Okay.  Gabrielle. 

>> GABRIELLE GUILLEMIN:  I think in practice coming to an agreement, adopting convention is always very difficult, so -- sorry.  Trying to -- so I think in practice it's likely that it will have to work with what we've got and from an international perspective that the international cognitive and civil and political rights.  There are other regional instruments but I think generally speaking the gist of it would be for Civil Society organizations whenever there is a case that comes up before these courts either to actually bring them, for example, to the attention of the UN and try to either these international mechanisms or domestic courts on the ground to adopt progressive standards, both in relation to the right to free expression to the right of free assembly. 

>> MODERATOR: Okay.  Thank you.  There was in the front we had this one before.  Can we -- thank you. 

>> AUDIENCE: So, my name is Andre.  I'm from Racife, from Brazil and I'm from a group in Hucife called human rights and we claim something like trying to apply the law in the seri and in the participation like execution of -- sorry.  I have a bad English.  I try to -- participation in the seri and we face problems there with the violation of human rights and the right to protest off line and online.

That's one point.

The other point is that in Brazil the Congress of the Brazil approve that law that use the terms, large terms to, like terrorists and the terms applies to protests and like what we do in USEF.

So my question is how can we protect ourselves when the legal system and the Congress of the Country have this kind of --

>> MODERATOR: Framework? 

>> AUDIENCE: Yeah.  So we are citizens and we don't have the base to act like citizens. 

>> MODERATOR: You want -- yeah. 

>> HARRY HOPIN:  So I do find the situation in Brazil sort of amusing because I am pretty sure Doma herself was definitely accused of terrorism quite a lot.  So and I would actually argue that, you know, large-scale social movement, inability to cope with them, is actually a sign of a healthy society, a sign of society which can regenerate itself in the face of decay and corruption and all sorts of problems.  So even if you don't agree with them, per se, I don't agree with all social movements, some of them I don't agree with at all, I want the right to exist.

I think the problem is, you know, I'm pretty lucky, right, because I'm a white guy who is like a professor at MIT so I can get away with a lot of stuff.  In Brazil if you protest and you repress, what happens?  Do you get put in jail?  That is how you got to think about it.

Then you have to say, well, if the courts are against he and the government is against me I have basically two options.  One option is to try to use tools and protest anyways, and just sort of say I will be a public figure regardless and I'll take the consequences, I'll possibly go to jail.  You know, that is a brave thing and a lot of people have done that.  It can go wrong.  Ala from Egypt are in jail now because of this situation.

Or you can say I can operate in this Country and you can leave and try to help the protest from far away, you know, in another Country if you are under personal -- if you are thinking of personal danger.

The last thing I would recommend is regardless try to use some tools for digital self-defense to not just hand overall your data to possibly repressive forces.  And there is a lot of workshops on this but TOUR, pigeon, OTR, there is a lot of good people here who make these tools have lots of workshops with all these tools and becoming familiar with them can help if you're the target of what you think is over aggressive repression. 

>> MODERATOR: Okay.  Gabrielle wants to add something. 

>> GABRIELLE GUILLEMIN:  I want to mention that our office in Brazil is doing a lot of work on this.  There was a website calledprotesttors.org.  We're looking at some of the things you do to protest yourself.  If you also look at the right to protest website that I was mentioning earlier, there are two sections.  One which is about the principles and what you think should be the standards that we should push for in general in this area, and there is another section around security and some of the tools that Harry just mentioned. 

>> MODERATOR: Okay.  We can have one more question. 

No one else?  Okay. 

>> AUDIENCE: Hi.  Great panel.  My name is Neil Schwartzman.  I'm with the Coalition of Assertion Email.

I think it is super important to remember that every single piece of infrastructure that is -- has been mentioned thus far is a commercial entity.  And that is entirely dependent, whether or not they share your data with governments, it is entirely dependent on commercial interests.  They do not care about the individual, they care about the quarterly stock report.  And that can change from time to time.

Sometimes they're immensely supportive.  Other times they will provide an open-door policy to government and that scares me more than anything is that people are doing protests based on a house of cards.

Anyways, you guys rock.  Thank you. 

>> MODERATOR: Thank you very much.

Okay.  So, does anyone here want to add something, like a final comment?  Yeah, thank you. 

>> Thank you.  From a legal perspective, I would like to comment on the Brazil situation.  I don't know that.  I think what is important is to build in the legal framework the safeguards for human rights and not only the rights to assembly and associates, but for all human rights.

To also adopt some more approaches to usage of term.  I understand here the term “terrorism” creates some sort of reaction and it is considered as not defined, but international law has terms like that.

For example, national security you might consider that as a completely undefined term, as well.  And yet that is a legitimate aim in, for example, the European convention on human rights to pursue, that aim to -- and restrict fundamental rights and freedoms.

Now that should be done in a proportionate way and only when that is necessary and it's the necessity and proportionality safeguards that should be built in to legal frameworks.  I think this is what we should all ask for and we should actually hold the authorities accountable to achieving that goal. 

>> HARRY HOPIN:  You know, on that note, you know, I think it is important if you have -- if you are feel like your right to protest online or off line are increasingly mix is being taken away, it is important to basically fight back legally if you can.  So we had national security exemptions used against climate change protestors, they brought it to court in UK and argued and had a surprisingly amount of success arguing that catastrophic climate change which we were protesting is a larger threat to national security than, you know, people marching with signs and even stopping coal burning power plants from being built.

I think that is a good point in that I'm currently getting ready to challenge the UK government over how they were defining and criminalizing protests as relevant national security and using undercover police and I would recommend everyone that is in this kinds of situation, once are you safe and not under physical threat you should try your best to work with a nonprofits and solicit tears and lawyers and all these great people in order to try to push your case forward because this lets -- you can fight back and the fighting back in the train of law is another terrain of struggle. 

>> Actually, as you know (Indiscernible) has been developing these principles would be great to hear from as many of you as possible as to what you think about them.  They're not final.  So it would be great to hear your thoughts about it.

Are there any other issues that we may have missed, other experiences or other things that you would like to share with us?  So you can contact me or my team, so my name is Gabrielle at (Indiscernible).org.  You contact legal at Article19.org and discuss this further to hopefully identify opportunities for advocacy.  If this is a problem in your Country, we would be very interested in talking to you about how we could work together on these issues.  So, thank you. 

>> MODERATOR: Eleanor, something? 

>> ELEANOR RANOVICH:  I am open to discuss this further with all of you during the week in IGF. 

>> MODERATOR: Thank you very much.

So, in the meanwhile we will conclude that we need to raise awareness regarding these protection of rights online.

Thank you very much.

(Applause.)