Governments throttle and shut down mass communications networks, on their own or through telcos and ISPs, for a variety of reasons, including to stifle free expression and inhibit freedom of association. Such shutdowns and throttling are a direct threat to the development and governance of the Internet and can have significant economic and societal impacts.
This workshop will look at the range of actors and issues involved in these forms of network disruption. It will seek to understand the security-related motivations for such disruptions and assess them in the broader cybersecurity context. It will seek to assess the consequences of such shutdowns, in terms of the economic, societal and governance costs, and the impact on the rights of users and other parties involved. The workshop will discuss the roles of stakeholders in addressing the threat of or implementation of network shutdown and throttling. It will also look at mechanisms for identifying harms and assessing remedies for the adverse impacts of shutdowns and throttling. The remedy discussion will draw from the UN Guiding Principles on Business & Human Rights and related civil society guidance.
The panel will seek to answer questions such as:
Unpacking cybersecurity - what are the threats, responses and roles and responsibilities?
What types of network disruption are there and how have such disruptions been used recently?
What are the objectives of network disruption? Can network shutdowns mitigate against cyber attacks?
What are the human rights and governance arguments against network shutdowns?
What are the economic and societal consequences of network shutdowns and throttling?
Which grievance mechanisms, whether judicial or otherwise, are best suited for identifying harms, hearing claims, and implementing appropriate remedies?
What practical options for substantive remedy could the ICT sector implement, especially in response to network disruptions?
The discussion will address issues critical to the future of internet governance. For example, the ITU Constitution allows governments to impose some restrictions on the free flow of communications, but increasingly, the rights of users to access information and use the internet are seen as fundamental. This workshop will inquire into the respective obligations of different stakeholders, including companies and governments, to remedy infringement of internet user rights and advance coherent