September 29, 2011 - 11:00AM
The following is the output of the real-time captioning taken during the Sixth Meeting of the IGF, in Nairobi, Kenya. Although it is largely accurate, in some cases it may be incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors. It is posted as an aid to understanding the proceedings at the session, but should not be treated as an authoritative record.
>> JOY LIDDICOAT: Welcome, everybody. We are just waiting for technical support to come so we can get the password to log on and join up our remote participants.
So, while we do, let me introduce myself. I'm Joy Liddicoat. Project coordinator for APC's project Internet rights and Human Rights.
I think it's great to see the participation. I know that there are three other Human Rights workshops on at the same time now, and so I appreciate you were spoiled by choice. Thanks for choosing us. But this is a matter that we can take up with the programming in our review of the IGF.
So welcome. We have got a really fabulous group of participants and panelists to talk about this important topic and this emerging issue, which is the complexity of the remedies and the enforcement side of Human Rights in an Internet environment. We heard a lot through not only this IGF, but also previous IGFs, about the assertion of rights and the need for centrality in Internet Governance. What we have heard about and I think we need to explore more is what are the forms of accountability that are being used for rights violations? How are they working across different sectors for government, private sector, Civil Society? And what can we learn in terms of things to go forward with?
So in this panel I have banned PowerPoints. So nobody is presenting by way of a PowerPoint.
>> But I'm using Google apps.
>> JOY LIDDICOAT: On the list, if you have something that you want to share, and of course we are encouraging you to do that. But the reason is to try to have more of a dialog for people to have space to talk about their issue, and also for you to respond, ask questions, and help in deepening our dialog.
So the format of the panel will be that we will begin with a few words from our partners and introduction of them. And then move to some specific concerns that Human Rights defenders have from around their own experiences in Pakistan, Malasia, Nigeria and India. And then open discussions around the floor. And then draw on private sector participants to share their experiences and finally government perspectives as well.
I'd like to thank also my co-chair, Johan Hallenborg, from the Swedish Foreign Ministry, who worked hard to help and support this workshop. Thank you very much, Johan, and the work of your ministry.
And also give you an opportunity, if you wish, just to say a few opening remarks before we move to our first speakers. Johan.
>> JOHAN HALLENBORG: Thank you very much. I have only nice words to say about the APC and your work. We very much supported both in terms of using you and drawing on your expertise in our work. We also tried to set aside some funds through CETA for your work as a part of a broader strategy to support democratization and freedom of expression through our development corporation work.
I'm very grateful that you arranged this workshop. And I look forward to the discussion. Thanks very much.
>> JOY LIDDICOAT: Thank you, Johan.
And yes also acknowledge the other donors who supported us, in particular CETA.
So without further ado, I'd like to ask first Honey Tan from Malaysia. And the question for you is looking in particular at freedom of expression and freedom of association, what Internet rights violations are you experiencing and others experiencing in Malaysia and what are the sorts of strategies that you use to seek accountability for those?
>> HONEY TAN: I want to start by saying that we truly do not know what sorts of Internet violations are happening to us in Malaysia. But for those that we know for sure, our e-mails were hacked. We can't get into our accounts. Web sites were hacked from time to time. And the Malaysia systems in Islam, they have been hacked. Our phones are tapped.
And I just want to read something from our Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission. And this is the chief strategy officer who says "Don't assume there is no law in the cyber world. A lot of people don't think about that. But we would like to remind the people to behave responsibly when using the Internet or any other technology of the new media." And then he says "The MCMC has always been monitoring Web sites for offensive and harmful content and will continue to do so with the help from the other enforcement agencies."
So we know for sure we are definitely being watched.
Now, one of the things which we know for sure is happening to a particular sector in the activist group is the students. So, in Malaysia we have this law called the University and University College Act. So if you're a student and you participate in anything that the government thinks is politically connected, then you may be in trouble with the universities. And in fact you -- some -- a lot of students actually have been.
You get chucked out of school. So, that's one of the problems with young activists in Malaysia.
So you have the plus side of having events uploaded, so you know that there is actually like a broad-based support for a lot of the activities, but then the down side is that they will use this against you when they are trying to get you out of school.
I'll talk about some of the strategies that we use, some more successfully than others. One of the best things that happened is citizen reporting. Just generally to report what is happening, but more importantly to also report the state's allegations of what did or did not happen. So you'll have like a lot of videos coming up on YouTube, Facebook, Twittering, blog, and that counters a lot of old media. Which in Malaysia, all the newspapers, radio stations, TV stations are owned by government linked companies. So there is no independent journalism going on there.
So the other thing that is a good strategy is reading the eNewspaper. So, a lot of our statements, events, are actually covered by eNewspaper, like Malaysia Kini, Malaysia Insider. Of course then they are subject to attacks. Some Malaysian Kini Web site crashed before. Things are held up by MCMC. I would like to say something about the third strategy that has been used by Malaysian activists, and that is to engage in human rights institution; that is called Suhakam. We have used this successfully for a few times. We also agreed to look into police brutality in the Bersih 2.0 rally. We are trying to get motions in Parliament. The ruling coalition does not have two-thirds majority, but they still have the overwhelming majority. So any motion that is proposed just get quashed. The other thing which we do is rallies in real life and also online campaigns.
So again back to the Bersih 2.0 Rally that was successful, but tied in together with that was a lot of use of online campaigning.
So when the events were happening, there were also other campaigns which were happening around the world and we had photos, videos. So it's just a great sense of solidarity.
Now, the last point I'm going to talk about actually is called challenges. So that is still one of the key things -- key strategies that we use. But it is excellent and it's problematic in so many areas. Using the court can be disempowering. I would say that one of the things you'll need is an independent judiciary, which in Malaysia you don't have. And lawyers, you need lawyers who are going to do things for free. You have to get lawyers educated in the Human Rights law and also some other.
So the recent Bersih 2.0 challenge that successfully happened actually yesterday, the minister had actually banned Bersih 2.0 saying it was unlawful. So we filed an application in court to review the minister's decision. So we heard yesterday that the court just granted leave to actually do the challenge. But of course it's only the lead portion, so we don't know the substantive challenge, whether she is going to say yes or no.
So in Malaysia now we have certain rights. I suppose the government doesn't feel challenges, the political status quo. We have had some successes. So for women's rights recently we had an excellent decision. But, political decisions, political -- decisions that have a political impact have not been so successful.
So what I would like is to hear from the people in this room what sorts of substantive laws and rules of procedure and especially evidence. This is the big problem about court challenges is things are happening too fast and the laws are not catching up. so we are still dealing with old fashioned rules of procedure and old requirements of evidence, which doesn't fit into this new world anymore.
>> JOY LIDDICOAT: Thank you. And it's really refreshing I think for us to have critiquing of the strategies that we're using, sharing them and saying what is working or isn't is helpful, and particularly around how we can build solidarity around that. So thank you very much.
And now I'd like to ask Shahzad Ahmad, IBC Member in Pakistan, to reply to the same question.
>> SHAHZAD AHMAD: Joy, there is one national perspective and before that there is a perspective as well that -- just to give you a background, and since we are sitting at a UN space, Pakistan coordinates OIC countries, all Islamic countries at the UN. And it has -- its influence, negative or positive, but it has influence on the larger Islamic world.
Pakistan is the inventor of faith-based filtering. And a lot of other Islamic countries followed Pakistan on that. And faith-based filtering in the sense that it would tell you that we are filtering or we are blocking Internet for blasphemous content. But when you dig out this whole saga, you would know that they are only blocking political discourse or conditions on the government.
I can give you one example. In February 2006, the government blocked a wiki page that had caricatures on it. And that caused a whole Wikipedia block in Pakistan. Now it's open and accessible. But there are other Web sites which are mentioned in literature, which is political discourse from groups that is blocked.
Having said that, okay, I mean, I also want to mention that we have documented all these facts over the years in the last three or four years, first with the ONI research that we were doing, and then earlier this year we did freedom on the Net report, 2011, for the Freedom House. And recently we have a focus from the humanist perspective from a watch report that is going to be launched in November, I hope.
But what we are seeing is that the whole freedom of expression and freedom of assembly, since traditional media can be controlled and managed, yes, we are a Democratic country, and we have Democrats in Pakistan, but still additional media can be controlled and managed. But (inaudible) continues to haunt repressive regimes and the governments. And they have played with -- with this whole communications fear and really made a mess out of it.
So just to mention that what they would be concerned about. They would be concerned about national security. They would be concerned about religion, culture, and essentially war and terror that you could have in Pakistan. So you wouldn't believe that at times for the content on the Internet, actually there is one very Draconian act which is an antiterrorism act that comes into practice unfortunately, and that is -- it's really Draconian.
And then article 295 C of the constitution, which has capital punishment for any blasphemous statement or content, that is also -- we have seen been exercised.
And that is why we cannot get any legal support because -- I mean, last year I was saying that there is no support for legal litigation and there is no support to go to codes to see justice on all of these issues and why they are doing it. And this year the issue is that no lawyer is ready to take up this case. We have money to do litigation in the court. But, unfortunately, we do not have lawyers who would be brave enough to go in the court and openly debate article 295. I mean, the thing that when -- they would argue article 295 C will come into discussion. So, we have gone to some top notch leading lawyers in Pakistan in the last 1, 2, 3 months; they have refused. So that is another challenge.
The recent example I can quote you is that Pakistan has banned encryption in Pakistan. What they have done is -- they think that terrorists and such elements are using encryption, and they think that the Taliban particularly are using encryption and using digital communication, and they are -- they are doing all of this terrorism in the country.
Okay. This ban actually makes us vulnerable as well as a Human Rights defender, as a Civil Society worker, because if you use encryption, you stand suspect. And even if you have not done anything wrong, but still you are a suspect. And they can pinpoint you and they can pick you up. So, that is another problem.
So what we have done so far is that we have -- what we could do, a little about it, we have reached out to several international partners. We have reached out to APC, Freedom House, article 19, MLD and Media Legal Defend, Privacy International. Several organisations we reached out to them. And now we have -- we had a very strong statement, actually the first time ever in Pakistan, challenges government's, this notion of national security. Probably it is the first time we could do it that we have challenged it, that the national security that you bring and everything is not going to work anymore.
And we have written a joint letter to the prime minister. As expected, we have not received any response on that.
So, some of the key issues which I think -- I can go on. And I can quote other examples. For example, recently a music Web site was blocked about two months ago. Rolling Stone. I don't know if you would have ever heard about it. I didn't until this Web site was blocked in Pakistan. So, this Web site was blocked only because it had six lines criticizing on Pakistan Army's spending. And it was taken from an article that somebody did in the Washington Post or New York Times in America. And there was only six lines of mention of this in a blog. And they blocked the whole domain.
And another issue that we are seeing is that some of the ISPs now, without any direction from the government, do the right -- very clearly get blocked on the advice of PDA, blah, blah, blah. When we reach out to them, they say we are not blocking anything. But there are several Web sites -- I mean, they think that being model police or what have you, I mean, they also continue blocking this content.
Quickly, please, things -- the key issues being phased out, inactionable part of judiciary. I mean, we have seen number one is investing in judiciary and the large legal branch in repressive countries. This is extremely important. We have proposed several times to do the organisation for working in these areas, that now is the time that you need to work with the judiciary and the legal branch in the different countries so that they are aware of how the whole communication sphere works, and then they can take action. Because goals are also being used to violate the freedoms and the rights and shine on the confusion. So blocking the Web site, go outside there, it means that article 19 A of the constitution of Pakistan is being violated. But they don't understand. They only understand what the position is, bless them, and it's blocked.
We didn't say anything to the people. Several things which are against Human Rights, legal protection for the citizens, we do not have any laws which protect citizens in terms of privacy, in terms of the use. While I know Council of Europe is heavily trying to get Pakistan to get the Convention signed and ratified by the Government of Pakistan, but we don't know that we have the productions that the governments have access to already.
I see our editor, and also what we can do is that we are trying to invest in the security of the humanized defender. We are doing trainings. We are campaigning. We are reaching out to the National Human Rights friendly governments. And let's see how it goes. Thank you.
>> JOY LIDDICOAT: I think it's certainly striking both with you and Honey the degree of surveillance that is obviously going on in terms of the sorts of responses and issues that you are encountering.
I just want to briefly open the floor at this point and just ask if there is anyone who want to comment on either the questions that were raised, or from your own experience in terms of the critique of the issues that they have raised around different forms of accountability.
Please. Your comments, observations, thoughts would be welcome. Go ahead. Please introduce yourself on the mic.
>> PAULA STREET: Paula Street from Freedom House. I've had conversations with Shazhag but I'd like to speak to Honey, also.
In terms of your country, and obviously you worked with international freedom of expression organisations, APC, and a bunch of others as well, but what do you see -- what institutions, whether multi-lateral or regional or or international organisations do you feel have the most legitimacy with your governments to help you in your advocacy and your work back at home? Is it the UN? Is it regional groups? I'm just curious.
>> ANRIETTE ESTERHUYSEN: I'm from APC. Just a question about the type of violations you experience. Is defamation and the use of defamation law being used, as it is in South Korea? I think journalists are increasingly, even in Africa, where there is not a lot of filtering or direct censorship, but there is accusations of libel just for criticism of the government. I think you touched on this, there is a link between the need for freedom of expression to address corruption and how do you find responses from the private sector to these violations on freedom of expression? Is the reaction against it something that is kind of restricted to media groups and Human Rights groups and activists, or do you also find from the corporate sector some kind of demand for more freedom of expression linked to transparency and accountability and making it a stable economic environment?
>> JOY LIDDICOAT: Before we lose the track of the questions, I want to respond to the first two. The question is which forums or regions would be most helpful.
>> SHAHZAD AHMAD: It's extremely important that the convene or the initiative or the fight is really local. Only then it will be original and authentic and carryable. As soon as you link with -- I mean, some of the -- I mean, the networks you mention, I mean, the thing that starts is what we have done successfully is that we have organised and allied with credible internationally known organisations who are known for their work. And then we have always been on the group. I mean, we never did anything from out of the country. So that was important for us that we are out of the country and we do what we want to do from there. So it's one aspect of it.
On your question, Anriette Esterhuysen, there are several different laws, and it's quite chaotic. But they can choose a defamation law, blasphemy articles in the constitution, and then there is an act that is being used, and that is an electronic transition ordinance that has been used recently. Somebody had the President's Web site, as a young boy, and then he was put in the jail using this particular argument.
So, there are several different laws being...
>> HONEY TAN: Thanks, Shahzad. Which organisations would have greater legitimacy with our government? I would think the United Nations Malaysia positions itself as a liberal country, which we are not.
I think it's important that I keep emphasizing this work with the national Human Rights institutions. Because I think maybe a couple years ago we had a big cloak wall up, which was organised by Suhakam. And they brought in the OHCR from Bangkok. And they were able to compel practically from top to bottom the people in the judiciary to come and listen to this talk.
The other thing that is key is judicial training. But I don't think it's going to be working well like if you bring Judge trainers into Malaysia. So if you have an in-country training, and somebody was lower down in the judiciary will not open his or her mouth when the boss is there. It's better to pick three or four and send them in a mixed compilation with other countries.
I would not recommend the association of South Eastern Asias. Because of all the ten countries, we have Burma, and then we have countries like Brunai, it's a Monarchy. You have the whole range. Then you have Indonesia and the Philippines, and Malaysia is like somewhere.
Now, defamation, yes, we have civil defamation and criminal defamation. Criminal defamation is always threats going on, and like if you are a blogger, something is happening there.
>> JOY LIDDICOAT: I know we had another couple questions, but I'd like to move to the next speakers first. So I'm running a speaker question list.
Because I'd like to move topics slightly, I'll ask Bidi Bala, another APC member based in Nigeria and Anja Kovacs from India. And the question here is: Can restricting or shutting off access to the Internet be a legitimate remedy for rights issues? And what is the difference between doing this for intellectual property rights violations and doing this for national security? How do those issues relate to Internet governance?
>> BIDI BALA: Hello everyone. I just attended a workshop about the erosion of our privacy on the Internet, and it was absolutely scary and eye opening. I didn't quite realise how easily our information, it's all over the Internet. And somebody mentioned about the -- how people -- how much people are going to sell someone's data for.
There is no grounds for shutting off the Internet. If people are committing crime through the Internet, the law enforcement needs to find inventive ways of getting these people through conventional things. So, basically, there needs to be a balance between Internet access and the way law enforcement handles these issues. I think that is basically why we are here at the IGF, to debate more on some of these things.
But when I look at it, I don't know if this is the right question, what I'm answering. But what I think we should be looking at is the person who is not breaking any laws, has his Internet shut off. And in that case, how did the law enforcement say that he is breaking these laws and how did they track or get this information?
Of course, and I'm sure everybody here will agree, that child pornography is something that if you get hold of anybody doing it, the person needs to be punished very severely of that. But we have to think about who would break these laws.
From our experience or from my experience in Nigeria, I know that when people are scared, like with the bumblebees, they are willing to let go of a few rights so the government can handle the distribution. I mean, they are willing to give up some rights so that people can get about their lives normally.
And of course we all know that national security is something that many governments all over the world use. It's a great area. Right now, it's a challenge. Because people are beginning to feel that whatever government does in protecting our national security is right, because they are so scared.
For instance, yesterday was a deadline that everybody that owns a simcard, a mobile network in Nigeria, you have to register. That means going to the registration centre, having your picture taken, your fingerprints and your address. Yes, I had to do that and I have 45 of them, so I had to register all 45. The government said it would be easier to track messages of people saying that they are (inaudible) people and people are going to be able --
This means that there is nothing that you can do with your mobile phone and the mobile phone is the most accessible device for everything. We don't have land lines. So everybody has to register now with the picture and the fingerprints and they can track you down any time they feel like.
What I would say is for anybody to be punished for the Internet, you have to break a law, so there has to be a law in place. So in this country, we know that they have laws that state -- that once the state is suspecting you of any activity on the Internet, they can easily take this out.
But in Nigeria right now, there isn't censorship of the Internet. As an ISP, the only thing I had to sign on for when we applied for our license was basically to block pornography. That means that I have to implement all kinds of protocols on my server, using squeeze, child guardian and things like that. But we know that some of the blocking can actually be a problem. You may be after some legitimate nonpornographic Web sites because of some of the blocking. So you have to disable that. It's quite tricky.
So, looking at this, what I'm thinking is there is -- there is -- there has to be a balance between whether people -- I mean, about who -- who tracks what. That is, who is tracking the criminals on the Internet? Who is tracking -- because I think that is the major issue. But then accessing the information also is something that everybody here I think is pushing as a fundamental right. But I think that blocking the Internet is not -- shouldn't be an option, because if there is a criminal doing something online, and you simply -- you simply -- it would be easier to actually track somebody doing, you know, if you are following what he is doing.
But now the question is there has to be a balance between tracking this report and privacy. I don't know who is going to decide that. Maybe OCM, maybe the UN. But the answer is as soon as we have the bit about it, so we know where they stand.
I mean, governments are all about trying to provide security, but like in the case of Pakistan where you can't encrypt -- and some people use it to keep their people -- to keep some people under their thumb. So I'm not sure where this is and how this relates to Internet and government.
I think that, like I've been saying, it is all about -- already in several countries, we know the Internet is global. Everywhere you go you can get on the Internet. But then countries are basically enforcing their own laws in their own way. Every country decides how they want to prosecute anybody who they feel is not doing the right thing on the Internet.
Certainly the access, it's a global thing. So I don't think it should be totally -- it should not only be the government that should be allowed to decide who gets Internet access or not. It should be on a global platform, so that it's a universal thing. Whatever decisions we come to has to be universal. Thank you.
>> JOY LIDDICOAT: Thank you. It's great to hear stories from Africa and African countries and what is happening now.
And I want to acknowledge Frank LaRue who just joined us at the back of the room. Frank, some of the issues are little very relevant.
Anja, I want to move to you before opening it up to the floor.
>> ANJA KOVAC S: I think in many ways I agree with Bidi. So there will be a lot of commonalities. But let me say things. I think the question of shutting off access or restrictions, restrictions are about stopping content from getting on to the Internet. Shutting off the Internet is stopping people from getting on the Internet. And I think that is a fundamental discussion to keep in mind when we talk about this topic.
When it comes to stopping content, I found it really helpful to see in Frank's report, the UN special Rapporteur on freedom of expression, a test that exists of three parts that governments intending to block should pass. And the first step is that if content is blocked, that has to be clearly provided for in the law. And that law has to be accessible to everyone, so it has to be predictable and transparent. That's the first one.
The second one is that it has to be legitimate, so it has to fall within restrictions that are recognized under international law and specifically the IPPCR.
And, third, it has to be necessary and the least restrictive means required to achieve that aim. It's the third one where I think we often fail. So I think you see in the Internet, very often governments had a tendency to immediately jump to blocking content from actually getting online because it seems the easiest thing to do. It's not necessarily always the best or the most effective thing to do.
And I think that third point is something in Civil Society as well. We should start working far more on pushing that. It has to be a clear principle on the decisions of when you block content.
Speaking about the other bit, shutting of Internet access completely, I think this -- so the two big trends when this happens, either some countries suggest that this should happen when you violate copyright or in terms of conflict. When it comes to copyright, many of you know that you like to make the comparison to the right of education. We are constantly claiming in places like the IGF that the Internet is crucial for people's development, education, political, economic well-being, et cetera, et cetera. Which is very similar to many of the things we claim of education.
But at the same time, you're saying so if any of us had photocopied more than we should have, according to the laws of our land, three times in our whole educational career, we should have been stopped from continuing our studies. If you violate copyright three times, we shut off the Internet.
Like Bidi said, I think normally when you commit a wrong --
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-- the legal system deals with that in a variety of ways. Even if you make a traffic violation, you get a fine. But unless you actually endanger other people's lives, you are not even stopped from driving a car.
So all of these examples show that this as a solution for copyright is just completely out of line. And I think just the fact that these things are being suggested shows that we have not been ambitious enough when it comes to Human Rights and the Internet. I think these questions should not even have been able to be raised. This is something that should not be discussable. I think it's painful that it is, anyway.
It's a little bit more difficult. I work with the Internet projects in India. And in India there are times of conflict of emergency where there is a concern about communication platforms being misused.
And, for example, a while ago, there was a mosque that was torn down in the early '90s, and the Hindu right wants a temple to be built on that place. That was in court, and a while ago the judgment was going to be delivered. And the government decided a few days beforehand just to ban bulk SMSs. Because they were worried that that would be used to create a lot of tension. And when the mosque was torn down in the early '90s, there were riots that killed a few thousand people.
For me, it was a good time to say well, what do you think about this? I'm always saying there should be no restrictions, et cetera, but that was a tough situation.
It should follow the same three principle test that is set out in Frank's report, and I think that is something that in these cases, also, are not really being followed. It's not always very clear that is the most restrictive means. It's often not clear in law under what circumstances this can be done.
And also another thing that Frank pointed out in his report, if any content is restricted, it should always be done by a body that is independent and free from political control.
In cases of shutting down Internet access in times of emergencies, I think it's often governments who do that without having larger consultations. So I do think there are situations in which one could argue that perhaps it might be valid, temporarily, to cut off communication. But I think there needs to be far more thought about when and how and clear procedures of law.
One last point, because of a big issue when you shut down communications, and that happened in India, that means that people don't know anymore what is happening. They can't communicate anymore with each other about is it safe to go out? Can I go and buy groceries now that curfew has been lifted? Where are my children? What are people doing? So you don't only cut off the terrorists, you cut off everyone else as well. That could aggravate the situations of conflict as well. So the whole balance should be kept in mind much more.
I think I leave it there. Thanks.
>> JOY LIDDICOAT: Thank you, Anja. You always bring such clarity with your examples. I totally love that education example about copyright. Thank very much. I might use that. And thank you also, Bala. It's a nice combination of views on the topics.
I know a couple people earlier had questions. I don't know if you want to pick them up in the context of these questions. Eduardo and also Susan.
>> EDUARDO ARGENTINA: It was a comment and question about the defamation issue that you were talking about. And now I would like to also add something about what Anja says about the three-part test proposed by Frank in the tremendous and great report.
Defamation is not only a problem in the countries that you just mentioned, it's also a problem in some countries in Latin America, using labour laws, civil defamation. It's something that is not new as a tool to put pressure for defenders. I think the thing in this area is related to the jurisdictional problem. Because in our region -- and this is something that I wanted to ask you -- the legislation is not that bad in some countries and is very bad in other countries. It could happen a journalist criticized the Venezuela government from a blog in Argentina, and then he or she can be prosecuted in Venezuela because of the content of the blog that was, you know, created in Argentina but was not loaded in Venezuela.
The situation now in these countries is different. We have been doing research about this problem.
Frankly, we didn't find clear cases or concrete cases that raised this issue, which is the issue of libel that we were discussing in another context. But I think that this could be a problem in the future for Latin America.
My question is, are you having these kinds of problems create -- concrete problems completely? Is it a local problem in the old fashioned way?
And briefly to what Anja says, this three-party test, what Frank is saying, that the three-party test, the ICCPR, that was part of the ICCPR before to the Internet. But the problem that you raise, the third part of the test, it was a problem in the past and it will be a problem in the Internet era or to interpret Internet cases as well. That is why Judges should be, you know, trained not only on Internet issues but also on Human Rights issues.
>> JOY LIDDICOAT: Would any of the panelists like to respond to either of those questions?
>> SHAHZAD AHMAD: From a journalist perspective, I hope you know that Pakistan is probably the worst place for journalists. They kill them. Don't prosecute them. So...
>> HONEY TAN: I don't think there are any cases in Malaysia. I think looking in Singapore, there are cases especially relating to journalists, but I can't really tell on that jurisdictional point.
>> Coming from the US with the first amendment, we see a range of disagreements on content issues, and not just on the defamation but also on the harmful content as well.
Different countries have different cultural standards. And I agree with everything that has been said. It just strikes me that regardless of disagreements on that issue, the other process points form the basis for a stronger consensus, with that being a real difficult thing to get alignment on, as we have seen consistently.
But to some extent, are we letting that stop us from agreeing -- not us here, but maybe government consensus regardless of what your views are? And we can disagree with that, you know, there is a process which you should follow in how you're implementing that.
>> JOY LIDDICOAT: Thank you. I have this person.
>> My question goes back to sort of the beginning of the panel and Honey and Shazhad's presentations. Could you speak about how the restrictions and regulations are affecting women? You mentioned sisters in Islam. Is there anything that is different about how that group of -- that part of Civil Society is affected, as compared to other parts?
>> SHAHZAD AHMAD: My organisation flagship's campaign (inaudible) that is our flagship in Pakistan. Under that campaign, we have been organising women rights -- Human Rights organisations, Human Rights defenders, and then we are working with available segments of society as well. And we included sex workers in it, in this campaign as well.
And, essentially, building the capacities on digital security and then giving them tools, so that -- I mean, how they can fight for their rights, for digital (inaudible) for example. So these are all different areas which we have been working.
But then what happens is that suddenly there is some crack down. And the recent example is that we're organising our feminist association in Pakistan. And that was in June, this June, yes. And this exchange brought 18, a total of 18 women, and there were 5 transgenders, and the rest of them were -- a couple of them were from media and the rest of them were like from sex workers organisations. And rather than understanding that what we were doing in this workshop, it was just a training in the national media, because it was reported on BBC and it was reported positively what we were trying to do. Because we know that our Supreme Court is very pro transgender rights. I haven't seen any of the court, but our supreme court really wants transgenders to be streamlined in the normal social processes. They should get jobs, they should be economically well.
So, I mean, with that perspective, we brought all of them in. And suddenly media -- definitely, first of all, during that training, we got a call that we need briefing, so our initiatives are difficult to do. All the tools can be used for development, but at times it's difficult on how it will happen.
>> JOY LIDDICOAT: Talk to each other if you see issues.
>> I wanted to know --
>> HONEY TAN: If you don't know about sisters in Islam, if you don't know what they do, they look at women's rights, reinterpreting the Koran. I think three or four years ago, when we were doing a lot on freedom of religion, what happened with sisters was that they are constantly being attacked, you know, online and also in the mainstream media. Especially in this newspaper in Malaysia: Are you a Muslim? Can you be a Muslim and do these things? You are a Muslim, why aren't you wearing a veil? And when they speak they are being questioned on the authority to speak on Islam. Their credentials are constantly being questioned. Of course then there is the usual death threats against them. And like at the Bersih 2.0, there are people saying your citizenship should be stripped.
There was another remale politician that was called a raper. Things like that.
>> JOY LIDDICOAT: I'll go to you Matthias Ketteman.
>> MATTHIAS KETTEMAN: I'm here from the Internet Rights and Principles Coalition. I think what is really important for us all to see is that we don't have to reinvent the wheel with regards to the role of Human Rights on the Internet. Internet rights are Human Rights. And existing methodology of applying Human Rights, including the three-tier test, are helpful in implementing Human Rights all around the world.
What we need to do is build capacity. We have to do that, for instance, through interjudicial cooperation and through multi-stakeholder activism. That's it for now. Thanks.
>> JOY LIDDICOAT: Thank you. And the chap in the red shirt?
>> NORBERT PAOLO: Thank you. My name is Norbert Paolo.
I want to comment on the very excellent point that we have about proportionality. Thank you. And from a very technical person's perspective, I would say that when you start trying to block content, there is -- well, you can try to do it in some ways that are not very effective that can be worked around at least by technically knowledgeable people. But, if you try to think about how could it be done effectively in a way that actually enforces it, it just cannot be done technically without destroying what makes the Internet valuable.
I will be happy to explain the technical aspects to anyone who is interested. This is really a fact.
>> JOY LIDDICOAT: Thank you. And I think it's a good point you raise. There is a lot more collaboration that could happen with Human Rights people and people in the technical community to deepen understanding on these issues.
Thank you. I know there are other people with questions, but I also want to move to getting some private sector's perspectives on these issues. And there will be more time to discuss some of the points that you raised.
And in particular I ask Jeff Breugemann from AT&T. We posted questions to you and to Patrik. For example, how well, from your perspective, do private sector remedies and accountability work?
Are Human Rights taken into account when designing a complaint system or consumer remedies?
And how do these issues relate to Internet Governance?
>> JEFF BREUGEMANN: Thank you. It's great to participate. I thought the most interesting workshop that I did last year was on this set of issues. Clearly every year it's a bigger and bigger topic.
I want to talk about how we view this internally as well as our perspective on the government issues. As an intermediary, that is a big issue. Our issue started with Pearl Jam about three years ago. I didn't know this before this happened, but we had a section of our Web site where we would post concerts of bands as content for our customers. And there was a Pearl Jam concert. And they -- there was editing out of comments between the songs that the Pearl Jam made about George Bush who was President at the time. And we were suddenly flooded with complaints and accusations about the neutrality violations. So it was a wake-up call for us that we were not clear with our customers or internally, that when we are an ISP we connect you to any content where you want to go, and we don't block that. But this was us presenting something and making a bad decision. And, number two, not being clear about this distinction.
And we underwent a review. We came out with three pieces. We had to have a more systematic approach to content within the company. And we realized our lives will only get more complicated when we start enabling even a message board, right. If you have a place where customers complain, you might feel that some people might use offensive language. So we had to be very careful to understand which role we were playing, whether it's just the ISP or delivering content or something in between, and have our own internal policies be very consistent.
Secondly, we had to do a much better job of explaining this to our customers, that when they are using the different services, to make sure that was clear.
And one of the things that we did at the time was to add provisions in our Internet access terms of service that made it clear what our position was about not blocking.
And then, thirdly, we -- it was really one of the things that led us to develop an internal Human Rights policy so we would have more of a focus on this. So that is what we had gone through.
At the same time, I think we see -- so transparency is a key principle. And this is something that also emerged in the Net neutrality context of, you know, to us it was all about defending our right to management network, and we were getting a lot of concerns: Well, how do we know, you know, what is a legitimate network manager versus not? So we have seen a real push to be more clear with our customers and with the public generally about what is the basis for which we will manage the network to -- well, while also reaffirming that, you know, which we now have is rules under the FCC that we will not block content from our customers on the Internet.
So that was kind of our internal. So I think to me transparency is a great way to make sure that companies are abiding by these issues.
But what I've seen is a growing concern about the government situation with content. And as others have talked about, and obviously the situation in countries like Pakistan is much worse than in the US, but even in the US we have calls to block child pornography or pirated content. So we have developed a set of positions on the free flow of information that are very consistent with the principles in the LaRue report. As an intermediary, it's important to us that both for our customers to enjoy the benefits of the Internet and to not get disconnected, as well as to not have us be in the position of making decisions about content.
So I would say we have maybe a couple of additions to the points that were made. We certainly support the idea that there should be a clear and transparent legal framework for unlawful content. It should not just be made by government arbitrary decisions. But we think the least restrictive alternative should be explored first. For example, there are a lot of tools that let you filter out the content, your own content as a user. That should be the way, not establishing large blocks for large blocks of content that should be blocked. We strongly believe that the government needs to make the decision about the unlawfulness of content and if there needs to be a restitution. One of our goals is that we are not in the position of being asked to make judgment calls about those things.
Another addition is that we think there should be clear rules of intermediaries. And we believe one of the foundations of the Internet has been the safe harbor protections that intermediaries enjoyed, that allowed us to not be put in the position of being held responsible for what users may do, so you don't get into the private enforcement issue. And we are taking a very consistent position against private enforcement of these things, which we feel could lead down a slippery slope.
So, I'm happy to talk more, but that is a quick overview of how we have approached this internally as well as our position on the government issues.
>> JOY LIDDICOAT: Thanks, Jeff. And you raised some of the same issues that Balla brought up about transparency and who watches the watchers. And it's interesting to see examples of where the groups are taking public law or concepts of Human Rights and linking them to the services that they are providing.
Next, I'll ask Patrick to respond to the same question, Patrick Ryan from Google. And I'll open it up for discussion. Patrick?
>> PATRICK RYAN: Thank you, Joy. Thank you for the invitation to be on this panel. I'm pleased to represent the private sector together with my colleague, Jeff, who is from AT&T.
These are obviously issues that affect many people and private industry plays a very important role in this. Let me just ask a question. I'm assuming -- I hope I know the answer. But let me just ask a question here.
Who here is familiar with the Google transparency report?
(Showing of happen)
Good. That is almost everybody. That's a good thing. I'll still talk about it, since it's such an important initiative. In this regard and speaking to -- this is really the audience in many ways for the transparency report.
So, Google takes its role as this plays on the Internet seriously, particularly as it relates to Human Rights and content. I don't want to sound like a Google commercial, but there are interesting statistics here that help emphasize the reason why Google takes this stuff so seriously.
There are every minute 48 hours of new user generated content uploaded to YouTube. So, by the time that we finish this panel, there will be another four months of user generated content that everybody can watch if they are interested.
The Google apps product, our Cloud product that we have had a couple panels on to discuss, is getting a lot of uptake and it's getting uptake in the areas where, you know, there is little access and the people don't have the money to be able to afford full software suites. There are five thousand small businesses that sign up for Google apps every day. And with many other products, like BlogHer, they form the basis of Google's offering to the public.
And there are many different views, as has been discussed around the world, on what content, you know, is appropriate and what content is not. Those decisions are quite varied in different governments, and Google receives take-down requests all the time from different governments. And it's very difficult for an intermediary to process and deal with the questions. But we are subject to the laws of governments and need to comply.
And so in order to help sort of provide transparency on this point, Google believes that unlike is the best disinfectant. We have launched this transparency report, Google.com/transparencyreport. It shows it broken down by country and by the Google products, our take-down requests, and tracking traffic flows. So you can see, if you navigate on it and spend time on it, you can see that the Internet cuts off in Egypt at a certain point or when YouTube traffic is shut down in some countries for certain periods of time. It's visible to everybody.
And so we think that is obviously a very important initiative. And Google invests a lot of time in it in order to, you know, provide it to support the community here and others like it.
So I think the important feedback that a company like Google can have for the continued development and investment is that the product is used by people. You won't receive any ads on it. So it's not a product itself that is going to generate any money.
So I'll leave it at that and we will have some questions.
>> JOY LIDDICOAT: Thanks, Patrick. And a number of panels talked about the importance of documentation and the challenge of doing this. And it's interesting to see private sector collaborations with new forms of documentation, too.
So, I have Susan Morgan, just introduce yourself and then I've got a list I'm continuing with. Susan, question?
>> SUSAN MORGAN: I'm Susan Morgan. I run the global initiative and we brought companies, including Google and Human Rights organisations, investstors and academics together really to look at how to protect the rights of users around the world in terms of freedom of expression and privacy. And I'm particularly looking at how companies can make kind of responsible decisions when they are facing requests from governments that might impact the rights of their users.
So I think -- and we have created a set of principles and guidelines that are publicly available in accordance with international Human Rights standards and also mentioned in Frank La Rue's report.
I'm interested to hear reflections from the panel, because I think we heard a lot of things that I heard within CGI, that as the Internet becomes increasingly central to people's lives, there is a growing interest in governments around the world in terms of how to respond to that, or how to control or manage or block access.
But what I haven't heard a lot of in this panel is a way to bring different things together to work collectively. So I'm interested in getting reflections from the panel on bringing different stakeholders together to work on the improvements of laws or the improvements of the implementations of laws around the world.
>> JOY LIDDICOAT: Thanks. Panelists, who wants to respond? Anja?
>> ANJA KOVACS: I do want to respond. One thing that is from the perspective of India and a lot of other developing countries, one thing that is the issue is the larger cultural issues around freedom of expression. So there is to some extent among progressive social movement, definitely in India and many other parts of the world, on acceptance of censorship to contain content for countries that have massive inequalities.
So, for example, when something is considered hate speech, people might be pushing for censorship much faster than what you have anywhere else. The Internet has thrown up things that earlier we managed to contain. Society had some kind of agreement on them. I mean, they are Democratic laws, and that has popped open. So I think one of the things is it's not enough for stakeholders to sit together in places like this and talk about the issues in a very narrow way. This is part of the problem. We do sit together. But then we get into very technical debates often. And there is an issue about a larger culture of freedom of expression and how countries like ours have to evolve to develop stronger cultures in that sense, to be able to deal with the new reality without having the reflex of let's climb down. And I think that should be a multi-stakeholder effort.
>> JEFF BREUGEMANN: I agree completely with Susan. And I would emphasize that I think governments have to be a critical partner there. Because I think we feel like they can exert a positive influence on some of the countries that are more challenging.
One of the points I try to make is that we need to set the right example. For example, in the US, we need to have our own clear policies. And I think that is not always the case. And I think the strongest message we can send to our own governments, and some of the countries that are generally more open, is that we do this the right way and then work with other countries to bring them along, hopefully.
>> JOY LIDDICOAT: I have Sonja and Gradey.
>> SONJA KELLY: I work at Freedom House. We talk about intermedia liability and much has been said about why this is problematic, particularly for companies such as Google and AT&T and such. But Freedom House conducted a study of 37 countries. And we found that in the individual content providers, small fish here, like individual bloggers, are greatly affected by such laws. So in countries such as Vietnam, Thailand, you have situations where individual bloggers are being held responsible for content that just visitors to their Web site post anonymously in the commenting section of their logs. And these people then face either high fines or they are imprisoned.
So as a result in many of these countries, we see bloggers actually turning off the commenting feature, because they just don't want to deal with these types of situations.
The second point that I wanted to make had to do with discussion that we had earlier today about some of the laws that are frequently being used to prosecute people who are posting information online. And defamation and libel are some of those laws. But what we noticed is that broad laws against poeting or writing information that is against so-called national interests or security or that could damage national economy are actually the laws that are most commonly used to prosecute people for posting this information on the Internet.
So, because these laws are so broadly framed, anything can be connected to national interests. So, for example, in a number of countries we have seen people who are revealing corruption, for example, being prosecuted under such laws. Or even in more Democratic settings, such as South Korea, you may be familiar with the case of a financial blogger at Nerva who was retained for 90 to 100 days because he forecasted negatively towards the direction in which Korean economy was going, and this was an offense against posting something that could damage national economy.
So I just wanted to put that out there as one of the huge problems that we noticed across the countries.
>> JOY LIDDICOAT: Thank you. I was just trying to get my moderator's attention. Do we have anything -- no. I didn't think so.
>> PATRICK RYAN: I just wanted to chime in. First of all, to make a commercial for GNI, the Global Network Initiative, is just a great framework that has companies and organisations making commitments. There are a number of companies that have made commitments, Google and Microsoft and Yahoo and a few others, but there are many more opportunities, right?
So there is an opportunity here for all of us to sort of, you know, act as evangelists for GNI to help bolster it and really help make that work.
The second comment is this question of intermediaries and the bloggers is a really interesting and problematic topic. It gets to the importance of -- Jeff mentioned this as well -- the importance of maintaining intermediary definitions.
Safe harbor. People think of intermediaries as being a company that carries traffic like AT&T or Google that hosts video, but an intermediary can be a single individual that has a blog and hosts comments for a blog. There are, as you mentioned, there are people going to jail not for anything that they said, but just for having enabled a comment function. And that is -- and that's a problem. That's an intermediary liability problem and it shows how important it is for companies and individuals to be careful.
>> JOY LIDDICOAT: Grady and Frank LaRue. Sorry. But we have to move on.
>> GRADY: It's more a comment than a question. Anja Kovacs, you made a great distinction between blocking content and Internet shut downs, and you laid out in the criteria, and I think that's excellent criteria for content restrictions. But I think shut downs are far more severe than that. And if they can be justified, then the test needs to be more rigorous.
Back when Georgia in Russia went to war, the Georgian government was concerned about propaganda. So they blocked the Russian sites in Teblese. And that caused huge panic because people thought the Russians were on their doorsteps because they couldn't get information. The London riots, they were thinking before about shutting down the media to avoid getting arrested. But the same technologies are being used by people to find each other.
As you mentioned, a lot of positives. I think cutting off communications like that can be far more dangerous and I would really caution any steps towards opening the door to justifying that. If you ask me, I would say that that kind of shut down is never justified.
>> JOY LIDDICOAT: Thank you, Grady. I'm conscious of time, so I invite Frank LaRue to speak and then I'll move to the last two speakers. You want to wait after that, Frank? All right. That's very gracious of you.
>> JOY LIDDICOAT: I'll move to the last section of the panel. This is Romulo Neves. The particular questions we were asking is what is needed for remedies and other forms of accountability to be effective from government perspectives?
And what roles do governments have and what is happening in Brazil? Romulo. What roles do governments have?
>> ROMULO NEVES: Thank you. I'll try to be very, very brief.
But I'd like to start with some points that it's not directly related to this discussion, but it's some background.
In the very first beginning of the Human Rights appearance, it was kind of a tool to prevent abuse from this state towards the citizens.
This is not through the simple description of the Human Rights discussion. Because there are governments that just adopt the Human Rights as some part of its own functioning. And the Brazilian government is one of those. In Brazil we have a Secretariat specially dedicated to Human Rights in the ministerial level, directly linked to the presidency. And in the Ministry of External Relations Ministry, which I'm part of, we have a special division for Human Rights and we work very connected. The minister for Special Administrations works very connected. The internal bodies works very connected.
So internally we have the secretariat. Each state has a Secretariat also at the state level. Brazil is divided into 24 States in the federal district.
So, internally, we are trying to build a very comprehensive Human Rights system. It's not easy. There is different approaches. The federal approach is one. Some very small States and very traditional is another. But I think we are in a very good path. But this was internally.
What government could do internationally? And then I would like to talk a bit about the Brazilian nature of politics. Yes, very fast, three minutes more.
We are very flexible inside. And it's for good and for evil. And for a long-time we were criticized because we were flexible. And it means sometimes you don't have too clear rules and sometimes you have a different way to do things. But I think now on cases we can take advantage of this flexibility. And then we can build bridges. This is a thing that we -- the Brazilian government believes. And internationally, maybe we could -- because there are two ways to help. One is funding. Funding the Civil Society to make it work. And the other one is to build briefs between the Civil Society and the governments. Because we are of course going and our most important partner in the international discussions are the governments. And we think that we are able to bridge between these two stakeholders.
Just two things more. What briefs could mean in the Internet Governance, because I think this is the most important thing here at the IGF, it means that maybe we can try to give some more clarity to some words that some stakeholders just have blocked a conscious about it. When some stakeholders hear these words, they block the capacity to hear. So then we have sometimes a deaf like dialog. Some words, some expressions such as "human rights" itself, some countries cannot hear this, or the "UN security" or "profit" or "equality," some stakeholders when they hear this expression, they just block this. And we would like to build this bridge.
And the second thing, last thing, sorry, Joy, the Internet has a very specific nature. It's sharing, it's international since its very first beginning, and it's technically linked to development -- to technical development. So the Internet will force, if you don't do anything, the Internet itself would force governments to hear Human Rights Demands. But because the Internet has a very technical basement, basis, the linkage between the Human Rights discussion and the technical and infrastructure matters should be -- it will be a very important linkage to put this discussion forward. I think this linkage, this bridge, is also important to the future of this discussion.
>> JOY LIDDICOAT: Thanks, Romulo, that sounded like a Brazilian government supporting the suggestion that this should be brought out in 2012.
Turning to Johan, just comment on whatever other discussions are taking place on these topics right now, and how you think these might be able to be related to IGF.
>> JOHAN HALLENBORG: Just two words on the government's role in this, just to complement what my friend from Brazil said.
What was said about the culture of freedom of expression, we need to build that. That's correct. That's correct. We have a country where we have a freedom of expression since a long time. We have had constitutional arrangements for this for several hundred years. So I think we are in a good position to do this work.
That being said, the most important thing that the government can do is to create the foundation for this. And the most important thing is to create accountability of structures. And you do this by establishing a functioning rule of law system. This is how it's done. So this is what I see as nationally being the most important task of the government.
In the international arena, I think that we have many different roles and possibilities to work. For example, when the Internet was shut down very extensively in Egypt and other places earlier this year, my minister came out strongly and said this is a violation of freedom of expression. And I saw very few other governments saying this. But this needs to be done. Governments need to articulate their standpoint for several reasons, because it is a way to show support and solidarity with the victim, but it's also a way of building international law. And this is important.
I fully agree with my friend here that there is a need for the technical community and the more traditional Human Rights community to get together and talk much more closely. But I do also think that we have seen quite a lot of progress in this over the past few years, and this is where the IGF plays a very important role. Actually, this is only my third IGF, but I -- compared to two years ago, I see a big difference, actually, a big difference, which I think is very important.
Sweden doesn't believe that there is a need for any new Human Rights norms. We think that the norms that we have are sufficient. Strongly support what is being said about the three-part test. According to ICCPR 19, these are the kinds of interpretations that we would like to see regarding possible limitations applying to the Internet.
What we need is to understand more clearly how Human Rights principles work in the Internet context. We need to engage several different fora for this. Our very modest contribution has been to support Frank LaRue's work in a few different ways. We were very happy to see his report in the council in June. This helped us to understand a little more clearly where the boundaries for Human Rights application on the Internet, where they are.
Frank pronounced himself on an intermedia role, an anonymity, on the limitations and also on access issues. What we tried to do was rally support around these conclusions and together with more than 40 governments we managed to have a cross regional statement in the COUNCIL on Human Rights. This was the first time that that many governments came together and confirmed these basic prince sells.
I'm not saying that I think the Human Rights Council will solve this issue for us. They will not. It's a difficult environment to work in. But what I do think that is important is we don't shy away from the Human Rights body in the UN. We tried to engage it.
I think we're up for some tough times, because there are strong opponents to the interpretation that we want to make. But I do think it's necessary.
I'll stop there.
>> JOY LIDDICOAT: Thanks for the work that the Swedish government and others were doing, and it's been good to collaborate. I know some of you in this room have also collaborated with Frank LaRue.
Frank, please take the floor.
>> FRANK LARUE: This is a joy. But I do thank everyone that has supported the work. One of the issues that I must say about the report, and this is very important, the report is part of a collective reflection. There was a series of regional consultations, one in Buenos Aires, which Eduardo has supported and helped, and we had one in Bangkok with Anja. We had one in Johannesburg. We had one in Egypt a week before everything exploded. And, finally, we had one in Stockholm, to end the whole process and to have the European concern group in general position. So it was very good because the idea is that the Rapporteur should break a bit of the debate of the four calls of the Palacion in terms of what they have to contribute.
A bit in line of what Anja was saying, issues are seen in a slightly more complicated way, depending on the problems or issues that the countries are facing.
I want to be brief. But two things. One is that the -- I find that the same phenomenon that I find with freedom of the press. All the governments and State Representatives talk about freedom of the press, but the reality is more journalists are being assassinated, killed and persecuted. Internet, everyone talks about the fantastic knowledge, the fact that it has to be open and free, and this was my position: Internet works as all technology should work on freedom of expression. Broadly. As free as possible. And limitation should be seen as the exception and in a very sort of small category and very clearly defined with the three-part test.
The proportionality test, the last one, is not normally taken into account. Anja mentioned that what we have in Latin America, for instance, with President Coreire, who just had a lawsuit against the newspaper, and the newspaper was fined with 40 million US dollars for carrying an opinion column that they considered defamatory.
The government was not happy because they asked for 80 million and only got half. And out of that, 30 was to be given to the President and 10 million to the state.
Okay. Now it's been confirmed. So this is the absurdity of how defamation and other legal issues are being used. And it brings back the issue of the personality. The three regional Rapporteurs and ourselves in our statements said that we believe defamation should be decriminalized and made a civil action. But even that can bankrupt a newspaper if it's out of proportion, or any other media.
So my feeling is that because the Internet is so powerful, we're finding more and more reaction by governments and sensitivity. And the Arab spring that for some of us doing Human Rights was a very welcomed and refreshing news, I think for many politicians it was very scary news. Because what happened in Egypt and Tunisia and maybe happen in other parts of the world may happen anywhere, but I think they are scared. But in reality that is what we have to defend. Are some countries who call themselves Democratic really open? And they let them speak their minds, even if they may say things that those in power might not agree with?
I think we should have decriminalizing of freedom of expression in general but over the Internet in particular.
Some are old crimes, like defamation, libel, and others are old crimes based on religion, like blasphemy. In my country, they created a crime called financial panic. Whoever criticizes the bank or banking system is liable for a criminal lawsuit.
In Mexico, they passed a law that said if you promote a rumor, you can also be liable. This is getting out of hand. Obviously the Internet has to be used responsibly. And it's very powerful, and we do mention the cyber bullying and other issues. But the way to correct it -- and as it has been mentioned here and Anja mentioned it and Johan mentioned this, it's building a cultural piece.
States before used to be seen as having a passive responsibility and freedom of expression, responsibility not to censure, not to intervene. Now I believe all human rights are a proactive responsibility of the state, including freedom of expression. So the States have to facilitate this. And in the case of Internet in particular, the point I made in this report and the one coming to the General Assembly is States have to facilitate access, access to content, content with plurality and diversity, where there are no more monopolies and no one that pretends to own knowledge and science or scientific issues.
Access to public information for transparency. Access to any form of research. And on the other hand, access to the infrastructure meaning not only the connectivity but also meaning computers, meaning software.
The Committee on the Rights of People with Disabilities are talking about having free software for those who are visually or hearing disabled or handi-disabled on the possibility of using Internet.
So I think this is crucial for States to listen to this and to facilitate. And to the corporations, there has been a call to do research that makes possible cheaper equipment, user-friendly equipment, to not build conglomerates and monopolies that make more expensive the service. So I think this idea of having a multi-stakeholder dialog is important.
Susan was saying that GNI is a great example. But we have to expand that. This is a coordinating dialog around the topic of Human Rights and I think this clearly should be -- of course, I support the APC initiative that the next IGF should be on Human Rights. But it's something to see that in the many times I've come to the IGF, how the Human Rights debate began to grow. This was mainly a technical forum at the beginning and progressively Human Rights has become more and more important.
And I hope that trend continues, because the use of all of the technologies have to be seen in the form of Human Rights approach. Not only freedom of expression, but whatever is done to access information and knowledge. What the Internet does for education and assembly and mobilization or the right to development in all the world.
>> JOY LIDDICOAT: Thank you, Frank. Just to say before turning back to the panelists for final remarks. Frank has written the preface to the Global Information Society Watch Report, which was just released this morning, which is -- it includes country reports from 60 countries on the issue of freedom of expression and as well as a thematic chat. So thank you.
Before allowing you to go to your much deserved lunch, I want to give our panelists an opportunity to make any comments. Just briefly.
>> ANJA KOVACS: I just don't want to go on record as somebody who goes on the Internet as an advocate for shutting off the Internet. I share your concern. That's why I made that point about you shut off people being able to help each other and support each other as well. But what I find problematic is when we speak about the security issue, we deal with it in a black and white way. So governments will say we need more control for security reasons and we say no. In a country like India, getting people behind you is difficult when you do that in a black and white way. So last year, 2010, in Bombay, almost as many people died from terrorist attacks as Caracci and Pakistan. It sounds like getting access to data is crucial to stopping that kind of thing. These things are real. You can't just say no then.
So what I think we need to do much more consistently is work through the concerns step by step. And then often the question is but where do we start? And I just think that the test is kind of a way to work through. And I hope that we come to the bottom and have to say: So you see it's not a good solution in this case, but we need a process also to make these discussions, rather than saying in this very black and white way, no. There has to be an argument to back that up. I think we haven't been doing that enough.
>> JOY LIDDICOAT: Thank you. Any other panelists?
>> HONEY TAN: I think I heard this this morning. We are talking about what we could do for the next IGF. We haven't had panels or speakers who are from the law enforcement, from the police, prosecutors and judiciary, and I threw out the question on what are good laws on proof and evidence and something like that as well.
>> JOY LIDDICOAT: Thank you for that. I think we have a number of them that we want to capture in our report, which we will be doing and reporting on this session.
So I just wanted to -- thank you all for your engagement in this session. I think it's been very rich. I heard of many many strategies, different forms of accountability. I think we have had some thought provoking ideas and suggestions.
I'd like to formally say that APC announced its connect your rights. The Human Rights campaign is designed to take these issues of Human Rights specifically into online beliefs, and connect, connect for us the Human Rights principles and freedoms that we have specifically in these online environment, and without off line and activism building. So be part of this campaign and participate in it. And we will look at bringing this forward across the next year and into the next IGF.
Could I ask you please just to thank all our panelists in the usual way.
(End of session 12:47)