Palestra: Protocols and Politics
The potential of Internet infrastructure to enable human rights, from global standards to local implementation
The Internet’s infrastructure—both the technologies and the protocols that govern how information flows across them—fundamentally determines how well the Internet enables the security and human rights of the people that use it every day. But the global standards that determine how this infrastructure operates are developed in technical communities that are dominated by powerful private sector actors that may choose profit and innovation over privacy and freedom of expression. At the same time, the deployment of Internet infrastructure is determined largely by government policies and regulation, which often align with objectives that undermine human rights. To ensure that our digital infrastructure is truly rights-respecting, public interest advocacy must exist at both the global and local levels. This session will highlight some examples of standards development in technical communities such as the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) that can pose risks to human rights online, and connect these global dynamics to the ways in which ICT infrastructures in Brazil impact the privacy rights of local Internet users. We will also discuss ways in which activists and public interest technologists can get involved in this work.
This session will feature civil society advocates from ARTICLE 19, an international human rights organization that protects and promotes the right to freedom of expression and information. The session will be divided into two parts: the first part will be a presentation by the panelists for 30 minutes, followed by a Q&A session with the audience for 30 minutes.
The goals of this session will be to:
1. explain the impact of global Internet standards on ICT infrastructure and how security and human rights such as privacy and freedom of expression can be impacted by standards development.
2. explain how ICT infrastructure in Brazil has enabled surveillance and censorship, and impacted local Internet users.
3. how technologists and civil society advocates can become more involved in influencing Internet infrastructural development at both the local and global levels.
The session will feature the following speaker:
Mallory Knodel, ARTICLE 19. As the Head of Digital at ARTICLE 19, Mallory takes a human rights, people-centred approach to cybersecurity policy advocacy. Originally from the US but living in Nairobi, she has worked with grassroots organisations around the world in Bolivia, France, Palestine and the UK. She has used free software throughout her professional career. She holds a BS in Physics and Mathematics and an MA in Science Education.