The Human Rights Protocol Considerations Research Group is chartered to research whether standards and protocols can enable, strengthen or threaten human rights, as defined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), specifically, but not limited to the right to freedom of expression and the right to freedom of assembly.
The research group takes as its starting point the problem statement that human-rights-enabling characteristics of the Internet might be degraded if they are not properly defined, described and sufficiently taken into account in protocol development. Not protecting these characteristics could result in (partial) loss of functionality and connectivity.
As evinced by RFC 1958, the Internet aims to be the global network of networks that provides unfettered connectivity to all users at all times and for any content. Open, secure and reliable connectivity is essential for rights such as freedom of expression and freedom of association. Since the Internet’s objective of connectivity makes it an enabler of human rights, its architectural design converges with the human rights framework.
The Internet was designed with freedom and openness of communications as core values. But as the scale and the industrialization of the Internet has grown greatly, the influence of such world-views started to compete with other values. This research group aims to explore the relations between human rights and protocols and to provide guidelines to inform future protocol development and decision making where protocol s impact the effective exercise of the rights to freedom of expression or association.
This research has these major aims:
The research group plans on using a variety of research methods to create different outputs including, but not limited to:
Membership is open to any interested parties who intend to remain current with the published documents and mailing list issues.
Additional HRPC information is available at https://hrpc.io/.
The HRPC was chartered on 2015-11-30.