IETF-93 Proceedings

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Proposed Human Rights Protocol Considerations Research Group (hrpc) (RG)

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Charter (as of 2015-06-01):

The Human Rights Protocol Consideration Proposed 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) [0] and the International Covenant
on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) [1], 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're not properly defined, described and sufficiently
taken into account in protocol development. Not protecting these
characteristics could result in (partial) loss of functionality and

As stated in 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.

Concerns for freedom of expression and association were a strong part
of the world-view of the community involved in developing the first
Internet protocols. 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 expose the relations between human rights and protocols
and to provide guidelines to inform future protocol development
and decision making where protocols impact the effective exercise of
the rights to freedom of expression or association.

This research has two major aims:
- to expose the relation between protocols and human rights, with a
focus on the rights to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly,

- to propose guidelines to protect the Internet as a human-rights-
enabling environment in future protocol development, in a manner
similar to the work done for Privacy Considerations in RFC 6973.

The research group plans on using a variety of research methods to
create different outputs including (but not limited to):

- Internet drafts - (some of which may be put on IRSG RFC track)
These would concern tracking of the project, methodology, and would
define any possible protocol considerations.

- Policy and academic papers
For in depth analysis and discussion on the relationship between human
rights and the Internet architecture and protocols.

- Film and textual interviews with members of the community
To give an accessible insight into the variety of opinions on this
topic represented in the IETF.

- Data analysis and visualization
To research and visualize the language used in current and historic
RFCs and mailinglist discussions to expose core architectural
principles, language and deliberations on human rights of those
affected by the network.

- Raising awareness
Improving the awareness in both the human rights community and the
technical community on the importance of the technical workings of the
Internet and its impact on human rights.

Membership is open to any interested parties who intend to remain
current with the published documents and mailing list issues.