09.11.2016 - Communication & Information Sector

Internet Universality R.O.A.M Principles advocated at the 2nd General Assembly of the MAPPING Project

Panellists (left to right): Joe Cannataci, Alfonso Alfonsi, Xianhong Hu. © MAPPING project/Radek Bejdák

UNESCO advocated Internet Universality as a renovated and comprehensive framework to examine the interplays of human rights in the digital age, on the occasion of the Second General Assembly of the MAPPING Project (Mapping Alternatives for Privacy, Property and Internet governance) held in Prague from 31 October to 2 November 2016.

UNESCO representative Ms. Xianhong Hu dialogued with UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Privacy, Prof. Joe Cannataci, on the issue of balancing the rights to freedom of expression and reputation in the digital age. Ms Hu informed the Assembly that UNESCO’s Member States have endorsed the Internet Universality framework and the R.O.A.M. Principles, which advocate for a human-Rights based, Open, Accessible Internet governed by Multi-stakeholder participation.

By promoting the R.O.A.M principles, Internet Universality framework serves as a bridge to preserve a free, open and trusted Internet, which contributes to the realization of Internet-enabled Knowledge Societies and the achievement of 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda. Internet Universality provides further reference points to consider the possible impact of balancing freedom of expression and privacy on those broader dimensions of Openness, Accessibility and Multi-stakeholder participation, in addition to the normal international standards as set out by Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

In line with this approach, UNESCO has collaborated with Prof. Joe Cannataci and his team at University of Groningen on a research called “Privacy, free expression and transparency: Redefining their new boundaries in the digital age”. The research specifically addresses the interplay between the right to freedom of expression, the right to privacy, and the related value of transparency in the Internet era.

Joris Van Hoboken, the UNESCO-commissioned expert on the new research “Human Rights and Encryption”, also presented some key outcomes on the opportunities and challenges of cryptographic techniques for human rights in the Internet era.

Both studies, as two new editions of the UNESCO Internet Freedom Series, will be launched online and at the forthcoming Internet Governance Forum in Mexico in December.

UNESCO has collaborated with and contributed to the MAPPING Project since 2014. Funded by the European Union, this initiative focuses on the interlinked fields of Intellectual Property Rights, Privacy and Internet Governance, with the aim of creating a common understanding of diverse aspects of Internet developments in relation to their consequences on society at large. Mobilizing a variety of ICT-related stakeholders, it seeks to improve the climate of innovation in the European Union, notably by capitalizing and debating existing legal frameworks, innovation policies and business models related to the Digital Agenda for Europe. UNESCO was represented in this year’s General Assembly of Mapping project among more than 100 experts and key stakeholders from across the world.

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