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Welcome to the Official Schedule for RightsCon Toronto 2018. This year’s program, built by our global community, is our most ambitious one yet. Within the program, you will find 18 thematic tracks to help you navigate our 450+ sessions

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Last updated: Version 2.3 (Updated May 15, 2018).

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Thursday, May 17 • 09:00 - 10:15
The Global Digital Platform and the Nation State: Roles responsibilities and interactions to optimize human rights in the digital space

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Governments, academia, international organizations, and global platforms are going back to the drawing board, contemplating their capabilities and obligations regarding human rights in the digital space. Numerous challenges to freedom of expression in the digital information ecosystem have prompted this reflection, with all eyes on global platforms that operate across borders – arguably wielding the most power to shape human rights policy on the web.

The expansion of global platforms raises new questions about the responsibilities of public and private actors in protecting human rights. On one hand, platforms may be seen to act as de facto sovereigns, wielding greater economic power than many nations and imposing their own rules to govern user behavior and expression. On the other hand, platforms may serve as mechanisms to extend the power of national governments. Under domestic law as currently understood in most countries, platforms may lawfully constrain (through TOS or Community Guidelines) individual users in ways that a state may not -- for example, by prohibiting offensive-but-lawful speech or by silencing individual users without fair process. A state that coerces or persuades a private platform to suppress particular users or ideas can effectively extend its own power beyond the limits set in IHRL.

Our workshop seeks to understand how to conceptualize obligations of both states and global digital platforms in the current digital landscape. What are their roles and responsibilities in democracies and non-democracies alike? How should domestic law, international human rights law, and platform terms of service/community guidelines interact in order to protect human rights online? How do extra-legal considerations such as user trust and economic competition shape the answers to these questions?

avatar for Eileen Donahoe

Eileen Donahoe

Executive Director, Global Digital Policy Incubator, Stanford University
Eileen Donahoe is the Executive Director of the Global Digital Policy Incubator at Stanford University. Cyber Policy Center GDPI, is a global multi-stakeholder collaboration hub for the development of policies that reinforce human rights and democratic values in a digitized society... Read More →

avatar for Evelyn Mary Aswad

Evelyn Mary Aswad

Director, Int'l Business & Human Rights Center, University of Oklahoma College of Law
Professor Aswad is the Kaiser Chair of International Law and the Director of the Center for International Business & Human Rights (@OULawIBHR) at the University of Oklahoma College of Law. Prior to becoming a law professor, she was the director of the human rights law office at the... Read More →
avatar for David Kaye

David Kaye

UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression and clinical professor of law at the University of California, Irvine, School of Law. 
avatar for Daphne Keller

Daphne Keller

Director of Intermediary Liability, Stanford Law School
Daphne Keller is the Director of Intermediary Liability at Stanford's Center for Internet and Society. Her work focuses on platform regulation and Internet users' rights. She has published both academically and in popular press; testified and participated in legislative processes... Read More →
avatar for Emma Llanso

Emma Llanso

Director, Free Expression Project, Center for Democracy & Technology
avatar for Edward Santow

Edward Santow

Human Rights Commissioner, Australian Human Rights Commission
Edward Santow has been Human Rights Commissioner at the Australian Human Rights Commission since August 2016. Ed leads the Commission’s work on detention and implementing the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture (OPCAT); refugees and migration; human rights issues... Read More →

Thursday May 17, 2018 09:00 - 10:15 EDT