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

Thursday, May 17 • 17:15 - 18:15
Can Rights Be Enforced by Crypto Protocols?

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In March of 2014,
Snowden joined Berners-Lee on stage and Berners-Lee called for a
“magna carta” for the Web. Snowden said that “I believe that a Magna
Carta for the internet is exactly what we need: we need to
encode our values not just in writing but in the structure of the
internet,” - into the techno-social protocol design of the Web itself.
The primary issue when envisioning any notion of rights is how to
enforce it across the vast plurality of jurisdictions. Although there
have been many good intentions in terms of declarations over human
rights and the Internet, this inability to enforce rights on the net
could become simply “hot air." Yet even today, the “material"
constitution of the Internet is not just any set of words - but the
protocols themselves.

Yet how to build these principles into the protocols of the Internet
via standardization bodies such as the IETF and W3C? On one hand, over
the last year we have seen the IRTF Human Rights Considerations for
Protocols (HPRC) Research Group make extraordinary gains in both
getting the notion of human rights accepted at the IETF as well as in
systematizing and formalizing these rights in RFC 8280. Yet on the
other hand, we have seen at the W3C a small group of browser vendors
push DRM, with dangerous security and censorship capacities, into
browsers via the W3C Encrypted Media Extensions (EME) standard. Is the
next step an “ethics” review for protocols, to make sure these rights
and protocols are not only discussed in governmental bodies, but also
amongst standards bodies, coders, enterprise, at-risk human rights
defenders, and ordinary citizens? Should we continue to work in
traditional standards bodies, or try to build a more decentralized and
rights-respecting alternative to the current Web via new blockchain
technologies like Ethereum? While there has been success in mobilizing
engineers, it still appeals the attempts to build a co-ordinated mass
social movement around internet rights have yes to to take off despite
large amounts of publicity in social media and mainstream media, yet
we need an analysis of why from some of the key organizers.

We'll discuss the current state of play inside traditional standards
bodies such as IETF, ICANN, and the W3C as well as new organizations
built around blockchain technology, such as the Ethereum Roundation
and the Web 3.0 Foundation. We will outline collectivley what are
possible next steps, as well as how to get involved. Each person will
give their opinion in a short and concise manner of what has and has
not worked for their campaign in both standards bodies (IETF, W3C),
new blockchain foundations (Ethereum, Web 3.0), and in the non-profit
and activist space from different perspectives including Russia
and South America. While we allow some panel, we will also hope to
'transform' the panel into a more workshop-like environment.

We will also launch a digital platform for annotation of a draft collection
of 'net rights' that allows annotation and argumentation created by
the NEXTLEAP EC project.

avatar for Renata Avila

Renata Avila

Senior Digital Rights Advisor, World Wide Web Foundation - Public Citizen Consultant
Renata Avila, (Guatemalan), is an international Human Rights lawyer, specialising in the next wave of technological challenges to preserve and advance our rights, and better understand the politics of data and their implications on trade, democracy and society. She is a 2020 Stanford... Read More →

Thursday May 17, 2018 17:15 - 18:15 EDT