only search

Special feature: How to respond to the erosion of civil liberties as governments around the world pass laws that legalise mass online surveillance in the name of national security? How can ordinary people and communities take action to minimise corporate intrusions into our personal lives online? What sorts of legal, political, social and creative initiatives are pushing back against these powers behind the screen? What are the implications of national digital agendas for the future of work, leisure, and education? What alternatives are there to the corrosive effects of cyber-bullying, revenge porn, or the political manipulations of news? How are people mobilising in response to the subsequent chilling effects on fundamental rights and freedoms – freedom of expression, of education, and the right of assembly? In this series, scholars, digital and human rights activists, artists, technical and legal experts develop a critical agenda to address the interconnection between human rights and internet futures. Read on »

Governing Google

As for Google, without a more ‘joined up’ EU legal and regulatory framework integrating digital rights and economic concerns, users may need to look to solutions outside the law.

Belling the trolls: free expression, online abuse and gender

Freedom of expression is fundamentally about power: about who gets to speak or express themselves and on what terms and platforms.

Poland welcomes internet filtering

Any limits set for free expression online must be traced in pencil, not in ink, and not, and this is particularly important - within a hastily drafted piece of legislation.

Surveillance, power and communication

Coalitions of actors – scholars, activists, some politicians, and even some captains of industry, will need to collaborate if the pathway we pursue to a calculated, unequal future is to change.

Jurisdiction: the taboo topic at ICANN

The issue of jurisdiction seems to be dead-on-arrival, having been killed by the US government. Meet the new boss: same as the old boss.

Fear of surveillance is forcing activists to hide from public life in Belarus

A visitor to Minsk might conclude from its calm appearance that the human rights situation had changed. But beneath the surface, the invisible threat of surveillance keeps civil society in check.

Democracy – a call to arms

David Bernet’s profoundly European film, Democracy, is that rare thing, a documentary about the complex system that is democracy, and a triumphant democratic law-making process at that.

The right to online anonymity

Human rights should be considered proportionally in any governmental policy related to the Internet, in a way which will hopefully spur the private sector to follow.

With one bound he was free!

The Internet organisation ICANN’s charismatic CEO, Fadi Chehade has moved on. Did he achieve what he set out to do? Was it what we needed him to do? And what about human rights?

Whose data is it anyway?

Collection, categorisation, and experimentation on people’s data are presented as legitimate because online advertising is funding the free internet. But what about privacy, free expression, and autonomy?

Listen to a recorded audio version of this article courtesy of

Mobilisation for digital rights

Post-ACTA, decision-making has been adapted to avoid decision-moments. Of course, individual grassroots campaigns are still hugely valuable. But we need long-term advocacy.

We must understand threats in the technology we use every day

Like everyone else, human rights activists use mobile phones, email and social networks to connect. Unlike most people, they criticise states, challenging their actions. As such, they attract their attention.

After Snowden, can technology save our digital liberties?

In this wide-ranging interview with human rights lawyer and former Privacy International head of advocacy Carly Nyst, we discuss surveillance politics, radical thinking, and human rights on the internet.

Internet governance as seen from the Right to Development

Participatory democracy has been hijacked by business-led multistakeholderism, and 'presence and power' are replaced as tokens of people's political involvement.

Brazil's Internet Bill of Rights not to blame for takedown of WhatsApp

It was a tough job to get the Marco Civil da Internet approved. But it seems the work is far from done. Português

As Poles shift right, democracy runs scarce

While the Law and Justice party insists that local disputes are best settled at home, Polish opposition and fearful individuals have been reaching out to international forums for support.

Human rights and the internet from a curatorial perspective: reflections on the show “Regarding Spectatorship: Revolt and the Distant Observer”

How can we build a visual literacy that strengthens  the movement for human rights on the internet? First, understand what we are involved in when we look.

The hugging Prime Minister fails Zuckerberg

India, according to the Facebook Director, would have been better off had it remained under British rule. Coming from an American, it was a bit ironical.

Human rights in Europe should not buckle under mass surveillance

Privacy is a fundamental human right essential for living in dignity and security. This is why it is necessary that European countries pause and get back on the right track.

Championing human rights on the internet — Part Six: Summing up, too much or not enough?

The hard work is only just beginning, that is the drip, drip, drip of legal, political and intellectual labour to ensure that future generations on this planet get the media and communications they deserve.

Championing human rights on the internet – Part five: Why bother then?

What have yet to get going are more informed discussions in local (schools, universities, hospitals, town halls) and national (parliaments and businesses) settings.

Championing human rights for the internet - why bother? Part four: Stepping up the tempo

Staying visible, not being drowned out by hostile agendas, or captured and then defused by lobbies of every ilk, is a challenge for those defending human rights on the internet.

Championing human rights for the internet - why bother? Part three; Some progress is better than nothing?

Standard-setting bodies who have all played a part in the historical trajectory of the ‘hard’ techno-legal decision-making that comprises internet governance behind the scenes are now under public scrutiny.

Championing human rights for the internet - why bother? Part two: "Ground control to Major Tom"

Corporate actors play no small part in setting this agenda as well, in kind rather than by international treaty, through the proprietary rights of commercial enterprise. 

Championing human rights for the internet – why bother? Part one: coming in from the cold

Arguments about why indeed human rights matter for our online lives, and who is responsible for taking action - the individual, the government, or the service provider? -  rage over most people’s heads. 

Defending human rights in a digital age (II)

Are our rights online under threat by our own governments? What real and imagined dangers face citizens at the online-offline nexus? Watch the wide-ranging panel discussion which launched openDemocracy's new 2016 partnership, 'Human rights and the internet'.

Defending human rights in a digital age

Public Debate: Defending human rights in a digital age is being livestreamed from Goldsmiths media and communications department, University of London at GMT this evening. Listen here and read on.

Syndicate content