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Human Rights Protocol Considerations

The information below is for a proposed recharter. The current approved charter is version 01
Document Proposed charter Human Rights Protocol Considerations RG (hrpc)
Title Human Rights Protocol Considerations
Last updated 2023-01-29
State Start Chartering/Rechartering (Internal Steering Group/IAB Review) Rechartering
RG State Active
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The research group takes as its starting point the problem statement that
human-rights-enabling characteristics of the Internet might be degraded if they
are not properly defined, described and sufficiently taken into account in
protocol and standarization development. Not protecting these characteristics
could result in (partial) loss of functionality and connectivity.

Moreover it is widely accepted that technical design decisions about the
Internet are not value neutral [RFC3935] and can have lasting impacts on public
policy and individual human rights.

As evinced by 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 intersects with human rights, its architectural
design considerations converge with the human rights framework.

This research group aims to explore the relations between Internet architecture
and human rights. It also aims to provide guidance to future protocol
development and decision making where protocols impact or are informed by
policies that serve the public interest and protect human rights.

Research question

How are human rights and public interest policy considered in the development
of the Internet?

The Human Rights and Policy Considerations Research Group is chartered to
research of protocol development that is responsible towards and mindful of the
human rights of others [RFC3271] and whether standards and protocols can
enable, strengthen or threaten human rights, as defined in the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) [1] and the International Covenant on Civil
and Political Rights (ICCPR) [2].

Furthermore HRPC researches how protocols can influence policy concerns that
intersect with human rights, and vice versa. This research group is a
discursive resource for the community to ensure the development process fully
recognizes these potential public policy impacts, addresses those impacts
adequately, and builds evidence and guidance for policy makers on technical
solutions and the necessary design tradeoffs that should be made. The Global
Data Protection Regulation [3], principles of necessity and proportionality of
surveillance [4], are examples of policy developments that have led to rich
areas of work for the IETF through the PEARG and more such regulatory actions
are expected as the digital age progresses.


* To expose the relations between protocols and values, with a focus on the
human rights framework, such as the policy implications of technology choices
and the technical implications of policy choices.

* To suggest guidelines to protect the Internet as a human-rights-enabling
environment and a global public good in future protocol development.

* To increase the awareness in both the policy community and the technical
community on the importance of the technical workings of the Internet and its
impact on human rights and the public interest.

* To create a place for discussions and analysis on the relationship between
protocol development, and their human rights and policy implications by, among
other mechanisms, serving as a bridge between the human rights community and
the protocols-development one.


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 in IRTF RFC stream. These will
concern progress of the project, methodology, and will define any possible
protocol considerations.

* Research papers concerning both policy and academic topics which can include
in-depth analysis, discussions and review of the values embedded in the
Internet architecture, for publication elsewhere.

* Data analysis and visualization to research and visualize the language used
in current and historic RFCs and mailing-list discussions to expose core
architectural principles, language and deliberations on values of those
affected by the network.

* Protocol analysis. Data analysis and visualization of (existing) protocols to
research their concrete impact on human rights and the public interest.


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





Proposed milestones

No milestones for charter found.