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Internet Protocols and the Human Rights to Freedom of Association and Assembly

Document Type Expired Internet-Draft (hrpc RG)
Expired & archived
Authors Niels ten Oever , Stéphane Couture , Mallory Knodel
Last updated 2023-10-13 (Latest revision 2023-04-11)
Replaces draft-tenoever-hrpc-association
RFC stream Internet Research Task Force (IRTF)
Intended RFC status Informational
Additional resources Mailing list discussion
Stream IRTF state Waiting for IRTF Chair
Revised I-D Needed
Consensus boilerplate Yes
Document shepherd Nick Doty
Shepherd write-up Show Last changed 2023-03-29
IESG IESG state Expired
Telechat date (None)
Responsible AD (None)
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This Internet-Draft is no longer active. A copy of the expired Internet-Draft is available in these formats:


This document explores whether the relationship between the Internet architecture and the ability of people to exercise their rights to peaceful assembly and association online. It does so by asking the question: what are the protocol development considerations for freedom of assembly and association? The Internet increasingly mediates our lives, our relationships, and our ability to exercise our human rights. As a global assemblage, the Internet provides a public space, yet it is predominantly built on private infrastructure. Since Internet protocols and architecture play a central role in the management, development, and use of the Internet, we analyze the relation between protocols, architecture, and the rights to assemble and associate to mitigate infringements on those rights. This document concludes that the way in which infrastructure is designed and implemented impacts people’s ability to exercise their freedom of assembly and association. It is therefore recommended that the potential impacts of Internet technologies should be assessed, reflecting recommendations of various UN bodies and international norms. Finally, the document considers both the limitations on changing association and impact of "forced association" in the context of online platforms.


Niels ten Oever
Stéphane Couture
Mallory Knodel

(Note: The e-mail addresses provided for the authors of this Internet-Draft may no longer be valid.)