The practice of treating all content, information and users on the internet equally is generally referred to as Network Neutrality. Network Neutrality has become an important issue in the last few years as some ISP’s have attempted to “shape” internet connections by favouring certain types of content over others.
Affordable, universal access to the internet is far from a reality. While some countries have enacted legislation which guarantees access, others are more hesitant, acknowledging the internet’s importance for development but wary of considering it a basic right.
Access to the internet is a multifaceted issue which goes beyond access to the physical infrastructure.
Internet intermediaries are the private corporations providing services on the internet through hosting, transmitting, giving access to and indexing internet content. Examples of intermediaries are internet service providers, web site hosts, search engines and social network providers.
Declaration on the Right to Development article 1:
The right to development is an inalienable human right by virtue of which every human person and all peoples are entitled to participate in, contribute to, and enjoy economic, social, cultural and political development, in which all human rights and fundamental freedoms can be fully realized.
As governments all over the world have begun to monitor the online activities of their citizens, the right to privacy has become increasingly important. The ease with which governments can now watch large numbers of people with relatively few resources means that the privacy, and safety, of human rights defenders is at risk.
The right to freedom of association is the right for individuals to gather with any other individual or group to promote, pursue or defend a common interest. Freedom of peaceful assembly generally refers to the right to participate in political gatherings and demonstrations, while freedom of association generally refers to the right to be part of an organisation or political party.
The right to freedom of opinion and expression in an internet context is described well by the UN Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression, Frank La Rue, in his annual report released June 2011, including how limitations to freedom of opinion and expression
Une trousse de ressources pour faire de l’accès universel une réalité. Elle comprend trois modules – un sur la politique et les normes, un sur le plaidoyer stratégique et un dernier sur les projets à niveau communautaire.
UDHR art 20:
Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.
No one may be compelled to belong to an association.
ICCPR art 21:
The right of peaceful assembly shall be recognized.