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Conference Papers Year : 2013

New Digital Rights Advocacy as a Paradigm Shift in Global Human Rights


International policy discourses related to the digital environment had been increasingly referencing human rights and fundamental freedoms. Different stakeholders, on their own or through multi-stakeholder dialogues, have been working on various initiatives aiming at strengthening the human rights perspective in Internet policing. In the course of these efforts, some so-called ‘new digital rights’ are suggested, and advocated by different groups and coalitions, such as the “right to be forgotten” in the field of privacy and personal data protection, or the “right to Internet access” seen as a necessary precondition to democratic participation. This paper discusses the rationale of such proposals based on historical developments. It analyzes how different political actors and stakeholders (States, Intergovernmental organizations, civil society, private sectors) have been formulating and advancing these proposals, through either political contention or coalition of interests around key international events and momentum. The author bases her analysis on empirical data gathered through her ongoing participant observation to Internet policy and governance events such as the World Summit on the Information Society and the subsequent annual Internet Governance Forum, the yearly International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners, as well as to the main global and regional (Europe) civil society coalitions in the field. The study shows that the way these ‘new digital rights’ are being proposed and advocated result in a profound change of paradigm in how human rights are envisaged, reflecting the strong impact of the online environment specificities on the very concept of fundamental rights. In the case of the “right to be forgotten”, a shift from a fundamental right understanding to a property right advocacy is witnessed. In the case of the “right to Internet access”, a political instrumentalization by online market forces to avoid telecommunication regulation is observed.
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hal-01217454 , version 1 (19-10-2015)


  • HAL Id : hal-01217454 , version 1


Meryem Marzouki. New Digital Rights Advocacy as a Paradigm Shift in Global Human Rights. The 7th European Consortium for Political Research General Conference, Sep 2013, Bordeaux, France. ⟨hal-01217454⟩
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