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Exploring Common Ground: Human Rights at ICANN

Our relationship to human rights is ambivalent. We take them for granted, we don’t want to be without them, but on the other hand, we see them as somewhat abstract and aspirational, a lofty ideal easily forgotten and set aside in our daily struggles.

When it comes to the digital domain, human rights are seen by many as an unwanted source of regulations in an industry that demands “unregulated innovation.” This point of view overlooks the fact that Human Rights are more than just rules and regulations. Following the seesaw principle, Human Rights are a balancing act between rights and responsibilities that sustains us all.

ICANN and its stakeholder community serve the common good as guardians over the key technology the Internet is based on, the DNS. The DNS is stable, reliable, resilient, and trusted because its engineering adheres to the universal ethical principles such as diversity, integrity, transparency, collaboration, engagement, autonomy, independence, neutrality, and impartiality.

Domain names give mere numbers of economic, political, and social values. ICANNs stakeholder community has to constantly strike a balance between return on investment, wise policy making and adherence to universal human rights.

Sitting alone, feeling weightless as a stakeholder on the seesaw of ICANN policy-making, is not much fun. On the other side of the spectrum, the playground bullies will soon learn that taking our responsibilities towards the well-being of others is a prerogative of our own well-being and that it takes many opinions and interests to bring life to the global playground we call the Internet. It’s the up and down, the give and take between stakeholders that drive policy-making, wealth creation and justice.

The ICANN 77 Birds of a Feather Session: “Exploring Common Ground: Human Rights @ ICANN” aims to help maintain this balance and regain where it has been lost, resulting in better policy making, economic opportunities, social justice, and a stronger and resilient ICANN.

13th June, 12.45 EDT, ICANN77 conference Venue, 60 minutes, room to be announced.

Moderator: Lori Schulman
Speakers: Steve Crocker, Sarah Deutsch, Mark Datysgeld, Nigel Hickson, Klaus Stoll

Please register here in advance for in-person and online participation. ICANN will allocate a room 1-2 days before, and we will inform you via email about the venue or the Zoom log-in.

By Klaus Stoll, Digital Citizen

Klaus has over 30 years’ practical experience in Internet governance and implementing ICTs for development and capacity building globally. He is a regular organizer and speaker at events, advisor to private, governmental and civil society organizations, lecturer, blogger and author of publications centering empowered digital citizenship, digital dignity and integrity.

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