Internet Governance Forum: The right to protest online
In the digital age, protests are no longer limited to assemblies and gatherings in physical spaces but are increasingly taking place, in whole or in part, online. Although calls have been made to recognise the right to protest online, there has been little human rights analysis of what this actually entails. Moreover, cybercrime laws in numerous countries outlaw many virtual protests without considering their impact on human rights. The issue of protests and digital technologies therefore deserves attention from an Internet governance perspective. Buddha Deb from Digital Empowerment Foundation India attended a session entitled The right to protest online at the Internet Governance Forum and shared the following insights:
The internet has increasingly been used as a platform to protest, as it engages millions of people for different purposes. However, the right to protest online hasn’t been recognised as a right to be especially protected. There have been a lot of discussions around the right to protest offline, but very little about the same right online. At the IGF 2015, there was a whole workshop dedicated to this right, with the participation of a number of distinguished panelists from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Google, ARTICLE 19 and the Council of Europe (COE).
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