Advocacy and Action Agenda on Digital Rights/Justice: Towards WSIS+20
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Advocacy and Action Agenda on Digital Rights/Justice: Towards WSIS+20

At a WACC Partners’ Consultation held in Nairobi, Kenya, 3 August 2023, participants agreed on the following Agenda in preparation for WSIS+20 due to take place in 2025.

Digital communication rights include the right to access the Internet; the right to not have internet shutdowns; the right to freedom of expression and association online; the right to online privacy and data protection; the right to cyber-security; the right to be forgotten; the right to net neutrality; the right to network equality and non-discrimination; and the right not to be a victim of an automated decision.

The range of digital rights continues to expand as technology advances and awareness of rights violations grows. Digital justice is the redress of harms to individuals and groups resulting from human rights violations on and through the Internet.

A. At the 20-year review of the World Summit for the Information Society (WSIS) in 2025, we want to see commitment to a digital transformation that ensures:

i. Everyone can feel included, and can access and contribute to relevant Internet content in their own language.

ii. Everyone knows their digital rights.

iii. The Internet, its technologies, the global digital architecture and all elements of local and global tech ecosystems are gender sensitive, inclusive and empowering for all people regardless of any form of difference.

iv. All barriers to equality and empowerment in the digital sphere are eliminated.

v. The digital sphere is equal and empowering for all, without distinction.

vi. Respect for the diversity of cultures and values in all societies.

vii. The digital technologies complement rather than replace non-digital forms of communication, service delivery and welfare delivery.

viii. The internet is recognized as a public good, and essential for the enjoyment of human rights. All people should be able to safely, securely, and reliably access digital public goods.

ix. The digital sphere is flexible, dynamic, and adaptable.

x. The digital sphere is responsive to the diversity of needs of communities.

xi. Informed consent is standard across all digital platforms.

xii. People’s access to public data in an accessible format.

xiii. Better grievance redressal institutions.

xiv. An education system and curriculum that is responsive to the advancement in digital and technology space and one that enhances closing the digital gap with a gender lens among teachers.

B. We want the process of digital transformation to recognize and create room for participation of the multiple stakeholders, including:

  1. The State, its policy makers, regulators and administrators.
  2. Academia, technology experts, tech institutions.
  3. Civil society organizations (CSOs) and actors: including organizations whose work is not primarily in tech, grassroots groups, faith-based CSOs, and human rights defenders.
  4. The public, marginalized communities, unrepresented and disadvantaged groups experiencing digital injustice.
  5. Global big tech companies and the private sector.
  6. Telecom and Internet Service Providers.

C. We want the process towards the digital transformation to:

  1. Be issue-based.
  2. Be collaborative across stakeholder groups.
  3. Involve all stakeholders in policy enactment and policy reform.
  4. Adopt proactive rather than reactive approaches to governance, anticipatory rather than lagging behind technological evolution.
  5. Be consultative, using online and offline methods with impacted communities.
  6. Leverage on a variety of methods including scenario simulations, surveys, education and awareness campaigns.
  7. Promote State ratification and implementation of policies which are at present voluntary rather than binding.
  8. Public-private partnership in realizing a reliable connectivity and digital infrastructure.
  9. Training and sensitization of digital rights, laws and policies to the law enforcement agencies.

D. We want following to be underscored as essential digital rights:

  1. The right to be forgotten.
  2. The right not to be subjected to fake news, disinformation and misinformation.
  3. The right to freedom of expression online, with limits and respect for the rights of historically oppressed communities.
  4. The right to be heard.
  5. The right to access knowledge.
  6. The right to timely and accurate information.
  7. The right to human dignity online.
  8. The right to privacy online.
  9. The right to data protection.
  10. The right to digital education.
  11. The right to equal participation and access.
  12. The right to personal agency with respect to access to content disseminated on the Internet.
  13. The right to own our data as individuals, communities and nations.
  14. The right to accessible and comprehensive digital education.
  15. The right to opt out of the digital sphere; The right to participate in, to access citizenship entitlements and conduct everyday life offline.
  16. The right to access grievance redress mechanisms.

In summary

We want a digital future that is gender sensitive, in which human rights are respected, that is safe and secure, equitable, free, unbiased, accessible, transparent, inclusive, not exploitative, oppressive or discriminatory.

We want a digital future that is free from misogyny, hate, violence and all forms of harm to girls, women and gender minorities.

We want a digital future in which tech investment is accessible to innovators from all cultures and backgrounds, one that is focused on the common good rather than on profit, one that is localized, respects and complements the values of communities.

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