“Human Rights Futures for the Internet”

Franklin, M. I.. 2019. “Human Rights Futures for the Internet”. In: Matthias Kettemann; Ben Wagner and Kilian Vieth, eds. Research Handbook on Human Rights and Digital Technology: Global Politics, Law and International Relations. Cheltenham, UK/Northampton, Massachusetts, USA: Edward Elgar. ISBN 9781785367717 [Book Section]

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Abstract or Description

In a digitally connected world, the question of how to respect, protect and implement human rights has become unavoidable. This contemporary Handbook offers new insights into well-established debates by framing them in terms of human rights. It examines the issues posed by the management of key Internet resources, the governance of its architecture, the role of different stakeholders, the legitimacy of rule making and rule-enforcement, and the exercise of international public authority over users. Highly interdisciplinary, its contributions draw on law, political science, international relations and even computer science and science and technology studies.

This chapter considers the longer-term implications that revelations of state-sanctioned programs of online snooping at a global level have had on human rights agendas for internet media and communications. These revelations in 2013 lifted the lid on the indiscriminate data-retention practices of powerful internet service-providers that include governments as well as corporate actors. The implications for the enjoyment and protection of our human rights online, but also offline, have fuelled power struggles over ownership and control of future internet-policymaking. Meanwhile public-private partnerships are being consolidated to “connect the next billion”, now part of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, in policy-making consultations that ostensibly include everyone under the auspices of “multistakeholder participation” and which recognize human rights online, in principle. How does what citizens may know, not yet know, or not want to know about the extent of both governmental and corporate exploitation of the data generated by everyday life online affect our work as scholars, activists, educators, technical and legal experts, or as public intellectuals engaging in human rights advocacy for the internet (however defined)?

Item Type:

Book Section

Additional Information:

This is a draft chapter / article. The final version is available in Research Handbook on Human Rights and Digital Technology: Global Politics, Law and International Relations edited by Ben Wagner, Matthias C. Kettemann, and Kilian Vieth, , published in 2019, Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd https://www.e-elgar.com/shop/research-handbook-on-human-rights-and-digital-technology

The material cannot be used for any other purpose without further permission of the publisher, and is for private use only.

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Media, Communications and Cultural Studies


25 January 2019Published

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Date Deposited:

11 Sep 2018 15:05

Last Modified:

11 Jun 2021 16:28



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