Looking forward: IETF meeting in Buenos Aires and Dancing the Human Rights and Protocols Tango

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31 Mar 2016




From April 3 to 8, the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) will hosts its 95th meeting in Buenos Aires, Argentina. This meeting brings together around 1,300 participants from over 50 countries to discuss the evolution of the Internet’s architecture and technical management. The meeting is mostly comprised of network designers, operators, vendors, and researchers, but in recent years, a growing group of civil society actors has participated in the IETF process, ARTICLE 19 squarely among them.

ARTICLE 19 will be co-chairing the Human Rights Protocol Considerations Research Group (HRPC RG), chartered to research whether standards and protocols can enable, strengthen or threaten human rights, contributing to discussions on protocols that can impact freedom of expression online as well as organising a screening of our documentary, Net of Rights, with local civil society organisations.

The HRPC RG session, co-chaired by ARTICLE 19, is related to the Internet Research Task Force (IRTF), the sister organization of the IETF, which focuses on promoting research of importance to the evolution of the Internet. It does this by creating focused, long-term research groups working on topics related to Internet protocols, applications, architecture, and technology. The session will take place on Monday April 4th, from 17.40 – 19.40 (UTC-3) in the Atlantico B room and can be followed remotely.

The agenda includes two new Internet Drafts (IDs), the working documents of the IETF and IRTF, produced by the members of the group; the IDs outline the work done thus far and the road ahead, and also present some initial guidelines for developing human rights protocol considerations.

Three speakers will also shine a light on the work done by the HRPC RG, and connect it to their own research.

  1. Ramsey Nasser will speak about ‘kalbe’ [قلب], a programming language entirely written in Arabic, and the cultural and social assumptions held by engineers he came across while developing it.
  2. Professor Geoffrey Bowker will speak about his ‘Values in Design’ project, and the difficulties surrounding engineering for social values.
  3. Nick Doty will talk about privacy adoption in Internet and web standard setting, and how this could be applied in developing human rights guidelines.

If you want to know more about the work of the HRPC group, you can subscribe to the HRPC mailinglist, find more information on the HRPC website, watch the film Net of Rights or email niels@article19.org or corinne@article19.org

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