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The Internet Openness
Metric Project
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Components of the Metric


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The Internet freedom component of the metric will be comprised of the applicable human rights covenants under the UDHR (Universal Declaration of Human Rights)

  1. Access to information is part of Art.19¹
  2. Freedom of expression (speech) Art. 19
  3. Ability to organize* Art. 20
  4. Protecting IPR online without unduly restricting access to information* Art 27.2
  5. Protecting privacy online. Art 12²
  6. Protecting personal integrity rights off and online (governments do not monitor and then arbitrarily arrest citizens using the Internet).* Art.3
  7. Due process rights online (citizens will be duly informed of Internet policies and have the right to challenge these policies) *Art 8, 10, 11
  8. Digital literacy (as a component of literacy) Art 26
  9. Free access to Internet through public venues such as libraries or schools Art.21.2
  10. Recognizing and realizing the rights of everyone to enjoy the benefits of scientific progress and its applications Art. 15 IESCR³


Economic and business conditions

  1. Role of foreign and domestic firms in maintaining Internet openness4
  2. Commitments to maintain free flow of information in bilateral FTAs and international economic principles such as those put forward by the OECD.
  3. Does the government encourage firms to act in accordance with international laws and guidelines regarding transparency and respect for human rights?5
  4. Respect for other countries' cyber companies, territory, and products.6
  5. The state has taken activities to regulate the behavior of nonstate actors that may violate another nation's cyber assets.
  6. Role of Internet in increasing access to markets7
  7. Does the State have copyright laws that enhance or restrict Internet freedom including exceptions for fair use, educational purposes, parody etc...?
  8. Does the state require firms to be transparent about cyber incidents so consumers can protect their identities and products online?8
  9. Does the state use online tools to spy on its citizens and if so under what legal provisions?
  10. Does the state have the right to disconnect citizens from the Internet and for what reasons?

Government commitment

  1. Has the government signed the Declaration for Free expression on Internet?
  2. Is the government a member of the Open Government Partnership?
  3. Does the government have cyber security legislation that respects property and privacy rights?9
  4. Does the government have procedures for due process when it asks companies or individuals to take down sites for copyright violations or for national security reasons?10
  5. Under national law does the government have the authority to filter or regulate the Internet? Does the law strictly limit when and how governments can censor?
  6. Is the state transparent about when it asks or acts to block or filter online?



¹There is no right to information per se in the UDHR. However, information is a global public good; access to information is a basic human right under international human rights law, and hence governments have responsibility to ensure their citizens have access to information through transparency mechanisms. In fact, in the first session of the UN General Assembly member states agreed, "Freedom of information is a fundamental human right and ... the touchstone of all the freedoms to which the United Nations is consecrated. Inge Kaul, Isabelle Grunberg, and Marc A. Stern, Eds.. Global Public goods: International Cooperation in the 21st century (NY, Oxford University Press, 1999) http://web.undp.org/globalpublicgoods/Executive_Summary/executive_summary.html#introduction; Keith E. Maskus and Jerome H. Reichman, eds. INTERNATIONAL PUBLIC GOODS AND TRANSFER OF TECHNOLOGY: UNDER A GLOBALIZED INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY REGIME, Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2005; and Toby Mendel, Freedom of Information as an Internationally Protected Human Right, http://www.article19.org/data/files/pdfs/publications/foi-as-an-international-right.pdf.
²EDRi, "An introduction to Data Protection," http://www.edri.org/files/paper06_datap.pdf; and https://www.accessnow.org/blog/2013/01/28/happy-data-privacy-day.
³States are required to recognize the right of everyone to enjoy the benefits of scientific progress and its applications, to conserve, develop and diffuse science, respect the freedom indispensable for scientific research. AAAS, Scientific Responsibility, Human Rights and Law Program, Science as a Human Rights: "Article 15,"shr.aas.org/programs/program_article15.htm. Individuals need the free flow of information to enjoy the benefits of scientific progress, as in Google's global science fair. https://www.googlesciencefair.com/en/2013/?utm_medium=hpp&utm_source=en-hpp&utm_campaign=gsf2013
4For example, it could be hard to measure but what happens when Twitter or Facebook shut an account? Jeffrey Gettleman, "Somalia: Twitter Shuts Rebels Account,"New York Times, 1/26/2012.
5As example, the role of telecom companies in providing access to the web. https://www.accessnow.org/blog/2013/01/30/telco-hall-of-shame-france-telecom-orange; and https://www.accessnow.org/blog/2013/01/29/hall-of-shame-vodafone
6As an example of the lack of respect, see Adam Segal, "The People's Republic of Hacking," 1/31/2013. http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2013/01/31/the_people_s_republic_of_hacking_china_new_york_times?wp_login_redirect=0&utm_source=Sinocism+Newsletter&utm_campaign=9f534ce581-Sinocism02_01_13&utm_medium=email. Also see Akamai, "The State of the Internet," Vo.. 5, No. 3, 3rd quarter 2012 Executive summary, http://www.akamai.com/dl/akamai/akamai_soti_q312_exec_summary.pdf. "During the third quarter of 2012, Akamai observed attack traffic originating from 180 unique countries/regions. China remained far and away the top traffic source, responsible for nearly a third of observed attack traffic. The United States and Russia held the second and third place spots respectively, accounting for just below 18% of observed attack traffic combined."
7Andreas Lendle et al., "There Goes Gravity, How eBay reduces trade costs," http://econ.worldbank.org/external/default/main?pagePK=64165259&piPK=64165421&theSitePK=469372&menuPK=64166093&entityID=000158349_20121025161729
8See SEC rules on disclosure of cyber incidents, http://www.sec.gov/divisions/corpfin/guidance/cfguidance-topic2.htm
9As example firms struggle to balance their users" privacy rights with government need to protect the public. Facebook and the three largest email providers told The Hill this week that they require police to obtain a search warrant before accessing their users' private online communications. Their policies go beyond the privacy standards of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), a 1986 law that only requires police to obtain a subpoena, issued without a judge's approval, to read emails, instant messages and other forms of digital communication that have been opened or that are more than 180 days old. See Brendan Sasso, "Facebook, email providers say they require warrants," 1/27/2012, http://thehill.com/blogs/hillicon-valley/technology/279441-facebook-email-providers-require-warrant-for-private-data
10Twitter recently announced the number of USG requests for user account data. The USG comprised 81% of the data requested. David Kravetz, "Government Appetite Growing for Twitter User Data," Wired, 1/28/13, http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/category/surveillance/

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