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GISWatch 2016: addressing economic, social and cultural rights on the internet


The current dominant public policy discourse on the internet and human rights addresses the importance of the these new technologies to empower civil liberties. There is no better example of this than freedom of speech, traditionally mediated by power structures that do not allow it to flourish. Another important stream of this discourse hinges on the security and surveillance debate – massive surveillance through technology due to security needs is one of the most serious challenges we are facing today in the field.

In spite, or perhaps because of this, there is less attention paid to the way those technologies affect or enhance economic, social and cultural rights (ESCR). Being seen as second class rights (or even third class, in some cases), there is a need to start talking about the importance of them to dramatically improve the live conditions of the least advantaged groups within our societies, both in terms of access to infrastructure, educational resources, access to health care, to work conditions, between others.

Such is the frame of the GISWatch report (Global Information Society Watch) of 2016. The aim of the report is cover to state of the information society from a civil society perspective worldwide. It was been published since 2006 as a collective effort of activists, scholars and academics leaded by the Association for Progressive Communications, and the 2016 report is just about internet and economic, social and cultural rights.

The 2016 report includes the work of several people within the Creative Commons global community trying to address issues related with trade agreements and ESCR, the right to educational resources and the internet, and the digital protection of traditional knowledge. This report is a key document to better understand the connections between technological advances and social empowering of human rights, particularly where access to knowledge and cultural resources is a key element.

The report is CC BY licensed as well!

Posted 23 February 2017