Human Lives Human Rights: Cyberspace is the term used to describe the virtual space between the hardware that contains information. This space exchanges information through illegal software services, such as global networks. To distinguish this space from the existing space created by previous technological tools, such as Teflon, satellite, telegraph, wireless and radio, the computer element should be included in the definition of cyberspace. Therefore, this space must be accessed through servers that are dedicated to this purpose in different parts of the world.
Human rights are dynamic and abstract. They protect the basic freedoms of individuals wherever they are, whether they are in the middle of a full-scale war or in complete peace behind their personal computer. The relationship between human rights and cyberspace is bidirectional. This means that firstly, human rights influence the Internet variable. In other words, the effective implementation of human rights leads to the advancement of the Internet as one of the new tools for realizing these rights. For example, the right to development, the right to freedom of expression and the right to freedom of assembly can be achieved through cyberspace. Following this argument, one can question why 77% of the population have only 5% of telephone lines. Or why, while the average use of the Internet in the world is one in every 38 people, in the African continent (except South Africa) it is one in every 500 people.
Mechanisms for protecting human rights in cyberspace
The mechanisms for protecting human rights in cyberspace can be generally divided into two categories from one perspective. The mechanisms for addressing human rights violations in cyberspace (support) and the mechanisms for preventing human rights violations in cyberspace (guarantee of protection).
Mechanism for ensuring the protection of human rights in cyberspace
To prevent human rights violations, various initiatives have been taken at the national and international level. At the national level, some examples are: The US Department of Homeland Security has established a Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency; Malaysia has established a National Cyber Security Agency and a National ICT Security and Emergency Response Centre; Austria has established a Data Protection Authority; France has established a National Commission on Informatics and Liberty; and Germany has established a Federal Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information. The enactment of domestic laws that cover the intellectual property rights of computer products is also part of this area. The absence of a law that requires the registration of computer software is one of the breaches of the government’s obligation to protect human rights. At the international level, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development has issued guidelines to ensure the protection of the privacy of individuals. According to these guidelines, countries are restricted in collecting personal data and must implement security measures to protect them.
Mechanisms for protecting human rights in cyberspace
A- The mechanisms for protecting human rights in cyberspace can be viewed from two angles:
One can argue that the first and best way to protect human rights is to appeal to public opinion, which has been manifested in the cyber environment. In fact, by sharing and informing the public about the violations committed by governments, it can be regarded as the most important tool to protect human rights, which can be clearly realized through the Internet. There are many examples of the impact of this process: When two journalists exposed the failed coup in Zimbabwe, they were arrested. However, after this news was published on the Internet and the subsequent pressure of public opinion, they were finally released.
Besides publishing news through the Internet, we should also mention the facilities of some websites to support human rights. With the possibility of receiving news from citizens through e-mails, these websites take action against violators. A good example of this is the website of the Internet Crime Complaint Center, which tracks Internet crimes including human rights violations on the Internet. Of course, it should be noted that the United States, as the host of the two main Internet servers, cannot generally cut off the Internet in a country by order of the police or judicial authority, but it can remove the offending website from access according to human rights rules. This is a kind of guarantee for third-party protection of human rights, which is a new concept in Internet human rights. In addition, many virtual human rights organizations have been established that have access to important documents and news. In cases of human rights violations and in line with support, you can get help from these virtual organizations to establish a legal system that is compatible with the court. Two well-known organizations in this field are Derekas organization related to refugees and enforced disappearances and the Electronic Frontier Foundation related to the defense of users’ social freedoms. It should be mentioned that some countries have strategic policies that require restricting access to websites related to democracy and human rights. For example, China has blocked the website of Human Rights Watch and the website of Voice of Democracy in Hong Kong. Moreover, there are references on the Internet for direct handling of violations, which are referred to as the effects of tyranny in cyberspace. Three of these mechanisms on the Internet are: the a.c.e.a.n. mechanism that deals with the elimination of Internet spam and the prosecution and action against its senders; the domain name dispute resolution authority UDPR and the international special committee IAHC, which are supervised by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and resolve disputes related to the registration of global and commercial domains on the Internet; and the mechanism in America Online that stops serving its offending users.
B- Mechanisms for protecting human rights in cyberspace
The existing mechanisms for protecting human rights in cyberspace are of two types: national and international. At the national level, some countries have provided a mechanism for protecting human rights in their domestic system. For example, the US cyber security strategy document, which is considered among the responsible companies. The 1994 Law on the protection of computer information systems should be used for things that endanger the collective or national interests of citizens. There may also be courts such as administrative justice that deal with violations by the government and affiliated companies in violating human rights in cyberspace. As stated, violations of human rights in cyberspace are defined as actions committed by citizens or citizens of other countries. Considering that the Internet service in most countries of the world has been entrusted to the private sector, the attribution of these actions to the government has been questioned.