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Media Note
August 3, 2000

Conference on "Human Rights and Cyberspace"

The U.S. Department of State's office of the Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, together with the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor and the Bureau of Intelligence and Research will sponsor a conference on "Human Rights and Cyberspace" on Friday, August 4. The conference will be held at the Meridian International Center, 1630 Crescent Place, N.W., Washington, D.C., and begins at 9:00 a.m.

The conference will bring together representatives from corporations, NGOs, governments, academic institutions and international organizations to discuss issues related to and use of the Internet to promote human rights. Because action to promote human rights on the Internet and global access to Information Technology will require coordinated action by all of these sectors, this conference is designed to foster dialogue among different entities that can lead to action to further develop and promote a human rights agenda for cyberspace.

All remarks and discussion at the conference will be off the record and not for attribution. Attached for your information is the proposed agenda for the conference. For further information, please contact Jamie Metzl of the Office of the Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs at (202) 647-7189.


Conference on Human Rights and Cyberspace

Meridian International Center
1630 Crescent Place, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20009
(202) 667-6800
Friday, August 4, 2000

Preliminary Agenda

Sponsored by the Office of the Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, and the Bureau of Intelligence and Research, U.S. Department of State.

8:30 a.m.Registration and Coffee
9:00 a.m. Opening Remarks
J. Stapleton Roy, Assistant Secretary for Intelligence and Research
Harold Koh, Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
9:30 a.m. Briefing on G8 Summit
Lael Brainard, National Economic Council, the White House
10:00 a.m. The Emerging Regimes
(Moderator: Harold Koh, Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, Department of State)

Central Questions--How are human rights norms reflected in the national and international systems that influence the Internet? How should public interest and human rights considerations be reflected in these systems? What can be done to foster such considerations?

  • Minky Worden, Human Rights Watch, The Internet as a tool for human rights advocacy
  • Anuradha Vittachi, OneWorld International Foundation, Access as a human right
  • Alan Davidson, Center for Democracy and Technology, Human Rights on-line;
  • Atsuko Okuda, UNDP, Access and development
11:30 a.m. Lunch
John Gage, Sun Microsystems, "The future of information technology and its impact on human rights"
1:00 p.m. The Corporate Role
(Moderator: Virginia Haufler, University of Maryland)

How does corporate action impact the issues discussed in the first panel? What are best practices for corporate action to promote human rights regarding the Internet? What role can corporations play in promoting a human rights agenda for the Internet? What relationships with NGOs and governments might best support that role?

  • Dinah Pokempner, Human Rights Watch, Corporate Responsibility and Human Rights
  • Michael Nelson, IBM, Corporate role in building "transnational issue networks"
  • Byron Henderson, AcrossWorld Communications, Corporate role in promoting global access
  • Bennett Freeman, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, U.S. Department of State
2:30 p.m. Break
2:45 p.m. Breakout groups
(Moderator: Jamie F. Metzl, Senior Advisor for Information Technology, U.S. Department of State)

Develop a list of possible action items for the topics discussed in Panels 1 and 2.

  • The Internet as a tool for human rights advocacy--Sarah Sewall, Carr Center for Human Rights
  • Access as a human right--Kerry McNamara, World Bank
  • Human Rights on-line--Gilian Caldwell, Witness Program, Lawyers Committee for Human Rights
  • The Corporate Role--Aaron Cramer, Business for Social Responsibility
3:45 p.m. Presentation of Findings from Breakout Groups
4:30 p.m. Concluding Remarks

[end of document]

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