Freedom of Association on the Internet

Document Type Active Internet-Draft (hrpc RG)
Authors Niels ten Oever  , Gisela de Acha  , St├ęphane Couture  , Mallory Knodel 
Last updated 2021-04-16
Replaces draft-tenoever-hrpc-association
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Human Rights Protocol Considerations Research Group         N. ten Oever
Internet-Draft                                   Univeristy of Amsterdam
Intended status: Informational                          G. Perez de Acha
Expires: October 18, 2021                             Derechos Digitales
                                                              S. Couture
                                                  Universite de Montreal
                                                               M. Knodel
                                       Center for Democracy & Technology
                                                          April 16, 2021

                 Freedom of Association on the Internet


   This document discusses the relationships between the Internet
   architecture and the ability of people to exercise their right to
   peaceful assembly and the right to association online.  The Internet
   increasingly mediates our lives, our relationships, and our ability
   to exercise our human rights.  As a global assemblage, the Internet
   provides a public space, yet it is predominantly built on private
   infrastructure.  Since Internet protocols and architecture play a
   central role in the management, development, and use of the Internet,
   we analyze the relation between protocols, architecture, and the
   rights to assemble and associate to mitigate infringements on those

Status of This Memo

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   provisions of BCP 78 and BCP 79.

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   This Internet-Draft will expire on October 18, 2021.

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Table of Contents

   1.  Introduction  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
   2.  Vocabulary used . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
   3.  Research question . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
   4.  Methodology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
   5.  Literature Review . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
     5.1.  FAA definition and core treaties  . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
     5.2.  FAA in the digital era  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   9
     5.3.  Specific questions raised from the literature review  . .  13
   6.  Analysis  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  13
     6.1.  Got No Peace: Spam and DDoS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  14
       6.1.1.  Spam  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  15
       6.1.2.  DDoS  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  16
     6.2.  Holistic Agency: Mailing Lists and Spam . . . . . . . . .  16
       6.2.1.  Mailing lists . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  16
       6.2.2.  Spam  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  17
     6.3.  Civics in Cyberspace: Messaging, Conferencing, and
           Networking  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  17
       6.3.1.  Email . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  17
       6.3.2.  Mailing lists . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  18
       6.3.3.  IRC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  18
       6.3.4.  WebRTC  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  18
       6.3.5.  Peer-to-peer networking . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  19
     6.4.  Universal Access: The Web . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  21
     6.5.  Block Together Now: IRC and Refusals  . . . . . . . . . .  22
   7.  Conclusions: Can we learn anything from the previous case
       studies?  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  23
   8.  Acknowledgements  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  24
   9.  Security Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  24
   10. IANA Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  24
   11. Research Group Information  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  24
   12. References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  24

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     12.1.  Informative References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  24
     12.2.  URIs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  32
   Authors' Addresses  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  32

1.  Introduction

We shape our tools and, thereafter, our tools shape us. 
     - John Culkin (1967)

Article 21 of the Covenant protects peaceful assemblies wherever they
take place: outdoors, indoors and online; in public and private spaces;
or a combination thereof.
     - General Comment 37 of the Human Rights Committee (2020)

In the digital age, the exercise of the rights of peaceful assembly and
association has become largely dependent on business enterprises,
whose legal obligations, policies, technical standards, financial models
and algorithms can affect these freedoms.

     - Annual Report to the UN Human Rights Council by the Special
     Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and
     of association (2019).

   The current draft continues the work started in "Research into Human
   Rights Protocol Considerations" [RFC8280] by investigating the impact
   of Internet protocols on a specific set of human rights, namely the
   right to peaceful assembly and the right to association.  Taking into
   consideration the international human rights framework regarding the
   human right to peaceful assembly and the right to association, the
   present document seeks to deepen the relationship between this human
   right and Internet architecture, protocols, and standards.  In that
   way, we continue the work of the Human Rights Protocol Consideration
   Research Group, as laid out in its charter, where one of the research
   aims is "to expose the relation between protocols and human rights,
   with a focus on the rights to freedom of expression and freedom of
   assembly" [HRPC-charter].  The conclusions may inform the development
   of new guidelines for protocol developers in draft-irtf-hrpc-

   The research question of this document is: what are the protocol
   development considerations for the right to peaceful assembly and the
   right to association?

2.  Vocabulary used

   Architecture  The design of a structure

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   Autonomous System (AS)  Autonomous Systems are the unit of routing
      policy in the modern world of exterior routing [RFC1930].

      Within the Internet, an autonomous system (AS) is a collection of
      connected Internet Protocol (IP) routing prefixes under the
      control of one or more network operators on behalf of a single
      administrative entity or domain that presents a common, clearly
      defined routing policy to the Internet [RFC1930].

      The classic definition of an Autonomous System is a set of routers
      under a single technical administration, using an interior gateway
      protocol and common metrics to route packets within the AS, and
      using an exterior gateway protocol to route packets to other ASs

   Border Gateway Protocol (BGP)  An inter-Autonomous System routing
      protocol [RFC4271].

   Connectivity  The extent to which a device or network is able to
      reach other devices or networks to exchange data.  The Internet is
      the tool for providing global connectivity [RFC1958].  Different
      types of connectivity are further specified in [RFC4084].  The
      combination of the end-to-end principle, interoperability,
      distributed architecture, resilience, reliability and robustness
      are the enabling factors that result in connectivity to and on the

   Decentralization  Implementation or deployment of standards,
      protocols or systems without one single point of control.

   Distributed system  A system with multiple components that have their
      behavior co-ordinated via message passing.  These components are
      usually spatially separated and communicate using a network, and
      may be managed by a single root of trust or authority.

   Infrastructure  Underlying basis or structure for a functioning
      society, organization or community.  Because infrastructure is a
      precondition for other activities it has a procedural, rather than
      static, nature due to its social and cultural embeddedness
      [PipekWulf] [Bloketal].  This means that infrastructure is always
      relational: infrastructure always develops in relation to
      something or someone [Bowker].

   Internet  The Network of networks, that consists of Autonomous
      Systems that are connected through the Internet Protocol (IP).

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      A persistent socio-technical system over which services are
      delivered [Mainwaringetal],

      A techno-social assemblage of devices, users, sensors, networks,
      routers, governance, administrators, operators and protocols

      An emergent-process-driven thing that is born from the collections
      of the ASes that happen to be gathered together at any given time.
      The fact that they tend to interact at any given time means it is
      an emergent property that happens because they use the protocols
      defined at IETF.

      Right to peaceful assembly 'The right of peaceful assembly
      protects the non-violent gathering by persons for specific
      purposes, principally expressive ones.1 It constitutes an
      individual right that is exercised collectively.2 Inherent to the
      right is thus an associative element.'  [UNGC37]

      Right to association 'The right and freedom of association
      encompasses both an individual's right to join or leave groups
      voluntarily, the right of the group to take collective action to
      pursue the interests of its members, and the right of an
      association to accept or decline membership based on certain
      criteria.'  [FoAdef]

3.  Research question

   The research question of this document is: what are the protocol
   development considerations for freedom of assembly and association?

4.  Methodology

   The point of departure of the present work [RFC8280] is an initial
   effort to expose the relationship between human rights and the
   Internet architecture, specifically protocols and standards.  As
   such, [RFC8280] was inductive and explorative in nature.  The
   methodology in this previous work was based on the discourse analysis
   of RFCs, interviews with members of the IETF community, and
   participant observation in IETF working groups, with the goal to
   identify technical concepts that relate to human rights.  This work
   resulted in the proposal of guidelines to describe a relationship
   between the right to peaceful assembly and association and
   connectivity, security, censorship resistance, anonymity,
   pseudonymity, accessibility, decentralization, adaptability, and
   outcome transparency.

   In this document, we deepen our exploration of human rights and
   protocols by assessing one specific set of human rights: freedom of

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   association and assembly, abbreviated here as FAA.  Our methodology
   for doing so is the following: first, we provide a brief twofold
   literature review addressing the philosophical and legal definitions
   of FAA and how this right has already been interpreted or analyzed
   concerning the digital.  This literature review is not exhaustive nor
   systematic but aims at providing some lines of questioning that could
   later be used for protocol development.  The second part of our
   methodology looks at some cases of Internet protocols that are
   relevant to the sub-questions highlighted in the literature review,
   and analyze how these protocols facilitate and inhibit the right to
   peaceful assembly and association.

5.  Literature Review

5.1.  FAA definition and core treaties

   The rights to peaceful assembly and the freedom of association are
   defined and guaranteed in national law and international treaties,
   however, in this document we limit outselves to international
   treaties.  Article 20 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
   [UDHR] states that "Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful
   assembly and association" and that "No one may be compelled to belong
   to an association".  Article 23 further guarantees that "Everyone has
   the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his
   interests".  In the International Covenant on Civil and Political
   Rights [ICCPR], article 21 stipulates that "The right of peaceful
   assembly shall be recognized" and that "No restrictions may be placed
   on the exercise of this right other than those imposed in conformity
   with the law and which are necessary in a democratic society in the
   interests of national security or public safety, public order (ordre
   public), the protection of public health or morals or the protection
   of the rights and freedoms of others" while article 22 states that
   "Everyone shall have the right to freedom of association with others,
   including the right to form and join trade unions".

   General Comment No. 37 on the right of peaceful assembly by the
   United Nations Human Rights Committee affirms that the right of
   peaceful assembly protects non-violent online gatherings: "associated
   activities that happen online or otherwise rely upon digital services
   [...] are also protected" [UNGC37].  Interference with emerging
   communications technologies that offer the opportunity to assemble
   either wholly or partly online or play an integral role in
   organizing, participating in and monitoring physical gatherings are
   assumed to impede assemblies which are protected by this right.
   Moreover, any restriction on the 'operation of information
   dissemination systems' must conform with the tests for restrictions
   on freedom of expression (see below).

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   Other treaties are sometimes cited as the source and framework to the
   right to freedom of association and assembly.  Such as Article 5 of
   the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of
   Racial Discrimination [CERD] which stipulates freedom of peaceful
   assembly and association should be guaranteed "without discrimination
   as to race, colour, national or ethnic origin"; Article 15 of the
   Convention on the Rights of the Child [CRC] which recognises to child
   pending the restrictions cited above; and Article 21 of the
   Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities [CRPD] which
   insist on usable and accessible formats and technologies appropriate
   for persons with different kinds of disabilities.  The freedoms of
   peaceful assembly and association are also protected under regional
   human rights treaties: article 11 of the European Convention on Human
   Rights, articles 15 and 16 of the American Convention on Human
   Rights, article 10 and 11 of the African Charter on Human and
   Peoples' Rights.

   From a more philosophical perspective, Brownlee and Jenkins
   [Stanford] make some interesting distinctions in particular regarding
   the concepts of association, assembly and interaction, deviating
   somewhat from what is established in interpretations of international
   human rights law.  "Interaction" refers to any kind of interpersonal
   and often incidental engagements in daily life, like encountering
   strangers on a bus.  Interaction is seen as a "prerequisite" for
   association.  Assembly, according to Brownlee and Jenkins has a more
   political connotation and is often used to refer to activists,
   protesters, or members of a group in a deliberating event.  The
   authors refer to association as more "persistent connections" and
   distinguish between intimate associations, like friendship, love, or
   family, and collective association like trade unions, commercial
   business, or "expressive associations" like civil rights
   organizations or LGBTQIA associations.  For Brownlee and Jenkins
   [Stanford], the right to association is linked to different relative
   freedoms: permission (to associate or dissociate), claim-right (to
   oppose others interfering with our conduct), power (to alter the
   status of our association), immunity (from other people interfering
   in our right).  Freedom of association thus refers both to the
   individual right to join or leave a group and to the collective right
   to form or dissolve a group.

   Freedoms of association and peaceful assembly, however, are relative
   and not absolute.  Excluding someone from an association based on its
   sex, race or other individual characteristic is also often
   contentious if not illegal.  As mentioned above, international human
   rights law provides the framework for legitimate restrictions on
   these rights, as well as the right to privacy and the right to
   freedom of expression and opinion.  Restrictions can be imposed by
   states, but only if this is lawful and proportionate.  States must

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   document how these limitations are necessary in the interests of
   national security or public safety, public order, the protection of
   public health or morals, or the protection of the rights and freedoms
   of others.  Finally, states must also protect participants against
   possible abuses by non-state actors.

   The Human Rights Committee explores a few restrictions related to
   associated activities online or reliant upon digital services, that
   are also protected under article 21, and stipulates that "States
   parties must not, for example, block or hinder Internet connectivity
   in relation to peaceful assemblies.  The same applies to geotargeted
   or technology-specific interference with connectivity or access to
   content.".  Additionally, "States should ensure that the activities
   of Internet service providers and intermediaries do not unduly
   restrict assemblies or the privacy of assembly participants."

   Interpreting international law, the right to freedom of peaceful
   assembly and the right to freedom of association protects any
   collective, gathered either permanently or temporarily for "peaceful"
   purposes, online and offline.  It is important to underline the
   property of "freedom" because the right to freedom of association and
   assembly is voluntary and uncoerced: anyone can join or leave a group
   of choice, which in turn means one should not be forced to either
   join, stay or leave.  An assembly is an "intentional and temporary
   gathering of a collective in a private or public space for a specific
   purpose: demonstrations, indoor meetings, strikes, processions,
   rallies, or even sits-in" [UNGA].  Association has a more formal and
   established nature and refer to a group of individuals or legal
   entities brought together in order to collectively act, express,
   promote, pursue, or defend a field of common interests
   [UNSRFOAA2012].  Think about civil society organizations, clubs,
   cooperatives, NGOs, religious associations, political parties, trade
   unions, or foundations.

   When talking about the human right of freedom of association and
   assembly, one should always take into account that 'all human rights
   are indivisible, interrelated, unalienable, universal, and mutually
   reinforcing' [ViennaDeclaration].  This means that in the analysis of
   the impact of a certain variable on freedom of association and
   assembly one should take other human rights into account too.  When
   devising an approach to mitigate a possible negative influence on
   this right, one should also always take into account the possible
   impact this might have on other rights.  For example, the following
   rights are often impacted in conjunction with freedom of association
   and assembly: the right to political participation, the right to
   (group) privacy, the right to freedom of expression, and access to
   information.  For instance, when the right to political participation

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   is hampered, this often happens in conjunction with a limitation of
   the freedom of association and assembly because political
   participation is often done collectively.  When the right to privacy
   is hampered, this privacy of particular groups is also impacted (so-
   called 'group privacy' [Loi], which potentially has consequences for
   the right to association and assembly.  Where the freedom of
   expression of a group is hampered, such as in protests or through
   Internet shutdowns, this both hampers other people's ability to
   receive the information of the group, and impact the right to
   assembly of the people who seek to express themselves as a group

   Finally, if the right to association and assembly is limited by
   national law, this does not mean it is consistent with international
   human rights law.  In such a case, the national law would therefore
   not be legitimate [Glasius].

5.2.  FAA in the digital era

   Before discussing freedom of association and assembly as it pertains
   to digital environments, we must first recognize that the United
   Nations Human Rights Council adopted resolutions on the promotion,
   protection and enjoyment of human rights on the Internet in 2012,
   2014, 2016 and 2018, affirming and reaffirming "... that the same
   rights that people have offline must also be protected online ..."
   [UNHRC2018].  Therefore the digital environment is no exception to
   application of this right by any means.  Various other resolutions
   and report have established the online applicability of the freedoms
   of association and assembly, most recently and authoritatively by the
   Human Rights Committee in General Comment 37 (2020)[UNGC37].  The
   questions that remain, however, are how these rights should be
   conceptualized and implemented in different parts and levels of
   digital environments.

   The right to freedom of assembly and association online is the
   subject of increasing discussions and analysis.  Especially since
   social media played an important role in several revolutions in 2011,
   which has led to increasing and ever more sophisticated attacks by
   autocratic governments on online communities and other associational
   activities occurring on the Internet [RutzenZenn].  In 2016, the
   Council of Europe published a report, "Report by the Committee of
   experts on cross-border flow of Internet traffic and Internet freedom
   on Freedom of assembly and association on the Internet" [CoE] which
   noted that while the Internet and technologies are not explicitly
   mentioned in international treaties, these treaties nevertheless
   apply to "the online environment".  The report argue the "Internet is
   the public sphere of the 21st century", something demonstrated by the
   fact that informal associations can be gathered at scale in a matter

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   of hours on the Internet, and that digital communication tools often
   serve to facilitate, publicize or otherwise enable presential
   associations or assemblies, like a protest or demonstration.  They
   note, on the other hand, the negative ways in which the Internet can
   also be used to promote or facilitate terrorism, urban violence and
   hate speech, thus insisting on the "extremely important and urgent"
   need to fight online terrorist activities such as recruitment or
   mobilization, while at the same time respecting the right to peaceful
   assembly and association of other users.  The report mentions the
   following use cases that could be help further our reflection:

   -  Instances of network shutdowns in the Arab Spring, to prevent
      people from organising themselves or assembling

   -  California's Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) shutdown of mobile
      phone service, to avoid protester violence and disruption of

   -  The wholesale blocking of Google as a violation of freedom of

   -  Telus, a telecom company which blocked customers' access to
      websites critical of Telus during a Telecommunications Workers
      Union strike against it

   -  The targeting of social media users who call for or organise
      protests though the Internet in Turkey's Gezi Park protests

   -  Mass surveillance or other interferences with privacy in the
      context of law enforcement and national security

   -  Use of VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) to the TOR network to
      ensure anonymity

   -  Distributed Denial of Service attacks (DDoS) as civil

   In 2019 the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of
   peaceful assembly and of association, notes the opportunities and
   challenges posed by digital networks to the rights to freedom of
   peaceful assembly and of association [UNSRFAA2019].  The report
   recommends that international human rights norms and principles
   should also be used as a framework "that guides digital technology
   companies' design, control and governance of digital technologies".
   The report states that "technical standards" in particular can affect
   the freedom of association and assembly, and makes some
   recommendations on which the following could be relevant to our
   discussion here:

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   -  "[Undertake] human rights impact assessments which incorporate the
      rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association when
      developing or modifying their products and services,"

   -  "increase the quality of participation in and implementation of
      existing multi-stakeholder initiatives,"

   -  "collaborate with governments and civil society to develop
      technology that promotes and strengthens human rights,"

   -  "support the research and development of appropriate technological
      solutions to online harassment, disinformation and propaganda,
      including tools to detect and identify State-linked accounts and
      bots," and

   -  "adopt monitoring indicators that include specific concerns
      related to freedom of peaceful assembly and association."

   In one of their "training kits" [APCtraining], the Association of
   Progressive Communications addressed different impacts of the
   internet on association and assembly and raised three particular
   issues worthy to note here:

   1.  Organization of protests.  Internet and social media are enablers
       of protests, such as it was seen in the "Arab Spring".  Some of
       these protests - like online petitions or campaigns - are similar
       to offline association and assembly, but other protest forms are
       inherent to the Internet capacity like hacking, DDOS and are
       subject to controversy within the Internet community, some people
       finding it legitimate, and others not.

   2.  Surveillance.  While the Internet facilitates association, the
       association in turn leaves a lot of traces that can be used in
       turn for law enforcement but also for repressing political
       dissents.  As they note, even the threat of surveillance can have
       deter facilitation.

   3.  Anonymity and pseudonymity can be useful protection mechanism for
       those who'd like to attend legitimate association without facing
       retribution.  On the other hand, anonymity can be used to harm
       society, such as in online fraud or sexual predation.

   Online association and assembly are the starting point of group to
   mobilization in modern democracies, and even more so where physical
   gatherings have been impossible or dangerous [APC].  Throughout the
   world -from the Arab Spring to Latin American student movements and
   the #WomensMarch- the Internet has played a crucial role by providing
   means for the fast dissemination of information otherwise mediated by

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   the press, or even forbidden by the government [Pensado].  According
   to Hussain and Howard the Internet helped to "build solidarity
   networks and identification of collective identities and goals,
   extend the range of local coverage to international broadcast
   networks" and as platform for contestation for "the future of civil
   society and information infrastructure" [HussainHoward].  The IETF
   itself, defined as an 'open global community' of network designers,
   operators, vendors, and researchers [RFC3233] is also protected by
   freedom of assembly and association . Discussions, comments and
   consensus around RFCs are possible because of the collective
   expression that freedom of association and assembly allow.  The very
   word "protocol" found its way into the language of computer
   networking based on the need for collective agreement among a group
   of assembled network users [HafnerandLyon].

   [RFC8280] is a paper by the Human Rights Protocol Consideration
   Resarch Group in the Internet Research Taskforce on internet
   protocols and human rights that discusses issues of FAA,

   -  The expansion of DNS for generic namespace as an enabler of
      association for minorities.  The paper argues that specifically
      the expansion of the DNS to allow for new generic Top Level
      Domains (gTLDs) can have negative impacts on freedom of
      association because of restrictive policies by some registries and
      registrars, on the other hand could gTLDs also enable communities
      to build clearly identifiable spaces for association (such as

   -  The impact of Distributed Denial of Service attacks on freedom of
      association.  Whereas DDoS has been used as a tool for protest, in
      many cases this is infringing on other parties freedom of
      expression.  Furthermore, often devices (such as IoT devices and
      routers) are inscribed in such DDoS attacks whereas the owner or
      user did not consent to this.  Thus they do not have the
      possibility to exit this assembly.  Therefore the draft concluded
      that that IETF "should try to ensure that their protocols cannot
      be used for DDoS attacks"

   -  The impact of middleboxes on the ability of users to connect to
      the Internet and therefore their ability to exercise their right
      to freedom of association and assembly.  The lack of connectivity
      can significantly impact freedom of assembly and association of a
      user.  Especially if this is done in a way that is not knowable
      for the user and if there is no possibility to for the user to
      have access to due process to dispute the lack of (secure or
      private) connectivity in general or to a specific service.

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   In June 2020, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
   concluded that technologies can be enablers of the excercise of FAA,
   but technology is also significantly used to interfere with the
   ability of people to exercise their right to freedom of association
   and assembly.  Specifically, the report mentions network shutdowns,
   the usage of technology to surveil or crack down on protesters,
   leading to human rights violations.  This includes facial recognition
   technology, and the uses of other ways to violate the (group) privacy
   of people engaged in an assembly or association.  The report makes it
   explicit that companies play a significant role enabling, for
   instance by developing, providing or selling the technology, but also
   by directly exercising these violations [UNHRC2020].

5.3.  Specific questions raised from the literature review

   Here are some questions raised from the literature review that can
   have implications for protocol design:

   1.  Should protocols be designed to enable legitimate limitations on
       association in the interests of "national security or public
       safety, public order (ordre public), the protection of public
       health or morals or the protection of the rights and freedoms of
       others", as stated in the ICCPR article 21 [ICCPR]?  Where in the
       stack do we care for FAA?

   2.  Can protocols facilitate agency of membership in associations,
       assemblies and interactions?

   3.  What are the features of protocols that enable freedom of
       association and assembly?

   4.  Does protocol development sufficiently consider usable and
       accessible formats and technologies appropriate for all persons,
       including those with different kinds of disabilities?

   5.  Can a protocol be designed to legitimately exclude someone from
       an association?

   In the following sections we attempt to answer these questions with
   specific examples of standardized protocols in the IETF.

6.  Analysis

   As the Internet mediates collective action and collaboration, it
   impacts on freedom of association and assembly.  To answer our
   research question regarding how internet architecture enable and/or
   inhibits such human right, we researched several independent and
   typical cases related to protocols that have been either adopted by

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   the IETF, or are widely used on the Internet.  Our goal is to figure
   out whether they facilitate freedom of assembly and association, or
   whether they inhibit it through their design or implementation.

   We are aware that some of the following examples go beyond the use of
   Internet protocols and flow over into the application layer or
   examples in the offline world whereas the purpose of the current
   document is to break down the relationship between Internet protocols
   and the right to freedom of assembly and association.  Nonetheless,
   we do recognize that in some cases the line between them and
   applications, implementations, policies and offline realities are
   often blurred and hard -if not impossible- to differentiate.

   We use the literature review to guide our process of inquiry for each
   case, and to dive deeper in what can be found interesting about each
   case as it relates to freedom of association.

6.1.  Got No Peace: Spam and DDoS

  Should protocols be designed to enable legitimate limitations on
  association in the interests of "national security or public safety,
  public order (ordre public), the protection of public health or morals
  or the protection of the rights and freedoms of others", as stated in
  the ICCPR article 21 {{ICCPR}}? Where in the stack do we care for FAA?

   The 2020 report by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human
   Rights [UNHRC2020] described how technology is often used to limit
   freedom of assembly and association, such as for instance through
   network shutdowns and the surveillance of groups.  Because access to
   the Internet is crucial not only for freedom of association and
   assembly, but also for the right to development, and the right to
   freedom of expression and information [Nyokabi], the United Nation
   Special Rapporteur argues that:

   (b) Avoid resorting to disruptions and shutdowns of Internet or
   telecommunications networks at all times and particularly during
   assemblies, including those taking place in electoral contexts
   and during times of unrest;

   Whereas the states have the obligation to protect human rights, there
   has been an increasing call for non-state actors, such as companies,
   to respect human rights [UNGPBHR].  The UN adopted guiding principles
   on business and human rights [UNGPBHR] and talks within the HRC are
   ongoing about an international legally binding instrument to regulate
   the activities of transnational corporations and other business
   enterprises.  This includes a chain-responsibility of actors, which
   means that not just the company's own processes should not negatively
   impact human rights, but they should also engage in due diligence

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   processes, such as human rights impact assessments.  This includes an
   assessment of whether the products that are sold, or the services
   that are provided, can be used to engage in human rights violations,
   or whether human rights violations occur in any stage of the supply
   chain of the company.  If this is the case, measures should be taken
   to mitigate this.

   In the case of dual-use technologies, this means that technology
   could be used for legitimate purposes, but could also be used to
   limit freedom of association or assembly, it might mean that
   producers or sellers should limit the parties they sell to, or even
   better, ensure that the illegitimate use of the technology is not
   technically possible anymore, or made more difficult.

6.1.1.  Spam

   In the 1990s as the internet became more and more commercial, spam
   came to be defined as irrelevant or unsolicited messages that were
   posted many times to multiple news groups or mailing lists [Marcus].
   Here the question of consent, but also harm, are crucial.  In the
   2000s a large part of the discussion revolved around the fact that
   certain corporations. protected by the right to freedom of
   association, considered spam to be a form of "commercial speech",
   thus encompassed by free expression rights [Marcus].  Yet spam can be
   not only a nuisance, but a threat to systems and users.

   This leaves us with an interesting case around spam mitigation: spam
   is currently handled mostly by mail providers on behalf of the user,
   next to that countries are increasingly adopting opt-in regimes for
   mailing lists and commercial e-mail, with a possibility of serious
   fines in case of violation.  Yet many ask is spam not the equivalent
   of the fliers and handbills ever present in our offline world?  The
   big difference between the proliferation of such messages offline and
   online is the scale.  It is not hard for a single person to message a
   lot of people online, whereas if that person needed to go house by
   house the scale and impact of their actions would be much smaller.
   Inversely if it were a common practice to expose people to unlimited
   unwanted messages online, users would be drowned in such messages.
   This puts a large burden on filtering, and in both filtering and
   sifting through many message, other expressions would be drowned out
   and would be severely hampered.  Allowing illimited sending of
   unsolicited messages would be a blow against freedom of speech: when
   everyone talks, nobody listens.

   Here the argument is very similar to DDoS attacks, considered next:
   Legitimate uses of online campaigning, or online protesting, are
   drowned out by a malicious use which constitutes an attack on the
   internet infrastructure and thus the assembly or association itself.

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6.1.2.  DDoS

   Distributed Denial of Service attacks are leveled against a server or
   service by a controller of a host or multiple hosts by overloading
   the server or service's bandwidth or resources (volume-based floods)
   or exploit protocol behaviours (protocol attacks).  DDoS attacks can
   thus stifle and complicate the rights to assemble online for media
   and human rights organisations whose websites are the target of DDoS.
   At the same time there are comparisons made between DDoS attacks and
   sit-in protests [Sauter].  However the main distinction is
   significant: only a small fragment of "participants" (from
   controllers to compromised device owners) in DDoS attacks are aware
   or willing [RFC8280].  Notably DDoS attacks are increasingly used to
   commit crimes such as extortion, which infringe on others' human

   Because of the interrelation of technologies, it cannot be said that
   there is one point in the technical stack that there are
   characteristics of "peaceful" or "non-peaceful" association visible
   to protocol developers.  As we can see from the cases of spam
   blocking and DDoS mitigation that "peaceful or non-peaceful" is not a
   meaningful heuristic, or even characteristic, of problematic content.
   If anything, their commonality is scale and volume.

6.2.  Holistic Agency: Mailing Lists and Spam

   Can protocols facilitate agency of membership in associations,
   assemblies and interactions?

6.2.1.  Mailing lists

   Since the beginning of the Internet mailing lists have been a key
   site of assembly and association [RFC0155] [RFC1211].  In fact,
   mailing lists were one of the Internet's first functionalities

   In 1971 four years after the invention of email, the first mailing
   list was created to talk about the idea of using Arpanet for
   discussion.  What had initially propelled the Arpanet project forward
   as a resource sharing platform was gradually replaced by the idea of
   a network as a means of bringing people together [Abbate].  More than
   45 years after, mailing lists are pervasive and help communities to
   engage, have discussions, share information, ask questions, and build
   ties.  Even as social media and discussion forums grow, mailing lists
   continue to be widely used [AckermannKargerZhang] and are still a
   crucial tool to organise groups and individuals around themes and
   causes [APC3].

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   Mailing lists' pervasive use are partly explained because they allow
   for "free" association: people subscribe (join) and unsubscribe
   (leave) as they please.  Mailing lists also allow for association of
   specific groups on closed lists.  This free association online
   enables agency of membership, a key component of freedom of
   association and assembly.

6.2.2.  Spam

   As we mentioned before, there are interesting implications for
   freedom of association and assembly when looking at spam mitigation.
   Here we want to specifically note that if we consider that the rights
   to assembly and association also mean that "no one may be compelled
   to belong to an association" [UDHR], spam infringes both rights if an
   op-out mechanism is not provided and people are obliged to receive
   unwanted information, or be reached by people they do not know.

6.3.  Civics in Cyberspace: Messaging, Conferencing, and Networking

   What are the features of protocols that enable freedom of
   association and assembly?

   Civic participation is often expressed as the freedom to associate
   and assemble, along with a whole other set of enabling rights such as
   freedom of expression and the right to privacy.  Former UN Special
   Rapporteur David Kaye established a strong relationship between
   technology that allows anonymity and uses encryption have positive
   effects on freedom of expression [Kaye].  Here we look at messaging,
   such as email, mailing lists and internet relay chat; video
   conferencing and peer-to-peer networking protocols to investigate the
   common features that enable freedom of association and assembly

6.3.1.  Email

   Similarly to freedom of expression's enabling and universal right to
   impart one's ideas openly, "the right to whisper", or
   confidentiality, is the ability to limit to whom one imparts one's
   ideas.  An encrypted email project, the LEAP Encryption Access
   Project, says, "like free speech, the right to whisper is a necessary
   precondition for a free society.  Without it, civil society
   languishes and political freedoms are curtailed.  As the importance
   of digital communication for civic participation increases, so too
   does the importance of the ability to digitally whisper."  [LEAP]

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6.3.2.  Mailing lists

   Not only are mailing lists a good example of how protocols can
   facilitate the necessary ingredient of agency in freedom of
   association, mailing lists are an example of messaging technology
   that has other features that enable freedom of association and

   The archival function of mailing lists allows for posterior
   accountability and analysis.  The ubiquity and interoperability of
   email, and by extension email lists, provides a low barrier to entry
   to an inclusive medium.

   Association and assembly online can be undermined when right to
   privacy is at risk.  And one of the downsides of mailing lists are
   similar to the privacy and security concerns generally associated
   with email.  At least with email, end-to-end encryption such as
   OpenPGP [RFC4880] and S/MIME [RFC5751] can keep user communications
   authenticated and confidential.  With mailing lists, this protection
   is not as possible because with many lists the final recipients are
   typically too many for . There have been experimental solutions to
   address this issue such as Schleuder [Schleuder], but this has not
   been standardized or widely deployed.

6.3.3.  IRC

   Internet Relay Chat (IRC) is an application layer protocol that
   enables communication in the form of text through a client/server
   networking model [RFC2810].  In other words, a chat service.  IRC
   clients are computer programs that a user can install on their
   system.  These clients communicate with chat servers to transfer
   messages to other clients.  Features of IRC include: federated
   design, transport encryption, one-to-many routing, creation of topic-
   based "channels", and spam or abuse moderation.

   For the purposes of civic participation and freedom of association
   and assembly in particular it is critical that IRC's federated design
   allows many interoperable, yet customisable, instances and basic
   assurance of confidentiality through transport encryption.  We
   investigate the particular aspect of agency in membership through
   moderation in the section 'Block Together Now: IRC and Refusals'

6.3.4.  WebRTC

   Multi-party video conferencing protocols like WebRTC [RFC6176]
   [RFC7118] allow for robust, bandwidth-adaptive, wideband and super-
   wideband video and audio discussions in groups.  'The WebRTC protocol

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   was designed to enable responsive real-time communications over the
   Internet, and is instrumental in allowing streaming video and
   conferencing applications to run in the browser.  In order to easily
   facilitate direct connections between computers (bypassing the need
   for a central server to act as a gatekeeper), WebRTC provides
   functionality to automatically collect the local and public IP
   addresses of Internet users (ICE or STUN).  These functions do not
   require consent from the user, and can be instantiated by sites that
   a user visits without their awareness.  The potential privacy
   implications of this aspect of WebRTC are well documented, and
   certain browsers have provided options to limit its behavior.'

   Even though some multi-party video conferencing tools facilitate
   freedom of assembly and association, their own configuration might
   might pose concrete risks for those who use them.  One the one hand
   WebRTC is providing resilient channels of communications, but on the
   other hand it also exposes information about those who are using the
   tool which might lead to increased surveillance, identification and
   the consequences that might be derived from that.  This is especially
   concerning because the usage of a VPN does not protect against the
   exposure of IP addresses [Crawford].

   The risk of surveillance is also true in an offline space, but this
   is generally easy to analyze for the end-user.  Security and privacy
   expectations of the end-user could be either improved or made
   explicit.  This in turn would result in a more secure and/or private
   exercise of the right to freedom of assembly or association.

6.3.5.  Peer-to-peer networking

   At the organizational level, peer production is one of the most
   relevant innovations from Internet mediated social practices.
   According to [Benkler] these networks imply 'open collaborative
   innovation and creation, performed by diverse, decentralized groups
   organized principally by neither price signals nor organizational
   hierarchy, harnessing heterogeneous motivations, and governed and
   managed based on principles other than the residual authority of
   ownership implemented through contract.'  [Benkler].

   In his book The Wealth of Networks, [Benkler2] significantly expands
   on his definition of commons-based peer production.  In his view,
   what distinguishes commons-based production is that it doesn't rely
   upon or propagate proprietary knowledge: "The inputs and outputs of
   the process are shared, freely or conditionally, in an institutional
   form that leaves them equally available for all to use as they choose
   at their individual discretion."  [Benkler2].  To ensure that the

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   knowledge generated is available for free use, commons-based projects
   are often shared under an open license

   Peer-to-peer (P2P) is essentially a model of how people interact in
   real life because "we deal directly with one another whenever we wish
   to" [Vu].  Usually if we need something we ask our peers, who in turn
   refer us to other peers.  In this sense, the ideal definition of P2P
   is that "nodes are able to directly exchange resources and services
   between themselves without the need for centralized servers" where
   each participating node typically acts both as a server and as a
   client [Vu].  [RFC5694] has defined it as peers or nodes that should
   be able to communicate directly between themselves without passing
   intermediaries, and that the system should be self-organizing and
   have decentralized control [RFC5694].  With this in mind, the
   ultimate model of P2P is a completely decentralized system, which is
   more resistant to speech regulation, immune to single points of
   failure and has a higher performance and scalability.  Nonetheless,
   in practice some P2P systems are supported by centralized servers and
   some others have hybrid models where nodes are organized into two
   layers: the upper tier servers and the lower tier common nodes [Vu].

   Since the ARPANET project, the original idea behind the Internet was
   conceived as what we would now call a peer-to-peer system [RFC0001].
   Over time it has increasingly shifted towards a client/server model
   with "millions of consumer clients communicating with a relatively
   privileged set of servers" [NelsonHedlun].

   Whether for resource sharing or data sharing, P2P systems are
   enabling freedom of assembly and association.  Not only do they allow
   for effective dissemination of information, but they leverage
   computing resources by diminishing costs allowing for the formation
   of open collectives at the network level.  At the same time, in
   completely decentralized systems the nodes are autonomous and can
   join or leave the network as they want -a characteristic that makes
   the system unpredictable: a resource might be only sometimes
   available, and some other resources might be missing or incomplete
   [Vu].  Lack of information might in turn makes association or
   assembly more difficult.

   Additionally, when architecturally assessing the role of P2P systems
   we could say that: "the main advantage of centralized P2P systems is
   that they are able to provide a quick and reliable resource locating.
   Their limitation, however, is that the scalability of the systems is
   affected by the use of servers.  While decentralized P2P systems are
   better than centralized P2P systems in this aspect, they require a
   longer time in resource locating.  As a result, hybrid P2P systems
   have been introduced to take advantage of both centralized and
   decentralized architectures.  Basically, to maintain the scalability,

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   similar to decentralized P2P systems, there are no servers in hybrid
   P2P systems.  However, peer nodes that are more powerful than others
   can be selected to act as servers to serve others.  These nodes are
   often called super peers.  In this way, resource locating can be done
   by both decentralized search techniques and centralized search
   techniques (asking super peers), and hence the systems benefit from
   the search techniques of centralized P2P systems."  [Vu].

6.4.  Universal Access: The Web

   Does protocol development sufficiently consider usable and accessible
   formats and technologies appropriate for persons with different kinds
   of disabilities?

   The W3C has done significant work to ensure that the Web is
   accessible to people with diverse physical abilities [W3C].  The
   implementation of these accessibility standards for instance help
   people who have issues with seeing or rendering images to understand
   what the image actually contains.  Making the web more accessible for
   people with diverse physical abilities enables them to excercise
   their right to online assembly and association.

   The IETF uses English as its primary working language, both in its
   documentation and in its communication.  This is also the case for
   reference implementations.  Whereas it is estimated that roughly 20%
   of the Earth's population speaks English, whereas only 360 million
   speak English as their first language.  [RFC2277] describes that
   '"Internationalization is for humans.  This means that protocols are
   not subject to internationalization; text strings are.", this implies
   that protocol developers, as well as people that work with protocols,
   are not people, or that protocol developers are all in command of the
   English language.  This means that it is significantly easier for
   people who have a command of the English language to become a
   protocol developer - and it might lead to the development of separate
   protocols that are developed within large language communities that
   are not using the English language or the Latin script.  This makes
   it harder for people who seek to shape their own space of association
   and assembly on the Internet to do so.  And is thus driving these
   communities into, often proprietary and non-interoperable services
   such as Facebook.

   When Ramsey Nasser developed the Arabic programming language
   قلب (transliterated Qalb, Qlb and Alb) [Nasser] he
   called it 'engineering performance art' instead of engineering,
   because he knew that his language would not work.  In part this is
   because all modern programming tools are based on the ASCII character
   set, which encodes Latin Characters and was originally based on the
   English Language.  This highlights cultural biases of computer

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   science and engineering.  Despite long significant efforts, it is
   still largely impossible to register an email address in a language
   such as Devanagari, Arabic, or Chinese.  Even if it is possible - it
   is to be expected that there will be a significant failure rate in
   sending and receiving emails with other services.  This makes it
   harder for people who do not speak English and/or don't use the
   written Latin script to exercise their freedom of association and

6.5.  Block Together Now: IRC and Refusals

   Can a protocol be designed to legitimately exclude someone
   from an association?

   Previously we spoke about the privacy protecting features of IRC that
   enable freedom of association and assembly, including transport
   security.  But now we turn to the ability to block users and
   effectively moderate discussions on IRC as a key feature of the
   technology that enables agency in membership, a key aspect of freedom
   of association and assembly.

   For order to be kept within the IRC network, special classes of users
   become "operators" and are allowed to perform general maintenance
   functions on the network: basic network tasks such as disconnecting
   (temporary or permanently) and reconnecting servers as needed
   [RFC2812].  One of the most controversial power of operators is the
   ability to remove a user from the connected network by 'force', i.e.,
   operators are able to close the connection between any client and
   server [RFC2812].

   IRC servers may deploy different policies for the ability of users to
   create their own channels or 'rooms', and for the delegation of
   'operator'-rights in such spaces.  Some IRC servers support SSL/TLS
   connections for security purposes [RFC7194] which helps stop the use
   of packet sniffer programs to obtain the passwords of IRC users, but
   has little use beyond this scope due to the public nature of IRC
   channels.  TLS connections require both client and server support
   (that may require the user to install TLS binaries and IRC client
   specific patches or modules on their computers).  Some networks also
   use TLS for server to server connections, and provide a special
   channel flag (such as +S) to only allow TLS-connected users on the
   channel, while disallowing operator identification in clear text, to
   better utilize the advantages that TLS provides.

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7.  Conclusions: Can we learn anything from the previous case studies?

   Communities, collaboration and joint action lie at the heart of the
   Internet.  Even at a linguistic level, the words "networks" and
   "associations" are closely related.  Both are groups and assemblies
   of people who depend on "links" and "relationships" [Swire].  Taking
   legal definitions given in international human rights law and related
   normative documents, we could assert that the rights to freedom of
   assembly and association protect collective activity online.  These
   rights protect gatherings by persons for a specific purpose and
   groups with a defined aim over time for a variety of peaceful,
   expressive and non-expressive, purposes,.  It is voluntary and

   Given that the Internet itself was originally designed as a medium of
   communication for machines that share resources with each other as
   equals [RFC0903], the Internet is now one of the most basic
   infrastructures for the right to freedom of assembly and association.
   Since Internet protocols and the Internet architecture play a central
   role in the management, development and use of the Internet, we
   established the relation between some protocols and the right to
   freedom of assembly and association.

   After reviewing several cases representative of FAA considerations
   inherent in protocols standardized at the IETF, we can conclude that
   the way in which infrastructure is designed and implemented impacts
   people's ability to exercise their freedom of assembly and
   association.  This is because different technical designs come with
   different properties and characteristics.  These properties and
   characteristics on the one hand enable people to assemble and
   associate, but on the other hand also add limiting, or even
   potentially endangering, characteristics.  More often than not, this
   depends on the context.  A clearly identified group for open
   communications, where messages are sent in cleartext and where
   peoples persistent identities are visible, can help to facilitate an
   assembly and build trust, but in other contexts the same
   configuration could pose a significant danger.  Endangering
   characteristics should be mitigated, or at least clearly communicated
   to the users of these technologies.  It is therefore recommended that
   the the potential impacts of Internet technologies should be
   assessed, reflecting recommendations of various UN bodies and norms.

   Lastly, the increasing shift towards closed and non-interoperable
   platforms in chat and social media networks have a significant impact
   on the distributed and open nature of the Internet.  Often these non-
   interoperable platforms are built on open-protocols but do not allow
   for interoperability or data-portability.  The use of social-media
   platforms has enabled groups to associate, but it has also rendered

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   users unable to change platforms, therefore leading to a sort of
   "forced association" that inhibits people to fully exercise their
   freedom of assembly and association.

8.  Acknowledgements

   -  Fred Baker, Jefsey, and Andrew Sullivan for work on Internet

   -  Stephane Bortzmeyer, ICNL, and Lisa Vermeer for several concrete
      text suggestions that found their way in this document.

   -  Mark Perkins and Gurshabad for finding a lot of typos.

   -  Gurshabad Grover, an anonymous reviewer, ICNL, Lisa Vermeer, and
      Sandra Braman for full reviews.

   -  The hrpc mailinglist at large for a very constructive discussion
      on a hard topic.

9.  Security Considerations

   As this draft concerns a research document, there are no security

10.  IANA Considerations

   This document has no actions for IANA.

11.  Research Group Information

   The discussion list for the IRTF Human Rights Protocol Considerations
   Research Group is located at the e-mail address [1].
   Information on the group and information on how to subscribe to the
   list is at [2]

   Archives of the list can be found at:
   archive/web/hrpc/current/index.html [3]

12.  References

12.1.  Informative References

   [Abbate]   Janet Abbate, ., "Inventing the Internet", Cambridge: MIT
              Press (2013): 11. , 2013,

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              Ackerman, M., Karger, D., and A. Zhang, "Mailing Lists:
              Why Are They Still Here, What's Wrong With Them, and How
              Can We Fix Them?", Mit. edu (2017): 1. , 2017,

              Anderson, C. and C. Guarnieri, "Fictitious Profiles and
              WebRTC's Privacy Leaks Used to Identify Iranian
              Activists", 2016,

   [APC]      Association for Progressive Communications and . Gayathry
              Venkiteswaran, "Freedom of assembly and association online
              in India, Malaysia and Pakistan. Trends, challenges and
              recommendations.", 2016,

   [APC3]     Association for Progressive Communications, "Closer than
              ever", 2020, <>.

              Sauter, D. and Association for Progressive Communications,
              "Multimedia training kit", 2013,

   [Benkler]  Benkler, Y., "Peer Production and Cooperation", 2009,

              Benkler, Y., "The wealth of Networks - How social
              production transforms markets and freedom", New Haven and
              London - Yale University Press , 2006,

              Blok, A., Nakazora, M., and B. Winthereik,
              "Infrastructuring Environments", Science as Culture 25:1,
              1-22. , 2016.

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   [Bowker]   Bowker, G., "Information mythology and infrastructure",
              In: L. Bud (Ed.), Information Acumen: The Understanding
              and use of Knowledge in Modern
              Business,Routledge,London,1994,pp.231-247 , 1994.

   [CERD]     United Nations, "Convention on the Elimination of all
              forms of Racial Discrimination", 1966,

   [CoE]      Council of Europe, "Freedom of assembly and association on
              the Internet", 2015,

              Crawford, D., "The WebRTC VPN "Bug" and How to Fix", 2015,

   [CRC]      Wikipedia, ., "Lorum", 2000,

   [CRPD]     United Nations, "Convention on the Rights of Persons with
              Disabilities", 2007,

   [FoAdef]   Wikipedia, "Freedom of association", 2021,

   [Glasius]  Glasius, M., Schalk, J., and M. De Lange, "Illiberal Norm
              Diffusion: How Do Governments Learn to Restrict
              Nongovernmental Organizations?", 2020,

              Hafnerand, K. and M. Lyon, "Where Wizards Stay Up Late.
              The Origins of the Internet", First Touchstone Edition
              (1998): 93. , 1998, <>.

              Human Rights Protocol Consideration RG, ., "Charter for
              Research Group", 2015,

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              Hussain, M. and P. Howard, "What Best Explains Successful
              Protest Cascades? ICTs and the Fuzzy Causes of the Arab
              Spring", Int Stud Rev (2013) 15 (1): 48-66. , 2013,

   [ICCPR]    United Nations General Assembly, "International Covenant
              on Civil and Political Rights", 1966,

   [Kaye]     Kaye, D., "The use of encryption and anonymity in digital
              communications", 2015,

   [LEAP]     LEAP, "The Right to Whisper", 2020,

   [Loi]      Loi, M. and M. Christen, "Two Concepts of Group Privacy",
              2020, <

              Mainwaring, S., Chang, M., and K. Anderson,
              "Infrastructures and Their Discontents: Implications for
              Ubicomp", DBLP Conference: Conference: UbiComp 2004:
              Ubiquitous Computing: 6th International Conference,
              Nottingham, UK, September 7-10, 2004. Proceedings , 2004,

   [Marcus]   Marcus, J., "Commercial Speech on the Internet: Spam and
              the first amendment", 1998, <

   [Nasser]   Nasser, R., "&#1602;&#1604;&#1576;", 2013,

              Minar, N. and M. Hedlun, "A Network of Peers: Models
              Through the History of the Internet", Peer to Peer:
              Harnessing the Power of Disruptive Technologies, ed: Andy
              Oram , 2001, <

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   [Nyokabi]  Nyokabi, D., Diallo, N., Ntesang, N., White, T., and T.
              Ilori, "The right to development and internet shutdowns:
              Assessing the role of information and communications
              technology in democratic development in Africa", 2019,

   [Pensado]  Jaime Pensado, ., "Student Activism. Utopian Dreams.",
              ReVista. Harvard Review of Latin America (2012). , 2012,

              Pipek, V. and W. Wolf, "Infrastructuring: Towards an
              Integrated Perspective on the Design and Use of
              Information Technology", Journal of the Association for
              Information Systems (10) 5, pp. 306-332 , 2009.

   [RFC0001]  Crocker, S., "Host Software", RFC 1, DOI 10.17487/RFC0001,
              April 1969, <>.

   [RFC0155]  North, J., "ARPA Network mailing lists", RFC 155,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC0155, May 1971,

   [RFC0903]  Finlayson, R., Mann, T., Mogul, J., and M. Theimer, "A
              Reverse Address Resolution Protocol", STD 38, RFC 903,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC0903, June 1984,

   [RFC1211]  Westine, A. and J. Postel, "Problems with the maintenance
              of large mailing lists", RFC 1211, DOI 10.17487/RFC1211,
              March 1991, <>.

   [RFC1771]  Rekhter, Y. and T. Li, "A Border Gateway Protocol 4 (BGP-
              4)", RFC 1771, DOI 10.17487/RFC1771, March 1995,

   [RFC1930]  Hawkinson, J. and T. Bates, "Guidelines for creation,
              selection, and registration of an Autonomous System (AS)",
              BCP 6, RFC 1930, DOI 10.17487/RFC1930, March 1996,

   [RFC1958]  Carpenter, B., Ed., "Architectural Principles of the
              Internet", RFC 1958, DOI 10.17487/RFC1958, June 1996,

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   [RFC2277]  Alvestrand, H., "IETF Policy on Character Sets and
              Languages", BCP 18, RFC 2277, DOI 10.17487/RFC2277,
              January 1998, <>.

   [RFC2810]  Kalt, C., "Internet Relay Chat: Architecture", RFC 2810,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC2810, April 2000,

   [RFC2812]  Kalt, C., "Internet Relay Chat: Client Protocol",
              RFC 2812, DOI 10.17487/RFC2812, April 2000,

   [RFC3233]  Hoffman, P. and S. Bradner, "Defining the IETF", BCP 58,
              RFC 3233, DOI 10.17487/RFC3233, February 2002,

   [RFC4084]  Klensin, J., "Terminology for Describing Internet
              Connectivity", BCP 104, RFC 4084, DOI 10.17487/RFC4084,
              May 2005, <>.

   [RFC4271]  Rekhter, Y., Ed., Li, T., Ed., and S. Hares, Ed., "A
              Border Gateway Protocol 4 (BGP-4)", RFC 4271,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC4271, January 2006,

   [RFC4880]  Callas, J., Donnerhacke, L., Finney, H., Shaw, D., and R.
              Thayer, "OpenPGP Message Format", RFC 4880,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC4880, November 2007,

   [RFC5694]  Camarillo, G., Ed. and IAB, "Peer-to-Peer (P2P)
              Architecture: Definition, Taxonomies, Examples, and
              Applicability", RFC 5694, DOI 10.17487/RFC5694, November
              2009, <>.

   [RFC5751]  Ramsdell, B. and S. Turner, "Secure/Multipurpose Internet
              Mail Extensions (S/MIME) Version 3.2 Message
              Specification", RFC 5751, DOI 10.17487/RFC5751, January
              2010, <>.

   [RFC6176]  Turner, S. and T. Polk, "Prohibiting Secure Sockets Layer
              (SSL) Version 2.0", RFC 6176, DOI 10.17487/RFC6176, March
              2011, <>.

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   [RFC7118]  Baz Castillo, I., Millan Villegas, J., and V. Pascual,
              "The WebSocket Protocol as a Transport for the Session
              Initiation Protocol (SIP)", RFC 7118,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC7118, January 2014,

   [RFC7194]  Hartmann, R., "Default Port for Internet Relay Chat (IRC)
              via TLS/SSL", RFC 7194, DOI 10.17487/RFC7194, August 2014,

   [RFC8280]  ten Oever, N. and C. Cath, "Research into Human Rights
              Protocol Considerations", RFC 8280, DOI 10.17487/RFC8280,
              October 2017, <>.

              Rutzen, D. and J. Zenn, "Association and Assembly in the
              Digital Age", The International Journal of Not-for-Profit
              Law, Volume 13, Issue 4 , December 2011.

   [Sauter]   Sauter, M., "The Coming Swarm", Bloomsbury , 2014.

              Nadir, "Schleuder - A gpg-enabled mailinglist with
              remailing-capabilities.", 2017,

              Brownlee, K. and D. Jenkins, "Freedom of Association",

   [Swire]    Peter Swire, ., "Social Networks, Privacy, and Freedom of
              Association: Data Empowerment vs. Data Protection", North
              Carolina Law Review (2012) 90 (1): 104. , 2012,
              < or

              Troncoso, C., Isaakdis, M., Danezis, G., and H. Halpin,
              "Systematizing Decentralization and Privacy: Lessons from
              15 Years of Research and Deployments", Proceedings on
              Privacy Enhancing Technologies ; 2017 (4):307-329 , 2017,

   [UDHR]     United Nations General Assembly, "The Universal
              Declaration of Human Rights", 1948,

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   [UNGA]     Hina Jilani, ., "Human rights defenders", A/59/401 , 2004,
              view_doc.asp?symbol=A/59/401 para. 46>.

   [UNGC37]   United Nations Human Rights Committee, "Human Rights
              Committee "General comment No. 37 (2020) on the right of
              peaceful assembly (article 21)", CCPR/C/GC/3", 2020,

   [UNGPBHR]  United Nations, "Guiding Principles on Business and Human
              Rights", 2011,

              United Nations Human Rights Council, "UN Human Rights
              Council Resolution 'The promotion, protection and
              enjoyment of human rights on the Internet' (A/HRC/32/
              L.20)", 2016,

              Michelle Bachelet, . and United Nations, "Impact of new
              technologies on the promotion and protection of human
              rights in the context of assemblies, including peaceful
              protests. Report of the United Nations High Commissioner
              for Human Rights A/HRC/44/24, 2020", 2000,

              Maina Kiai, ., "Report of the Special Rapporteur on the
              rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of
              association", A/HRC/20/27 , 2012,

              Clement Voule, . and United Nations, "Report of the
              Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful
              assembly and of association", 2019,

ten Oever, et al.       Expires October 18, 2021               [Page 31]
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              Maina Kiai, . and United Nations, "Report of the Special
              Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly
              and of association", A/HRC/20/27", 2012,

              United Nations, "Vienna Declaration and Programme of
              Action", 1993,

   [Vu]       Vu, Quang Hieu, ., Lupu, Mihai, ., and . Ooi, Beng Chin,
              "Peer-to-Peer Computing: Principles and Applications",
              2010, <>.

   [W3C]      W3C, "Accessibility", 2015,

12.2.  URIs




Authors' Addresses

   Niels ten Oever
   Univeristy of Amsterdam


   Gisela Perez de Acha
   Derechos Digitales


   Stephane Couture
   Universite de Montreal


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   Mallory Knodel
   Center for Democracy & Technology


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