Human Rights in the Global Information Society

From Information Revolution and Global Politics

Human Rights in the Global Information Society

Edited by Rikke Frank Jørgensen





International organizations, governments, academia, industry, and the media have all begun to grapple with the information society as a global policy issue. The first United Nations World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), held in December 2003, recognized the connections between information technology and human rights with a Declaration of Principles—in effect, the first "constitution" for cyberspace—that called for the development of the information society to conform to recognized standards of human rights. Critical issues in the policy debates around WSIS have been the so-called digital divide, which reflects a knowledge divide, a social divide, and an economic divide; and the need for a nondiscriminatory information society to provide universal access to information technology in local languages throughout the developing world. Other crucial issues include the regulatory frameworks for information access and ownership and such basic freedoms as the right to privacy.

The contributors to this timely volume examine the links between information technology and human rights from a range of disciplinary perspectives. Scholars, human rights activists, and practitioners discuss such topics as freedom of expression, access to information, privacy, discrimination, gender equality, intellectual property, political participation, and freedom of assembly in the context of the revolution in information and communication technology, exploring the ways in which the information society can either advance human rights around the world or threaten them.

An afterword reports on the November 2005 WSIS, held in Tunis, and its reaffirmation of the fundamental role of human rights in the global information society.

ContributorsDavid Banisar, William Drake, Ran Greenstein, Anriette Esterhuysen, Robin Gross, Gus Hosein, Heike Jensen, Rikke Frank Jørgensen, Hans Klein, Charley Lewis, Meryem Marzouki, Birgitte Kofod Olsen, Kay Raseroka, Adama Samassékou, Mandana Zarrehparvar


Out of Print ISBN: 9780262101158 324 pp. | 6 in x 9 in


$30.00 X ISBN: 9780262600675 324 pp. | 6 in x 9 in


Rikke Frank Jørgensen

Rikke Frank Jørgensen is Senior Researcher at the Danish Institute for Human Rights. She is the editor of Human Rights in the Global Information Society (MIT Press) and the author of Framing the Net: The Internet and Human Rights.


  • A remarkable, sober, and sobering book, quite different from the triumphalist celebrations of the information society as a universal panacaea. Jorgensen convincingly demonstrates the tremendous human rights issues that are at stake.

    Peter Leuprecht

    Faculty of Political Science and Law, University of Quebec at Montreal