Internet architecture and human rights: beyond the human rights gap

Monika Zalnieriute, Stefania Milan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Internet architecture and infrastructure are generally not at the top of the concerns of end users, and the overlying logical arrangements of root services, domain names, and protocols remain largely invisible to its users. Recent developments, however—including massive user data leakages, hacks targeting social networking service providers, and behavioral micro‐targeting—have turned a spotlight on Internet governance defined broadly, and its relationship with civil liberties and human rights. The articles in this special issue examine the policymaking role of influential private intermediaries and private actors such as ICANN in enacting global governance via Internet architecture, exploring the implications of such a mode of governance for human rights. They consider: to what extent are human rights standards mediated and set via technical infrastructure, such as the DNS and platform policies, rather than by governmental structures? What are the implications of governance via Internet architecture for individual human rights? And what frameworks—be they legal, technological or policy‐related—are needed to address the contemporary privatization of human rights online, in order to ensure the effective protection of human rights in the digital age?
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6-15
Number of pages10
JournalPolicy and Internet
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • internet governance
  • human rights
  • IGF
  • internet architecture
  • DNS
  • civil liberties
  • Internet architecture
  • Internet governance


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