IGF 2019 WS #430 Dual-use Technology Export:Threats to HR and Freedom

Organizer 1: Khalid Ibrahim, Gulf Centre for Human Rights
Organizer 2: Nardine Alnemr, University of Canberra

Speaker 1: Khalid Ibrahim, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group
Speaker 2: Nardine Alnemr, Civil Society, African Group
Speaker 3: Wafa Ben-Hassine, Civil Society, African Group

Policy Question(s): 

Surveillance and violation of privacy have been the central human rights concerns in advocacy for a dual use technology export ban. Evidence from cases across the Gulf and neighbouring countries demonstrates that they are far more risks in the absence of export ban. Therefore, the policy questions we aim to address in this session are:
1) To what extent do surveillance tools affect the physical security of targeted human rights defenders including online activists and bloggers?
2) What are the implications of mass surveillance tools on the resilience of human rights activism and the whole human rights movement in the Middle-East?
3) How would a dual technology export contribute to stability in human rights activism and advocacy?

Relevance to Theme: Dual use technology have a duality pertaining each item of the theme. The technology have been imported by governments in the Gulf countries as part and piece of their political stability and security claims. As they are developing a cybersecurity and cybercrimes paradigm which heavily penalises and criminalises human rights and freedoms, their claims are questionable. Therefore, we look at security at both ends: the claims of national security through the use of surveillance technologies, and human security of arbitrarily targeted human rights defenders. For stability, it is stability of oppressive governments versus stability of human rights activism and advocacy, and similarly the resilience of a crackdown on digital rights vis-à-vis resilient civic space for exercising human rights and freedoms. In this discussion, we have a particular focus on conflict-torn communities as in Yemen and Syria where the duality of security, safety, stability and resilience are intensified.

Relevance to Internet Governance: Agreeing that internet governance should be guided by the Universal Declaration for Human Rights and UN Human Rights Conventions, we are driven to institutionalise the respect of freedoms of opinion, thought, expression, and right to privacy in the governance of technologies. The development of a dual use technology export ban requires the collective efforts of different stakeholders. Essentially, governments and international governmental organisations should be engaged in the formulation, enactment and holding governments accountable for the mandates of an export ban. In addition, with collaboration with the private sector and tech community, the export ban can be introduced through the lens of business and human rights. This lens encourages private companies and the tech community to be aware of the consequences of practices that perpetuate human rights abuses. Therefore, not only the export ban requires collective effort to develop it but also to enforce it and keep checks, a task mainly for civil society but also should be introduced to governments, IGOs and the private sector.


Round Table - U-shape - 90 Min

Description: Security and stability are important internet governance issues in the Middle East and North Africa. Developing a solid cybersecurity and cybcercrime legislation, supported with cyber security technologies has been the means to ensure security and stability. However, because security and stability in this context is only concerned with the politics of governments in the region, it has rarely catered for the security and stability of most stakeholders. In importing dual use technology, the Gulf and neighbouring countries have enforced oppressive cybersecurity and cybercrime laws which penalize and criminalize freedom and human rights. In this session, we examine the implications of dual use technology on human rights and freedoms. Especially, the duality it exhibits of governments security versus human security, resilient oppression versus resilient human rights activism, and stable coercion in contrast with unstable civic space.

Expected Outcomes: We expect this session to have two outcomes: informative and active.
The informative outcomes is interactive, meaning that panelist are informing audience on their findings and remarks on possible governance solutions while also learning from audience.
The active outcome is two-faceted. First, introducing audience to the different efforts of stakeholders represented by each panelist in attempt of opening avenues for collaboration and networking. Second, by crafting actions that support previous advocacy that aimed to enforce a dual use technology export ban.

Onsite Moderator: 

Khalid Ibrahim, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group

Online Moderator: 

Nardine Alnemr, Civil Society, African Group


Nardine Alnemr, Civil Society, African Group

Discussion Facilitation: 

We are there to keep the discussion flowing and focused, and to ensure all participants have an opportunity to contribute. Various professionals don't often get the chance to meet others in their field so this is a unique opportunity to meet other attendees during our round table session which will allow attendees to thoroughly explore an issue with the aid of a knowledgeable, experienced moderators and speakers.

Online Participation: 

We will use the full potential of the official online participation tool. In addition we are going to use our active accounts on social media networks to encourage participation.

Proposed Additional Tools: A special flyer will be designed for the session to encourage people to attend the session in person and equally we hope to live-stream the session on our various online accounts in order to increase online participation.


GOAL 10: Reduced Inequalities
GOAL 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
GOAL 17: Partnerships for the Goals