Friday, August 07, 2015


iRights "is a civil society initiative [in the UK] that seeks to make the digital world a more transparent and empowering place for children and young people (under 18) by delivering a universal framework of digital rights, in order that young people are able to access digital technologies creatively, knowledgeably and fearlessly."
A couple of publications have recently been launched. The first one (the iRights report) reports on activities since this movement (supported by various individuals and organisations: for example NESTA) came together last year. The second (the Legal Framework) is an examination of whether the six rights that are set out are supported by existing legislation. The rights are:
- "The Right to REMOVE: Every child and young person should have the right to easily edit or delete all content they have created.
- "The Right to KNOW: Children and young people have the right to know who is holding or profiting from their information, what their information is being used for and whether it is being copied, sold or traded.
- "The Right to SAFETY AND SUPPORT: Children and young people should be confident that they will be protected from illegal practices and supported if confronted by troubling or upsetting scenarios online.
- "The Right to INFORMED AND CONSCIOUS CHOICES: Children and young people should be empowered to reach into creative places online, but at the same time have the capacity and support to easily disengage.
- "The Right to DIGITAL LITERACY: To access the knowledge that the Internet can deliver, children and young people need to be taught the skills to use, create and critique digital technologies, and given the tools to negotiate changing social norms."
I think one idea behind it is to think of protecting young people by giving them rights, rather than seeking just to control. This initiative hadn't really been on my radar, but it has got a flurry of attention at the moment and is obviously interesting and relevant to information literacy.
I may be missing something, but I'm not it is clear whether the "i" is for internet or for information (or perhaps it's both). In the section on the right to informed and conscious choices, it says "Children and young people have a human right to access information, to communicate with others, to participate as social actors and to learn. Access to the internet is essential in fulfilling these rights." Talking of the "human right to access information" immediately reminded me of the UNESCO-sponsored Prague Declaration on Information Literacy (2003) which identifies information literacy as "part of the basic human right of lifelong learning".I think this is a useful document to engage with, also placing it in the wider context of a young person's information world (digital and non-digital).

As a sidenote, this initiative seems not to be connected to the German organisation iRights, which appears to be older and is concerned with intellectual property in the digital age (though presemably they hadn't registered a trademark for "iRights"..... or in fact they have registered the trademark)
Photo by Sheila Webber: me taking a selfie in Second Life (Second Life is a trademark of Linden Lab)

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