One of the core goals of digital rights advocacy is to create lasting institutional change to protect citizens rights online. In order to achieve this goal, activists must engage regularly with the complex issues at the intersection of policy and law. As the legal landscape for digital rights becomes more challenging and complex, the need for advocates to understand it has become a critical component of their work. However, hiring a staff lawyer or engaging outside legal counsel is cost prohibitive for most advocates and advocacy organizations. Internews partnered with Arturo Carrillo, a legal expert in the field of digital rights, to create a brief legal primer on how to undertake legal research for the many digital rights advocates who do not themselves come from a legal background.
The primer has three goals. First, it seeks to introduce advocates from the Americas, Africa and Asia to the international law frameworks applicable to promoting and protecting digital rights, particularly freedom of expression and privacy rights. Second, it serves as a guide to conducting legal research in support of digital rights locally, with an emphasis on the United Nations system and two regional human rights systems, namely, those operating under the auspices of the Organization of American States (OAS) and the African Union. Finally, it has a compilation of technical and strategic online resources for activists who seek additional support and/or guidance.