CI's 2013-2015 work programme on A2K confronts governments and corporations who abuse the rights of consumers in the digital age through unfair restrictions on access to knowledge.
Through this work, our ultimate aim is to empower the digital consumer to more fully enjoy the rights of freedom of expression, participation in the cultural life of the community, education, and privacy that are guaranteed under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
In the past, most access to knowledge advocacy has been about changing intellectual property laws.
Whilst this remains important, we are introducing an alternative and complementary approach: the use of consumer protection laws and policies against big businesses that abuse intellectual property rights.
By reframing policies around access to knowledge as consumer protection issues, we have a more compelling argument for change.
The background for this work comes from our 2010-2012 research that identified how consumer laws can be used to prevent various forms of IP abuse, particularly unfair terms in End Users Licensing Agreements, which are ubiquitous in the technology sector.
We found that there was scope for many countries to use consumer law to address IP abuse issues and to protect the legitimate rights of their citizens in using new technology products and services.
The A2K programme has it own dedicated website a2kNetwork.org, with project updates, discussion forums, and expert blog commentary.