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May 2017

FOC Updates

Update on Stockholm Terms of Reference

During the Freedom Online Conference in 2016, the Outcome Document of the 2016 FOC Strategic Review, the San José Statement, was presented to the international community. The San José Statement and accompanying Work Plan, set forth the Coalition’s aims and priority activities and offered a blueprint for revising the existing Nairobi Terms of Reference to update the FOC structure and operations to support these objectives - a task which has been carried out by the FOC Terms of Reference Working Group (TORWG).

The FOC Terms of Reference Working Group has now circulated the final draft of the Coalition's updated Stockholm Terms of Reference, which aim to address many of the issues raised by the Coalition's Strategic Review Working Group and the finalized document will be presented at the Stockholm Internet Forum, hosted by the government of Sweden. The new Terms of Reference document will update the Coalition’s membership criteria, the future of multistakeholder participation, and provide clarification on the Coalition's working methods.

FOC Working Group Updates

The mandates of all three FOC Working Groups will come to an end at the upcoming FOC Strategy and Coordination meeting adjacent to Stockholm Internet Forum. All three Groups have been encouraged to capture their learnings and will be consulted on the future of the Coalition's multistakeholder engagement.
       Working Group 1 (WG1): continued outreach on recommendations and work on new format
WG1 focused on outreach on the WG1 recommendations on rights-respecting cybersecurity policy, through organising a session at RightsCon 2017 on whether a global culture of cybersecurity was still relevant. The workshop was well attended, and allowed the Group to put the recommendations into a broader context of the cybersecurity debate. The Group discussed the possibility of continuing its work post-May. It was decided that the group would aim to conduct outreach and engage stakeholders on the recommendations in the run-up to the Global Conference on Cyberspace by presenting them in a more dynamic and accessible format. The Group is also currently compiling an input document to submit to the FOC governments in the run-up to the FOC Strategy and Coordination meeting at Stockholm Internet Forum.
       Working Group 2 (WG2): collation of work into overall output document
The Group is working on collating all of its work to date into an output document, showing how different parts of the online ecosystem can promote the rule of law in the digital environment and providing recommendations for FOC governments regarding how they can collaborate to expand the rule of law online. The Group is also working on an input document to submit to FOC governments in the run-up to Stockholm Internet Forum.
       Working Group 3 (WG3): compilation of submission to FOC governments
Since last autumn, WG3 has been exploring how transparency about government requests to ICT companies could fit within an open government agenda, such as through an Open Government Partnership model commitment on transparency. The focus of the Group is now on pulling together some of the work the Group has done to date and compiling an input document to submit to the FOC governments in the run-up to the FOC meeting at Stockholm Internet Forum.  

FOC Member Update | Global Affairs Canada: 1-year anniversary of the Office of Human Rights, Freedoms and Inclusion

Global Affairs Canada is pleased to highlight the upcoming 1-year anniversary of the Office of Human Rights, Freedoms and Inclusion (OHRFI) on 17 May 2017. OHRFI represents the Government of Canada’s renewed commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights around the world and in the digital sphere and manages Global Affairs Canada’s membership in the Freedom Online Coalition. OHRFI is composed of three divisions (Human Rights and Indigenous Affairs; Inclusion and Religious Freedom; and, Democracy) and is responsible for developing and contributing to the implementation of Canada's international policies related to human rights, pluralism, diversity, inclusion and democracy.

Recognizing the important impact and potential that digital platforms, social media and emerging technologies have on these crucial foreign policy issues, OHRFI launched the Digital Inclusion Lab in December 2016. The Lab’s mandate is to increase awareness of the role technology plays in foreign policy and reflect the opportunities and challenges it presents; and, test tools in support of policy objectives. The focus in 2017 includes issues that increasingly dominate contemporary policy debates around the globe:
  • preventing and countering online hate and abuse (i.e., terrorist recruitment campaigns and incitement to violence, islamophobia, misogyny);
  • promoting gender equality and inclusion (i.e., violence against women and girls online, gender-biased Artificial Intelligence and machine learning, opportunities and challenges posed by emerging technology, including Virtual Reality and Enhanced Reality, for gender-based rights);
  • and creating greater awareness of the impact these technologies have on democratic principles and practices (i.e., impact of fake news on political processes and human agency, responsibility and accountability in online open/public spaces, impact of digital automation and Autonomous Agents and Things on traditional social, economic and political relationships that underpin democratic systems).
Please follow OHRFI on Twitter @RightsGAC

Upcoming Events


FOC Open Forum, Stockholm Internet Forum, 17 May 2017, 16:00-17:30

This FOC Open Forum will form part of the official Stockholm Internet Forum program. Coalition members will give an overview of the FOC Strategic Review, and the progress made on its outcomes so far. This will include the presentation of the revised FOC Stockholm Terms of Reference, key highlights on multistakeholder engagement and an outline of FOC priorities for 2017-18. The Coalition will invite the SIF community to engage in a discussion with FOC members on the future direction of the FOC at this pivotal juncture in the Coalition’s efforts to operationalize the Stockholm Terms of Reference. Please note that he number of participants at SIF is limited and therefore participation to the Conference is by invitation only. Those of you who are unable to join us in Stockholm in May can follow SIF17 live here and on Twitter.

Related News 

Further to the above updates from the Freedom Online Coalition, you may be interested in looking at the following curated news digests on online freedom issues from this month. Note that the views expressed in these digests represent the views of individual authors and not necessarily the views of the Freedom Online Coalition or its members. . 
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