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September 2016

FOC Updates

Limited funding available for civil society participation in FO2016

We are pleased to announce that limited funding to enable civil society participation in FO 2016 is now available upon completing registration for the Conference. The funding application link is available through the email confirming your registration. To register, please follow this link:

Freedom Online Conferences offer an open platform for discussion among all stakeholders – governments, civil society, the private sector, and others – to share relevant information, develop joint strategies and combine efforts towards their mutual goal of a human rights-based Internet. The Conference programme is close to being finalised and the Conference website will be updated shortly. For futher information about the Conference please see the FO Costa Rica website:

WG2 Blog: pinpointing where rule of law meets human rights online

In the third instalment of the FOC Working Group 2 (WG2) blog series, Working Group member Jessica Dheere – Co-Founder/Co-Director of Social Media Exchange in Beirut, Lebanon – discusses diverse approaches to conceptualizing the intersection between rule of law and human rights in online spaces and over digital networks. You can read the full blog post here.

Throughout this blog series, WG members have been analysing current scenarios where the application of the rule of law online fails to promote human rights online, and highlight areas where further research should be undertaken to further strengthen rule of law principles and practices. To read previous blog posts in the series, follow this link.

WG3 Blog: a people-centred standard for online transparency

Over recent few years, transparency about government requests to companies for user information or content restriction has become a central issue for the community of people working to improve human rights online. More and more companies and governments produce transparency reports and other materials aimed at raising public awareness about practices that impact privacy and freedom of expression. Initiatives such as this Working Group analyse their efforts and push them to do more. In the last few months, WG3 has reflected and acknowledged that in the midst of this work, it’s easy to take for granted what it means to be “transparent”, why it matters, and how you know if it’s working.

In an April blog post, working group member Ben Blink challenged us to develop a people-centred standard for companies and governments to evaluate whether their transparency efforts are adequate and effective in contributing to the protection of human rights online. Stepping back from analysis of specific tactics and tools, how can a company or government evaluate whether they are being meaningfully transparent?

The Group has been further developing this standard over the last few months. In an updated blog post, they present their revised standard with some explanation of their thinking. They hope this will be a useful tool for companies, governments, and all stakeholders working to improve transparency online. Find out more about Working Group 3 here.

Upcoming Events


Internet Freedom: a constant factor of democratic security in Europe, 9 September 2016, Strasbourg

This conference is co-organised by the Estonian Chairmanship of the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers and the German Chairmanship of the OSCE and by the Council of Europe, both members of the Freedom Online Coalition.

The Council of Europe has taken up the challenge of shaping a common understanding of and approach to Internet freedom in its member States. The recently adopted Recommendation CM/Rec(2016)5 of the Committee of Ministers to member States on Internet freedom sets out a notion of Internet freedom that is not arbitrary but instead rooted in the European Convention on Human Rights and other relevant standards of the Council of Europe. It is recommended that member States periodically evaluate the levels of Internet freedom using the indicators included in the Recommendation.

The conference seeks to promote the Recommendation and to examine best practices and examples regarding its implementation by member States. Experience of non-governmental organisations which report on Internet freedom will be also showcased and discussed. The conference will engage a larger multi-stakeholder audience in order to promote a multi-stakeholder engagement to Internet freedom and will be webcast with translation into English, French, German and Russian. More information, here.

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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To contact the FOC Secretariat for any further information on any of the events or news items mentioned in this newsletter, please email:
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