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February 2015

FOC Updates

FOC Strategic Review well underway

Five years after its inception in The Hague in 2011, the FOC is carrying out a Strategic review looking at four key areas. The review was announced a the Annual Conference in Ulaanbaatar in May 2015 and will report to the Annual Conference in Costa Rica in October. For the past three months, an independent researcher from the University of Pennsylvania, Susan Morgan, has been conducting an external assessment of the FOC as part of this effort. Ms. Morgan has conducted dozens of in-depth interviews with key representatives from FOC countries, members of the FOC Working Groups, and leading experts in the field of Internet Freedom; convened a focus group consultation with external stakeholders in civil society, private sector, and academia; and carried out desk research to examine comparable multilateral and multistakeholder organizations to identify best practices. The assessment will result in a public report that looks at four focus areas - membership, organizational structure, objectives and activities, and funding - to be published later this year. The FOC Strategic Review Working Group is holding calls with Ms. Morgan and has designated its two co-chairs (the UK and the US) to serve as her liaisons to the Group. More details are forthcoming on the next phase of the FOC's Strategic Review process, which will culminate at the the Annual Conference in Costa Rica in October.

FOC Working Group Updates

       Working Group 1 (WG1): mandate renewed with focus on normative work; open call soon
In December, WG1 started an internal mandate renewal process, reflecting on the areas of work the Group will focus on this year. As a result, group members re-affirmed their commitment to continue to advance the normative element of the mandate focused on bringing about a paradigm shift in cybersecurity to make it human rights respecting by design. Following the confirmation of the mandate, an open call for new members will be launched in February.
       Working Group 2 (WG2): sub-groups focus on data protection, privacy & freedom of expression
Upon revising the Group's timeline and concept note, the WG2 co-chairs are in the process of discussing how better to integrate the general (offline) Rule of Law community in the Groups’ work to take advantage of any synergies that arise. The sub-groups’ work has progressed well, with the sub-group on data protection and privacy working on draft principles on Data Protection and Privacy and an explanatory memorandum to accompany it, providing context and suggestions for implementation. The sub-group on Freedom of Expression has started looking at different country case studies.
       Working Group 3 (WG3): submitted input on transparency to David Kaye's forthcoming report
Upon fine-tuning its work framework, WG3 is in the process of developing an overall problem statement for the WG, and as part of that effort, is developing a multistakeholder definition of transparency. Grounded in that problem statement, the WG will pursue two workstreams: analysis of emerging issues related to transparency (through a blog series and workshops); and concrete policy development work (through longer term research and partnerships with governments and companies on specific projects). The Group has provided input for David Kaye’s report on business and human rights, and aims to provide input on government transparency for the Hong Kong Transparency report process.  

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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