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August 2016

FOC Updates

Online registration for 6th Annual FO Conference now open

We’re pleased to announce that the registration for the 6th Annual Freedom Online Conference is now live. This year’s Conference will be held on the 17th-18th October in San José, Costa Rica. 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 6th Annual Freedom Online Conference will enhance the ongoing multistakeholder exchange on how to address the challenges, opportunities and potential of free, open and accessible online channels and platforms for political, social and economic development. The Conference program will be organised in three tracks, following the themes of the Coalition’s multistakeholder working groups: An internet free and secure, Digital development and openness and Privacy and transparency. For futher information about the Conference please see the FO Costa Rica website.

Update on the FOC Strategic Review

The Strategic Review Working Group (SRWG) of the Freedom Online Coalition continues to make progress toward the mandate that FOC members assigned to it at the Ministerial Conference in Ulaanbataar, and aims to deliver a set of output documents – including a selection that will be appropriate for public presentation – in time for the Conference in Costa Rica in October. Three of the key SRWG documents are: (i) a public report of the results of a Members’ Survey, completed by 24 FOC members, which captures internal views on a few key aspects of the Coalition and its work; (ii) a stock-taking quantitative and qualitative assessment of the developments within the Coalition and its work over the past five years, to be produced by the Support Unit based on their evidence base of meetings, attendances and policy outputs; and (iii) the University of Pennsylvania report published in May 2016 by an independent research of external and internal perceptions of the FOC. These documents will be framed by a covering document outlining the strategic review mandate from Mongolia, describing the methodology and highlighting the key findings.

The Review output documents will be finalised in a face to face meeting of the SRWG hosted by the UK Government on the margins of the joint Council of Europe and OSCE Internet Freedom Conference in Strasbourg on September 8th. Next steps will include determining a plan for the FOC to review the findings and recommendations of the SRWG and determine how to integrate them into a strategic vision regarding its key aims and objectives and a plan for the FOC’s priorities, structure, and operations moving forward.

Coalition members support new UNHRC resolution on human rights and the internet

At the 32nd Session of the Human Rights Council, members adopted by consensus the third bi-annual resolution on Internet Freedom since 2012, titled “the promotion, protection and enjoyment of human rights on the Internet”. Sweden led the core group working on the resolution, which included two other FOC members, Tunisia and the United States, as well as Brazil, Nigeria, and Turkey. The new resolution reiterated its central theme, that the enjoyment of human rights should be the same online as offline, and it also focused on bridging the digital gender divide, advancing human rights-based approaches to enhancing Internet connectivity, and how Internet Freedom can promote implementation of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

Key new language denounced government-backed efforts to disrupt or shutdown Internet services and condemned attacks on and harassment of Internet users. Several negative amendments were filed but were later voted down by the Council. The FOC would like to thank Sweden for its leadership throughout the process and would also like to note our appreciation for civil society’s strong advocacy work, both of which made the resolution a success.

FOC WG3 workshop at the Asia Pacific regional IGF

FOC Working Group 3 held a strategy workshop on government and company transparency on July 27, in partnership with Hong Kong Transparency Report, Korea Internet Transparency Report, Taiwan Association for Human Rights, and Open Net Korea on the margins of the Asia Pacific Regional Internet Governance Forum. This private two-hour meeting brought together civil society, government, and company representatives to discuss government and corporate transparency in the Asia Pacific region.

Held under Chatham House Rule, it enabled a frank conversation on the state of play, opportunities, and challenges related to transparency about government requests for user data and content restriction. Regional initiatives and emerging best practices from other countries were among the issues discussed. Through this meeting, WG3 aimed to identify key issues for online transparency in the Asia Pacific region and make sure they are reflected in global policy conversations, including among government members of the Freedom Online Coalition.

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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