Freedom Online Coalition Open Forum
24 October 2013 - A Open Forum on in Bali,Indonesia
>> SANJA KELLY: Hello. We are ready to start. Good morning! My name is Sanja Kelly. I direct the Freedom Online initiative at Freedom House. As an Open Forum this is supposed to be a conversation, a conversation among different stakeholders including government officials, the private sector, civil society, and others about freedom online coalition. As many of you know, the Freedom Online Coalition is a group of 21 countries from all regions of the world that have come together and have committed to coordinating with each other and with other stakeholders to advance Internet freedom. During this Open Forum, Freedom Online Coalition members will give updates on the work that they have done so far and we are also going to get feedback from everyone in the audience in terms of what do you think should be the priorities, and what kind of ways and what kind of mechanisms should be in place to really enhance the coalition's work in advancing Internet freedom.
We are going to jump start this discussion by having several members of governments who are members of Freedom Online Coalition talk about their work so far, including about the work in the upcoming conference in Estonia. Without further ado I would like to give the mic to Piret Urb from Estonia who will tell you a little bit more about what is coming up.
>> PIRET URB: Thank you, thank you very much, Sanja. So hello to everybody. I'm very glad being here with you today. My name is Piret Urb and I'm from the Estonia foreign ministry, we are the coordinator for the Freedom Online Coalition this year. That is why also the common coming conference will take place in Estonia.
I will just give you a short update about freedom online coalition where we are standing at the moment.
The coalition was created in 2011 in December in The Hague by the touch foreign minister, Rosen that will. At the moment there are 21 countries belonging to the coalition. We are always very glad to enlarge. There are certain criteria that the country can become a member. It is nothing difficult. So we want to be cross regional. Up to now there have been pre-conferences taking place. The conference in Tallinn, there was first the one in The Hague in 2011, December. There was a conference in Nairobi. The third one in Tunis, my colleague from Tunis will tell you a few words about last June, the Tunis conference.
And now the fourth one will take place in Tallinn on 28 and 29 of April. So all of you, you are most welcome to come to Tallinn.
About our targets and goals, the Freedom Online Coalition is standing for the human rights in the Internet. So we want that the human rights would equally apply offline and online. This is like just very generally said. We are not only doing conferences. We are also working every day, every week on different issues and in different parts in the world. Like last task what we did was joint statement in IC, human dimension, implementation meeting in Warsaw, which was made on behalf of the Freedom Online Coalition countries. So this is, there have been some other joint statements earlier. There have been panels organized by Freedom Online Coalition.
So about Tallinn conference very briefly, the target is to engage the civil society and private sector even more than up to now. There will be a document drafted which will be drafted by the civil society together with the private sector and then we take it over from the government side. We will agree on the document and then idealistically it will be adopted by the ministers.
So all of you who want to contribute, please send me an e-mail to have your contacts and you can be part.
Also the document as a draft version will be uploaded on the website of the conference so that everybody can see it from there and can send their comments and corrections and everything.
So that it will be really like very open, very transparent, very interactive process.
I think I will hand over to Dewi, who has been there since inauguration of the Freedom Online Coalition and who certainly knows much more than me about everything. So I will hand it over to Dewi. Thank you very much.
>> SANJA KELLY: Thank you, Piret. Dewi will be able to tell us a little bit more about what really the Freedom Online Coalition is and what mechanisms have existed to involve other stakeholders? The government of The Netherlands has taken the lead role in the coalition. So being able to hear really what has been done so far, as well as some of these things from your perspective will be extremely valuable.
>> DEWI VAN DE WEERD: Okay. Thank you very much. My name is Dewi van de Weerd. And well, I think 2013 the coalition is almost underway for two years now. We started out two years ago really with the idea that it is necessary to get countries together that are thinking on the same line in the field of freedom online and also respect for human rights online.
So the idea behind that is that we thought there was a greater need for diplomatic coordination amongst ourselves, not only during our own conferences but especially actually in all these international meetings taking place. We thought it would be a good idea to have a group together and be able to really align ourselves, but also we felt there was a need to liaise in a direct way with civil society and with the private sector.
So during the different conferences but also at meetings like these we have always organized discussions with civil society. And actually, currently, and this is also one of the reasons why we would like your input very much. We are looking at a way to get that more structured. How do we get a more structured input from all of you and also what, in the future, should be the specific areas the coalition is going to focus on. What we have been trying to do in the past two years is also enlarge the coalition. Since its founding, and I'm not sure. Would people like to know the member countries? Is it clear for everyone? Or I can maybe just quickly say the members are Austria, Canada, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Estonia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Ireland, Kenya, Latvia, the Republic of the Maldives, Mexico, Mongolia, The Netherlands, Tunisia, United Kingdom, U.S. and Sweden.
And I was going to say in alphabetical order, but I don't know what Sweden does at the end.
So you know, we have also been working on enlarging this coalition and engaging other countries to see if they want to become part of this group of countries.
And currently we are also looking at creating three work strands. This is actually what we have been doing also at the Tunis conference. We set out three themes that we think are themes that the coalition should do more work on in the future. And Internet both free and secure. Looking at digital development issues and issues of transparency an privacy as a third strand.
I think that's enough for now. I'm not sure, did I forget something?
>> SANJA KELLY: Excellent. Now we are going to here from Moez from Tunisia. Many of you know, Tunisia hosted the last Freedom Online Coalition meeting.
>> MOEZ CHAKCHOUK: Thank you very much. I'm very glad to be here. Just an important details. I am not here on behalf of Tunisian government, but in a personal capacity. I am here because I Chaired the last conference in tune see that and that was a great opportunity. That was very good timing. It was during a transitional period. You know we don't have a constitution. A lot of laws need to be reviewed in Tunisia and human rights guarantees and so on.
What is new, what we did for the Tunisian meeting was worth the process. We involved for the first time the society inside the country with matters related to human rights an privacy and freedom online. You know that we had been through a lot of censorship before. Tunisia was an enemy of the Internet, considered by different organisations. And having this meeting in the country and not outside of the country as we different activists participated before at different meetings, was very important.
Involve the activists that combat the censorship during the regime was really essential for us. We cannot have a meeting with governments and without seeing the activists that really contributed to the situation that we have today.
So it was exciting in this matter. We have more than 120 people, young generation an activists participating actively to the conference.
This is not just that because the Steering Committee that was in charge of the organisation things and the logistics and making the invitations and so on was managed by civil society. I was Chair of this group. And civil society was involved on all the booking things, all the response of the emails. It is not me and it is not the government people who did that. So the conference was like a civil society. It is a governmental conference, but organized by civil society, but the Tunisian people.
Several things that preceded that conference, from that conference is the outcomes. For the first time we had a statement from the civil society addressed to the government. This is very important. We are, government, we are committed to the multi-stakeholderism in this kind of conference. It is not just a coalition of governments that are dealing with these issues as we dealt in human rights in another conference or something. We are there to be close to the society, close to the activists, close to the people who are really active in this field also.
And the last thing I want to highlight also is about being able to organize this conference in Tunisia is somehow to confirm the commitment of Tunisia. Tunisia is the first country in the member to be member of this coalition. Tunisia was the first country in the WICT for human rights. It was a tricky thing, I understand that. We know how the WICT and the ITR was addressed in that conference, but Tunisia did a lot with coalition members to address the human rights in the preamble. This is a symbol. This is a message that we addressed to the regime and also it is a message to address to our people because the government is committed to the freedom through this coalition not to have legal safeguards. We don't have a constitution, but at least we have this commitment with those countries that you want to work with the society to maintain the freedom of expression and privacy.
Okay, thank you.
>> SANJA KELLY: That is a very important point that Moez made. That is how countries become members of Freedom Online Coalition and can actually use your membership to reaffirm their practices towards free and open Internet. I would be curious to hear from different panelists what role do you think Freedom Online Coalition can play in that extent? For example, if you have a government that joins, are there any mechanisms through which Freedom Online Coalition can actually help them adhere even further to human rights online?
>> Well, the interesting thing, I think the coalition is that we are -- I mean, it is really an informal coalition. So we don't have many mechanisms and structures. I have to be honest.
But I think on the other hand the fact that as a government you decide that you want to become a member already makes it something where you look inside your own organisation and your own institutions and say are we ready to do this? So I do think there is a way. And I think on the other hand this is maybe also something that we can further develop. We can maybe look at are there specific things that we would like to develop within the coalition. But here also I would like maybe to hear the opinion of organisations present here. Do you think that should be something that we should take up?
>> SANJA KELLY: That's definitely an interesting point for conversation. So in addition to governments or in addition to individuals who have helped prepare Freedom Online Coalition meetings in the past, we also have representatives from various stakeholder groups who can very briefly talk about the ways how their stakeholder groups, whether that be businesses, civil society or international organisations can participate in Freedom Online Coalition in a constructive way and in addition to that, any recommendations that they have to strengthen these processes and to really make a contribution is something that we would like to tease out during this meeting.
So I'm going to ask Chris Riley of Mozilla to start and offer his perspective on the private sector.
>> CHRIS RILEY: Thanks. For those of you in the room you know it's unusual for me to be wearing the private sector hat. I'm happy to be here. The first thing I want to say, the key here is engagement. Having this workshop is terrific. Having the annual Freedom Online Coalition conferences are terrific. I'm lobbying to come to Estonia. I'm looking forward to that.
I would encourage more forms of online engagement, Web resources, other forms of communication. I know a lot of these have been discussed and will continue to be, but more intermediate opportunities in between these events for us to talk to you and about the various substantive issues on the table.
The document that the Estonia representative mentioned, I love the model for that and would encourage more of that. The drafts are posted and there will be community feedback on that and suggestions. I have been thinking about that for Mozilla, a notion of open source policy making like open source software. Mozilla has gets its strength from open source, with thousands of people not working for Mozilla contributing to the end product.
And doing that at the policy making level is sort of I think what this document is as aspiring to. I think it's a really, really great goal to have so what I would really like to see as the output of that, I think, is a real concrete engagement with some of the Key Issues as far from being abstract layer as possible. Best bits, engagement is the best role model. Best bits output for the last two IGFs has been substantive policy analysis and recommends at a very sort of concrete level. And to the extent that that is possible, and I know this is aspirational, but to the extent that it is possible for the governments and the Freedom Online Coalition to try to achieve something that hits that level, I think that would be amazing. And there are lots of different substantive issues that that could touch on.
And I don't know want to be prescriptive. The obvious two that come to mine for me are data localization and how that is evolving around the world and also, of course, surveillance. I know that these are aspirational. These are complicated issues, but a document that represents agreement among the world's leading Internet freedom supporting governments and civil society and the private sector would be an incredibly powerful contribution to the normative development around these issues.
>> SANJA KELLY: Thank you. And considering the best bits were mentioned, then I think this is a good segment to hear from Andrew.
>> ANDREW PUDDEPHATT: I'm Andrew Puddephatt from Global Partners Digital in London but one of the organisations that's part of the best bits which is a network of organisations. It's a platform. It is not an organisation. It is just a form in which civil society groups from around the world try to collaborate around Internet Governance and Internet policy issues and we are into our second year and building up momentum as we go along.
And I guess from, there are a number of people from the best bits network here as well who I'm sure have their own comments to make and thoughts to add to the conversation.
I think from a civil society point of view, it is a very crowded word, world the Internet field. There are conferences and events, and it's a complex world. It's good in our mind to think what is the distinctive proposition that the coalition offers that warrants our kind of engagement and how should we engage with that coalition. That's a big question.
In my mind I answer in the following way. I would say that the coalition is the only intergovernmental institutional framework whose core purpose is the promotion and sustaining of human rights and democracy in the Internet world. I mean, that seems to me a very valuable part because all of the other institutional frameworks have a different purpose. And human rights is something we try to insert into them, but it is not part of the core DNA of what that corporation mechanism is about. That is firstly for me the big level. At a government level there is a real value for that in intergovernmental coordination. One of the things -- anyone who works with government, anyone who has been in government knows governments themselves are coalitions. They are not, there is not a single voice in government, governments themselves represent the a creation of interests and quite often you can have a government whose foreign minister might say one thing and interior minister may be doing something else.
You might have three different policy positions on the same issue, as I saw when I was at a meeting in Delhi last week where I saw a pin center talk about the importance of multi-stakeholder approach and his own fellow multitasking about building multi-stakeholder and another minister said it's a multi-nationality approach you want to go down. Three different ministers on the same platform in the same meeting within half an hour of each other. One of the things the Coalition can do is help educate itself and members on what the human rights perspective is on any issue coming up in any forum. We saw that at the WICT about countries in the coalition didn't necessarily think through what the human rights positions were in relation to the WICT in Dubai. The Coalition is a mechanism for engaging governments on what human rights positions are in these areas is very, very important.
The thing that Chris added which clearly Mozilla could be fantastic in that process is that wider public engagement with a very informed user community and developing the idea of open source policy making. I love that idea. I think that would be a collaboration on civil society would really love to engage with because I think Mozilla is in the for front of engaging the broader user community.
In terms to going then to what would be my civil society answer to the coalition, I think probably three things come to mine. The first, which maybe follows on from what Chris' idea is, is building a broader engagement with the wider human rights and democracy community on Internet policy issues. One of the things I always notice is the human rights profile in Internet governance and policy discussions has definitely risen since the Tunis WSIS conference. It can be thin and marginalized. I think bringing the broader human rights movement into the Internet policy debate and using the strengths of the coalition to do that could be a very broadening out constituency and broadening support for those values in this environment.
The second is in a crowd the field, you know, thinking about, F far di in other -- there are human rights issues that don't surface in the Internet world and that should be there more prominently. I am struck continually, we had a great session on gender on human rights online. Women came out and said this should be a much more mainstream part of the conversation. You look around this conference and it isn't. We managed to get to a miss Internet forum which is clearly not exactly the direction many of us envisaged women's rights online would go. So there may be issues like that so the coalition can say these issues aren't surfacing elsewhere. These are key. Can we find a way to bring them back to the mainstream? The third is one of the attractions of the national conferences or the conferences that have been held, is the very powerful regional focus. I mean, no one mentioned this. What really -- I facilitated a discussion on religion and free speech in the Middle East. Had a completely fascinating discussion with folks recounting the kind of experiences they had with dealing with that fraught relationship. And it was really great to have so many people from the region present. Using the coalition rolling program to focus very much on regional issues. What I'm hoping Estonia is -- we rarely see our Russian colleagues from civil society at these meetings. We rarely see a Polish, Ukrainian, Georgian, east -- it's, the Internet Governance Forum has been thin. The meeting in Estonia could be a great opportunity to engage people from the region and bring in some pretty tough challenges that are happening there and focusing on what we can do as business civil society an as governments to support our colleagues in that recently.
So three things occur to me. I'm sure there's lots more. But I think the one take away I have is there is no other forum that exclusively focused on promoting human right as part of its DNA. That's what we need to value in the coalition and think about how we can build its support.
>> SANJA KELLY: Thank you very much. That was very constructive feedback to actually jump start this discussion. So let me turn the mic to Guy from UNESCO and we can hear from the perspective of international organisations.
>> GUY BERGER: Thank you, Sanja and thank you, everybody. I'm director for freedom of expression at UNESCO. Freedom of expression is one of the human rights that UNESCO upholds but also mandated in the U.N. for other rights like culture and education. It is interesting to deal with the Freedom Online Coalition because their interpretation of freedom is freedom in terms of rights. We are developing a concept called SW university, attend any session tomorrow morning. It says more explicitly, what is a free Internet? This morning, and our interpretation is it must mean freedom to respect human rights, for all human rights to be respected.
This morning somebody treated that freedom on the Internet is freedom of expression. Well, of course, freedom of expression is a very critical right. Maybe it is mission critical. What about other rights such as the big debate about right to security, right to privacy, so on and so forth. One thing that this forum does is begin to give content to what does freedom mean, free Internet, and to enable debate about how do the rights stack up against even other and how do you apply international standards if one right is in the face of the other rights.
The second thing of interest to UNESCO, there is a program called digital defenders trying to support people whose safety and security is under threat internationally. At UNESCO we support the safety of people, particularly those who use the freedom of expression for journalism, bloggers or other journalists. That's interesting which has come out of this forum.
I would say that in fact in relation to that, the Freedom Online Coalition has partnered with UNESCO at the World Press Freedom Day at Costa Rica on something called Freedom in the Digital Age. There was a panel that included the Swedish member, Assistant Secretary of State Frank La Rue, the U.N. Special Rapporteur and others. We were able to get very high level voices to speak on this question of security for journalist insurance the digital age.
And I would use that as a model for the coalition to go forward because it is great for the coalition to have the annual conference, but to be engaged at additional fora I think is very important for it. I think the world press freedom day was one of the first that the Freedom Online Coalition actually took its brand and its ideas to other fora, but of course in the WSIS process, for example, the freedom online coalition could have a role to play.
I know at UNESCO some of the states in have had meetings but it's more the exception than the ongoing community which leads me to the last think, to echo what Andrew was significance saying, you know. The human rights issues are very, very complicated. Many diplomats don't know the beginning of where to start this thing.
And I think that if the Freedom Online Coalition can have a role, it is really to raise the digital literacy of people in government and particularly government representatives in international fora such as diplomats.
I would hope that, well, I hope again Freedom Online Coalition will partner with us on freedom of the press freedom day next year and at the conference in Tallinn it will be able to debate what does freedom mean in terms of the balance of rights an also bring a lot of diplomats there so they can begin to have their literacy awareness raised. Thank you.
>> SANJA KELLY: Thank you very much. So we have heard from gift stakeholders as well as from governments and already several issues have come up. On one hand we have heard about some of the emerging issues that could be put on the agenda. Whether that be data localization, whether that be surveillance. The issues of attacks and so forth.
The other part is actually some of the mechanisms through which civil society and other stakeholders can get involved in Freedom Online Coalition.
So now that we have heard from the invited panelists I would actually like to hear from the audience. What are your suggestions? How can we make Freedom Online Coalition stronger, better? How can we better involve different voices? And then also what are some of the key issues that you think Freedom Online Coalition should focus on? And I see several hands here. So I will bring the mic.
>> AUDIENCE: Thank you. My name is Dennis Broeders, Scientific Council for Government Policy in the Netherlands. I have a question for the panel. I'm sorry, I didn't catch your name, Andrew. What you said about Freedom Online Coalition being sort of an exclusively human right perspective and a big part of its value while at the same time you noted that at the conference you were in Delhi, you said okay, we have very different stakeholders within government which have very different perspectives and have very different outlooks on things. I was wondering how you balance those two because I was sort of saying how would Freedom Online Coalition relate to its own other stakeholders within government. How do you interact with them? How do you prevent this from being an isolated issue, especially when security has how much wind under its wings right now?
>> SANJA KELLY: Thank you. I'll collect a couple of other questions and then we can turn to the panel.
>> AUDIENCE: Thank you so much for such an informative session and my name is Abu Najad, Freedom House. I'm an academic researcher. I was very happy to listen to your insightful comments about the freedom online coalition. I would like to ask you a question building on my colleague's comment earlier about what is the outreach sort of project that you have, if you have any regarding governments, for example, in the region. I know that Tunisia is here and I am happy that they are taking a leading role there, but taking the exclusivity of the club on the one hand and allowing me to say that, what is the outreach activity you are doing? Because one of the most important problems with the forum I find, and I was happy to meet many of you in other occasions, is that the fact there is very little involvement from the side of the governments in the Arab countries. So I would like to hear more about what is it that we are doing to involve like higher rank sort of governmental people? At least if they don't commit themselves to anything, at least they would listen and be exposed to that multi-stakeholder perspectives from different points of view. Thank you.
>> AUDIENCE: Hi, everyone. My name is Beryl Aidi from the Kenya Human Rights Commission, which is a civil society organisation. I was involved in the organisation partly of the conference that was held in Kenya, I think it was in 2012. That was last year. And there was, that was through the invitation from the government. But since then I have never heard anything else. So my question is in addition to outreach to other governments, how, what else can we learn from maybe other countries how they have engaged their civil society within this coalition? Thank you.
>> SANJA KELLY: Thank you, okay. I will let our participants up front take some of those questions.
There is only one mic. So ...
>> KATHARINE KENDRICK: I'll start. So I'm Katharine Kendrick from the U.S. State Department. I get the fun first question. About sort of cohesion within government and within government policies.
I think this is an area where the coalition has been helpful internally, speaking from sort of the diplomatic perspective and particularly around Internet Governance issues, around the W ICT when we had meetings in which we could pull in meetings from not just the ministry of foreign affairs but from education, economic focused colleagues, having a meetings along WTPF and other forums in areas where there weren't human right until recently. There is a lot more there on cross-cutting issues, as you raised.
>> AUDIENCE: (Speaker away from microphone.)
>> KATHARINE KENDRICK: exactly. So Internet Governance has been a good area where we've seen the value it can play to use this as a way to educate within government and there are a lot of other areas that we need to do the same.
>> I want to answer the question or the comment about the Arab involvement, Arab countries involvement, we sent an invitation to all Arab countries. It was tough because we didn't have a lot of time to convince through the ministry of foreign affairs and be the matter of ICT of my country to send all the letters to all the other Arab countries. We had high level participation from Iraq, good partition patience from Libya. I remember that a lot of Arab countries came, participated. Jordan participated with his Ambassador. The Ambassador of Tunisia was in the meeting and was during the conference many times participated. I remember Morocco, a lot of countries participated with their officials.
Some of the countries were in the conference but didn't want to show up their hands. They just were there observing and they didn't want to declare their badges as coming from a country or representing a country or something like that. So there is a lot of Arab countries coming and we recognised them because they work for the Embassy or something, but they are not registered as government representative. This is very important. This is at least the first conference we held about freedom online, especially about all the issues that are related to human rights online in the region.
It is maybe the first step. I'm sure that there is a lot of things that could be done now. Maybe Tunisia will be happy to help and to educate. You know, we participated to the Arab IGF recently in Algeria and there was a panel and we talked very openly to Sudan, to Yemen, to different countries who were on the same panel also talking on issues related to human rights. It was a good opportunity. That is because we are in a Freedom Online Coalition that means that we are involved and committed to talk about those issues, wherever we are. In the IGF, in the Arab IGF, in different conferences and different meetings. This is what I mean.
>> As I got the mic I will just use this opportunity to say that we are not only inviting to Tallinn the ministers of Freedom Online Coalition, we are going to invite many others. Probably many of your countries' ministers will receive an invitation and there will be a website, Freedom Online Coalition EE. You will get the information from there and also the registration form.
The last thing what I can quickly add. If my minister and our president is traveling around the world having bilateral meetings. They are always talking about Freedom Online Coalition and the goals of that. And always engaging with all the other governments. So thank you.
>> I would just like to answer the third question of Kenya, what kind of outreach is being done within countries of the Coalition. And I think it even addresses also the first question, how do you strike a balance between the different interests, let's say, that countries have concerning freedom online, striking a balance between the various issues. As a coalition we asked all the members to set up national meetings and to discuss also with other ministries and departments but also with other stakeholders within their countries freedom online issues from the human rights perspective. But I think, being honest, we see different levels, let's say, of participation from the different member countries. And it is definitely something that we also are aware of and that we are also trying to cope with. But in this respect, we are also looking at structuring the coalition more where we are thinking of setting up a support unit. We hope that that will also help in providing more content, for example, for the members themselves. And following up on some of the initiatives that we want to take.
And Andrew, you wanted to add something?
>> ANDREW PUDDEPHATT: : I would pick up from a civil society point of view on your point about the consistency of government and obviously from the security and human lights field it's massive now. A lot of people are thinking: What does it mean when you have governments who are committed to freedom online, where there's serious questions or discussions or debates about security. I think we can take a different view. My view is that there is currently a very, very raging debate about the appropriate balance between human rights, security, privacy, freedom of expression, brought about by the kind of Snowden refuse layings. That debate is raging between government and people, between media and government, between people in civil society, and inside government.
I mean, there are a set of layers to this. There are legislative moves. There are legal moves in many countries to try to rationalize this. Not rationalize it but settle where that balance lies.
My view is that engaging in something like the coalition is a way of promoting stronger human rights governance and pushing the debate more towards the human rights side of the balance away from the pure state security surveillance side.
And that's something, if we do that successfully, not only do we strengthen the arguments coming from civil society, we should strengthen the arguments we are having with business and strengthen the hand of those inside governments who are arguing from a human rights point of view with their security apparatus. These debates as we all know are going on inside governments as well.
The coalition for me is not so much a place where you expect countries to behave a certain way because countries always have inconsistent positions. It's a forum within the wishes to promote a consistent human rights approach among a group of like-minded allies who seek to support that human rights a propose.
I see this as a way to promote and further arguments for a human rights approach to human security. That's how I view it.
>> I want to brief echo what Andrew said. There's a tremendous frames issue that comes up from the perspective of a freedom meeting, right? Rhetorically the value and impact of that should not be understated. I want to talk about outreach, as someone who has been involved with and helped to organize nice many coalitions over the years. There's a tension point. Outreach to include a broad diversity of foreign ministers and substantive expertise, like the Estonia coalition is wonderful. Don't lose that great core that the FOC has now of a set of countries that can really engage and agree on a lot of different things.
This goes back to the point earlier about the amazing impact that a really concrete set of principles and recommendations for policy will have when it's generated by this group, right? And if we lose that core, we will get to the point where the only thing that the FOC can say is Internet equals good and we've lost the value that this group has.
>> SANJA KELLY: Thank you very much. So I would like to turn it back to the audience. And does anyone have any specific recommendations? For example, in terms of how you would like to see your own stakeholder group get involved with Freedom Online Coalition? What do you think would be the most constructive way of engaging?
>> AUDIENCE: I'm Zahra Dean from Pakistan, and I work for the Country's Center for Cyber Crime. In terms of recommendations there are two issues I would like to raise. The first being on best practices for surveillance in the criminal justice system because these procedures don't exist in place in many Developing Countries. I would like to hear what your suggestions are or what we can do along those lines.
The second issue I would like to raise is what are freedom online coalition or intergovernmental mechanisms that we can employ to put pressure on companies that would provide technology in areas or countries where these mechanisms are being used to curb human rights? For instance, the employment of Net Sweeper in Pakistan. Thank you.
>> SANJA KELLY: I'll take one more comment before we turn back to the panel.
>> AUDIENCE: I'm Artem Goriainov from Kyrgyzstan, from the Freedom House litigation and Internet policy.
The question I would like to ask is widely discussed many times. It is like balance between human rights and security. I mean, Kyrgyzstan because of strong ethnic clashes years ago experienced many problems in things like free speech, like religious extremism and just I really would like to promote the Freedom Online Coalition within Kyrgyzstan, but I definitely need very good arguments to convince the government that because you know, many high level officials and security services, especially will be really against this decision. Because you know some of them are very straight thinking guys and they only way they see is just restrict using Internet, restrict access to sites and so on.
So I would like to hear some maybe some suggestions from you for that. Thank you.
>> SANJA KELLY: All right. So we have several questions here, one being how do you make the countries commit and belong to Freedom Online Coalition? In other words, how do you recruit new members and then make them adhere to the principles set forth?
And then another one is how can Freedom Online Coalition and the countries that belong to it, can be utilized as a resource to show case the best practices for countries that are currently looking for the ways to regulate the Internet? So I will turn the mic back to you.
>> Well, I just wanted to usurp the moderator's role for a minute and report a tweet which says from Dalai Hajinar. This person says in the Freedom Online Coalition not all Member States are engaging at the same level. A support unit might allow a structure or follower.
>> MOEZ CHAKCHOUK: I would just highlight the comment about how Tunisia engaged in this coalition. It was something that we are committed because after the revolution, you know, there is a decision made at the high level. Of course, ITI helped a lot with this decision. We advocate inside the government and within the ministry of ICT to forget about censorship and so on and move forward to the human right online. We did it in a way that we were invited to the Kenya conference at that time and we proposed to the government at that time to say if you want to highlight your commitment to the society, this is the moment to do that. And they accepted that at that time. And I think this is really a worthy process. We didn't make it like this. It is coming from the society and through ITI, we went to the government and said it.
So it is, each country has its context an its own way to do things. And I think this has to be started from the society and from the community, from activists that can have access to somebody or maybe the operators like we discussed in the last panel to say maybe the operators and ISPs could play an important role because at the want to commit to the customers and show that they have very good will to work with the society about human rights and online. It depends. ITI did it for us. Maybe in the other countries it would be different.
>> I can just say a few words to the question from our colleague from Kyrgyzstan that you can start like convincing your government to become pro, how do you say, pro Internet issues in a big organisations like in Human Rights Council, for example, in Committee, in UIGA and also all that. Because in the human rights Council, the Internet resolution was adopted all the governments were not really in favor of that. Even it was adopted by consensus finally and everybody was very glad. Still, all the governments were not really working for that consensus adoption and all that.
So to convince the government to become a member of the Freedom Online Coalition, it is also hard to are start convincing government to start becoming proactive an positive overall the Internet and human rights issues in the Internet in all the other organisations. And also to try to come up, for example, like simple thing like Freedom House tables, like press freedom, freedom Internet tables. The governments are coming really, there's an increase, of course. Then it will be easier. Thank you.
>> Maybe just concerning the issue of how can FOC be a resource for best practices? This is something we are also looking into currently. It is a bit of a difficult issue. We amongst ourselves, we share the best practices we see. For example, Sweden, Carl Bildt has just made a speech in Seoul where he says the principles of necessity and proportionality, this is how we interpret them for Sweden. That is a best practice. But we are going to set up a website. You know, I think surely there will be room to share best practices. During the conferences, I think that is an important way to talk to each other and just find out which practices are working. But also here, I mean if you have ideas here on the way we should pick up on that, that would be very welcome.
>> chris kelly: I just wanted to comment briefly about Net Sweeper on Pakistan. My perspective on this, that dealing with incidents of abuse of information technology is like a shared responsibility among all of us in the room to engage in ways that are appropriate. I wanted to flag Mozilla's engagement on this. Not that long ago when there was an issue of software being used against Bahraini activists, Mozilla filed a trademark lawsuit because the software was mimicking Firefox in a certain way. It was causing people to belief that it was operated by the computer when in fact is was spyware.
Freedom House is engaged on this. Repeatedly in the past, they have a nice map of surveillance equipment, exported by the west into the Middle East with some really nice naming and shaming activities going on there. And the governments have the role to play as well through bilateral engagements with other governments that each of the individual governments can do through the occasional FOC getting together and rebuking specific practices. That's something that we all can, should and are helping with.
>> SANJA KELLY: Okay. Thank you very much. I will turn it back to the audience. And I know that we have several questions and I would also really like to encourage the audience in addition to asking very valuable questions, if you have some constructive feedback, both in terms of engagement but both -- also in terms of the topics that should be taken up by the Freedom Online Coalition, please feel free to comment.
>> ANDREW PUDDEPHATT: I think the representative from Estonia made a very good point about the scope -- sorry?
>> AUDIENCE: Mike Harris from Index On Censorship. What I would like to ask is some of the Member States of the Freedom Online Coalition I am going to name two: U.S., U.K., Prism, Tempora, there are clearly issues around their commitment to privacy and freedom of expression. One of the strengths of the Freedom Online Coalition is generally the Member States have on the whole a reputable respectable record on online freedom. Can you name states that you wouldn't allow into the Freedom Online Coalition? Where are the boundaries to this coalition? And can you see a point at which you would say down the line, maybe not now but down the line: Sorry, you've broken your commitments to freedom of expression. You've broken your commitments to fundamental human rights and you can no longer be members of the Freedom Online Coalition.
>> SANJA KELLY: Thank you. I saw several hands here.
>> AUDIENCE: Thank you. Chinese network based in Bangkok. A new issue or topic that should be concerned as lot. I make an example. Just recently as well but actually going on for several years, so when some of the countries, like make a questions to like Thai government during the process about like freedom online, related to that, one of the, I don't know how to say, reasons or excuse or whatever the rationale, like Thai government said, a lot of governments try to say, they are referring like cultural sensitivity that okay, this is a thing that belongs to cultures and norms and human rights need to respect the local culture as well.
So when you come to this cultural sensitivity kind of thing, which many countries like their, one religion, one culture, how is this coalition going to deal with that?
Starting from that point, I would like a very concrete example. Going to the pass as a law in Thailand very soon the cabinet approved this new bill called intangible cultural heritage bill which they actually referring to UNESCO program about like, so basically it is kind of a preservation of the intangible cultural forums, cultural heritage. In a sense it is a very good one. It is protection of the minority rights, right? Of those cultural minority groups that many times has been taken and used by large corporations or been exploited by some governments.
So in a sense it is actually a very good program. In the end, inside this law is actually a criminalization of any kind of expression that is considered insulting of some kind of cultural forms, whether it is going to be offline or online. I don't know how this coalition, a lot of countries in this coalition also do grant making programs to various kind of programs that support minority rights or support local cultures and UNESCO plays a big part in this cultural heritage programs. How is this coalition going to deal with this kind of cultural sensitivity and stuff? Thanks.
>> AUDIENCE: Hi, Brett Solomon from Access. I have been a supporter of the Freedom Online Coalition for some time. I'm certain many civil society organisations have. But I do think it is important that we be honest about the Snowden revelations and the impact upon the Freedom Online Coalition moral authority to be able to negotiate in these spaces.
And you know, I think many of us were in the room yesterday when the Chinese Delegate stood up and said listen, if you are out there process they will tieing you have to clean up your own houses first and I say take because we actually need you as civil society. We actually need a body of governments that are able to stand up with that kind of moral authority an clean house to go and explain and put forward the best practice internationally.
So I have a couple of suggestions. One is I think that it would be good if there were national contact points for each of the country members. And I think there also needs to be some kind of complaint mechanism so that members of civil society within the member countries are able to actually raise the issues of what is happening domestically and also internationally.
The second suggestion relates to the necessary and proportionate principles which Carl Bildt referred to in his speech in Seoul. There is an opportunity for the member countries to look at those principles and look at their own proposed legislation and existing laws to see how they compare to the standards contained in that document.
>> AUDIENCE: Thank you, I'm Eduardo Bertoni. I'm at Palermo University School of Law in Argentina. I also would like to make a suggestion. I endorse what Brett just said in terms of civil society need these coalitions, need countries that we can talk about these issues. I support the coalition.
But I would suggest that, and following what our colleagues from the censorship said, maybe it is time to think of some point of entrance to the coalition. As far as I understand, and maybe I'm wrong and you can correct me, any country that just signs the statement could be part of the coalition. Maybe, is that not the case? Maybe my proposal is not going to be useful because my suggestion was to look what is going on in other kind of coalitions like this. For example, the recent created open government partnership. In the open government partnership, that is led by Brazil and the United States, to enter into that group of countries, you have to sign something and you have to present formally a plan of action on how you are going to fulfill that principles of the coalition. So maybe this is an idea. Try to see how other country coalitions are doing and try to formalize in some way which countries can be part of the coalition. I totally endorse what Brett says to have some sort of complaint mechanism within the coalition as well.
>> SANJA KELLY: Thank you. We are going to take two more comments from the floor before we turn back to the panel.
>> AUDIENCE: Thank you. My name is Iso. I'm here from Azerbaijan and here for the Freedom House.
In Azerbaijan there is little or no dialogue between the human rights advocates or people who fight for freedom online with the government. If it is possible to have more small discussions with the government and civil society people and human rights advocates, of course having internationals present in the room so that they can actually hear, probably for the first time they might claim, some of the issues that people face in the country and maybe after that develop some kind of mechanism that will hold them responsible, hold governments responsible to comply with either the promises that they make during those meetings or issues that are raised and how they deal with it.
>> AUDIENCE: My. I'm Anisa Nurlitasari. I work with the IGF policy working group out of Pakistan. I raised this question earlier yesterday. This is a larger group so I would like to talk about it again. Both the Canadian government and the U.K. government are part of the Freedom Online Coalition. And in Pakistan, after the Citizen Lab report we found out that both FinPhisher and Net Sweeper are currently working in Pakistan.
We wrote to the U.K. High Commissioner and the Canadian minister reminding them of their commitment and reminding them of the pact that they are part of the Freedom Online Coalition and the usual sort of coding of the U.N. principles of human right. Both High Commissioners responded, the U.K. before the Canadian. The U.K. letter is much stronger than the Canadian letter but both of them completely overlooked the fact that Freedom Online Coalition is in fact a coalition that they are involved in. And it is a freedom bold and it was interesting that the Canadian pointed us to GNI to hold the company responsibility responsible and the U.K. High Commissioner pointed us to the OECD mechanism.
My suggestion and the question would be, the question first is if the countries them sells are not taking the work seriously and telling citizens to rely on other mechanisms like the OECD or the GNI, how is this going to move forward? Secondly, according to what was said, could there be smaller groups and discussions am these countries to remind them of their commitment to freedom of expression? Because as I see it, from where I come from being cynical, this could very easily be used just as a network for countries to say oh, look, I have a token commitment for freedom of expression. When they are not actually doing anything to stop surveillance and symptom being complicit in such a trait.
>> SANJA KELLY: Okay. We'll turn the discussion back to the panel.
>> Thank you and there is a lot of different points raised. I would like to say something about the way we evaluate countries that would like to become a member. The way we went about it starting the coalition and also since several new members were, became part of the coalition, we evaluate the record the country has in terms of freedom of expression. Well, we use your report, for example. We used several other reports. And we make a kind of evaluation on how this country has done in its human rights policy. So what is it doing in the human rights Council? What has it been doing in the third Committee.
This analysis forms the basis for a decision-making process amongst the coalition members on whether we would like that country to become a member again.
And then of course we've also discussed this already before. The impact on the moral authority of the coalition, of the Snowden affair. I think there is -- of course, that is an issue. It is also an issue that we are discussing within the coalition. Of course, we are discussing how to deal with those kinds of things. And I think we have to be very honest about it. No country us perfect. And I think still we want as a coalition, we want to be also honest about that. There's many countries that have their issues and the coalition is also there to engage each other on seeing how to also change policies. So I think, it is quite a difficult issue, I agree.
On the other hand, I don't think we have to be very naive. Of course, you know, there's also many other countries out there with a lot of issues. They will not become part of the Freedom Online Coalition.
Talking about the mechanisms that you mentioned, it's very important. The OECD mechanism and GNI even, this is a coalition of the willing countries. It is not institutionalized yet. So maybe that is also about what do we expect from it. Sometimes I get the feeling that the expectations are running really high now. I think it's very good to also look at the mechanisms that are already in place that can help you in different countries to get your governments focused on those kind of mechanisms. On the other hand a lot of principles and ideas are developing. I think definitely as a coalition we have to look into the possibilities they are giving us and also see if we can take a position there.
>> MOEZ CHAKCHOUK: I would add that in freedom online Tunis we had very good debate about those issues. It was very important to see how government officials reacted to the questions. I remember very well a lot of questions coming from activists and my friends for sure. At the same time they are dealing with something that is very important. And this is, how it is important to keep the debate between the coalition. And that is why the statement is coming from the civil society during the freedom online is important. We will be concerned. All of us are concerned. It is not just being a member or not. We are all concerned by those issues and we need to be constructive. We need to keep the debate moving on and we will be, I think the future will be brighter. That's it.
>> I'll make a couple of disparate points, building on what Dewi and Moez have said. There are two possible reactions in terms of questioning the reputations of several Member States, my own included. One is to throw in the towel and say as a mechanism this is incredible. The other is to use it to hold the governments to account. That's what we have seen in Tunis and since with a number of letters which have and will continue to spark discussion. I think there's a power to having governments be publicly on the record upholding a public set of principles. And what we are seeing is now that that is happening from a lot of groups.
I think as Chris alluded to, forming other coalitions and many of you in the room have been in similar positions where you don't have all the answers from the beginning and all of the perfect mechanisms in place. We on our side had interesting conversations with colleagues who worked on OGP about both things they have in place now and some of the lessons they've learned in the last couple years.
Would be of the areas as a coalition that we have been weak in talking about a lot is public communication and having a consistent point of contact and forces out there. That's a priority for the next coming months to establish that and make it easier to engage.
Oh, I'll make one more point, sorry. On sort of the coalition as a forum on the question about OECD and GNI. I think from the beginning we thought of this not as, the coalition not as the forum to solve each problem, but as a contact group to figure out how to handle these issues as they arise in different contexts. Whether it's a multilateral forum or whether it's another issue that may be better referred to existing bodies.
So it is interesting to hear that feedback. I think we will sort of, just wanted to clarify that it is also a routing option to other forums.
>> SANJA KELLY: All right. So we don't have too much time left. We have 13 more minutes. So what I would like to do right now is concretely focus on the next coalition meeting in Estonia. And as a couple of people previously identified, there are going to be three themes, three themes previously identified fortune is, one being free and secure Internet and the next being digital, and openness and the last being privacy and transparency.
Specifically what would this group suggest that the meeting focuses on? What are some of the things that you think really need to be talked about that would really help further the dialogue when it comes to Internet freedom? A couple of things that were already identified were, for example, the issue of surveillance. Obviously that's on everyone's mind.
>> AUDIENCE: Hi. I'm Mike Wood and I want to talk briefly to principles that apply to the surveillance issues and other issues as well. One of the things, I winced when I hear no government is perfect because of course that's true but it is not the strongest defense ever.
But I think it is true that every government, at least every government as far as I know reserves to itself the right to engage in some kinds of surveillance, some kinds of legal action against content and so on. And I think that if the Freedom Online Coalition were to espouse a principle opposed to surveillance or censorship no one would believe you. So I think there are principles that I think apply certainly to surveillance and maybe apply in other contexts as well that I think going forward you can very strongly articulate and maybe have some consensus about, and just writing some notes to myself. I've done this a few times for myself, but transparency is clearly one of them. Accountability, you know, make people responsible both for the stuff that they do lawfully and the stuff that they do unlawfully.
Minimization. This is huge in the digital age because governments are now technically more capable of gathering so much more information and of engaging in so much more content control in the digital world than they ever were in the history, the entire history of governments.
And due process. I think that one of the things that citizens want -- citizens can be realistic about government. Everybody knows that governments are going to sometimes assert their prerogatives to surveil or to sensor, to do something else. But due process, structured ways to invoke your rights as against government interests, these are principles that I think the governments that are members of FOC can espouse going forward and state in clear ways and also use as criteria for people who want to join the coalition.
>> SANJA KELLY: Thank you. Specific recommendations for the Tallinn conference?
>> AUDIENCE: Okay. We have heard Andrew say that governments are coalitions and it seems like governments are doing things in an incoherent manner. So I would suggest that the Delegation or maybe before the Delegation there should be some mechanism of having not just the multi-stakeholder but also multi-sectoral involvement and engagement of government. For example, in a lot of these discussions we have, we see mostly staff from the ICT departments, but, or communications departments, but we never see people from the human rights departments. I would be interested to see the national human rights institutions also represented in this forum mod mold thank you.
>> audience: Nighat Dad from Vietnam and part of the Freedom House Delegation. I don't have any comments to the teams of the next conference. I would like to have the approach in the forum. We hope to see more dialogue between the governments, not only of the members nations but of the other nations and with the other actors. I think this is something that is missing in the IGF here and this is something that is missing in this panel. Like we have a few representatives from some governments and a lot of civil society, but where are the other countries? And this is something, I mean, we need to have that in order to move, in order to know the position of each other and convince each other.
>> SANJA KELLY: All right. I have had a couple hands here.
>> AUDIENCE: Thank you. Coming back to the transparencies, I would like to know what are the criteria for evaluation rules and Freedom Online Coalition. I would expect that mechanisms like a coalition is open for multi-stakeholder and not just governmental, to the principles. What kind of principles are we developing? Are we aware that the Freedom Online Coalition is not the only forum in this field? There is always a dynamic coalition on Internet rights and principles. Perhaps you could interrelate.
I see that there is a lot going on, but we should avoid duplications. It is a waste of resources. And there is a lot already documented. I do not see the added value of an intergovernmental mechanism in this kind of a coalition framework. It should be multi-stakeholder oriented and you should encourage civil society and int