Human Rights Online: Emerging Threats and Opportunities

23 October 2013 - A Workshop on Bali,Indonesia


In an environment of growing internet penetration, an increasing number of states are introducing laws and practices that have a profound impact on the ability of citizens to exercise their rights online. From recently passed (and now suspended) cybersecurity legislation in the Phillipiness to  re-introduced CISPA in the United States to new itermediarly liability laws in Malaysia, legislators in democratic and non-democratic countries have passed or at least considered laws that could have a negative effect on internet freedom. This workshop will bring together various stakeholders to take stock of the most serious threats to human rights online and review the best practices—both nationally and internationally—that have emerged on these issues over the past year.

The conversation will be framed around the key findings identified in Freedom House’s annual report “Freedom on the Net ,” which utilizes detailed methodology to evaluate developments in 60 countries globally on the issues concerning blocking and filtering of political content, surveillance, internet access, legal framework, arrests of internet users, extralegal harassment and attacks on bloggers, and other methods used by governments  to limit free speech online. The report's 2013 edition will be published in September.

The questions under consideration will include: What are the most common threats to human rights online around the globe? What new threats to human rights online have emerged in 2012 and 2013 that were not evident previously? What role have courts, private sector, and citizen-led campaigns played globally as bulwarks against abuses? In cases where a threat to freedom of expression has been repelled or reversed, what were the key factors that enabled this change? What factors should be considered when seeking to replicate such successes?