The Council of Europe and Internet Governance

The Council of Europe and Internet Governance

The work of the Council of Europe on internet governance centres on human rights issues, most notably freedom of expression, data protection, accessibility and cybercrime. With the Convention on Cybercrime, the Council of Europe created the first (and so far only) binding international treaty on the subject. The convention outlines guidelines for governments wishing to develop legislation against cybercrime. It entered into force in July 2004, has been signed by 43 states and ratified by 20 countries.

The judgements of the European Court of Human Rights related to new technologies constitute another main pillar of the Council of Europe’s work on digital governance. The Court maintains a fact sheet (pdf) on all rulings on Articles 8 (Right to respect for private and family life) and 10 (Freedom of expression) of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.

The Committee of Ministers and Parliamentary Assembly have adopted a number of declarations and recommendations related to internet governance, among them:

The Council of Europe is publishing an “Internet Literacy Handbook”, a guide intended to explain how to get the most out of the Internet and, at the same time, how to protect and maintain privacy. It has developed “Human Rights Guidelines for Internet Service Providers (pdf)” and “Human Rights Guidelines for Online Game Providers (pdf)”. The organisation also co-hosts the European Dialogue on Internet Governance, “an open platform for informal and inclusive discussion and exchange on public policy issues related to Internet governance between stakeholders from all over Europe.”

The Council of Europe’s work on internet governance is coordinated by Lee Hibbard and his team on information society and internet governance.

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