When Governments Hit ‘Like’ on the ‘War on Terror’

11 November 2015 - A Workshop on Other in João Pessoa, Brazil

Agenda

Terrorist attacks in Paris, Tunis and Kenya in 2015 increased the efforts of governments across the globe to prevent terrorist groups, such as the Islamic State, Al-Shabaab or Boko Haram, from using social media to recruit new members, fundraise, and spread their message. In recent months, several countries, including France, UK and Spain, proposed comprehensive anti-terror legislation giving government new surveillance and filtering powers in the online sphere. Other governments might follow suit, as combatting terrorist activity is likely to remain top priority in the coming months. These measures introduced by governments raise considerable human rights concerns, because of their implications to freedom of expression online, the right to privacy and protection from discrimination. The multistakeholder approach is essential to find the right legal and political balance between combatting terrorist activity online and protecting human rights. In this roundtable, experts from governments, civil society, industry and academia will be invited to address three types of measures that gained ground in recent months: 1) Online provisions of recent anti-terrorist laws for example requiring Internet Service Providers to take down terrorist websites without court order. 2) Efforts to encourage ‘counter-speech’: governments and civil society using social media to advance alternative narratives to reduce impact of terrorists online. 3) Proposals to ban end-to-end encryption. The goal of this roundtable is to narrow down and update the debate about freedom of expression online and other human rights. The participants will also help to identify best and worst practices and present them on a form of a report that can be used as a guide for decision-makers. The workshop will begin with short interventions from the following participants: - Joanna Bronowicka, Centre for Internet and Human Rights, European University Viadrina - Anja Mihr, Netherlands Institute of Human Rights, Utrecht University - Frank La Rue, Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Europe - Ephraim Percy Kenyanito, Access Now - Melody Patry, Index on Censorship

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