>> MODERATOR: Can the panel hear me through the mic? Can we settle down, everyone, and we will make a start. So first of all, welcome to the Open Forum of the Freedom Online Coalition. This is a meeting we have every year at the IGF, and it's an opportunity to share with you some of the work done by the Coalition, and give you an opportunity to talk and interact with people active in the Coalition.
Unfortunately we are in a very, very difficult space, one that's not very conducive to proper conversation, but we will do our best. I will run quickly around the panel with one question. The idea is we will give you a flavor of the work of the coalition and I will wander around the audience and give you a chance to interact. I like it when people come in and do their emails and surf the Web because I like to talk to you in particular to see if you have any particular questions or contributions you would like to make. So if I see you on your computer, I am probably come and have a look and see excellent things you are doing. Because obviously the meeting rooms are where people come to do their email. The coffee is where they come to have the conversation.
I want to change the balance so we have the conversation in the meeting room and we have everything else outside. So welcome. The Freedom Online Coalition for those who don't know is a coalition of 28 countries that is established to promote Human Rights and democracy globally on line, and to protect the Internet as a space that nurtures Internet freedom.
There are a range of activities undertaken by the Coalition. There is an annual meeting which is an information sharing opportunity for Governments, but also for Civil Society and the business community. A very early project was the Digital Defenders Partnership which Federico will explain which is something we do to provide support people in repressive regimes. The Coalition produces joint statements and there are examples of joint statements in the room if interested.
There are a number of Working Groups which is intersessional work undertaken by the Coalition in a multi‑framework and there are diplomatic networks established in Paris, Geneva and New York and that enable coalition countries to combine and work together to develop a joint approach to particular key Internet policy issues happening around the world.
So that's a quick overview of the coalition. My name is Andrew. I'm the Director of the support unit. We are an administration unit that supports the work of the coalition and hence I will be Chairing the meeting today. So if we could start with Federico Suarez and the Digital Defenders Partnership. Could you give us a flavor of what it does and what the challenges are because I think it's one of the projects that is not often associated directly with the Freedom Online Coalition?
>> FEDERICO SUAREZ: Thank you, Andrew. Thanks for having me here. So the Digital Defenders Partnership is a partnership of 8 of the FOC members including the U.S., U.K., the Netherlands, Sweden, Estonia, Finland, the Czech Republic and Latvia. And the main objectives are ‑‑ can you hear me well by the way? Thank you. So our two main objectives are firstly to keep critical Internet users safe, and secondly to build capacity around emergency response.
So from 2012 on, we supported over 10 million critical Internet users in 64 countries worldwide with the help of like software, hardware, physical, legal or capacity building efforts. Those organizations or individuals we work with range from LGBT activists in Uganda, women's rights activists in Pakistan, Human Rights defenders in Russia or the Ukraine, and what we do for them is either we provide funding. This could be direct emergency response building or capacity billing funding or we provide linking and learning activities. We have a whole collaborative partnership with activists on the ground, and we can provide direct links with those. And what we also do is more a long term sustainable solution on digital safety and security working with organizations.
Besides that, we work with the embassies of our donors, so either they come to us when they have a situation in one of their regions or we actually train them on Internet freedom. Some of the challenges that we have within the program is that regional capacity is really scarce. So we work with a global network of responders, and responders are like tech savvy people who help whenever there is an emergency in a region.
And they actually express the needs to have regional responders as well, but those are really scarce. And also within organizations there is hardly the tech savviness to keep Human Rights defenders organizations safe. Besides that, what we see is not ‑‑ I'm sorry, not only digital support is needed but it's a more holistic approach is needed. So sometimes it's psychosocial help, sometimes it's more the legal help around it. So not only digital tools are needed.
I think that's it, really briefly.
>> MODERATOR: Thanks very much. One of the features of the last couple of years has been a growth in the intersessional work of the coalition, principally through the establishment of three Working Groups. So we will give you a quick flavor of the work undertaken by those Working Groups starting with Michael Wolmar from Canada who has become an active member of Working Group one looking at cybersecurity and one of the products is this helpful cybersecurity map that maps out the different policy spaces where cybersecurity issues are being discussed. So Michael, over to you.
>> MICHAEL WOLMAR: As Andrew said, I'm here to talk about working group one which was a working group that was established to promote an informed debate on the relationship between governance, security, online freedoms that involved all stakeholders. The goal of the group is to create a framing, a Human Rights frame to cybersecurity discussions and to produce meaningful outputs that would be helpful to build on existing security policy making efforts.
It's been making great strides since it first met at the IGF last year. There have been four primary activities. One has been to try to develop a definition for cybersecurity. The idea was to develop a cybersecurity definition which unlike many of the traditional definitions of cybersecurity incorporated a clear commitment to respect for Human Rights in it.
Another activity that the group undertook was recommendations for Human Rights based approaches to cybersecurity, the idea being here that we wanted to develop a set of recommendations that promote greater stakeholder driven and Human Rights respecting approaches to cybersecurity. These have been developed to provide guidance to all stakeholders involved in cybersecurity matters, but in particular those who were involved in developing and implementing cybersecurity security policies and frameworks.
The idea, the recommendations are designed to encourage the stakeholders to incorporate the protection and promotion of Human Rights in all aspects of cyber and to insure that cybersecurity policies are designed from the beginning with the Human Rights in mind. So after several months of work and a number of in‑person meetings, we will be putting out those recommendations. It's going to be publicly put forward at a workshop tomorrow from 11:00 to 12:30 p.m. in working room 5. I encourage everyone to come out, take a look at the recommendations and have a discussion with us.
As Andrew said, other inning this we put together is the cyber mapping exercise. It's available. It's to provide a visual time line of all that's happening internationally on cybersecurity and to promote awareness among stakeholders and to facilitate engagement in those discussions. The 2015 map was released at the Freedom Online Coalition conference Mongolia this year and we are working on a 2016 edition as well. Finally there was a series of blogs on the Freedom Online Coalition website which is intended to highlight aspects of our work, call attention to some of the forms and settings where this work is going on, and provide material of general interest around this issue.
There have been blog issues on cybersecurity at the United Nations, the London process what is happening in the IETF and the activities of the working group. So just to close on this piece of it, we have been very pleased to participate in this. There have been three Governments involved in this, Canada, the U.S., Netherlands as well as a variety of other stakeholders. And it's been a great pleasure actually to participate. Special thanks to Matthew Shears and Simone Highlink of the Netherlands for their leadership. She went able to be here today and I'm substituting for her.
>> MODERATOR: We move to James of the second working group, one of the features of the working group is that they are genuinely a multistakeholder in their policy development, so instead of Governments fixing policy, Civil Societies fixing policy and meeting and exchanging views, the policy is developed as a partnership, and I think that's one of the most exciting things about the Coalition working groups which are always Co‑Chaired by someone from Civil Society. And James Losi is the Co‑Chair along with the Government of Sweden of working group 2 so. James, tell us about the working group.
>> Thanks Andrew, the goal of working group 2 is to focus on digital development and rule of law. So we are able to strengthen existing rule of law principles and good practices in a way that will protect and promote Human Rights on line and maximizing the impact of social and economic development.
As a group and as other working groups we believe in a multistakeholder approach is crucial for the development of Internet related public policies. Our goals reflect the global open interoperable nature of the Internet. We have two primary initiatives we are completing. Number one, we want to establish rule of law principles and have them adopted by Freedom Online Coalition Member States at the upcoming freedom on line coalition meeting in 2016 in Costa Rica. We plan to develop rule of law online good practice document that can be used reflecting the two issue areas that we are focusing on.
Number one, datary tension and privacy, and number two, freedom of expression online. We believe this is a unique opportunity in our working group because rule of law is at a critical juncture. Rule of law has a decades long history of development and expertise, but existing institutions do not yet have the technical capacity and aptitude to address issues of the Internet on line. So we have the opportunity rather than trying to bring a new breadth of knowledge and expertise to the space we are in now, but we are able to leverage the expertise among communities like IGF and the Freedom Online Coalition and bring it to existing institutions on rule of law.
Essentially what we are hoping to do is develop the Internet patch for the existing code bases rule of law expertise and processes.
Thank you, Andrew.
>> MODERATOR: Thanks, James, and finally for the working groups, I would like to come to Katherine Kendrick, Co‑Chair of working group 3 to tell us about that work. Katherine.
>> So working group 3 focuses on the relationship between the private sector and Governments and specifically how interactions between the two can have effects on individual privacy and freedom of expression. Our group met for the first time at the last IGF, and over the last year we have been focusing specifically on transparency about Government requests to companies for user information or privacy. In particular, we looked at requests that are made in law enforcement and national security context and how both Governments and companies approach decision making about that process and also how much to disclose to the public about requests for user information and content restriction.
This is an area where there has been a lot of exciting work in the last few years, particularly on company transparency reporting. And for our group, we stepped back and saw the working group as a good Forum, particularly with the active involvement of Governments to have conversations with both Governments and companies in a chat ham house rule context to understand their internal decision making what challenges they face, what opportunities they see and how much to disclose about this process to the public.
So over the last year, we held consultations with companies and Governments, global range FOC Governments and multinational telecom and Internet companies. The results of those research we published last week in a paper that is now on the FOC website. I encourage everyone to take a look. In it we provide recommendations to companies and Governments looking at this issue about transparency around Government requests to companies. And we really see this paper and our research is just a starting point for future work. A big part of our consultations was identifying gaps where the working group and other initiatives in this field might provide more analysis on increasing transparency in this relationship.
And so specifically in the coming year, our working group will be focusing on two of the gaps that we identify at the end of the report. One is how to improve from both Governments and companies’ transparency about laws, policies and processes that guide requests for user information. There has been a lot of talk about releasing statistics and understanding the numbers of requests made and we are interested in focusing on how to better describe the framework of policies and practices that guide companies and Governments.
And the second area we are looking at is more generally Government transparency reporting which has been a less developed area than the company side over the last couple of years. So in the coming weeks we will have more information on specifically what activities we will do in both of those areas. We are excited to partner with the other working groups and also other initiatives in this field. It's been a great year, and an exciting initiative and so we are looking forward to doing more.
>> CHAIR: Thanks very much, Katherine. One of the interesting things about the Coalition is the Chair rotates on an annual basis between different countries, and for the first time the chairpersonship of the coalitionship rests in the Americas with the Government of the Costa Rica, so I am like to invite Carla Verde about Costa take over the Coalition and plans for the Conference next year. Carla.
>> Good afternoon. My name is Carla Verde and I come from the Ministry of Science, Technology and Telecommunications of Costa Rica. As it was said, we will be hosting the next freedom on line coalition meeting in Costa Rica. It will probably be in October or November. We still haven't decided yet because we have to wait and see what happens with IGF Mexico 2016.
But for sure, it will be October or November. Right now, we are working on the concept note about the whole meeting and in this work there is a group of people involved from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and from the Ministry of Science, Technology and Telecommunications. So we hope to see you there. Thank you.
>> MODERATOR: Thanks very much, Carla. The Coalition began 2011 as an annual meeting of 12 countries, it's now 28 and growing because more countries are applying. So the kind of infrastructure that's supports the Coalition is being considered, the mandate the Coalition, the working processes. Part of that is a review being instituted by the Coalition. Maybe I could have Gigi just to conclude panel sessions by telling us a bit about the evaluation and how it's developing.
>> Great. Thank you, Andrew. In 2015 earlier this year in May the annual Conference was held in Mongolia, and there the Freedom Online Coalition announced it would be undertaking a five year strategic review as Andrew said with the plan to reflect on the development over the first five years, and then conceivably to inform a strategic plan for the next five years of its existence, but with all of the considerations that Andrew mentioned.
The U.K. and the U.S. are Co‑Chairing a working group to conduct the strategic review, and to shepherd this process, they are definitely informed by the recognition that the Freedom Online Coalition really has grown over these past five years. I mean, in some ways it's more than doubled and activities have more than tripled when you consider the fact that there are now these three working groups, you have the local chapters that are operating, the joint statements have been multiplying, and so how to sustain this going forward with an understanding of the Coalition's value add.
So the working group designed a framework that has both an internal component and external component. The idea being that there would be a member driven stock taking exercise to understand internally what are the value add of the coalition, but then also working with an external research or an independent researcher Susan Morgan who happens to be here, and I understand that later will be commenting a little bit about her part of the review which she is here at the IGF working towards very assiduously.
So I will let her talk about that a little bit more, but briefly, the kind of overall aims is to work with the expected timeline of delivering the final assessment of the review at the online, the Freedom Online Coalition Conference in Costa Rica in late fall next year, and hopefully at that time also having plans to announce about the strategic plan moving forward. But I this this will definitely depend on the outcome, the results of the external assessment and the internal review that will follow that.
I think one thing to note about the driving factor for the external assessment is the desire elicit views and concerns of the external community as these are really important for the member states of the coalition to hear so that they can be mindful of those concerns and work with it, because this was a major purpose of the coalition, and assessing how that purpose has been followed and whether or not there needs to be refinement going forward. It's very important to hear the external viewpoints.
Susan will talk about this a little bit more, but the four key areas that we are looking at include FOC membership, the up term structure of the organization, the funding structure to support all of this, and, of course, the activities that then follow. And all of this is under the umbrella of the mandate of the coalition which will be reviewed and then decided going forward in this consultative manner. I think this systematic exercise to document the various views and concerns including, if not especially critical ones shows a concern about prioritizing the actives as there is much to be done, but obviously limited resources and capacities, and so this is something that the Coalition members will take back from the external assessment, and consider together.
The external assessment which Susan maybe you can go into right now, I think will be the indispensable roadmap for guiding the direction of the review. As is it looks at the concerns it needs to address and the feasibility within that scope. Thank you.
>> MODERATOR: I will come to Susan to say a few words about the review following up on that.
>> SUSAN MORGAN: Thanks Andrew. Gosh, it's hard to hear. So just a few words about the review. So I'm working with the University of Pennsylvania and the outcome of the strategic review will be a public report published by U Penn. The work will be completed probably in about six months' time. As Gigi mentioned there will be four components to the research I'm carrying out. I'm looking at the membership of the coalition, the focus of the coalition's activities which are most important if we need to prioritize, looking at the structure and the internal governance of the coalition given that when it started five years ago there were 11 members, there is now 28, so in terms of kind of the organizational developments, you know, other things that we need to be thinking about things differently and finally looking at the funding model and whether the Coalition has sufficient funds for its mandates and if not, how do we address the gap? In terms of the methodology, I'm interviewing 30 people on a one‑on‑one basis in one hour interviews. That's both members of the Governments who are in the Coalition, members of the working parties, and then also people who aren't members of the coalition or involved in any way.
So we also want to get some perspective and some insight from people who have chosen not to be involved at this stage in the Coalition's work. I also held a consultation a couple of days ago here with about 15 or 16 people taking part, and if anyone would like to contribute to the review, then I'm not quite sure what the mechanism is for that. Maybe, Gigi if people can get in touch with you and you can direct them to me. Okay. Cheers!
>> MODERATOR: Thanks very much Susan. We do have other Governments present, Governments of Norway, Estonia, Netherlands and Germany so they may want to contribute in the course of discussion. I will leave it up to them. It's an Open Forum, we are keen to have your views, contributions, thoughts on the kind of work the Coalition could do, how we can work better with partners with you all and all of the other thoughts you may have about the Coalition's overall direction or structure. Feel free to come in, make contributions now. This is your platform, your time. We have awed you with the stunning work of the panel. I like that. I will actually come ‑‑ excellent.
>> RICARDO MOR SOLA: Thank you very much, I would like to ask you for breaking the ice perhaps this will help. I'm Ricardo Mor Sola, the Ambassador of cybersecurity of Spain, and I'm representing the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. I would like to take advantage to a thank you to the speakers and in particular for the information given considering the work of the three working groups. There is a lot of information also in the work page, and I think that they have included additional data of interest in this Forum. It seems I do not have much to contribute because I am a newcomer, and actually I just wanted to say that Spain is ready to join this group in the coming months, and we would like to express also our commitment concerning the basic principles and goals that the FOC has in its endeavor.
So having said that, I think that if there are other representatives of other Governments in this room that would like to join, I would like to encourage them to do so, and I think that the procedure is quite easy because actually we have simply to subscribe the principles and the documents, the basic documents of the Forum, and waiting for the green light for the other present 28 members that you have already. Thank you very much.
>> MODERATOR: Thank you, Ricardo. We are looking forward to Spain joining the Coalition and working with you in the months to come. Are there any other comments? I might come back to Katherine, just but a question to you. Katherine, you have sat in Government as well as outside in Civil Society, and the working groups operate as a multistakeholder process rather than just as a Government process. Can you tell us a bit what you think the strengths and advantages of that multistakeholder process have been given your background in history and in a sense both sides of the argument?
>> Thank you. I think they are quite, quite a few strengths to having a multilateral piece to the Coalition and having multistakeholder Working Groups. Specifically for the working groups, the idea was to get to a more concrete level looking at issues of concerns to Governments and other stakeholders and producing concrete products extending from the general principles that Governments have ascribed to and that the field has sort of developed over the last couple of years.
And speaking from the perspective of our group and knowing participants on the other group, we have just brought together an amazing group of experts in this field and we have had the opportunity to meet with coalition Governments and different Forums both where our consultations and elsewhere, and have that knowledge sharing from Civil Society and private sector representatives that the working group provided an avenue for. So I think just being able to have that Forum for that interaction is valuable particularly for Governments who may not always interact with other stakeholders.
So that's been a big benefit of the multistakeholder working groups and I think we have generally found it to be a productive Forum and something for the coalition to increase in the coming year.
>> MODERATOR: Thanks very much. I will come now to Matthew Shears who is the Co‑Chair of the cybersecurity Working Group. Matthew, I want to ask you, cybersecurity has issues that traditionally in Government terms is dominated by security and intelligence apparatuses and there is very little opportunity for Civil Society to be involved. Can you share a bit with us your experience of trying to craft a Human Rights cybersecurity policy in a multistakeholder environment which I think is a fairly unique challenge?
>> MATTHEW SHEARS: Thank you, Andrew. I apologize for not being here earlier. I'm sure Michael covered the work of the working group. The interesting aspect of this is as Andrew said we are addressing issues where there is a significant divergence of opinion and cybersecurity is well known that certain stakeholders may not see eye to eye and the challenge we had was coming up with a set of recommendations we will be unveiling tomorrow morning where everyone could find something in there that we were comfortable living with but at the same time we were pushing each other. The stakeholders were pushing a little bit more than we might.
Getting the meeting of minds was incredibly warning and at times tortuous process. What we have now is something we can be proud of and hopefully you will degrees with that. That working together as stakeholders has been, and coming together on difficult issues, think, has been a real value of the working group one.
>> MODERATOR: Thanks very much. I want to come to a separate topic now. The diplomatic coordination. I'm coming to Piret, our colleague from Estonia. One of the things the Coalition does is meets within different forums, UNESCO is a large coalition that made input into connecting the dots Conference. In Geneva they have around the Human Rights Council and there have been recent meetings in New York which begin to look at the various New York processes and, Piret, you are interested in putting together the Geneva Network. Can you tell us what the challenges are of trying to pull a network beyond the geopolitical boundaries and just share that with participants?
>> PIRET URB: Thank you, Andrew. I'm happy to see everybody here. As you know, Estonia has been quite active earlier in the Freedom Online Coalition. As I was in Geneva myself earlier, I knew a bit there and our interest was that Freedom Online Coalition wouldn't be based only on the colleagues of the capitals, but also there would be network in Paris, in Geneva, in New York, all of the multilateral places.
So we were trying to bring added value into Geneva as a coalition, and I think we quite did it. We made a few joint staples there. We had some meetings, and we tried to connect all of the Government really who are not always present in the peak events in different regions. Also in Geneva we communicated a lot with Civil Society.
They could bring their added value being in Geneva, and there is opportunity. In Geneva there is a very, very good opportunity because there are many, many Civil Society representatives who are also part of this field, like Internet freedom field and the Human Rights because Geneva is the kind of capital of Human Rights as we all know.
And this is what the coalition is doing more or less. It's like Human Rights in the Internet. So I hope everything continues there, and the coalition grows stronger also in multilateral fora not only once a year or only in IGF meetings, but more and more there is everyday work in different capitals. And this is how it becomes stronger and this is how the Coalition can bring something additional to the international organizations as well and cooperate more intensely with NGOs and also the big companies, the businesses who are interested in. And also we can't forgot academia representatives. They have been also involved quite a lot and they are interested.
And we are happy that they are interested. There have been the people from Morocco and many other universities all over the world who have been involved in our work. So thank you. I don't know if you have any other questions, Andrew. Thanks.
>> MODERATOR: Obviously, I have a question here.
>> AUDIENCE: Well, a comment, question. Since we have all of these states here and you are mentioning Civil Society and I heard a lot about involvement, et cetera, but in what? Do you think that Civil Society should continue to legitimize the Freedom Online Coalition when you could validly argue that the member states of the Freedom Online Coalition are undermining freedom online through their opposition to encryption, through mass surveillance processes, and through their lack of leadership and yet still trying to have this Forum called the Freedom Online Coalition?
So you have Morocco today which has just arrested several activists and journalists working for Privacy International and other groups. You have the Governments that are supposed to be leading by example leading in the wrong direction. So can you tell us why Civil Society should continue to legitimize this coalition and if you plan to live up to your values?
>> MODERATOR: Did you want to say who you are?
>> I'm Courtney Raj with the Committee to Protect Journalists.
>> MODERATOR: Thanks, Courtney. Morocco is not a member of the Freedom Online Coalition so on that one I think the Coalition can plead innocent. I don't know if any other Governments want to respond to that. It's a question that comes up I think fairly regularly about if you like the internal character of the coalition. Maybe Gigi I could start with you and see if other Governments want to come in.
>> Sure, please do add, because as we know here, I'm certainly not the right person to comment on, you know, policies and activities of all of the Freedom Online Coalition member states and probably not specifically on my own Government, but I do know to this question of why Civil Society should continue to engage. I think we have seen services on behalf of the Freedom Online Coalition as a coalition and on behalf of Member States to address precise concerns you have raised. They have affected the priorities of the FOC from promoting free, open and global Internet to the perceived standing of the individual countries as promoters and champions of Internet freedom.
And there are efforts going on to address that even as there are other efforts that demonstrate the complexity of any Government and we are watching closely and trying to address them. I think with the three working groups that are on this panel now, they are a testament to specific changes of course to try to engage Civil Society more in addressing the issues.
If you look at the topics of the three working groups, if you look at the experts that have been, you know, that applied and were selected to participate, it shows a rich conversation that creates a feedback loop. And something that I think we can see, you know, watching the news, seeing the developments in terms of new legislation that's been introduced, new decisions that have been made, you know, to, for example, in the U.S., not to pursue an option for back doors and encryption.
I mean, this is the type of conversation that these types of working groups are trying to inform, and I think the direct engagement that Katherine was talking about is an example of how that can be done constructively. And not necessarily always easy to talk about very publicly, but something that informs the internal conversations of the Coalition and then back when the Governments go and talk with their agencies.
>> MODERATOR: Michael?
>> MICHAEL WOLMAR: Thank you. I guess I would sort of start by saying I think what we are trying to embark upon here is not a process of legitimization, but rather engagement. We would like to engage with Civil Society on these range of issues and have easy open discussions so we can continue to make progress in this area. I think that the issue is not so much one of whether we are legitimizing anyone's activities or not but rather what we can do together to make progress on the range of issues.
Certainly with respect to where we stand on particular issues, there is the basis of the work of the group that was adopted in Tallinn which lays out the principles on which we operate. And as our colleague said you must subscribe to these principles in order to join. These are very real and relevant discussions in which we are committed to engaging. There is going to be a session tomorrow where we talk through some of these principles. We do have this working group on the relationship between Government security and freedom which is to involve all stakeholders. So it's not like we are trying to avoid this discussion.
We want to have this discussion. On the issue of what's happening out there in the world, I would say that I don't want to lose sight of the fact that while we do need to hold ourselves as democratic and law abiding countries to a higher standard, perhaps, I don't think that we want to allow us to lose sight of the broader issues of respect for Human Rights online internationally. There are a lot of countries out there that are up to some activities that are pretty questionable, and I would hate to think that there are others that are out there that there are people who are suffering each day, bloggers who are being imprisoned, journalists being attacked while we focus our attention on ourselves and forget about their plight as well.
Just one final point, there has been some, I think there is generally understood to be a lot of tension, perhaps, between Human Rights and security, but it's our position that they are in fact mutually reinforcing. As all of us go about our digital lives as we interact with one another, as we promote our views online, we all have a stake in insuring that we are secure as we do so. So there is, I think, perhaps a tension. There needs to be discussion, but in our view you can't have Human Rights without security, and you can't have security without Human Rights. Thanks.
>> MODERATOR: Thanks very much. Maybe I will just say, Courtney, while as a Civil Society activist I'm quite comfortable working with the Coalition because the Governments can answer that question, but it's important for us to answer that question too. For me, Governments are all coalitions. They represent as you know if you have any kind of analysis of Government, you know that there are trade interests, security interests, political interests, geopolitical interests and sometimes Human Rights interests. And in many Governments the Human Rights interests are very weak or in many cases don't exist at all as we see in many countries of the world.
So I think what you have with the Coalition is the network connecting those bits of Government which are keen to promote democracy and Human Rights, and within the overall architecture of the Internet policy world this is the only bit of Government seeking to actively promote a Human Rights approach to Internet policy and development. And for me that means it's worth engaging with, supporting and trying to strengthen and bolstering in their internal discussions with other aspects of Government. Because if we were to walk away from it and say no point in engaging with the Freedom Online Coalition because the Governments themselves in our opinion are not pure, then we would leave the interaction between states to that dominated by economic security and trade interests. We would lose the valuable infrastructure we are beginning to develop which is an exchange on a Human Rights basis between Governments.
So for me that makes it a very valuable lever, an opportunity for us to begin to engage with Governments who in the end of the day are the decision makers when it comes to all of the key decisions affecting Human Rights. And without Government we can't actually have a serious commitment to Human Rights. So for us, that's how we see it. We see it as a piece of the architecture globally that it's important for us to engage with as a Civil Society. And we can look at the work of the working groups and see that when there is serious engaged discussion, some real progress is made in developing standards and practices that I think could be rolled out more generally not just across the Coalition, but act as an example to the rest of the world.
So in the interest of a fact we are noting with increasing interest that more people want to be associated with it. So I think there are interesting arguments there, so I will come to Federico and Carla.
>> FEDERICO SUAREZ: Thank you, Andrew. I would like to second what you are saying and I love how you explain seeing Government as a coalition. I also wanted to say I'm a Civil Society representative, and I mean, we are funded by a few of the FOC members and we are able to do this incredible work with Human Rights offenders on the ground. So that's really incredible as well and possible thanks to this coalition.
>> MODERATOR: Carla?
>> CARLA VALVERDE: Thank you. I wanted to share with you what's the experience in Costa Rica. For instance, when we come to IGF, the position of the country is not defined by the Government. It's defined in the Internet Governance Council of Costa Rica. And there we have the public sector, the private sector. We have academia and we have Civil Society.
So we come all together and we start discussing several points and after the meeting we create or we identify key ideas. For instance, this year I'm just going to tell them quickly, there were four key ideas that the position of the Costa Rica. The first is to support the multistakeholder model. We believe Internet belongs to everyone. We must all participate in the debate on the rule that's should govern it. The Internet Governance model should be based on a multistakeholder approach regardless of our political, corporate or financial power.
The second one is to support the free and open Internet and legitimate concerns in the areas of privacy, security, and intellectual property protection should not be an excuse to justify actions to pursue highly restrictive controls on cyberspace and there must not be barriers to universal Internet access.
Third, to support a model that insures privacy and security. We advocate for a model that insures privacy and security with a universal access schemes. In the safety area, priority must be children's safety. And finally, support universally accepted principles. Support universally accepted principles such as the universal declaration of Human Rights as the basis for a good Internet Governance and protection of user's rights to govern this new space that opens to humanity the cyberspace. So then we work all together to come with the Costa Rican position, and I just wanted to share that with you.
>> MODERATOR: Thanks, Carla. Federico.
>> FEDERICO SUAREZ: One more thing I forgot maybe to say to Susan, maybe it's a need for an internal watchdog somehow and how that could work.
>> MODERATOR: Michael, can I come back to you with a question, because you raised the broader spectrum the Coalition operates across the world, and we are seeing freedom of the net reports suggests that Internet freedom has declined again over about five years. So we are seeing a downward trend. We are seeing Courtney reminded us about the situation in Morocco. A lot of us are engaged in the situation in Turkey where journalists and bloggers are being arrested and social media platforms are taken down. We are working in Bangladesh where activists are being killed and the Government is not taking action to protect people that operate with secular points of view. Should the Coalition be doing more to project and drive freedom? Is there something the Coalition should be doing to focus on the parts of the world where Internet freedom doesn't exist in any form whatsoever?
>> MICHAEL WOLMAR: Thank you, Andrew. I think when you look to see what the basis of the coalition is, why it was founded and the direction that it took from the beginning, I think that you will see that is what the Freedom Online Coalition is about. It is about promoting the cause of freedom online internationally. I guess the question then is what could we be doing internationally in some of the places that you are talking about?
That is something we have been discussing internally within the Coalition. You made mention of some of the work that we have done with respect to organizing ourselves in certain places around the world to be able to intervene and, for example, the Human Rights Council in Geneva and the General Assembly, the work of UNESCO in Paris. So we are trying to band together to bring a like‑minded common approach to these questions internationally.
We are also comparing notes amongst ourselves what we can do to strengthen organizations around the world like Hivos and others to be able to help them to continue to do their work. I guess what we have as well is strength in numbers being able to bring the weight of attention to certain circumstances, to situations that arise around the world, and we try to do that, but as anyone who has worked in a bureaucracy will tell you is isn't necessarily the easy thing to do to coordinate a large number of people. But we are committed to finding ways to work together better and to be able to react more quickly to the kind of situations that you see arising around the world.
But you are absolutely right, you know, the trend internationally is negative and it's really going to be through the work of groups like the Freedom Online Coalition, like Civil Society, Human Rights defenders wherever they are found to be able to try and reverse that trend. We have got to work together on that. Thanks.
>> MODERATOR: James.
>> Absolutely there is an opportunity to work together, but I want to put out a request to the Governments participating in the Freedom Online Coalition from an advocacy perspective the end policy is always to talk to the face you know and people you have access to. And because Governments are coalitions and complicated bureaucracies in and of themselves that not may not always be the best point of advocacy. If we want to comment on domestic issues with an advocacy perspective, the foreign ministries aren't the best to receive that information.
I think it's for the Government participants and members to work with us to let us know what are the unique processes in your country? Who are the people we could be talking to and where else could we be coordinating advocacy? If you want to be advocates for Internet freedom from a Government perspective you can work with the advocates within Civil Society to help us direct strategic resources and who we could be talking to within your Governments to work together to decrease this negative trend.
>> Jason Palmyer from the State Department. I wanted to pick up on James' point which I think is a good one and it's sort of a part of a theme in the conversation about Governments internally as coalitions. I think we have been able to start doing that through the working group, working group 3 in particular held consultations with a number of different Freedom Online Coalition Governments, some of whom are participating in working group 3 and others who are not.
And at least in some of those cases the conversation was facilitated by people like myself who engage with the Coalition directly on a regular basis that the actual conversation included people from our Justice Department, F.B.I., and Office of Director of National Intelligence, and so we had the kind of operational people, James, that I think you are identifying as often appropriate for these conversations. And in that case it was a conversation about transparency related to requests for user information.
So that conversation is happening. I think there is some at least examples of how the working groups have been able to facilitate that, and I think that's important that we build on that. It's a lot of work. It's challenging as the person kind of as the go between. I don't want to necessarily overpromise because it's not easy to do, but I think that's going back to the better question that Courtney brought up about the value of the Coalition. I think actually our, at least from my perspective, and I think others who have been in other Governments maybe will second this, it's really been useful to use the Coalition to talk to other parts of our own Government and remind them about these commitments that we have made as a Government and, you know, help them and us collectively articulate we see ourselves living up to those things.
So it's perhaps not as confrontational or as direct and public as some would like to see, but those conversations are happening because of the coalition and if not for the coalition, it's hard for me to see how exactly those conversations would be happening or if this they would be happening in quite as structured and robust and multilateral way. So I think that's important to keep in mind. And one last point, to Courtney's question about holding the Governments accountable, it isn't part of the charter of the Freedom Online Coalition to do that within its own membership.
Certainly we hear often about the need for that. And one thing I would just say is that one thing I have seen happen is people in Civil Society from some of the countries that are involved use the fact that the countries are engaged as a way to, you know, pressure their own Governments domestically and say, look, you have signed up to these principles and now maybe you are passing this legislation or you have promoted this policy or taken this action, explain to me how they are consistent with that. If they were not members of the FOC, you wouldn't necessarily have that leverage or that opportunity to link those specific commitments which are more specific and more applied to the online context than the general UDHR principles so we would like to foster more of that. And we see the Coalition and the Tallinn principles as helping to foster more of those conversations.
We hear from Civil Society activists in countries who are not members of the Coalition that they would like us to convince those countries to join or conduct outreach to those countries for that reason so they can use that leverage in a domestic conversation. That's a lot of food for thought, but I thought I would chime in.
>> MODERATOR: Thanks very much. We are out of time because it's 1:00 and we started a bit late, and it's been wonderful being with you in this aircraft hangar. I do hope you enjoy the rest of the day. Thank the panel in the traditional way for their contributions.