The Council of Europe and the Internet : Freedom and safety online

Venice Commission

Freedom and safety online


The Council of Europe works with its 47 member states, the private sector, civil society and other actors to shape an Internet based on human rights, pluralist democracy and the rule of law.

Its ultimate aim is to ensure that the Internet provides a safe and open environment where freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, diversity, culture, education and knowledge can flourish.

The Council of Europe does this through its conventions in fields such as cybercrime, data protection and the protection of children, via the development of recommendations to its member states and of guidelines for private sector Internet actors.

The Organisation also promotes and supports the global Internet Governance Forum (IGF) the European Dialogue on Internet Governance (EuroDIG), and is an observer to the Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).

Council of Europe promotes debate on human rights of Internet users at 2014 IGF

The organisation will also present a report analysing the human rights dimension of ICANN´s role and making proposals to address it.

Strasbourg, 31.07.2014 – The Council of Europe aims to trigger a debate on how to empower Internet users´ to exercise their human rights online at the 9th Internet Governance Forum (IGF) taking place in Istanbul from 2 to 5 September.

In an open forum to be held on 3 September, the Council of Europe will address this issue and explore how to apply a Guide to human rights for Internet users which was adopted by the 47 member states of the organisation on 16 April. The forum aims to identify ways to promote the use of the guide by users, governments, Internet operators and civil society organisations.

The Council of Europe is also organising a side meeting to present and discuss a report on ICANN´s procedures and policies in the light of human rights, fundamental freedoms and democratic values. The report concludes that ICANN´s current rules for new gTLDs do not fully comply with freedom of expression and privacy standards and contains recommendations on how to address this. (more...

Council of Europe launches a human rights guide for internet users

Strasbourg, 17.04.2014 – The Council of Europe today launched a guide for internet users to help them better understand their human rights online and what they can do when these rights are challenged.

The creation of the Guide was triggered by the need to empower users to exercise their human rights online. Generally, their rights are set out in the terms of service of Internet companies, which are mostly lengthy legal contractual conditions which are seldom read and even more seldom fully understood.

The Guide focuses on the human rights on which the internet has most impact: access and non-discrimination, freedom of expression and information, freedom of assembly, association and participation, privacy and data protection, education and literacy, protection of children and young people, and the right to effective remedies for violations of human rights.  (more...)

Guide to Human Rights for Internet Users

EuroDIG Internet conference to assess privacy versus freedom of expression

Strasbourg, 06.06.2014 - Over 600 participants will attend an internet conference to assess the balance between privacy rights and free expression at the European Dialogue on Internet Governance (EuroDIG) in Berlin from 12-13 June.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier will open the conference, which will take place at the German Foreign Office and hosted by the Association of the German Internet Industry (ECO).

The Council of Europe will be an integral part of the conference, having recently published a human rights guide for Internet use that covers freedom of expression and information, freedom of assembly and privacy and data protection. A German translation will be made available in Berlin. (more...)

Council of Europe and Internet