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

Venice Commission

The Council of Europe and the Internet

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 has committed to ten Internet governance principles and has called on its member states to uphold them when developing Internet related public policies. It has also encouraged other stakeholders to embrace them in the exercise of their own responsabilities.

The Council of Europe 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).

IGF 2013

 8th Internet Governance Forum

Council of Europe to focus on human rights for Internet users at the IGF

Strasbourg, 18.10.2013 – By a simple click, Internet users often accept the terms of reference of Internet providers without being aware of the consequences for the realisation of their human rights, in particular their freedom of expression, freedom of association and the right to privacy.

Next week, at the 8th Internet Governance Forum (IGF) to be held in Indonesia from 22 to 25 October, the Council of Europe will launch a consultation on its draft guide on human rights for Internet users with representatives from governments, business, the technical community and civil society. The document, to be presented at the IGF open forum "Human rights for Internet users" on 25 October and which is scheduled for adoption by Council of Europe Committee of Ministers in 2014, will discuss what Internet users need to know about their rights in order to be able to act upon them (more...)


Council of Europe alerts governments on risks of digital tracking and surveillance


The Council of Europe alerted on 12 June 2013 its 47 member states to the risks of digital tracking and other surveillance technologies for human rights, the rule of law and democracy, and recalled the need to ensure their legitimate use.

In a Declaration issued to governments, the Committee of Ministers say that legislation allowing for overly broad surveillance of citizens can challenge their privacy and have a chilling effect on their freedom of expression and the freedom of the media.

The Committee recall that tracking and surveillance measures by law enforcement authorities should comply with the Council of Europe’s human rights standards set out in the European Convention on Human Rights. Such measures should also strictly respect the limits, requirements and safeguards set out in the Data Protection Convention 108. (more...)

European Dialogue on Internet Governance: How to serve the public interest

The 6th edition of the European Dialogue on Internet Governance (EuroDIG), to be held in Lisbon on 20-21 June 2013, will bring together some 400 representatives from civil society, business, governments, parliaments and international organisations to discuss the most recent European developments concerning the Internet and the public policy challenges ahead (more...)

Council of Europe and Internet