I was delighted to be invited back to Ukraine to present for a second year in a row as a Council of Europe expert at the Internet Governance Forum on 14 October 2016 (programme only in Ukrainian - my name appears as Моніка Хортен ).
The title of my presentation was Human rights and security on-line: European standards and practices for ensuring a balance. My speech discussed the balance between security and the rights and freedoms of individuals. This is a dilemma that goes way back into history. It is in the nature of security, that those who have the power to protect, also have the ability to threaten. This is why, in democratic societies, we also insist on safeguards against abuses of power.
The Internet presents a new dimension of this historical dilemma. In the online world, it has become a very delicate balance. The Internet Service Providers or ISPs are the guardians both of our freedoms and of our security. ISPs are both the protectors of private correspondence and the tool for surveillance. They are both a neutral conveyor of messages, and the tool for interception. They are both protectors of individual rights and the operatives on behalf of the State. The political question that confronts us in 2016 is how should we position that balance?
This debate about security and rights is also a debate therefore about how the ISPs should act in circumstances where the State believes that security is threatened. In the European Union, a balance has been reached on some of these points. I gave the example of the Regulation laying down measures concerning open internet access. This is the so-called EU net neutrality law. I explained the 7 Principles of EU Net Neutrality Law, as in the BEREC Guidelines, and discussed safeguards for free speech rights. I also discussed surveillance and Council of Europe standards, concluding with the Indicators of Internet Freedom and the Council of Europe Recommendation CM/Rec(2016)5 of the Committee of Ministers to member States on Internet freedom.