A protester holds a banner reading “Charging is not a crime” during the “Save the Internet” demonstration in Berlin, Germany, in March 2019. Demonstrators are protesting against Articles 11 and 13 of the EU Copyright Directive, in generally referring to the installation of ‘upload filters’ to monitor online content being uploaded to major internet platforms. EFE / EPA / OMER MESSINGER


When U.S. President Joe Biden met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Geneva last month, the White House said “a full range of pressing issues” were on the agenda, including the Kremlin’s involvement in global cyberattacks, and misinformation and misinformation campaigns. During those talks – and at the Democracy Summit – where Biden vowed to meet with allies, it would have been crucial for the US to acknowledge that internet freedom is under siege around the world. Now is the time to challenge cyber sovereignty and seek urgent protection to ensure that people communicate with each other and have access to the information they need to be safe, healthy and informed.

We cannot allow cyber sovereignty – the idea that countries should exercise sovereignty over the internet within their borders – to become a substitute for cyber security. Liberal state actors use sovereignty as protection for local content censorship on global platforms, often to demand tighter control over Internet gateways. Cyber ​​sovereignty also leads to technologies and policies called “information controls”. The potential to suppress free expression and the right to information is perhaps one reason why democratic cybersecurity frameworks tend to circumvent information controls tailored to cyber sovereignty. However, the exchange of information and data in the center is taking place, rather than people.

Restrictions on internet freedom have accelerated globally, posing serious threats to human rights and security. Recent military takeovers in Myanmar led to internet shutdowns that not only cut off access to the outside world for residents, but also prevented the rest of the world from knowing what atrocities were happening inside the country. The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have put the mental, physical and economic health of less connected communities at even greater risk.

International human rights watchdog Freedom House recently reported that we are seeing more governments exerting influence to censor news and communications from beyond their borders. The focus of the report in 2020 underscores that governments are even using the pandemic as an excuse to shut down information they do not want disseminated.

Policymakers have the opportunity to empower the internet freedom movement through investments that reconfirm the democratic principles of global internet governance through cyber security that centralizes people, builds alliances, and strengthens infrastructure.

In the midst of this challenging historical time, policymakers have the opportunity to empower the internet freedom movement through investments that reconfirm the democratic principles of global internet governance through cyber security that focuses people, builds alliances, and strengthens infrastructure.

It is worth noting that many concerns may justify state interventions in information security. Democratic countries (including the United States, Japan, and most of the EU) propose to govern data flows in an effort to combat misinformation and, they say, to protect public safety. But misinformation is also often used as a reason for internet bans. These two examples borrow from cyber sovereignty. The purpose of addressing misinformation is often well-intentioned, but must be done with caution, otherwise we risk opening the door to bad state actors to legitimize harmful online censorship.

The internet freedom community is best placed to navigate this delicate balance between cyber security and cyber sovereignty. But it needs support from democratic countries and corporations if the internet is to deliver on its promise to be a major force for good, while also remaining a safe and democratic space.

Global Internet freedom allies need to focus on three specific areas that require real interest and investment. This agenda will promote strong cyber security practices while also encouraging freedom of thought online.

First, ordinary digital literacy is an important part of everyday civic life. Instead of introducing countless threats online, we need a broader understanding that there is no such thing as a rapid cyber security solution. However, there are tools available that help improve digital security, such as VPNs and password management. Our research found that one in four users across the globe are unfamiliar with VPN technology. Rooted in the idea that the internet transcends national borders, VPNs provide citizens with a path to cyber sovereignty while also helping to protect their cyber security.

We need to encourage alliances, from governments to technology companies, to join civil society in the fight for internet freedom, in order to ensure a sustained international commitment to the free, open and democratic use of the internet.

Apparently, access to these tools is primarily the choice of a consumer or a company; but given their importance, we urge policymakers to consider their responsibility to educate institutions and the public about the benefits of means of avoidance so that censors can not use them as a means of protecting tire.

Second, it is essential to protect and fund community-building groups such as the Open Technology Fund (OTF) and its beneficiaries, which allow billions of people across the globe to browse the Internet safely without censorship and surveillance. Importers It is important that the internet freedom community never again faces funding shortages, such as those experienced in 2020, the effects of which are detrimental to the advancement of human rights technologies.

Finally, we need to encourage alliances, from governments to technology companies, to join civil society in the fight for internet freedom, in order to ensure a sustained international commitment to free, open and democratic internet. A diversified funding model involving technology companies, human rights groups and government will promote cyber security by holding key actors accountable, which empowers internet freedom communities to continue their important work.

We have a responsibility to defend the free and open ideals on which the Internet was built while addressing modern challenges. Importers It is important to remember that cyber sovereignty frames issues as belonging only to the state, and cyber security requires everyone to cooperate. Given cooperation, we can strengthen the movement for internet freedom if we set our minds on it.