(No.59) Internet Privacy and Freedom of Expression: UNESCO launches a global survey on legal frameworks

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Workshop Theme: 
Security, Openness and Privacy
Concise Description of Workshop: 

The workshop is a follow-up of earlier well-attended discussions on privacy protection and freedom of expression in relation to social networks at IGFs conducted by UNESCO since 2008. UNESCO will use the event as an opportunity to present the findings of a global research study aimed at mapping the issues in the current regulatory landscape with regard to Internet privacy, and to provide an overview of legal protection, self-regulatory guidelines, challenges, and case studies relating to the topic. This research was inspired by previous IGF debates on the issue and aims to inform and benefit all IGF stakeholders by giving a global picture of current trends related to privacy and freedom of expression. By providing up-to-date and accurate information on emerging issues which require immediate attention in developed and developing countries, the research will provide policymakers in specific countries with an accessible source that they can use to build upon, relating to the issues and regulations that already exist in other nations. It will also allow comparison of a number of regulatory approaches around the world. The research paper also gives information about reference materials that policymakers can use to further investigate each of the subjects that are highlighted. Given the increasing debate on privacy issues at global level, this Research Launch Workshop seeks to attract global policy makers, industry leaders, civil society, legal experts and other stakeholders, bringing them together to engage in dialogue and exchange views on feasible approaches and policy recommendations that are conducive to privacy protection without compromising freedom of expression. UNESCO, as enshrined within its Constitution, promotes the “free flow of ideas by word and image”, and has accordingly committed itself to enabling a free, open and accessible Internet space as part of promoting comprehensive freedom of expression both online and offline. On this basis, UNESCO has fully engaged in providing normative and technical assistance through research in this area to Member States and other stakeholders on mainstreaming the principle of FOE in Internet policy making, including in privacy protection. UNESCO will continue to provide a platform for exchange of good practices and international collaboration on privacy protection through a multi-stakeholder approach within the global Internet governance process.