Protection of freedom online is critical, says O’Dowd

Minister of State for Communications attends annual meeting of Freedom Online Coalition in Estonia

Fergus O Dowd: online freedom needed for future economic and social development File photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times.

Fergus O Dowd: online freedom needed for future economic and social development File photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times.

 

Protection of freedom online is critical for future economic and social development, Minister of State for Communications Fergus O’Dowd said.

Mr O’Dowd was speaking at the 4th annual conference of the Freedom Online Coalition in Estonia yesterday.

Addressing a ministerial meeting in Tallinn, Mr O’Dowd called for the preservation of a “free, open and unitary internet”.

Freedom online, he said, was critical for future economic and social development, and he said the Government “continuously reflects on the best possible governance arrangements to protect freedom of expression online”.

The coalition is a group of governments who have committed to work together to support internet freedom and protect fundamental human rights – free expression, association, assembly, and privacy online.

It was established in 2011 at the inaugural Freedom Online Conference in The Hague and now claims 23 members worldwide, in Asia, Africa, Europe, the Americas, and the Middle East.

Coalition members have been negotiating a series of recommendations, addressing such issues as the “promotion of human rights and fundamental freedoms online; the future of multistakeholder model of free and secure internet governance; and support for activists, who are being persecuted because of their views published online”.

Developing preventive measures to interfere with blocking, filtering and hacking of content found online are also among the topics of the recommendations the conference is expected to adopt.