Friday, March 20, 2015
With the publication of the Our Space video series, Free Press Unlimited seeks to stimulate a public discussion on cyberspace issues ahead of the Global Conference on Cyberspace on 16-17 April in the Hague. Governments engage with industry on cybercrime, digital surveillance, terrorism and national security, which have a negative impact on communications and society. We need meaningful civil society involvement in these issues that concern our privacy and freedom of expression.

In the Our Space video series, produced by the Internet Protection Lab,we hear the concerns of civil society workers about access and affordability, cybercrime, digital weapons, mass surveillance, privacy and internet standards. These videos reveal a broad consensus that governments have overreached themselves in the online, economic and national security domains. Governments too often use civil society engagement as a fig leaf to increase their digital reach.

Critics argue that international companies enable repressive regimes to target human rights activists and that trust in democracies is further eroded by the mass surveillance practices of the United States and its allies. The collection and retention of communications data and metadata often shows little regard for privacy and can have a chilling effect on freedom of expression. There are growing concerns about a lack of net neutrality around the world. Information monopolies erode our ability to gather information from a variety of sources so that citizens are unable to make informed decisions about their future.

To address these issues, governments and the private sector need to engage everyone involved in an open and inclusive multistakeholder process. These issues should concern us all. Learn more about them in the Our Space video series* and join the debate ahead of the Global Conference on Cyberspace.

Civil society coalition

Free Press Unlimited is part of a civil society coalition aimed at raising awareness about internet governance and bringing together civil society groups at a pre-conference ahead of the Global Conference on Cyberspace.The main conference takes place in the Hague on 16 and 17 April, 2015, and is organised by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

* The Our Space video series is developed and produced by a team of independent journalists under the responsibility of Free Press Unlimited. The series is made possible with a financial contribution by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and does not necessarily reflect the views of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.