The Council of Europe today signed an agreement with Kaspersky Lab and a number of the world’s leading technology companies to jointly pledge to promote an open and safe Internet.
During a ceremony in Strasbourg, France on the first day of the World Forum for Democracy, Anton Shingarev, vice president of public affairs at Kaspersky Lab, and Council of Europe secretary general Thorbjørn Jagland signed the agreement, which is designed to extend the protection of human rights, democracy and the rule of law to the Internet.
Approximately 50 percent of the world’s population is connected to the Internet, and this number keeps growing every year. While the online world is a forum where human rights should be protected, in reality, it is unfortunately where they are often abused.
Along with Kaspersky Lab, representatives from seven other leading technology firms signed the agreement, which took the form of an exchange of letters. These firms included Apple, Deutsche Telekom, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Orange and Telefónica. Six of the world’s major technology associations also pledged their allegiance, including the Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA), DIGITALEUROPE, the European Digital SME Alliance, the European Telecommunications Network Operators’ Association (ETNO), GSMA and the multi-stakeholder Global Network Initiative (GNI).
The partnership agreement is among the priorities set in the Council of Europe’s Internet Governance Strategy for 2016-2019, which aims to protect Internet users by building democracy online and ensuring the protection of human rights on the Internet. In order to achieve these goals, the group – which is also open to working with other partners in the future – has agreed to cooperate around several key areas. These include, among others:
- The protection of children against sexual exploitation and abuse
- Freedom of expression online
- The right to privacy and the protection of personal data
- Education for democratic citizenship
- Gender equality online
- Countering cybercrime and terrorism
- Culture and digitization
Anton Shingarev said:
"The Internet is a unique domain – a place all of us check-in to every day. We read the news and social media, plan our holidays, shop and bank online – and we leave a huge digital footprint behind us every single day too. However, this unique space is under serious threat: cybercriminals are trying to exploit and abuse it, terrorists use it to enroll recruits and governments are busy trying to regulate it. We’re happy to partner with the Council of Europe and this wider group of influential organizations, in a joint mission to make the Internet safe and secure – so all of us can continue to enjoy our digital lives to the fullest"