Internet governance

w Overview
w Security
w Openness
w Health
w Access
w Human Rights - Democracy
w Diversity
w Critical internet


Rights of Internet users


Internet Governance Strategy


Unlimited connections - A brochure for young people

Human rights guidelines for Internet service providers

Human rights guidelines for online games providers

Calendar of events and meetings

"Our Internet -
Our Rights,
Our Freedoms"


w EuroDIG

w United Nations/Internet Governance Forum


The news


Council of Europe triggers debate on ICANN & Human Rights

The Council of Europe facilitated the preparation of a report by Dr Monika Zalnieriute and Thomas Schneider on ‘ICANN’s procedures and policies in the light of human rights, fundamental freedoms and democratic values’. The opinions expressed in the report are the opinions of the experts and do not engage the responsibility of the Council of Europe. The report was presented during the ICANN50 meeting in London that took place from 22 to 26 June 2014. It aims at catalysing community discussion on human rights and internet governance. It is expected that the debate continues at ICANN51. During the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Istanbul from 2-5 September 2014, a side meeting will be held on the report, to present the report to the public at large and have an open and inclusive dialogue and exchange of ideas. We welcome comments on the report to enrich the debate. For more information, see:

(27/01/2014) Conference on "Shaping the digital environment - ensuring our rights on the Internet"


Austria will organise within the framework of the Austrian chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe a Conference entitled “Shaping the Digital Environment – Ensuring our Rights on the Internet”.

The Conference will take place on 13 and 14 March 2014 in Graz (Austria) and will be held in the Aula of the Old University. It will look at the current challenges and responses to make the internet and inclusive and people-centred space in the follow-up of the Council of Europe Internet Governance Strategy 2012-2015, adopted in 2012. It will also discuss challenges and best practices in the light of recent developments in the field of Internet governance and address inter alia:

  1. privacy and self-determination on the internet

  2. public interest content on the Internet

  3. business and human rights – industry responses to user rights

More information is available on the conference website.

(07/11/2013) Ministerial conference in Belgrade discussed freedom of expression and Internet freedom in Europe

Ministers responsible for Media and Information Society from the 47 Council of Europe member states met in Belgrade on 7 and 8 November to discuss how to improve the protection of freedom of expression in Europe.
Participants discussed the opportunities and challenges to freedom of expression and other human rights in respect of the Internet, the persistent problem of violence against journalists. They also considered the rights and responsibilities of journalists, bloggers, whistle-blowers and human rights activists, and action to promote pluralism, diversity and quality in the changing media landscape. On the second day, the conference focused on how to deal with the growing phenomenon of hate speech online at national and international level.

All information on the conference here

Texts adopted here

(22/10/2013) Multi-stakeholder consultations on a Guide on Human Rights for

Internet Users

The Council of Europe is working on a Guide on Human Rights for Internet Users, which aims at raising Internet users’ awareness about human rights and fundamental freedoms online, providing a tool for people to use and rely upon when facing difficulties in the exercise of their rights and freedoms, focusing government efforts to respect, protect and promote human rights online and encouraging the private sector to act responsibly and with respect for people they contract with.

As part of its multi-stakeholder outreach and dialogue, the Council of Europe would like your feedback, comments and suggestions on the draft Guide to be sent to us, at the latest by 15 November 2013,  by E-mail to or

PDF version available here

MsWord version available here

(18/07/2013) Conference announcement
The Council of Europe is organising a multi-stakeholder conference at its headquarters in Strasbourg, France on Transparency to protect Internet freedom: a shared commitment from 24-25 September 2013.

Details and pre-registration form are available on the Conference website.

(20/06/2013) European Dialogue on Internet Governance, Lisbon
The 6th edition of the European Dialogue on Internet Governance (EuroDIG), addresses the most recent public policy developments and challenges concerning the Internet, including the current controversy on online surveillance of individuals’ communications by governments.

In his opening speech, Jan Kleijssen, Council of Europe Director of Information Society and Action against Crime, stressed that the democratic health of a country is measured by its protection of Internet freedom. He also pointed out the need to make compatible freedom and security, and to improve the knowledge users have of their rights. He recalled that the Council of Europe has just adopted a declaration on the risks of digital tracking and other surveillance technologies for human rights, the rule of law and democracy, and the need to ensure their legitimate use.
(11/06/2013) Committee of Ministers adopts Declaration on Risks to Fundamental Rights
stemming from Digital Tracking and other Surveillance Technologies
This declaration recalls in particular that tracking and surveillance measures by law enforcement authorities must comply with the European Convention on Human Rights and strictly respect the limits, requirements and safeguards set out in the Data Protection Convention 108 of the Council of Europe.
(10/05/2013) Council of Europe multi-stakeholder conference on “Network Neutrality and Human Rights”, 29 - 30 May 2013

Multi-stakeholder dialogue on ‘Network Neutrality’ and Human Rights

As a follow-up to the Declaration of the Committee of Ministers on network neutrality, and in the implementation of the Internet Governance Strategy 2012-2015, the Council of Europe is organising a multi-stakeholder dialogue on Network Neutrality and Human Rights.

 The dialogue will be held in Strasbourg, at the Agora building, Room G 06, on Wednesday 29 May (13:30-18:00) and Thursday 30 May 2013 (9:00-12:45). The working languages will be English and French.

Link to the Conference page
(31/10/2012) Council of Europe at 2012 Internet Governance Forum: How to ensure safety of online media?
Strasbourg, 30.10.2012 – The development of online media and new forms of expression online has created news challenges to the protection of freedom of expression. What can be done to ensure the safety of online media professionals and actors? The Council of Europe is organising - in cooperation with EBU, OSCE and UNESCO - an open forum on this pressing issue at the 7th Internet Governance Forum (IGF), which the UN is organising in Baku (Azerbaijan) from 6 to 9 November.

Nils Muižnieks, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Jean Paul Philippot, President of EBU, and Neelie Kroes, EC Vice-president, will participate in the debate together with speakers such as journalist Eynulla Fatullayev and Jim Boumelha, President of the International Federation of Journalists.

The Council of Europe is also organising at the IGF events on the following topics aiming to engage in the discussions representatives of civil society, governments, the private sector and other relevant Internet actors.

More information


(29/10/2012) Comments Relating to Freedom of Expression and Freedom of Association with Regard to New Generic Top Level Domains

The Council of Europe participated as an observer in the meeting of the Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers which took place from 14-18 October 2012 in Toronto. The Council of Europe submitted Comments Relating to Freedom of Expression and Freedom of Association with Regard to New Generic Top Level Domains to the GAC.


(03/07/2012) Edgeryders

Edgeryders is a community-centered think tank providing knowledge to European institutions on how to implement successful and actionable policies. At the “Living on the Edge” Conference 14-15 June 2012, over 150 participants shared ideas on how to engage citizens with the European institutions.

For link to event : click here

[10/04/2012] Council of Europe adopts recommendations to protect human rights on search engines and social platforms

The Council of Europe has adopted two Recommendations in which it calls on its members states to safeguard human rights, notably freedom of expression, access to information, freedom of association and the right to private life, with regard to search engines and social networking services. In the Recommendation on search engines, the Committee of Ministers invites states to engage with search engine providers to increase transparency in the way access to information is provided, in particular the criteria used to select, rank or remove search results. The Committee of Ministers calls for more transparency and respect for users’ rights in the processing of personal data – for example of cookies, IP addresses and individual search histories. In the Recommendation on social networking services, the Committee of Ministers’ calls on states to work with operators to raise users´ awareness of their rights and the challenges to them, by using clear and understandable language. It also recommends helping users understand the default settings of their profiles - which should be privacy-friendly - and make informed choices about their online identity. The Recommendation contains a number of actions to protect children and young people against harmful content and behaviour, such as the setting up of easily accessible mechanisms for reporting inappropriate or apparently illegal content or behaviour.

[21/03/2012] Workshop on Internet governance and E-diplomacy

You are cordially invited to participate in the Workshop on Internet governance and E-diplomacy, to be held in the Agora building (Room G05) on Monday 26 March, from 2.15 p.m. to 5.15 p.m. This event is organised by the Council of Europe Secretariat in co-operation with the DiploFoundation and is open to permanent representations to the Council of Europe and staff members. The Workshop will address Internet governance as a topic of increasing importance: openness of the Internet as a common global resource, rights and freedoms for Internet users, personal data and privacy of citizens, criminal justice capacities and co-operation in the fight against cybercrime, and children’s safety and empowerment in online environments. The second part of the workshop will discuss the role of e-tools (blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Wiki, etc.) in diplomatic activities and policy processes.   To confirm participation, please contact Marise Boylan (tel: 03 390 21 4671; e-mail:

Related links: Workshop programme

Data Protection - Modernisation of Convention 108

The Council of Europe continues the important work on the modernisation of its main instrument on data protection, Convention 108. This process, which mostly aims at dealing with challenges to privacy resulting from the use of new ICTs. Further information about the modernisation process and the Bureau meeting, and the relevant documents are available at:   

Octopus conference 2012

The 2012 Octopus conference was held in Strasbourg from 6 to 8 June. It comprised a series of plenary and workshop sessions with a specific focus on public/private information exchange and on transborder access to data. The Octopus conference was preceded by the plenary of the Cybercrime Convention Committee (4-5 June). Link to the Conference website: click here  To see key messages from the Conference: click here

MONEYVAL adopts typology study on criminal money flows on the Internet

At its 38th Plenary meeting (Strasbourg, 5-9 March 2012) MONEYVAL adopted the "Typology study on criminal money flows on the Internet". The study analyses methods and trends of crime proceeds and money laundering on the Internet, and proposes a range of countermeasures with a particular focus on multi-stakeholder co-operation. The study was jointly prepared by MONEYVAL and the Global Project on Cybercrime. Link to the study: Click here

[15/03/2012] Council of Europe puts users' rights at heart of Internet
The 47 Council of Europe member states have adopted an Internet governance strategy to protect and promote human rights, the rule of law and democracy online.The strategy, which is one of the priorities of the Council of Europe United Kingdom’s Chairmanship, contains more than 40 lines of action structured around six areas (Internet’s openness, the rights of users, data protection, cybercrime, democracy and culture, and children and young people). It will be implemented over a period of four years, from 2012 to 2015, in close co-operation with partners from all sectors of society, including the private sector and civil society.

[21 February 2012] Internet Governance Principles

The Declaration of the Committee of Ministers on Internet Governance Principles is now available in English, French, German, Russian, Ukrainian, Spanish, Arabic and Chinese.

[8 December 2011] Council of Europe alerts against pressure and attacks on new media, whistleblowers and human rights defenders websites

The Council of Europe Committee of Ministers alerted its member states about the risks to the rights to freedom of expression and association that may be created by politically motivated pressure on Internet platforms and online service providers. It also expressed concern about the threat to these rights caused by cyber attacks against websites of independent media, whistleblowers, human right defenders and dissidents.
In a Declaration the Committee of Ministers stressed the need to affirm the roles of these actors as facilitators of the exercise of the rights to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly and association. It also stated that human rights standards should be applied in situations were there is interference with Internet content and with access to websites hosting it, as well as with online community interactions.




(31/10/2012) Council of Europe at 2012 Internet Governance Forum: How to ensure safety of online media?