The Council of Europe works with its 46 member states, the private sector, civil society and other actors to shape an Internet based on human rights, democracy and the rule of law. It aims to ensure that the Internet provides a safe and open environment where freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, diversity, culture, education and knowledge can flourish.

To achieve this goal, the organisation has created international conventions in fields such as cybercrime, personal data protection and the protection of children. It also develops model legislation – via recommendations to its member states – and guidelines for private sector Internet actors.

The key pillar for the protection of human rights online is the European Convention on Human Rights. The European Court of Human Rights, which rules on applications alleging violations of the Convention, has already delivered landmark judgments concerning the online environment, in particular in connection to the right to freedom of expression and to access to information, and the right to privacy.

Council of Europe at the 2022 Internet Governance Forum in Ethiopia

Council of Europe 28 November 2022 Strasbourg

The Council of Europe is taking part in the 17th United Nations Internet Governance Forum (IGF) hosted by the government of Addis-Ababa (Ethiopia) from 28 November to 2 December. Held in a hybrid format under the theme “Resilient Internet for a Shared Sustainable and Common Future”, the IGF will...

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Council of Europe celebrates Safer Internet Day 2022

Council of Europe 8 February 2022 Strasbourg

For the 7th consecutive year, the Council of Europe is supporting the Safer Internet Day Campaign and and is joining forces with numerous stakeholders to work together for a better and safer internet for all, and especially for children and young adults. Safeguarding and promoting the rights of...

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Digital Partnership: Council of Europe discusses cooperation with IT and internet companies and business associations

Council of Europe 4 February 2022 Strasbourg

On 3 and 4 February, the Council of Europe organised an exchange of views with the 26 members of the Digital Partnership, an initiative aimed at fostering cooperation with internet and IT companies, and their business associations, to promote respect for human rights. The event – held in workshop...

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Safety of journalists, bloggers and other media workers


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Human Rights of Internet Users

The Council of Europe has created a guide for Internet users to help them better understand their human rights online and what they can do when these rights are challenged.

Generally, these rights are set out in the terms of service of Internet companies, which are mostly lengthy legal contractual conditions which are seldom read and even more seldom fully understood.