The Council of Europe will strengthen its co-operation with the private sector in order to promote an open and safe internet, where human rights, democracy, and the rule of law are respected.
Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland signed the agreement – in the form of an exchange of letters – with representatives of eight leading technology firms and six associations during a ceremony in Strasbourg on the first day of the World Forum for Democracy. The companies are Apple, Deutsche Telekom, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Kaspersky Lab, Orange and Telefónica.
The companies are 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). Additional agreements could be signed with other partners in the future.
Areas of co-operation to be explored include the protection of children against sexual exploitation and abuse, freedom of expression and internet intermediaries, the right to privacy and the protection of personal data, education for democratic citizenship, gender equality, countering cybercrime and terrorism, culture and digitisation, among others.
The partnership agreement is among the priorities set in the Council of Europe’s Internet Governance Strategy for the period 2016-2019, which aims to involve all internet actors, including civil society, the private sector, the academic community and the media.