The Council of Europe works with its 47 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.

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The role of internet intermediaries as gatekeepers to freedom of expression – Conference in Vienna

Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers 12 October 2017 Vienna

The role and responsibilities of internet intermediaries, which critically influence the way we receive and impart information in the digital age, will be the focus of a conference on internet freedom, organized by the OSCE and the Council of Europe in Vienna on Friday 13 October. The function of...

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European Dialogue on Internet Governance

EuroDIG 2 June 2017 Strasbourg

Why have “fake news”, hate speech and propaganda become widespread on the Internet? What can users do to face disinformation? How can freedom of expression and privacy be further protected in the online environment? What should be done to secure criminal evidence online to fight cybercrime more...

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Council of Europe at the 2016 Internet Governance Forum

Internet Governance Forum 30 November 2016 Strasbourg

The protection of privacy and personal data continue to face unprecedented threats – linked to mass surveillance and other risks. Cybercrime is increasing as the internet and communication technology develop across borders. International co-operation and the effective implementation of legally...

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Multimedia Multimedia

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.