Global Conference on Cyberspace
The Council of Europe has 47 member states, from across Europe.
We are the guardians of the European Convention on Human Rights.
Some people think if you are for a free, open internet…
…you must be against any rules or regulations.
But it is because we want to protect the internet as force for good…
…that we must ensure it operates in line with our values.
And, brick by brick, we are already building what will eventually be an agreed global system.
So let’s be strategic about it.
For us that means following the same three principles which guide our work in our member States.
First, the rule of law.
Our Budapest Convention on cybercrime harmonises national laws and enhances cooperation.
It has been very successful - drawn on by some 125 states.
But the threats are evolving all the time.
The recent ISIS ‘cyber caliphate’ on a French TV station was not a one off.
Online organised crime is a big problem too.
Our laws must keep up technology.
One specific challenge is ensuring law enforcement has lawful access to evidence found in “the cloud”.
So we are looking at that.
Second and third: democracy and human rights – the two are linked.
National security services must have access to the data they need to keep people safe.
Safety is also a fundamental human right.
But we have to be proportionate.
Bulk interception and collection of data has clear implications for privacy.
I urge all states to be guided by the European Court of Human Rights.
Actions by state authorities must always be prescribed by law…
…subject to democratic accountability and oversight…
…with recourse to effective remedies for those affected.
I also urge governments to look at our Data Protection Convention.
It would be virtually impossible to negotiate a binding, international treaty on data protection at the UN level.
But ours is already available to all countries.
I hope the businesses here will also use it…
…they rely on public trust in the internet too.
On freedom of expression:
Increasingly we are seeing governments imposing or considering heavy restrictions on accessing content online…
…including blanket bans…
…in the name of national security.
I have real concerns about the way this is going.
I have raised it with member States…
…and we are also doing work – right now – to identify, across Europe…
…where and how we need to intervene.
The rule of law, democracy, human rights.
Vital in the real world and equally vital online.
22 December 2017
Letter to the President of Romania, Klaus Iohannis