Information Documents


17 September 2008


Internet - a critical resource for all

Document presented by the Secretary General of the Council of Europe to the Internet Governance Forum, Hyderabad, India, 3 - 6 December 2008


Executive Summary

An “Internet for all” is a legitimate aspiration linked to the prospects of development and democratic citizenship which must go hand in hand with a maximum of rights and services subject to a minimum of restrictions and a level of security which users are entitled to expect. Freedom of expression and information regardless of frontiers is an overarching requirement.

This involves access to the Internet service in its own right (including for people with disabilities, communities, people in a vulnerable situation or who are otherwise disadvantaged, and social groups including minority groups and the elderly) and also access to a range of services which make the lives of people, communities and groups more fulfilling. Only by ensuring access for all will the Internet realise its full public (service) value as an essential tool for everyday activities and its contribution to democracy.

Concrete examples of Council of Europe texts worked out in partnership with relevant stakeholders show how security, privacy and openness on the Internet are mutually reinforcing. They also exemplify our evolving response to the challenge of cybercrime, which has been broadly taken up across all continents. The Council’s work in respect of child and health protection is ongoing.

The Council of Europe provides state and non-state actors with co-operation platforms, legal standards and public policy and practical tools which fit well the current transition towards a more definite rights and people-centred Internet governance approach. The legal and political frameworks being developed must take into account the needs (in access, security, privacy and openness terms) of both current (1.4 billion) and all future (including the next billion) Internet users.


Reaching the next billion through greater accessibility and democracy

Fostering security, privacy and openness


- empower stakeholders to protect network and information security;

- combat piracy in the field of copyright and neighbouring rights;

Human rights guidelines for Internet service providers

Human rights guidelines for online games providers

Protecting children’s dignity, security and privacy on the Internet

Meeting the challenge of cybercrime

Countering the terrorist use of the Internet12

Consumer protection from counterfeit medicines and medical devices

An Internet for all made effective by better co-operation between stakeholders

1 Council of Europe Rec(2004)11 of the Committee of Ministers on legal, operational and technical standards for e-voting:

2 Council of Europe Recommendation No. R (99) 14 of the Committee of Ministers on universal community service concerning new communication and information services:

3 Council of Europe Resolution ResAP(2007)3 of the Committee of Ministers on “Achieving full participation through Universal Design”:

4 Council of Europe Resolution ResAP(2001)3 “Towards full citizenship of persons with disabilities through inclusive new technologies”:

5 Council of Europe Forum for the Future of Democracy & Project “Good Governance in the Information Society”:

6 Council of Europe Recommendation CM/Rec(2007)16 of the Committee of Ministers on measures to promote the public service value of the Internet:

7 Council of Europe Recommendation CM/Rec(2008)6 of the Committee of Ministers on measures to promote the respect for freedom of expression and information with regard to Internet filters:

8 Council of Europe Declaration of the Committee of Ministers on protecting the dignity, security and privacy of children on the Internet:

9 for the Convention on Cybercrime (CETS 185) and Council of Europe theme file on Cybercrime: a threat to democracy, human rights and the rule of law:

10 Council of Europe website on 24/7 points of contact:

11 Council of Europe guidelines for the cooperation between law enforcement authorities and ISPs (April 2008):

12 Council of Europe theme file on Terrorism: the worst enemy of democracy:

13 Council of Europe Convention on the Prevention of Terrorism
CETS No.: 196:

14 Council of Europe Resolution ResAP(2007)2 of the Committee of Ministers on good practices for distributing medicines via mail order which protect patient safety and the quality of the delivered medicine:

15 EuroDIG will take place in Strasbourg on 20 and 21 October 2008 :