An Internet free and secure: a human rights approach to cybersecurity policy

Why do we need a human rights based approach to cybersecurity policy-making? In the public debate about how to provide security in the digital context, the dominant narrative has become increasingly entrenched pitting privacy and other human rights against public safety and national security. In practice, though, threats to privacy and other human rights can also harm public safety and security. This binary framing is therefore damaging to both sides of the equation, and creates antagonisms where mutual reinforcement is possible. Framing privacy and other human rights as antithetical to public safety and national security is not only misleading, but undermines public safety and security, as well as freedom. Raising the profile of human rights protections in existing cybersecurity policy-making is necessary to offset this trend.

To this end, the Freedom Online Coalition Working Group ‘An Internet Free and Secure’ developed a set of cybersecurity and human rights focused policy recommendations that can be applied in a variety of situations. These recommendations build upon and advance existing cybersecurity policy-making efforts while prioritising human rights. They offer guidance to all stakeholders involved in cybersecurity matters, and in particular those involved in developing and implementing cybersecurity policies and frameworks.

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