Defending human rights in online environment – Finland organises a virtual Freedom Online Conference
Finland holds the Chairship of the Freedom Online Coalition (FOC) in 2021. In this capacity, Finland will organise a virtual Freedom Online Conference from 30 November to 3 December 2021, which celebrates FOC’s 10th anniversary. The Conference will culminate with a virtual FOC Ministerial Meeting, hosted by Minister for Foreign Affairs Pekka Haavisto.
In addition to the 34 FOC member governments, the Conference will bring together experts in human rights, internet and digitalisation issues from civil society organisations, companies and research institutes. The aim is to share best practices and discuss how to promote a free, accessible and safe internet open to all in the 2020s.
Openness, accessibility, inclusion
Since FOC’s establishment in 2011, the number of internet users has grown exponentially. Digital technologies offer more and more opportunities, for example, for information exchange and interaction between people. Access to the internet has become necessary because it is a precondition for the availability of services and for economic and social participation. At the same time, a large share of the world’s population do not have access to the internet and digital technologies. Every year, network functions are dismantled for political reasons, and new technologies are exploited for political oppression and in the interest of economic gain. FOC’s mission to defend and promote human rights in the online environments is more topical in the 2020s than ever before.
The theme of the 10th anniversary conference is “Openness, accessibility and inclusion – Human Rights Online in the 2020s”. The programme will include panel discussions focusing on such topics as access to the internet and digital inclusion, the development of artificial intelligence, cybersecurity and challenges posed by authoritarian regimes.
Janette Sorsimo-Kimmo, Unit for Human Rights Policy, Ministry for Foreign Affairs,