UNESCO launches new publication Privacy, Free Expression and Transparency at Gig-ARTS Conference

06 April 2017

UNESCO launched its new publication “Privacy, Free Expression and Transparency”“, as the seventh edition of UNESCO Series on Internet Freedom at the GIG-ARTS conference (Global Internet Governance Actors, Regulations, Transactions and Strategies) held at the Paris Institute for Advanced Study, 30 March 2017.

Professor Joe Cannataci, co-author of this new publication, presented the major findings of the study, which examines the crucial challenges of protecting the fundamental rights of privacy, freedom of expression and the related value of transparency online. Professor Cannataci emphasized that “balancing” is actually a misleading approach to address the intersection of these rights, thus this research seeks to re-define the boundaries between these rights, and the various modalities of reconciling and aligning them. The study also analyses the legal frameworks, the current mechanisms for balancing those rights, and specific issues, cases and trends.

As revealed by the research, traditional laws and regulations for the protection of privacy and freedom of expression are not sufficient to deal with digital issues. The research also covers the interplay and interactions between multiple players—e.g. the State agents, Internet users, ICT companies, civil society organizations, the judiciary and the security services. Various policy recommendations are made that address both key issues and various stakeholders groups.

UNESCO representative Ms. Xianhong Hu pointed out that this publication had been commissioned in the context of UNESCO’s new approach of addressing Internet related issues within Internet Universality frameworks. UNESCO aims to explore those complexities of applying as much freedom of expression and privacy online and offline and provide holistic views and recommendations by considering not only the rights protection but also their impact on the broader dimension of preserving Internet’s openness, accessibility and multi-stakeholderism.

Ms. Hu expressed great appreciation to the authors of this publication: Prof. Joseph Cannataci, Dr Bo Zhao, Ms. Gemma Torras Vives, Dr Shara Monteleone, Prof. Jeanne Mifsud Bonnici and Dr Evgeni Moyakine, from the STeP (Security, Technology and e-Privacy) – Research Group in the University of Groningen. UNESCO also thanks the financial support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands for delivering this study.