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UNESCO held workshop on Privacy and Social Networking at 5th IGF meeting

20-09-2010 (Vilnius)
“The increasing popularity of the Internet social networking applications raises new challenges to privacy protection and freedom of expression,” stated the participants of the UNESCO workshop on Privacy and Social Networking held during the Fifth Internet Governance Forum (IGF) meeting in Vilnius, Lithuania, on 15 September 2010.
The workshop, chaired by Janis Karklins, UNESCO’s Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information, gathered six panelists: representatives of governmental and legal institutions, as well as of the Internet industry and civil society. Attended by more than 50 participants, it was also followed by remotely from Africa and Asia through live webcast.

Panelists pointed out that social networking has set up new relationships in the exchange of personal data between users. Richard Allan, from Facebook, said: “Internet is not tidy. It is complex. Everyone is both a data subject and a data controller. Commercial and personal interests are blinded.” The challenges are critical: for governments to enforce the law, and when there is no law, to have the principles translated into legislation; for Internet companies to protect privacy and develop policies and standards in an online environment; for users, and especially for young people, to know how to protect their privacy and free speech.

The discussion focused on how to find applicable standards and legislation, and share good practice on privacy protection. The democratic governance of Internet should aim at protecting users’ right to inform, to leave and to control their personal data. How do we provide a reasonable privacy and security in a computing continuum? How do we promote in this same global environment freedom of expression? Many participants called for more education initiatives, such as the use of potential online tools to prevent unexpected results.

UNESCO views freedom of expression and privacy interdependent as fundamental human rights. The challenge of applying these rights exists in the discrepancy of the legal frameworks between online territory and the real one, given social networking’s transnational diffusion. In consequence, UNESCO will continue to promote international collaboration between governments, private sector and civil society in order to provide a platform to foster dialogue and share expertise among the different actors.

List of Panelists of the UNESCO Workshop:

  • Richard Allan from Facebook,
  • Van Nistelrooij, European Parliament
  • Ceren Unal, Bilkent University Faculty of Law, Turkey
  • Rafael García, Head of the International Department of the Spanish Data Protection Agency
  • Ivo Corrêa, Senior Policy Counsel, Google Brazil
  • Kurt Opsahl, Senior Staff Attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation
  • Related themes/countries

          · Lithuania
          · Ethical Issues of Information Society
          · Weekly newsletter
          · Internet Governance
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