This week, the Freedom Online Coalition convened government, civil society, and business stakeholders in Tunis for its third annual conference on the open Internet and human rights. CDT’s Matthew Shears and Emily Barabas participated in the event, continuing CDT’s engagement with the Coalition and international civil society partners. Matthew presented in the Internet Governance High Level Training workshop for Middle East and North African policy-makers. He was also a panelist in the session on Development and Innovation: making the case for Net Neutrality.
The Freedom Online Coalition conference was designed to cover a range of themes related to Internet freedom, but concerns about United States surveillance overshadowed the discussions. For many participants, the conference was their first opportunity to interact with US government officials and technology companies since the Prism leak, and participants did not shy away from asking tough questions of representatives from the State Department, Facebook, and Google. The focus was timely and understandable but dominated the debate in the plenary sessions, shortchanging other important issues such as access and censorship.