FOC issues Joint Statement on COVID-19 and Internet Freedom

The Freedom Online Coalition (FOC) has issued a joint statement on COVID-19 and Internet Freedom.

In the statement, FOC reaffirms its commitment to promoting human rights and fundamental freedoms proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and to working together to support Internet freedom for individuals worldwide – including the freedoms of expression, association, peaceful assembly, as well as privacy rights online.

FOC expresses concern about the human rights implications of certain measures introduced by governments in response to the COVID-19 crisis, such as the use of arbitrary or unlawful surveillance practices, network shutdowns and censorship. FOC calls upon governments worldwide to refrain from adopting or implementing laws and policies that may negatively affect the enjoyment of human rights, to promote an enabling environment for free expression and access to information, and take appropriate action to address Internet shutdowns, digital divides and spread of disinformation online.

The development of the statement was led by the governments of the United States, Canada and Finland with input from other FOC member states and the multistakeholder FOC Advisory Network. You can read the statement here.