By Laura Alvarad
Costa Rica hosted the sixth Freedom Online Conference on the future of the Coalition which gathered 30 governments working to advance Internet freedom and security, the respect of privacy and data transparency.
The Conference was held October 17th and 18th, Costa Rica is the current Freedom Online Conference Chair.
“Internet is a very powerful knowledge tool, and it must have all the conditions for a comprehensive development; but is also a tool that we must use in our battle against inequity, and fundamental in fighting poverty. Our administration implements the National Strategy of Universal Solidary Access and Service crdigit@l, which works with $300 million USD to democratize the access to information and communication technologies, and reduce la digital gap with special emphasis in vulnerable populations. This strategy involves five programs: Connected Communities, Connected Homes, Equipped Public Centers, Connected Public Spaces, and Solidary Broadband Network. Internet is the result of knowledge, innovation and technology which should be working towards consolidating free and democratic societies”, said Costa Rica’s president Luis Guillermo Solis in his inaugural speech.The Coalition members work closely together to maximize Internet freedom, to coordinate diplomatic efforts and engage with civil society and the private sector to support free expression, association, assembly and privacy online –worldwide.
The Minister of Science, Technology and Telecommunications, Marcelo Jenkins, stated that Costa Rica is a country that defends the free access to Internet. “We defend the free access to Internet and it is important to safeguard its full and good use; so that its accessible to all people and that beyond its use for entertainment purposes, people can take in the information and use it to improve their quality of life, in the business end of things as well as academic, cultural and social. It is important to prepare ourselves to modify paradigms and incorporate the technology and the access to those changes”, indicated Jenkins.
Some of the attending panelists included: Frank La Rue, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression at the UN office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights; Edison Lanza, Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression, Camille Francois, Affiliate member at the Harvard Law School Berkman Center for Internet & Society; Eileen Donahoe, Global Affairs Director with Human Rights Watch; among others. Assistant Secretary Malinowski lead the U.S. delegation, and was joined by Coordinator for Cyber Issues Christopher Painter.
Costa Rica is the Pro-Tempore Chair of the Freedom Online Conference since 2015 and has promoted the participation of the member countries and other interested parties, such as the private sector and non-government organizations. It has also encouraged the expansion of the membership to include countries of the Latin American and Caribbean region.Source: http://news.co.cr/costa-rica-hosted-6th-annual-freedom-online-conference/52156/