Plenary 3

The Internet is broken – Bringing back trust in the Internet

Referring to proposal no.: 7, 9, 10, 12, 13, 29, 44, 51, 62, 81, 85, 86, 87, 95
Find here the list of submitted proposals

Organising team / focal point:

Key participants:

Moderator: Veronica Crețu, Open Government Institute, Republic of Moldova

Reporter: Lee Hibbard, Council of Europe

Remote participation moderator: Sorina Teleanu, Parliament of Romania

Description / key focus: Personal data of Internet users are collected and online activities are traced in order to deliver a better response, better service, better experience. Recent revelations of mass surveillance have shown that governments undertake Internet surveillance activities against their own citizens as nationals of foreign countries. They justify such surveillance by the need to ensure security and counter criminal and terrorist activities. Such tracking and surveillance actions undermine human rights, especially when it comes to privacy, personal data protection and freedom of expression. As a consequence, Internet users have lost their trust in using the Internet as a free medium of communications and as a tool for exercising their rights. What can and should Europe do in order to restore users’ trust in the Internet? How can policy makers, the business sector, the technical community and the civil society in Europe contribute to bring back trust in the Internet and ensure that privacy is protected and the right to control our own personal data can be effectively exercised? How to ensure a proper balance between the legitimate interests of business and governments, on the one hand, and the rights and interests of Internet users, on the other hand? What are the solutions for rebuilding trust: new or enhanced regulatory approaches meant to ensure the effective protection of human rights in the digital society? new technical mechanisms and applications meant to ensure that each and every one can control their personal data online? more education and awareness raising to empower users and give them the means to better protect their privacy online? And what about jurisdictional issues – how to ensure that the rights granted by European legal frameworks are protected beyond virtual European borders when personal data is flowing frontierless across the optic fibre or vanishing in the clouds ?


Links: …find out more on the WIKI here


  1. Need greater respect for the rule of law and its enforcement so that democratic oversight is effective. This necessitates transparent application of the law, including due process safeguards, to ensure both governments and business are accountable for their actions for example vis-à-vis the activities of national security institutions. Institutions that do not respect (work outside of) the rule of law should be dismantled.
  2. Business should be more transparent and accountable. They should make greater efforts to meet the needs and expectations of both users and governments.
  3. Users should be able to regain control of the privacy of their data. They should be able/empowered to use privacy enhancing technologies. They should insist on their human rights being respected which includes demands (on data controllers) to be more transparent and asking why enforcement is not carried out.
  4. There is a moral responsibility to protect people on the Internet, including those who take great risks to blow the whistle on practices which do not respect human rights. Internet users should be mobilised to discuss and shape debate on the protection of those who take such risks in the public interest.

Read the transcript here!