April 23-24, senior tech leaders, innovators, policymakers and scholars from around the world gathered in Silicon Valley to discuss how technology is changing the ways democracies function.

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The Association for Progressive Communications (APC) presents a Multimedia training kit on human rights and the internet. The training kit, developed in the context of the Internet Rights are Human Rights project, is composed of modules concerned with the relationship between human rights, information and communications technologies (ICTs) and the internet.

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With open access to as much data as possible, Neelie Kroes, Vice President of the European Commission responsible for the Digital Agenda, hopes to enable more innovation and development in the future.

Read the speech by Neelie Kroes

Internet and mobile phones are great ways to communicate and communication is the best way to strengthen a society. This is the conclusion that the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency draws while putting focus on supporting projects that develop and teach technology in order to support development and growth.

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“To work towards that dictatorial regimes change their views on the concept of freedom involves a long and often complicated task. Nevertheless, the discussions must continue in order to bring about acceptance of citizens’ rights and freedom of the internet,” writes Margareta Cederfelt and Karl Sigfrid, both Moderate Members of the Swedish Parliament after participating at OSCE’s international conference on freedom of the internet. (more…)

News papers and companies in the U.S. have recently been victims of having their computers hacked. The people guilty seems to be the Comment Crew, a group of hackers who have gained their name by sending suspicious links to popular internet websites. The group, that continues to deny their involvement, seems to be connected to the Chinese government.

Read the article from the New York Times

The 33-year-old blogger Emin Milli is one of Azerbaijan’s most famous online activists. In an interview with Columbia Journalism Review, Milli describes the Internet as a lifeline for journalists living under oppressive regimes.

Read the article from Columbia Journalism Review

Iran appears to be taking measures to tighten online censorship ahead of its presidential vote. In recent days, a long list of online activities has been designated as criminal, including calling for an election boycott, organizing sit-ins or protests, and insulting presidential candidates.

Read the article from the Atlantic

With the upcoming presidential elections in Iran on June 14, the international community—particularly election monitors and free expression activists—should be very worried about the plight of Iran’s netizens. They rely heavily on circumvention tools, such as virtual private networks (VPNs) and proxy websites, to access the tens of thousands of websites blocked by Iran’s centralized filtering system, but observers say this practice is not keeping pace with Iran’s expanding capability for online repression.

Read the article by Freedom House’s Gigi Alford in Azad Tribune – Article 19

The European Commission, together with the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, has published a cybersecurity strategy alongside a Commission proposed directive on network and information security (NIS). It represents the EU’s comprehensive vision on how best to prevent and respond to cyber disruptions and attacks. This is to further European values of freedom and democracy and ensure the digital economy can safely grow.

Read more about the strategy