The European Union is going to help human-rights activist worldwide by providing them with the means and the knowledge to communicate on the Internet without being spied on or traced by their governments. Apparently, European governments have realized that the Internet, social networks and modern digital communications in general can play a huge role in events like the recent “Arab spring”. Also, it is fair to say that being able to express oneself without fear of reprisal is a basic human right that does not exist in many parts of the world. The EU articulates this No Disconnect Strategy with four points – here’s the official text:
1/Developing and providing technological tools to enhance privacy and security of people living in non-democratic regimes when using ICT.
2/Educating and raising awareness of activists about the opportunities and risks of ICT. In particular assisting activists to make best use of tools such as social networks and blogs while raising awareness of surveillance risks when communicating via ICT.
3/Gathering high quality intelligence about what is happening “on the ground” in order to monitor the level of surveillance and censorship at a given time, in a given place.
4/Cooperation. Developing a practical way to ensure that all stakeholders can share information on their activity and promote multilateral action and building cross-regional cooperation to protect human rights.
Apparently, the software already exist, and is currently used by computer experts, but the EU would like to educate human rights activists (and anyone else) to use these tools. It will also provide a download space. This is an interesting development and we will keep an eye to see how the EU implements this, what software they will recommend using, and if it works on the ground. [press release]