Statement of Ambassador Norbert Riedel, Commissioner for International Cyber Policy, Federal Foreign Office, at the Opening Plenary – Freedom Online Coalition Conference, Ulan Bator Mongolia
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I would like to thank the Mongolian Government for organizing this year’s Freedom Online Coalition Conference here in Ulan Bator.
You are great hosts and we all feel warmly received. Thank you very much!
Germany will stay a strong supporter of the Freedom Online Coalition.
A stable, secure, open and free internet offers great opportunities:
for economic growth and development, for good governance and democracy, as well as for social exchange between people around the world.
At the same time, it presents us with new threats:
Numerous states are pursuing military cyber-capabilities, which might lead to an atmosphere of mutual distrust and conflict.
Private actors have shown great skill in abusing the net for criminal purposes.
Terrorists have been using the internet for their means.
But I am convinced that the opportunities the internet presents outweigh the threats.
Therefore we need basic rules and principles under international law to define a common order.
Established international law applies to State use of information and communication technologies.
Germany focuses on three areas of engagement:
Firstly, we believe that individuals enjoy the same universal human rights “online” as “offline”.
This includes the freedom of expression, the freedom of assembly and association, and the right to privacy.
Germany and Brazil were at the forefront of a group of like-minded states that worked hard for the adoption of a United Nations Human Rights Council resolution that created a mandate for a Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy.
In addition, a draft resolution based on a German-Brazilian initiative on the “Right to Privacy in the Digital Age” found unanimous consensus end of last year in the Human Rights Committee of the UN General Assembly.
And Germany has installed a national “Roundtable Human Rights”.
Within this forum we constantly asses in a multistakeholder format how human rights can be better assured online.
Secondly, we want to foster cyber security.
We need a common understanding of responsible state behavior in cyber space.
To this end Germany is working together with other countries within the framework of the UN Group of Governmental Experts.
I am looking forward to their report to the UN Secretary General this June.
Thirdly, we are committed to furthering confidence and trust.
Mutual confidence and trust at the global and regional levels are of utmost importance in the interest of international stability.
This is why Germany supports cyber confidence building measures.
OSCE Participating States agreed a first set of such measures in 2013 – the first time ever such steps were taken by any organization anywhere in the world.
We hope to take this further during Germany’s OSCE Chairmanship in 2016.
Germany is dedicated to promoting and protecting a stable, secure, open and free internet, in which freedom and human rights are guaranteed.
We need to balance freedom and security.
That balance needs to be well thought through and made subject of a political discourse, nationally and internationally, which involves civil society.
Being part of the Freedom Online Coalition helps us to shape that discourse and to establish the rules and principles needed to define a common order.