Country joins coalition to fight repression on the Internet

Costa Rica has joined a coalition for Internet freedom. Eduardo Ulibarri, the country’s United Nations representative, delivered a document to an official from the Netherlands, said the Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores y Culto.

The minister of foreign affairs for the Netherlands, Uri Rosenthal, hosted a conference on Internet freedom last Dec. 9 and 10 at The Hague. The result of that session was a document outlining some goals to be promoted.

Principally among them is, in the words of the declaration, noting that governments are increasingly making use of a variety of measures to limit these freedoms in a manner contrary to their obligations, such as illicit monitoring, filtering and hacking, on- and offline repression of network technology users, including intimidation and arrests, and even completely shutting down the Internet and mobile networks.

The countries also agree to cooperate in appropriate international and regional organizations and through our diplomacy with individual countries to promote the freedoms
of expression, association, and peaceful assembly with respect to the Internet and connection technologies,

The session at the United Nations took place on the International Day of Press Freedom. A key point of the declaration is that those who write on the Internet should enjoy the same freedoms as those who write for more traditional media.

Still unclear is what effect this decision may have on Costa Rica’s friendliness with the People’s Republic of China, which is a major rights violator in its control of the Internet.

The nations that have adopted the declaration agree to encourage Internet businesses to adopt practices, as well as policies or statements of principle, that address concerns related to the export and misappropriation of technologies for repressive ends, inappropriate requests for personal data for political purposes, and illegitimate blocking of content, and to take all other measures necessary to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms on the Internet . . . .

Ulibarri is a former top executive with Grupo Nación, the publishing company.

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