Leila Nachawati Rego
Publisher: APCNews Madrid, 18 December 2014
At APC we support the defence of internet-related human rights at a local, national and regional level. The Global Information Society Watch (GISWatch), developed in partnership with the Humanist Institute for Cooperation with Developing Countries (Hivos), is a key element in this struggle.
GISWatch is an annual report covering the state of the information society from the perspectives of civil society, with a key theme selected for deeper analysis each year.
The 2014 report, devoted to the theme of communications surveillance, was launched at the Internet Governance Forum in Istanbul on 5 September. Between November 2014 and January 2015, launching events are taking place at a local level around the world to promote engagement by different stakeholders. These local launches are being organised in 19 countries as diverse as Uganda, Uruguay, Bulgaria, Nigeria and the Philippines, among others.
While each country has its own specific issues, the reports’ findings show common challenges in the field of surveillance, such as a lack of legislation to protect privacy, the sale of user data by private companies, and the scarce use of encryption technologies.
GISWatch aims to hold governments and international organisations accountable for meeting the commitments they make, by contributing to building a strong and sustainable global civil society policy advocacy network. It also creates a space for collaborative monitoring of implementation of national and international commitments made by governments towards the creation of an inclusive information society.
In the words of Valeria Betancourt, manager of APC’s Communications and Information Policy Programme, “GISWatch is not just a look at topics as relevant as surveillance, but it serves as a platform for diverse actors and civil society organisations to engage in dialogue and advocacy.”
Read GISWatch 2014: Communications surveillance in the digital age, follow GISWatch updates on Facebook and on Twitter through #GISWatch2014, and explore the findings by country: