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Since early 2015, the Local Action to Secure Internet Rights (LASIR) project has focused on empowering national and local actors in their defence of human rights on the internet, in countries as diverse as South Korea, Brazil, the Philippines, India, Jordan, Uganda, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bangladesh, Kenya and Tunisia. All LASIR partners are strong local organisations, with ongoing work on internet rights. They are developing, together with APC, integrated strategies of policy research, context analysis, coalition building, media outreach and popular engagement.

Now that the project has reached its final stage, APC is sharing a series of interviews to highlight the participants’ experiences and conclusions. Today, we want you to meet Korean Progressive Network Jinbonet, which provides network services to civil society organisations, trade unions, individuals and progressive projects.

Source: JinbonetSource: Jinbonet

What was your goal when you decided to be part of the LASIR project?

Our main goal was to propose an alternative to the current policy. We wanted to develop a legal team within the Urgent Action Network Against Cyber Surveillance, to analyse the loopholes of the current legislative system, research cases of foreign countries, and discuss and develop a policy alternative. At the end of the programme, we expected to have a draft for a legal proposal.

Did you accomplish that goal?

We did! The draft proposal is complete and has been presented to the country’s National Assembly.

Was it challenging? Tell us about the process.

Civil society workshop, 3 April 2015. Source: JinbonetCivil society workshop, 3 April 2015. Source: Jinbonet

Regarding legal aspects, there were many issues. On the one hand, to persuade the Korean government and governing party of the impact of these surveillance policies is very challenging. Also, while many people, especially activists of social movement groups, are very critical of government surveillance in general, it’s not easy to make the general public understand concrete issues and to expand outreach to ordinary people.

We had to hold a lot of meetings, including legal team meetings and workshops to consult on issues and develop consensus among wider civil society and experts.

Tell us about your grassroots activities. What will you remember the most?

Press conference announcing the start of the petition campaign on 7 April. Source: JinbonetPress conference announcing the start of the petition campaign on 7 April. Source: Jinbonet

It was very nice to hold a Victims’ Speaking Day on 1 March, to humanise the issue of surveillance and highlight its effects. We raised awareness by encouraging victims to express their stress, comfort each other, and fight against surveillance together. Ten major newspapers and online journals covered the event.

Other than that, we issued papers on the current legislative system of cyber surveillance and the bill proposed by the Urgent Action Network, we held a workshop on national policy, we developed a security guide, and we launched a campaign to demand legal reform.

We also took part in important events like RightsCon and the Global Conference on CyberSpace 2015, where we brought up issues related to surveillance in South Korea.

Where can we follow your work and activities?

These are the online spaces for all our activity and related resources (mostly in Korean):