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Press Releases, 10/17/2013 | Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland

Minister Tuomioja at the Seoul Conference on Cyberspace: Freedom of expression and privacy must be protected on the Internet

Press release 221/2013
17 October 2013

Minister for Foreign Affairs Erkki Tuomioja is attending the high-level Conference on Cyberspace, hosted by South Korea in Seoul on 17 and 18 October. Tuomioja gave Finland’s address at the first plenary session entitled Vision for Cyberspace.

According to Minister Tuomioja, there continues to be one single Internet. It is accessible for all people and the users can trust it. The users’ fundamental and human rights, such as freedom of expression and privacy, must also be protected on the Internet.

In his speech, Tuomioja discussed cyber security, the governance of the Internet, and the measures to ensure human rights and fundamental freedoms, including, in particular, the protection of privacy. These issues are interlinked and form an integrated whole, for which answers must be sought through international cooperation.

The reliability of cyberspace is a key issue today. The development of cyber security requires both measures at the national level and broad multilateral cooperation. Regional organizations, such as the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), also play an important role when considering confidence-building measures in cyberspace.

The governance of the Internet has recently drawn much attention. The Minister said that in the future, too, the Internet has to be governed in multi-stakeholder cooperation involving governments, international organizations, civil society and private sector. The Minister pointed out that this aspect was also emphasized in Finland’s national Cyber Security Strategy.

Minister Tuomioja stressed that all human rights and fundamental freedoms apply equally offline and online and that governmental measures should never undermine the realization of anyone’s human rights. However, the challenge is how to agree on the implementation of the existing regulations in a new environment. According to Tuomioja, we should not tolerate a situation where every user of public e-mail services has to take into account that all of his/her data use and messages can be stored and opened by someone somewhere.

The Internet has also become essential from the perspective of economic growth and innovation. According to the Minister, the Internet must be made accessible to as many people as possible. In particular, special attention must in this respect be drawn to the situation and needs of vulnerable groups and those subject to discrimination.

Additional information: Tarja Kangaskorte, Diplomatic Adviser to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, mobile tel. +358 40 181 9257; Kirsti Kauppi, Director General, Political Department, mobile tel. +358 40 743 3548.

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Updated 10/18/2013

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