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President Ilves: the Internet should be globally one


Trust is the key to security, privacy and the free movement of information on the Internet, stated the President Toomas Hendrik Ilves at a high-level Internet freedom conference that started today in Tallinn.

According to the Head of State, the Internet should be globally one and not fragmented or Westphalianized. "I say "Westphalianized" as it seems that some countries wish for every country to regulate its own Internet, as provided by the 1648 Treaty of Westphalia," President Ilves added.

The Head of State stated that in democratic countries, we rely on the principle of an agreement between the state and the people, as defined by John Locke, to ensure freedom and also avoid anarchy; however, we do not have agreements of this type regarding the cyber world. "Therefore, we must again discuss what liberal democracies could do and what they should and should not do in using these highly powerful technologies that are now at our disposal. Once again, we live in a Hobbesian world and need our Locke and Voltaire for the digital age," President Ilves said.

The Head of State emphasised that although security is important, we cannot use it as a pretext to limit freedom of speech. We do not have to see freedom and security as mutually exclusive, President Ilves added. "indeed secure online interactions are a precondition for enjoying full internet freedom. Here in Estonia, we have managed the balance between security and freedom by providing a network of public and private e-services based on a secure online identity."

Today and tomorrow, in relation to the Internet freedom conference, President Ilves will meet with the President of Georgia, Giorgi Margvelashvili, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada, John Baird, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, Frans Timmermans, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Mongolia, Luvsanvandan Bold, and the Minister of Telecommunications of New Zealand, Amy Adams.

460 participants from more than 60 countries will be at the Freedom Online Coalition conference Free and Secure Internet, which takes place from today until Wednesday. The topics discussed at the conference include the development of a free and secure Internet in the future. The Freedom Online Coalition was established in 2011 in The Hague, at an Internet freedom conference, which was initiated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands. Today, the membership of the coalition has increased to 23 countries. You can watch the conference live here: www.freedomonline.ee.

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