Safer Internet Day is an opportunity to raise awareness of the safe and positive use of digital technology, and to explore the role we can all play in creating a better and safer online community. Celebrated in 130 countries, this year’s theme is: ‘Create, connect and share respect: A better internet starts with you.’

Digital Rights Watch is supporting Safer Internet Day and we encourage you to join in!

A safe internet comes about when our society comes together to debate, engage, empower and agree upon how we can utilise digital spaces in harmonious and equitable ways. This is fundamentally a human rights issue, and all actors in the digital world need to play a part in this – including individuals, communities, corporations and governments.

Undoubtedly, the conversations that are happening today will talk about respectful behaviour, civil debate, protective measures against unwanted advances, gendered and racial attacks and protection from criminals. These are all important issues that we must discuss – we must act together to set the example of behaviour that we want to see in all spaces. But there is also an increasingly threat to the long-term safety of our internet coming from our own governments. With widespread, warrantless mass surveillance of an entire population’s digital activities, how can we create an internet that is truly safe for all to enjoy?

A democratic society will always involve some kind of negotiation between the interests of individual privacy and the need to protect people’s safety. We believe this has to come about by viewing this through a human rights lens. That is, our starting point is that government incursions on digital privacy need to be transparently justified and limited to only what is manifestly necessary. People have the right to be treated with respect and dignity, and policy should extend the benefit of the doubt to the public, rather than adopt a default position that the presumption of innocence does not apply. Corporations also need to be honest about how they collect, store and use personal information, and avoid putting themselves in positions where they abuse customer trust by breaching personal privacy.

With that in mind, here’s our recommendations for you to make a Safer Internet today:

Get involved in the conversation using #SID2018 or #SaferInternetDay on social media