The internet is a key tool to exercise the right to freedom of expression. It not only allows us to exercise the right to receive information, knowledge, ideas and opinions, but also allows us to exercise the right to express these – be it in the form of video, audio or writing. Used as a publishing and communication tool, it enables millions around the world to communicate instantly, gives the common
citizen a voice among an audience of millions, and serves as a huge multimedia library of information. One definition says “the internet is as diverse as human thought.”1
As access to the internet becomes more diverse, including information on prominent social issues is becoming important. United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Expression and Opinion Frank La Rue underlined in his report submitted to the Human Rights Council (HRC) regarding the unique and transformative nature of the internet that it not only enables individuals to exercise their right to freedom of expression and opinion, but also allows them to exercise other human rights and to promote the progress of society as a whole.2 It has been proven that technological advances have been powerful tools for democracy by giving access to all.
However, data mining by intelligence agencies blurs lines between legitimate surveillance and arbitrary mass surveillance by governments nationally and internationally.
La Rue also emphasised how government and corporate surveillance are undermining freedom of expression. His report states: “Freedom of expression cannot be ensured without respect to privacy in communications.