Latvia supports 'open and free' cyberspace - but with some rules

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Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs said Thursday he backed the principle of freedom of expression in cyberspace but that rules and regulations were needed to protect individual rights.

Speaking at the Global Conference on Cyberspace in The Hague, the Netherlands, Rinkēvičs presented Latvia’s vision of a "single, free and secure cyberspace."

Rinkēvičs outlined the vision of an "unfragmented" cyberspace where the focus should be placed on its economic potential by developing and maintaining safe ways to do business online, protecting freedom online, and combating cybercrime.

“Latvia supports an open and free Cyberspace, while protecting human rights in Cyberspace including freedom of expression, access to information, and privacy. I am convinced that wide and affordable access to the new technologies and free access to the content also facilitate the development of more transparent and inclusive governance," said Rinkēvičs.

"Latvia is firmly opposed to any unjustified restriction of freedom of expression and censorship that is in violation of international human rights law. Any limitation of freedom of expression should be the exception and never the norm,” Rinkēvičs said.

He added that Latvia advocates setting common minimum security standards and increasing the resilience of critical information infrastructure, based on international law in the field of international security, including the work of the UN Group of Governmental Experts.

“Latvia believes that the tension between security and freedom can be resolved given good will and honesty. We should continuously aspire to move toward the open, free, and secure cyberspace which can strengthen our societies on a national level, while at the same time promoting tolerance, diversity, and opportunity for the wider public good throughout the world,” the Foreign Minister said.

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