The first chapter of this curriculum presents a comprehensive foundation for understanding of its development and utilization. We begin this chapter with the background information, offering context on the origins and needs of this curriculum. The chapter explains the curriculum’s significance in contemporary education and offers practical instructions for its effective use. It also examines the varied landscapes and common challenges of digital rights globally, offering insights into regional differences. Finally, it outlines the framework and components of the curriculum, detailing how they interconnect to offer a comprehensive learning experience. 

This chapter will cover: 

  1. Background 
  2. Why this curriculum? 
  3. How to use this curriculum?
  4. Digital rights across the regions 
  5. Curriculum structure 


Welcome to the Internet Freedom Curriculum, a comprehensive and dynamic resource designed to empower individuals, trainers, educators, organizations, and communities with the knowledge and skills to navigate the digital landscape while promoting digital rights and Internet freedoms. 

This global curriculum is a response to the ever-evolving digital landscape and aims to consolidate the collective expertise of Greater Internet Freedom (GIF) partners in digital rights advocacy. It contains customized case studies and best practices compiled from GIF partners’ digital rights schools (DRS) training material across five regions, including South and Southeast Asia, MENA, Central Asia, East and Southern Africa, and the Balkans. 

This curriculum aims to address the pressing need for digital advocacy capacity building and to highlight intersectional perspectives in the digital age. We recognize that as digital technologies advance, so do the challenges in maintaining and advocating for digital rights. Our goal is to equip civil society organizations (CSOs), human rights defenders (HRDs), tech professionals, and interested individuals with the tools and knowledge to advocate for and safeguard digital rights effectively. 

Why this curriculum?

As digital technologies evolve rapidly, the challenges related to protecting digital rights and Internet freedoms become more complex. This curriculum addresses the critical need for advocacy capacity building in digital rights, with a particular focus on intersectional perspectives that are crucial in today’s global digital landscape.

How to use this curriculum?

    Designed for flexible online delivery, this curriculum allows trainers to effectively tailor the content to meet the needs of various audiences: 

    Customizable Templates: Use provided templates for exercises and discussions to facilitate adaptation to different contexts. 

    Expanded Examples: Include a broad range of scenarios to help illustrate complex concepts across different regions and cultures. 

    Structured Delivery: Organized to maximize participant engagement and comprehension during online learning sessions. 

    Digital Rights Schools Across Regions

    This curriculum draws inspiration and expertise from the DRS conducted by GIF partners across different regions. These DRS programs have been instrumental in building the capacity of individuals and organizations to address digital rights issues in their respective countries. 

    Here is a glimpse of the DRS programs from different regions: 

    1. South and Southeast Asia by EngageMedia: Covering a wide range of topics, including digital rights basics, online freedom of expression, online privacy, digital inclusion, and more, this program targeted new and upcoming digital rights defenders in South and Southeast Asian focused countries. 
    2. MENA by Tech4Peace: Covering digital rights, digital security, and the fight against dis- and misinformation. 
    3. Central Asia by Public Fund Civil Internet Policy Initiative (CIPI): Exploring global trends in the digital transformation, human rights in the digital age, the impact of new technologies on human rights, privacy challenges, and cybersecurity. It was designed for CSOs, HRDs, and media organizations. 
    4. East and Southern Africa by MISA Zimbabwe and GIF African Regional Coordinator: Covering digital rights, access to the Internet, a feminist perspective on freedom of expression, online gender-based violence, and more. It targeted universities, HRDs, and CSOs. The program featured speakers from organizations like Mozilla, Policy, Women at the Table, and others. 
    5. Balkans by Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN): Covering diverse topics such as corporate accountability, feminist Internet, cybersecurity, hate speech monitoring, and privacy campaigning, this program aimed to raise awareness and knowledge about digital rights in the Balkans region. It included collaborations with Tactical Tech, Ranking Digital Rights, and other experts in the field. 

    Curriculum Structure 

    The curriculum is designed into nine chapters, each focusing on delivering training on critical aspects of Internet freedom and digital rights to the targeted audience. It provides a comprehensive guide, starting with an introduction to the training and advancing through various essential topics. The chapters cover human rights in the digital age, the hidden aspects of the Internet, intersectional perspectives, digital advocacy, advanced topics with case studies, and a curriculum adaptation workshop. These chapters are: 

    Chapter 1: Introduction to the training 

    Chapter 2: Human rights in the digital age 

    Chapter 3: The invisible Internet 

    Chapter 4: Intersectional Perspectives in the digital age 

    Chapter 5: Digital Advocacy 

    Chapter 6: Advance topics and case studies 

    Chapter 7: Curriculum Adaptation workshop 

    Chapter 8: Evaluation and feedback 

    Chapter 9: Additional training and workshop resources 

    Chapter 10: Final Remarks 

    Chapter 1: Introduction to the training 

    Welcome to the introductory chapter of our Internet Freedom Curriculum. With this session we aim to build a solid foundation of understanding and engagement on the topics of Internet freedom and digital rights. Today, we will explore the essential concepts and current challenges that shape the landscape of digital rights and Internet freedom.  

    We will start with some fun ice-breaking activities to get to know each other and create a comfortable learning environment for the trainers and the participants. Following that, we will delve into the key issues at hand, discussing how they impact individuals and societies globally. Our goal is to prepare you for deeper explorations in subsequent sessions, where we will tackle specific case studies, legal frameworks, agendas, and advocacy strategies.

    Prepare engaging exercises to build rapport among participants, facilitating a comfortable learning environment. Ice breaking activities are important to create an engaging and inclusive training environment. It is important to consider the target group before choosing the right ice breaking activity. There are plenty of examples available online, but in this curriculum, we will explore just a few. Trainers are encouraged to search for the right activity for the target group of the training.  

    1.1 Examples

    For youth/students: 

    Introducing themselves through Emoticons (each student should introduce themselves through 5 emoticons – 1 example below).  

    📚 – Represents introverted nature, often associated with quiet and reflective activities like reading. 

    🥞 – Clearly shows the love for pancakes. 

    🚴 – Perfect for indicating enthusiasm for cycling. 

    🍳 – Suitable for expressing passion for cooking. 

    🚫🎬 – Combines a “no” sign with a movie clapper to symbolize the dislike for movie or series spoilers. 

    Prepare and disseminate Digital Footprint Template – each student will search themselves in google and will fill the footprint with their information, while separating which information is available to everyone and information that is available to some extent (only friends, family and close groups in social media) (See example Anex 1).  

    Meme creation – Students create or discuss memes related to Internet freedom. The example below could be used to create a meme related to IF. You can use to generate memes or let the students search for their own ways to create memes.  

    For vulnerable groups:

    • Storytelling – Encourage participants to share their personal experiences, or the experiences of someone they know, to create stories related to Internet freedom and highlight how these issues impact their lives;  
    • Discuss barriers – Divide the participants into small groups and discuss common barriers to enjoying human rights online for vulnerable groups and brainstorm solutions. Example: 

    Barrier: Online Discrimination and Harassment 

    • Description: Minorities, women, and other vulnerable groups often face targeted harassment and discrimination online. 
    • Solution Brainstorm: Stronger enforcement of platform policies against harassment, educational campaigns on respectful communication, and tools for users to report and block abusive behavior. 

    Barrier: Surveillance and Privacy Concerns 

    • Description: Vulnerable groups, such as activists and dissidents, may be disproportionately targeted by government surveillance. 
    • Solution Brainstorm: Education on privacy-enhancing technologies like VPNs and encrypted communication, and legal advocacy to protect privacy rights. 

    Barrier: Accessibility Issues 

    • Description: Individuals with disabilities may find many websites and online services difficult to use due to poor accessibility design. 
    • Solution Brainstorm: Encourage adherence to web accessibility standards1, regular audits of digital services for accessibility, and incentives for inclusive design. 

    Group Discussion Guidelines 

    • Divide into small groups: Each group can focus on one barrier and brainstorm possible solutions. 
    • Presentation: Allow each group to present their findings and suggestions to the wider group, fostering a collective discussion on best practices. 
    • Collaborative Documenting: Use an online collaborative document or board where all participants can add their input and view others’ contributions in real time, making the session more interactive and inclusive. 

    For civil society activists/human rights defenders:

    • Privacy Diary – each participant should write where they gave personal data during the last 48 hours – Discuss the lack of awareness giving the personal data without hesitating or questioning why; 
    • ECHR cases – Choose and discuss some notable cases from the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), such as Barbulescu vs. Romania, without revealing the final judgment. Encourage participants to engage in a debate, predicting the possible outcome of each case. You can find other interesting cases using the web site of European Court of Human Rights2.  

    1.2 Digital Rights and Internet Freedom Introduction:

    Prepare an overview of key concepts and current issues, setting the stage for deeper exploration.  You can use the below template but make sure you focus on the current issues related to the state or region you will conduct the training. 

    “Welcome to the Digital Rights and Internet Freedom Training! 

    In today’s digital age, understanding the landscape of digital rights and Internet freedom is crucial for anyone using the Internet—be it for communication, education, business, or leisure. This part of the session aims to introduce the participants to the key concepts surrounding these topics and discuss current issues that impact users worldwide.  

    Key Concepts to cover

    Digital Rights: 

    • Definition:  Digital rights are human rights exercised online. Hint: Start the training with the introduction of the concept of human rights. You then can ask the audience for their thoughts on the difference between Human Rights and Digital Rights. The discussion should lead to the definition of the term “digital rights” and how these rights that are fundamental to all humans are exercised and protected in the era of the rapid development of the Internet, social media, and technology.    
    • Examples: Digital rights include privacy, freedom of expression and access to information. Ask the participants to share their thoughts on definitions of each of these rights and their borderless nature. You can use this discussion to map the current challenges related to exercising these rights in the country or region where you are conducting the training. 

    Internet Freedom: 

    • Definition: Intrinsic to the concept of Internet freedom is recognition that human rights and fundamental freedoms must be protected both online and offline. Internet freedom concept also presumes that individuals can access the Internet without undue restrictions or censorship. Discuss the difference between Digital Rights and Internet Freedom. You can use the rating of Internet freedom in the country/ies you are conducting the training measured by Freedom House3 as a discussion point.  
    • Examples: Unrestricted access to content, freedom from state or corporate surveillance, and the ability to communicate securely. 
    • Organizations that are working in the field: (below you can find their websites to use the resources posted there) 
    1. Freedom House 
    2. Access Now 
    3. Internews 
    4. Media Defense  

    Engage your audience by asking about the issues of digital rights that they are facing in their country or region. Ask them to make a list of common violations of digital rights in their country or region and discuss it in groups with their colleagues to compare the answers. Group the topics similar to what we have in our templates for Current Issues below and discuss it with your audience. 

    Current issues

    Surveillance (Spyware) and Privacy: 

    • People’s human rights are coming under ever greater pressure from the use of modern networked digital technologies whose features make them formidable tools for surveillance, control, and oppression. This makes it all the more essential that these technologies are reined in by effective regulation based on international human rights law and standards. Governments and corporations increasingly monitor online activities. This raises significant concerns about privacy rights and the extent of surveillance that is ethical and legal. Digital surveillance is in every aspect of our life today.  
    1. Amesys Lawsuit – Nexa Technologies (Re Libya):
    2. The United States  Federal Bureau of Investigation acknowledge purchase of US location data:   
    3. Mass Surveillance VS Targeted Surveillance:  
    4. Deeper Information on Spyware:  
    • Discuss about how does digital surveillance affect human rights4
    • Discuss what can be done to advocate against the use of spyware to attack human rights defenders and other advocates for human rights.  

    Internet Censorship:  

    • Internet censorship is the practice of prohibiting or suppressing certain online content. When a type of content is censored, it generally becomes illegal and near impossible to access or view as long as you’re within the jurisdiction of the censoring body. In some instances, publishing censored content is also illegal. Censorship can affect all types of Internet content including that published on social media, news media, websites and so on. Censorship does not just take place at the government level. It can also happen at home, at work, and with your Internet service provider. Internet censorship may impact your privacy, Internet access, and freedom of speech, both at home and when traveling abroad. Internet censorship can be done in many different ways, such as: IP blocking, DNS tampering, keyword filtering, packet filtering, traffic shaping, port number blacklisting5.

     Examples – Countries with strict censorship:  

    • China – is known by having the Great Wall but in our case, it also has a Great Firewall through which it controls the Internet usage of anyone in the country.  
    • Russia – Russia blocks a ton of foreign websites, and Vladimir Putin’s proposed “Sovereign Internet” could make the Internet in Russia even more disconnected. Russia is also one of the places where VPNs are illegal. 

    Countries with little to no censorship: 

    • Canada and Iceland 
    • Discuss how to avoid Internet censorship through VPN, secure browser (highlight incognito mode does not mean private browsing), proxy servers and so on. 

    Net Neutrality: 

    • Net neutrality is the concept of an open, equal Internet for everyone, regardless of device, application or platform used and content consumed. Proponents of the idea believe all corporations, including Internet service providers (ISPs), should treat Internet data and users equally. They should not restrict access, slow down access speeds or block content for some users to serve their own interests. 
    • Net neutrality is a contentious concept that has had a roller-coaster evolution. The debate centers largely around perceptions of the proper role of government regulation and whether Internet access should be legally classified as an opt-in service or a public utility. Net neutrality supporters such as CSOs6,  believe that the Internet should remain free, open, and nondiscriminatory and that this is essential for a democratic exchange of ideas and knowledge, ethical business practices, fair competition, and ongoing innovation. 
    • Discuss the creation of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) Dynamic Coalition on Network Neutrality (DCNN)7 and its effectiveness in advocating for net neutrality and Internet openness.  

    Cybersecurity and human rights: 

    • This session could be introduced with the question is cybersecurity a human right? Cyberattacks are becoming more commonplace, sophisticated, and severe. Internet shutdowns deny people access to critical information, the ability to express themselves, work, learn, and access social services. Government hacking infringes on privacy and can lead to other rights violations, in particular for human rights activists and journalists. Emirati activist Ahmed Mansoor was imprisoned, and Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was executed after their governments gathered information on their activities through hacking8. Governments like China and Vietnam use cybersecurity as an excuse to exercise more control over the Internet and further restrict rights9. Russia’s ongoing war against Ukraine also includes cyber-attacks10.  

    Why It Matters 

    Digital rights and Internet freedom are foundational to upholding democratic values in the 21st century. They empower individuals by providing access to information, facilitating free communication, and ensuring that governments and corporations are held accountable. However, these rights are constantly challenged, and staying informed is the first step towards effective advocacy and protection. 

    What’s Next?

    Optionally, as a trainer you can further engage with your audience into the country/region specifics issues by simply asking the participants to make a list of violations of digital rights or current issues in the country and region and return to this issue in the end of the training with advocacy steps how to act against it. 

    This introduction sets the stage for a deeper exploration of each area. In the coming sessions, we’ll dive into specific case studies, discuss the legal frameworks governing digital rights, and engage in activities that will enhance our understanding and ability to advocate for these essential freedoms. 

    n effective educational tool that not only assesses knowledge but also enhances the overall learning experience in your training program on Internet freedom.

    Chapter 2: Human rights in the digital age

    As trainers, you play a crucial role in shaping the participants’ understanding of human rights in the digital realm. This chapter of the curriculum aims to educate learners about the critical interchapter of human rights and digital technology. Recognizing the diverse needs and interests of your target audience, you are afforded the flexibility to focus on one or few more specific human rights as per their relevance. As a trainer you can use a variety of resources listed below to prepare your training on one or more rights included in this chapter. This chapter is focused on human rights standards in the context of the Internet. As trainer you must deliver a clear message that human rights as defined in international treaties/laws are non-negotiable, and they are applied online as they do offline.

    2.1 The right to freedom of expression 

    Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers. Freedom of expression online is the right to freely express oneself on the Internet, which includes sharing opinions, ideas, and information without undue interference or censorship by the government or other entities. The digital era has amplified the importance of this right, as the Internet has become a central arena for public discourse, education, and innovation. 

    The right to freedom of expression is covered in Article 10 of European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR), Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and Article 11 of the European Charter of Fundamental Rights. 

    One of the documents that also plays a crucial role in the advocacy and shaping of policies around Internet freedoms is the Charter of Human Rights and Principles for the Internet11 developed by the IGF Internet Rights and Principles Dynamic Coalition (IRPC). This document outlines norms and standards aimed at ensuring the Internet operates and evolves in ways that fulfill human rights to the fullest extent possible.  

    Within the right of freedom of expression and information on the Internet, the Charter includes: 

    • The right of online protest – The right to use Internet to organize and engage in online and offline protest, 
    • Freedom from censorship – The right to use the Internet without censorship of any form. This includes freedom from any measures designed to intimidate Internet users or close down expression online, including freedom from cyber-attacks and freedom from harassment online. Freedom from censorship online also includes freedom from blocking and filtering. Blocking and filtering systems which aim to prevent access to content and are not end-user controlled are a form of prior censorship and cannot be justified. 
    • Right to information – The right to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through the Internet. 
    • Freedom of media – The freedom and pluralism of the media shall be respected. 
    • Freedom from hate speech – The beliefs and opinions of others must be respected, online as well as offline. As laid out in Article 20 of the ICCPR, “any advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence shall be prohibited by law”. 

    As a resource you can use the following handbook for legal practitioners “Protecting the right to freedom of expression under the European Convention on Human Rights”12 and also HELP E-learning Training Platform created by the Council of Europe as a resource on freedom of expression under the ECHR and European human rights standards. Materials are also available in different languages that will make it easier to use for different countries in the region13.  

    2.2 The right to non-discrimination in Internet access, use and governance 

    The right to non-discrimination in Internet access, use, and governance is a fundamental aspect of ensuring that the digital space remains open, inclusive, and accessible to all individuals, regardless of their race, gender, age, disability, or economic status. This principle is crucial for protecting human rights in the digital age and ensuring that everyone can benefit from digital advancements without prejudice.  

    This right is covered in Article 3 of UDHR that clearly states that everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in the Declaration without distinction of any kind. Then, it is also covered in Article 26 of ICCPR, Article 14 of the ECHR, Convention of the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and Article 9 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). 

    On the Internet, the right to non-discrimination includes: 

    • Equality of access – Certain groups in society may have more limited or restricted Internet access and means and opportunities for effective use than others. This could lead to discrimination in terms of their ability to enjoy some of the human rights explained here.  
    • Marginalized groups/ Accessibility – The specific needs of all people using the Internet must be addressed as part of their entitlement to dignity, to participate in social and cultural life, and to respect their human rights. Special attention must be paid to the needs of marginalized groups including the elderly, young people, ethnic and linguistic minorities, and Indigenous people, persons with disabilities and all sexuality and gender identities. 
    • Gender equality – individuals of all genders have an equal right to access, use and shape the Internet. There must be full participation of women in all areas related to the development of the Internet to ensure gender equality. 

    The right to non-discrimination in Internet access, use, and governance is critical for fostering an inclusive digital environment. The overarching principles of non-discrimination established by international treaties provide a strong legal foundation for advocating and implementing policies that ensure equal access for all individuals. Advocacy and ongoing legislative efforts remain vital in translating these legal frameworks into practical outcomes that address the digital divide and promote an inclusive information society. 

    The trainer should start delivering this topic with an introduction to the fundamental principles of non-discrimination as they equally apply to human rights online. Define the key terms and explain how non-discrimination is critical in the context of Internet access and governance. Once the stage is set for deeper exploration, the trainer should provide a detailed overview of the international treaties mentioned above, discussing relevant articles. The trainer may use several resources that the Curriculum provides in this chapter, like debates, group discussions, prepare campaigns and also guide participants in developing advocacy strategies to promote non-discrimination in Internet governance.  

    2.3 The right to access to information 

    The right to access to information is a central component of the right to freedom of expression we covered in the previous part. It is both the general right of the public to have access to information of public interest from a variety of sources and the right of the media to access information. In the digital world, access to information encompasses the ability to retrieve data from various online sources, including government databases, digital libraries, and private collections that are made public. It also involves promoting open data initiatives and supporting the digitization of public records to make them more accessible to everyone. 

    Article 19 of UDHR and Article 19.2 of ICCPR also covered the right to access information. Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights traditionally did not guarantee a general right to access information held by public authorities. However, recent decisions by the European Court of Human Rights reflect a more modern interpretation, acknowledging that today’s conditions warrant a broader view of the “freedom to receive information.” This now includes a recognized right to access public information under certain circumstances. Specifically, this right can be invoked when access is crucial for the exercise of one’s freedom to receive and impart information, particularly when denying access would hinder these freedoms. For the protection of Article 10 to apply, the requested information must serve a public interest, such as enhancing transparency in governmental operations or informing the public on significant societal issues14. The freedom to access information is important to ensure public engagement and participation. All information in the possession of the state belong to the public, with limited and qualified exceptions that must be justified by the state authorities. This right may be subject to limitations in accordance with the principles of legality, necessity, and proportionality. You should consider that every country has their own national laws on access to information that should be considered during the preparation of the training.  

    2.4 The right to privacy (including personal data protection) 

     Good practice for this topic is to ask your audience what the difference between privacy and data protection and leverage on that discussion is to shape the training.  

    Privacy is recognized as an absolute fundamental right. In the notion of dignity, privacy, or the right to a private life, to be autonomous, in control of information about yourself, to be let alone, plays a pivotal role. Privacy is not only an individual right but also a social value. Almost every country in the world recognizes privacy in some way, be it in their constitution or in other provisions. Moreover, privacy is recognized as a universal human right while data protection is not – at least not yet. The right to privacy or private life is enshrined in Article 12 of the UDHR, Article 8 of the ECHR and Article 7 of the European Charter of Fundamental Rights.  

    This right to privacy also includes: 

    • The right to anonymity and use of encryption – Everybody has the right to communicate anonymously on the Internet. Also, everyone has the right to use encryption technology to secure private and anonymous communication. 
    • Freedom from surveillance – Everyone has the freedom to communicate without arbitrary surveillance or interception (including behavioral tracking, profiling, and cyber-stalking), or the threat of surveillance or interception. 
    • Freedom from defamation – No one shall be subjected to unlawful attacks on their honor and reputation on the Internet. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks. However, protection of reputation must not be used as an excuse to limit the right to freedom of expression beyond the narrow limits of permitted restrictions. 
    • Protection of virtual personality – Digital signatures, usernames, passwords, PIN and TAN codes must not be used or changed by others without the consent of the owner. The virtual personality of human beings must be respected. However, the right to a virtual personality must not be misused to the detriment of others. 

    On the other hand, data protection is about protecting any information related to an identified or identifiable natural (living) person, including names, dates of birth, photographs, video footage, email addresses and telephone numbers. Other information such as IP addresses and communications content – related to or provided by end-users of communications services – are also considered personal data. The notion of data protection originates from the right to privacy, and both are instrumental in preserving and promoting fundamental values and rights; and to exercise other rights and freedoms – such as free speech or the right to assembly. Article 8 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights contains an explicit right to the protection of personal data. Article 12 of the UDHR also states the right to privacy applies to everyone. In April 2016, the EU adopted a new legal framework – the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), that is the most comprehensive and progressive piece of data protection legislation in the world. Many laws across the world are strongly influenced by the GDPR. Data protection is monitored by independent data protection authorities in the states where they have such laws.  

    As a resource you can also use the course on Data Protection and Privacy Rights on the E – Learning platform of the Council of Europe15.

    2.5 The right to liberty and security on the Internet 

    The right to liberty and security on the Internet encompasses the freedom to access, use, and communicate on the Internet without undue restriction, surveillance, or threat, while also ensuring that individuals feel and are secure in their online environments. 

    This right is envisioned in Article 3 of UDHR and Article 9 of ECHR.  

    All security measures must be consistent with international human rights law and standards. This means that security measures will be illegal where they restrict another human right (for example the right to privacy or the right to freedom of expression) except for in exceptional circumstances. All restrictions must be precise and narrowly defined. All restrictions must be the minimum necessary to meet a genuine need which is recognized as legal under international law and proportionate to that need. Restrictions must also meet additional criteria which are specific to each right.  

    The trainer may focus the discussion with the participants on the global challenges regarding this topic, such as:  

    • Balancing security v. privacy – Implementing sufficient security measures on the Internet often involves surveillance and data collection, which can infringe on personal privacy if not properly managed. 
    • Surveillance and censorship – In many regions, governments implement strict surveillance and censorship that can infringe on individual freedoms and the right to privacy. 
    • Cybersecurity issues – As digital threats evolve, ensuring the security of Internet users against cyberattacks, phishing, and other malicious activities becomes increasingly complex. 

    One of the case studies that can be used in the training is the adoption of the EU Data Retention in 2006, which was later declared invalid by the European Court of Justice in 2014, link: This directive required telecom operators to retain users’ data for a certain period. The Court ruled it a violation of privacy and personal data protection rights, emphasizing the need for security measures to respect fundamental rights. 

    The right to liberty and security on the Internet is vital for maintaining the integrity and trustworthiness of digital spaces. As technology evolves, so too must the policies and legal frameworks that protect these rights. Ensuring that individuals can freely and securely access and use the Internet is essential for the development of an open and democratic digital society. 

    2.6 The right to peaceful assembly and association

    Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association, which are essential components of democracy. The right of peaceful assembly includes the right to hold meetings, sit-ins, strikes, rallies, events, or protests, both offline and online. The right to freedom of association involves the right of individuals to interact and organize among themselves to collectively express, promote, pursue, and defend common interests. This includes the right to form trade unions. Freedom of peaceful assembly and of association serves as a vehicle for the exercise of many other rights guaranteed under international law, including the rights to freedom of expression and to take part in the conduct of public affairs. On the Internet, everyone has the right to form, join, meet, or visit the website or network of an assembly, group, or association for any reason. Access to assemblies and associations using ICTs must not be blocked or filtered.  

    The right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association is protected by Article 20 of the UDHR, Article 12 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and Article 11 of the ECHR.  

    Latest case study from European Court of Human Rights you can use for discussion16

    Additionally, you can use the following document on case laws on peaceful protests17

    2.7 The right to equal participation in political and public affairs 

    The right to equal participation in political and public affairs is a fundamental aspect of democracy and human rights, ensuring that all citizens have the opportunity to engage in the governance processes of their country without discrimination. This right encompasses the ability to vote, be elected, and access public service positions, as well as the general participation in the decision-making processes of governmental and public bodies. 

    Equal participation is critical not only as a means of fairness but also for the practical insights and diverse perspectives it brings to public affairs, which can lead to more effective and equitable governance. It reflects the principle that governance should be based on the will of the people, ensuring that all groups, including marginalized and minority populations, have opportunities in public life. Mechanisms like elections, public consultations, and open government initiatives are typical ways through which this participation is facilitated. This right is also protected under Article 21 of the UDHR and Article 25 of the ICCPR. 

    In the digital age, the right to equal participation in political and public affairs extends to online platforms, where debates, decision-making, and electoral processes increasingly take place. Digital tools offer unprecedented opportunities for broadening participation, allowing people from diverse backgrounds, including those who are typically marginalized, to have a voice in public affairs. However, this digital shift also requires ensuring access to technology, protecting against online discrimination, and combating misinformation, which can distort public discourse. 

    To ensure inclusive digital participation, stakeholders must address the digital divide that prevents certain groups from accessing or effectively using technology. Initiatives to promote digital literacy are crucial, as is the enforcement of regulations that ensure all citizens can safely and equally participate online. For example, platforms can be designed to be accessible to people with disabilities, and laws can be implemented to protect against online harassment and ensure privacy. 

    As a discussion point with the target group the trainer can highlight that the women and girls, persons belonging to marginalized groups or minorities, and persons in vulnerable situations are among those who are most affected by discrimination when it comes to participation in political and public affairs, including inter alia, violence against women participating in political and public affairs. This is recognized under the United Nations Resolution 48/2 as of 7 October 2021. 

    2.8 The right to free and fair elections 

    The right to free and fair elections is a fundamental component of democratic governance, ensuring that all eligible citizens have the opportunity to participate in their government through periodic and genuine elections. This right allows the electorate to decide their leaders and policies without undue influence or interference, and it is foundational to the legitimacy of a democratic government.  

    Free elections require that the electoral process be conducted openly and transparently, where voters can cast their ballots without coercion, intimidation, or violence. Fairness is equally critical, involving equitable treatment of all political participants and adherence to established legal frameworks that govern elections. This includes equal access to the media for candidates, impartiality by electoral bodies, and accurate vote counting without fraud or manipulation. 

    In the digital age, the right to free and fair elections extends to the integrity and security of electronic voting systems, the use of digital platforms for campaigning, and the role of the Internet in voter education and engagement. As more countries adopt electronic voting or Internet voting, ensuring that these systems are secure against cyber threats and technical failures is crucial. Furthermore, the digital world challenges traditional electoral fairness, as online misinformation, digital advertising, and data privacy issues can influence voter behavior and election outcomes. 

    This right is protected by Article 25 of the ICCPR and Article 3 of Protocol No.1 of the ECHR. 

    As a discussion point with the audience the trainer may focus on how digitalization affects these rights, how censorship can restrict access to electoral information, how misinformation campaigns can manipulate electoral outcomes. You can use a case study for United States Elections in 2016, covering fake news and the elections18.

    2.9 The right to education 

    The right to education is universally recognized as a fundamental human right, crucial for the development of an individual and society. It entails ensuring access to free, compulsory primary education for all, promoting the availability of appropriate secondary education, including vocational training, and making higher education accessible to all based on merit. The right to education is protected under various international treaties, notably Article 26 of the UDHR and Articles 13 and 14 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR).  

    Fulfilling this right involves not only providing access to schools but also ensuring quality education that respects and promotes cultural and linguistic diversity. Governments are tasked with removing barriers that impede individuals from accessing education at all levels. Additionally, educational environments must be safe, inclusive, and supportive to promote effective learning. The right to education also extends beyond formal schooling to encompass life-long learning opportunities that enable adults to acquire new skills and knowledge throughout their lives. 

    On the Internet, the right to education has taken on new dimensions. The widespread availability of Internet technologies has the potential to enhance access to education through online courses, digital textbooks, and virtual classrooms. However, this shift also presents challenges, including the digital divide—a significant barrier where individuals without Internet access or digital literacy skills are at a disadvantage. Furthermore, the quality of online education and the effectiveness of digital tools in delivering educational content vary widely, raising concerns about educational equity. 

    International treaties emphasize the importance of adapting education systems to the changing technological landscape. For instance, the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) advocates for educational access that adapts to the current technological environment. 

    Digital education initiatives must ensure that technology enhances the learning experience without replacing the essential human elements of education. This involves not only increasing connectivity but also training teachers to effectively use digital tools and developing curricula that leverage technology to enhance learning outcomes. 

    Education on the Internet should include raising awareness and respect for human rights (online and offline). Digital literacy shall be a key component of education.  

    For further exploration of these issues, the UNESCO’s “Education 2030 Framework for Action” provides guidelines and insights into integrating digital technology in educational strategies19.  As a discussion point with the audience the trainer may discuss the UNESCO`s #DanceForEducation Campaign20.

    2.10 The right to health 

    The right to health is a fundamental human right that ensures access to timely, acceptable, and affordable health care of appropriate quality as well as to underlying determinants of health, such as clean water and sanitation, food, housing, health-related education and information, and gender equality. This right is also protected in several international legal instruments including Article 25 of the UDHR and Article 12 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). 

    Ensuring the right to health involves not only healthcare but also creating conditions that enable all people to live healthy lives. Governments are required to provide conditions that assure medical service and medical attention to everyone without discrimination. This involves the construction of hospitals, the implementation of public health campaigns, and the regulation and supervision of health services, goods, and facilities to ensure they meet appropriate standards of quality, safety, and efficacy. 

    In the digital world, the right to health has been significantly impacted by advances in technology. Telemedicine, electronic health records, and health information systems are examples of digital health tools that have the potential to enhance healthcare delivery by making it more accessible and efficient. However, these technologies also raise concerns related to privacy, security of health data, and the digital divide. Telemedicine, for example, while increasing access to healthcare for people in remote or underserved areas, depends heavily on access to reliable Internet services, which are not available to everyone. 

    As a discussion point, the trainer may focus on the challenges and opportunities digital health presents. For instance, the World Health Organization’s Global Strategy on Digital Health 2020-2025 outlines the potential of digital technologies to advance public health and introduces strategies to mitigate risks associated with digital health interventions21.  

    A case study from India demonstrates the successful integration of digital technologies in expanding healthcare access in rural areas through the eHealth project, which facilitated remote diagnoses and treatment recommendations22

    2.11 The right to access to the Internet  

    As discussed earlier in this Curriculum, the right to access and make use of the Internet is increasingly viewed as a fundamental to ensure freedom of information and equality in the digital world. Access to and use of the Internet is increasingly indispensable for the full enjoyment of human rights including the right to freedom of expression, the right to education, the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association, the right to take part in the government of a country, and other rights. The right to access to and make use of the Internet derives from its integral relationship to all other human rights. 

    The right to access to the Internet includes:  

    • Quality of service – which should be related to advancing technological possibilities, 
    • Freedom of choice of system and software to use – Access includes freedom of choice of system, application, and software use.  
    • Net Neutrality – The Internet is a global common. Its architecture must be protected and promoted for it to be a vehicle for free, open, equal, and non-discriminatory exchange of information, communication and culture. There should be no special privileges for, or obstacles against, any party or content on economic, social, cultural, or political grounds. 

    Net neutrality, in particular, strives for equal treatment of all Internet traffic, which prevents Internet service providers (ISPs) from discriminating against or charging differently by user, content, website, platform, application, or method of communication. This principle is crucial for maintaining an open and competitive Internet environment where new ideas and businesses have the opportunity to thrive without being overshadowed by larger companies that could afford to pay for superior access.  

    Globally, the implementation of net neutrality varies significantly, with some countries like the United States and members of the European Union adopting regulations that enshrine these principles, while others may have more lenient rules that allow for prioritization of traffic under certain conditions. In the EU, for example, net neutrality is protected under regulations that prohibit ISPs from blocking, throttling, or discriminating against Internet traffic, ensuring that users have unhindered access to online services. 

    Despite these protections, the right to Internet access and net neutrality face challenges such as the digital divide, where disparities in Internet access limit the applicability of net neutrality principles for many globally. Additionally, debates continue over how net neutrality rules affect investment in network infrastructure and the potential for regulatory approaches that might allow for exceptions, such as prioritizing emergency services over other types of Internet traffic. These discussions highlight the ongoing need to balance open access with ensuring the quality and sustainability of Internet services as technology and usage patterns evolve.

    2.12 Business and human rights 

    The interchapter of business and human rights has become increasingly significant as global corporations’ impact human rights both positively and negatively. The concept revolves around the responsibilities of businesses to respect human rights and the need for governments to ensure that businesses do not violate human rights within their jurisdictions. This approach to corporate responsibility goes beyond mere compliance with laws, urging businesses to actively prevent human rights abuses and address any impacts on human rights caused by their operations. 

    The United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs)23, endorsed by the UN Human Rights Council in 2011, are the primary global standard for addressing the impact of business activities on human rights. These principles are grounded in three pillars: the state duty to protect human rights, the corporate responsibility to respect human rights, and the need for greater access to remedy for victims of business-related abuses. These principles advocate for due diligence processes to identify, prevent, mitigate, and account for how companies address their impacts on human rights. 

    Businesses face various human rights issues, including labor rights violations, displacement of communities, environmental damage, and complicity in human rights abuses by governments. The digital age has also introduced new challenges such as data protection, privacy, and impacts on freedom of expression, which are particularly pertinent for tech companies. Addressing these challenges involves complex considerations, from supply chain scrutiny to the direct consequences of product use. 

    The conversation around business and human rights is not just about avoiding harm but also about potential positive contributions businesses can make towards the realization of human rights. This includes efforts to promote economic development, increase access to education and healthcare, and drive technological innovations that aid in the protection and fulfillment of human rights. As this field evolves, businesses are increasingly expected to be not only economic agents but also responsible social stewards within the global community.

    2.13 Proposed tools to be used 

    To facilitate an engaging and impactful learning experience, you may utilize the following tools for each right: 

    a. Discussion Points: You can use some of the points we already highlighted in this chapter to engage more with your audience, or case studies covered in this Curriculum. For the purpose of illustration, we will use one of the discussion points covered in this chapter:  

    Discussion point: “Balancing Security v. Privacy – Implementing sufficient security measures on the Internet often involves surveillance and data collection, which can infringe on personal privacy if not properly managed.” 

    Question to guide the discussion:  

    • What are the main security threats that justify the need for surveillance and data collection on the Internet? 
    • How can these security measures potentially infringe on personal privacy? 
    • What are examples of situations where security measures have overstepped the privacy protection safeguards? 
    • How do different countries or regions balance these concerns, and what legal frameworks support their approaches? 

    These questions may raise interest and guide your audience into exploring more about this topic.  

    b. Interactive Activity: Engage learners through role-playing, debates, and breakout group discussions. These activities are designed to apply theoretical concepts in practical, real-world contexts. We will continue with the same examples we used for the discussion point and will provide a few questions for a role-playing activity where the participants engage in a debate on digital rights. 

    Chapter 3: The invisible Internet 

    This chapter of curriculum focuses on the foundational aspects of the Internet, often unseen yet crucial for understanding its implications. As trainers, your role is to demystify these technical concepts making them accessible and engaging for learners. This chapter covers topics focused on the backbone of our modern digital communication networks.

    3.1 Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET), the predecessor of the modern Internet

    The Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET) was the pioneering network that served as the precursor to the modern Internet. Initiated in the late 1960s by the United States Department of Defense’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), ARPANET aimed to develop a communication network that could withstand potential nuclear attacks and enable shared data processing among research institutions. This goal led to groundbreaking advancements in digital communication technologies. 

    ARPANET’s most significant innovation was its implementation of packet-switching technology, which was designed to allow robust and efficient data transmission. Unlike the then-prevailing circuit-switching networks that required a dedicated connection for the duration of a communication session, packet-switching broke data into smaller, manageable packets that were sent independently over the network and reassembled at the destination. This method drastically improved the speed and reliability of data transfer, forming the foundation of modern digital communications. 

    The network’s development also led to the introduction of the TCP/IP protocol suite in the early 1980s, which standardized communication tasks at different layers, ensuring diverse network systems could interoperate seamlessly. This protocol became the standard for data exchange over the Internet, facilitating its expansion into a global network. As ARPANET evolved, it connected numerous universities and government facilities, fostering collaboration and the sharing of resources. 

    The transition from ARPANET to the Internet was marked by the gradual adoption of TCP/IP by other networks and the eventual decommissioning of ARPANET in 1990. The principles and technologies developed during its operation laid the groundwork for the expansive, robust global network we know today as the Internet. 

    For more information on the topic, you can visit Computer History Museum24.

    3.2 Distinction between the Internet and the World Wide Web 

     The Internet and the World Wide Web are distinct yet closely intertwined components of our digital world. The Internet is a vast network of computers and other electronic devices connected globally, allowing them to communicate. It serves as the underlying infrastructure that enables an array of digital communications across various services like email, file sharing, and online chatting, as well as the transfer of files and streaming of multimedia. 

    On the other hand, the World Wide Web, often simply called the web, is a way of accessing information over the medium of the Internet. It is an information system where documents and other web resources are identified by Uniform Resource Locators (URLs), which are interlinked by hypertext links and accessed via the Internet using web browsers. The web is just one of the ways that information can be disseminated over the Internet; it also includes services such as email, file sharing, and instant messaging. 

    Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web in 1989, envisioning a globally interconnected system of information that could be easily accessed across different computing platforms. While the Internet provided the infrastructure, the web offered a readable format and an easy-to-navigate interface through web browsers. HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) and HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) are two of the key technologies that make the web function, allowing users to create and navigate links among documents, images, videos, and other digital formats across the global network. 

    Understanding the distinction between the Internet and the World Wide Web is crucial as it highlights the depth and breadth of the digital environment. The Internet is the foundation, providing physical connections between different devices, while the World Wide Web is a service that operates over the Internet, providing an easy and accessible way to share and access information.  

    Suggestion for the trainer and participants: “Lo and Behold, Reveries of the Connected World” – A documentary by Werner Herzog that explores the history and implications of the Internet. 

    3.3 Internet infrastructure (including Internet protocols, DNS) 

     The Internet infrastructure encompasses a complex network of physical hardware and logical components that facilitate global digital communications. This infrastructure includes physical cables, routers, data centers, and satellites, which form the backbone of the Internet, enabling connectivity across continents and oceans. Alongside these physical elements, a series of protocols and systems govern how data is transmitted and managed across this vast network. 

    Among the most critical components of Internet infrastructure are the Internet protocols, particularly those in the TCP/IP suite, which organize digital communication. The Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and the Internet Protocol (IP) are foundational. TCP is responsible for breaking down data into packets, ensuring they are sent and assembled correctly at the destination, and managing the retransmission of any lost packets. IP handles the addressing and routing part, ensuring that packets are sent from the sender to the correct receiver across the network’s complex pathways. 

    Another vital component of the Internet’s infrastructure is the Domain Name System (DNS), which acts like a phone book for the Internet. DNS translates user-friendly domain names, such as “,” into IP addresses that computers use to identify each other on the network. This system is crucial because it allows users to access websites using easy-to-remember names instead of complex numerical IP addresses. 

    The robustness and efficiency of the Internet depend significantly on these protocols and systems working seamlessly to handle the vast quantities of data transferred across the network every second. Each component, from the physical cables to the DNS servers, plays a critical role in ensuring that the Internet remains operational and accessible to users around the globe. This infrastructure is not only a technological marvel but also a testament to international cooperation and engineering ingenuity. 

    3.4 The telecommunications network chain (submarine cables, last mile etc.) 

    The telecommunications network chain is an intricate system of interconnected technologies and infrastructure that supports global communication. This network spans from submarine cables buried deep under the oceans to the last mile connections that bring services directly to consumers’ homes and businesses. Each component of this chain plays a crucial role in ensuring efficient and continuous communication across the globe. 

    At the core of the global telecommunications infrastructure are submarine cables. These are long, fiber-optic cables laid on the ocean floor that connect continents and countries. They are responsible for the majority of international data transmission, carrying everything from Internet and telephone data to private data traffic. These cables are engineered to be highly durable and are capable of transmitting data at incredible speeds, making them the backbone of global connectivity. 

    After the data travels through these submarine cables, it reaches coastal landing stations, where it is then transmitted over terrestrial networks. These networks consist of a combination of underground and over-ground cables that span vast distances to connect cities and regions. The data travels through these networks until it reaches local exchanges or central offices, which then distributes the signal to individual neighborhoods. 

    The final leg of the telecommunications network is known as the “last mile,” which refers to the final segment of the network that delivers connectivity services to end-users. This part of the network can involve a variety of technologies depending on the geography, infrastructure, and service requirements. Common last mile solutions include copper wires, fiber-optic cables, coaxial cables for cable Internet, and wireless technologies such as cellular networks or satellite connections. The last mile is critical as it directly affects the quality of service that consumers experience, including speed, reliability, and latency of their Internet and telephone connections. 

    Overall, the telecommunications network chain is a testament to sophisticated engineering and international cooperation. It encompasses a wide range of technologies and infrastructures, each integral to providing the seamless global communication network that individuals and businesses depend on daily. 

    More illustrations and information can be found on the following website25

    The safety and security of the telecommunications network chain are crucial for ensuring service reliability and safeguarding human rights. 

     The physical safety of telecommunications infrastructure, such as submarine cables and terrestrial networks, is crucial. These components face threats from natural disasters, such as earthquakes and tsunamis, and human actions, including vandalism and targeted sabotage. For example, the severing of a major submarine cable can disrupt international communications and Internet access for large populations. This affects everything from personal communications to business operations and emergency services, highlighting the crucial role of robust and resilient infrastructure. 

    Cybersecurity is another critical concern. Networks within the telecommunications chain are prime targets for cyberattacks, which can lead to data breaches, service disruptions, and unauthorized surveillance. Such security breaches significantly impact privacy rights, as sensitive, personal, and business information can be exposed or misused. Insecure network infrastructures facilitate unauthorized access to personal information and surveillance activities, posing direct challenges to human rights laws, which advocate for the protection of individual privacy. 

    In conclusion maintaining the safety and security of the telecommunication network chain is essential for operational continuity and protecting fundamental human rights.  

    3.5 Proposed tools to be used 

    To effectively engage and educate learners on these topics, consider employing some the following tools and activities: 

    a. Expert Guest Lecture: Invite network, cybersecurity professionals or engineers who can provide insider insights into the working of Internet infrastructure and telecommunications networks. List of few organizations that work on cybersecurity26.  

    b. Case study analysis: You can present real-world scenarios or case studies where the understanding of Internet infrastructure significantly impacted digital rights or policy decisions. Examples: 

    • GDPR implementation – understanding the role of Internet infrastructure in data protection is crucial in the way that GDPR has influenced global data protection policies and data handling by companies worldwide. 
    • The Great Firewall of China – China’s implementation of widespread Internet censorship, known as the Great Firewall, illustrates the role of national Internet infrastructure in enforcing government policy. The Chinese government controls the flow of information through its strict regulation of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and content providers, using technologies embedded within its network infrastructure to block access to certain foreign websites and services, and monitor Internet traffic. 
    • Snowden Revelations and Surveillance – The 2013 disclosures by Edward Snowden about the NSA’s global surveillance activities highlighted the extent to which Internet infrastructure can be utilized for government espionage. These revelations included details about how telecommunications backbone infrastructures—major data routes between large, strategically important Internet nodes—were tapped to monitor and collect vast amounts of Internet communications data. This had a profound impact on international trust in digital communication and spurred policy changes and debates about privacy and surveillance in numerous countries. 

    c. Group Work: Research and present on selected topics related to Internet architecture, fostering collaboration and deep learning. 

    This chapter is dedicated to helping trainers to foster collaborative spirit with their audience by engaging them in group work. The trainer may use different approach but for illustration purposes we suggest using the following example: 

    es around digital rights and Internet freedom. 

    Chapter 4: Intersectional Perspectives in the Digital Age

    This chapter focuses on the critical interchapter of digital rights with other sectors, emphasizing the concept of intersectionality and its significance in the digital realm. It is designed for civil society activists, Internet freedom advocates, policymakers, trainers, and educators, enhancing their ability to advocate for more inclusive and equitable digital policies and practices.  

    4.1 Intersectionality and Digital Rights 

    Intersectionality is a theoretical framework that recognizes how various social identities can overlap, leading to complex forms of discrimination or, conversely, providing empowering experiences. In the digital world, this concept highlights that individuals may face multiple, simultaneous oppressions based on race, gender, socioeconomic status, age, disability, sexual orientation, and other identity markers as they interact online. For instance, a Muslim woman of African or Middle Eastern descent in Europe might encounter different forms of discrimination on social media compared to a Muslim man of the same ethnic background, as her experiences are shaped by the interchapter of race, religion, gender, and ethnicity. 

    Adopting an intersectional approach in digital spaces means acknowledging that those experiencing layered discrimination are often the most marginalized online. It involves understanding the structural nature of inequality—how algorithms, data collection practices, and platform norms contribute to and perpetuate digital discrimination. Recognizing the diversity within groups and the unique challenges faced by individuals with intersecting identities is crucial for developing digital policies and initiatives that effectively address and mitigate discrimination, ensuring equitable access and fair treatment in the increasingly digital facets of our lives. 

    Applying an intersectionality perspective in digital policy and programming is essential for advancing a human-rights-based approach that ensures no one is left behind. By focusing on those most vulnerable to human rights violations, particularly minorities and individuals facing multiple forms of discrimination, this approach aims to provide specific protection and advocate for their rights. It enhances the visibility, participation, and voice of marginalized communities, emphasizing that effective discrimination mitigation is closely tied to the empowerment and inclusion of affected individuals. This includes their active involvement in developing, implementing, and monitoring digital policies and programs. 

    Moreover, recognizing the non-homogeneity within social categories, intersectionality prevents oversimplified, one-size-fits-all solutions and fosters the development of tailored policies that acknowledge intra-group diversity. It promotes the use of disaggregated data to better understand and address the unique challenges faced by these groups, thereby informing more nuanced and effective policymaking. Ultimately, adopting an intersectional lens in the digital realm can drive transformative change by tackling the deep-rooted structural causes of inequality and discrimination, such as biased legal frameworks, exclusionary economic practices, and persistent socio-cultural norms. This comprehensive approach not only addresses immediate disparities but also works to dismantle the systemic barriers that perpetuate exclusion and inequality in digital environments. 

    The United Nations Network on Racial Discrimination of Minorities27 has created Guidance Note on intersectionality, racial discrimination and protection of minorities that could be used as a resource to develop training on the intersectionality in the digital realm, though the guidance is focused on overall intersectionality rather than in digital world, but it applies in the digital world as well. The link to the Guidance28.  

    More resources that could be used:  

    4.2 Proposed tools to be used 

    Trainers need to focus the training on the following key points: 

    • Theoretical foundation of intersectionality and its relevance in digital advocacy 
    • Real world implications of interchapter discrimination in digital environments 
    • Strategies for incorporating an intersectional approach in digital rights policies and practices. 

    For an engaging and comprehensive exploration of these topics, the following activities are recommended: 

    1. Guest Speakers: Invite speakers from the mentioned groups or experts on these global agendas to share their experiences and insights. This could include activists, legal experts, or individuals who have direct experience with how digital rights impact these various groups and areas.  
    2. Interactive Panel Discussions: Facilitate discussions on how digital rights intersect with global agendas (include perspective from vulnerable groups), enhancing understanding of broader impacts.  
    3. Case Study Analysis: Present case studies that show the real-world impacts of digital rights issues on different vulnerable groups. This could involve studying landmark cases or current events that demonstrate these interchapters. Trainers may use cases that are made available by the organizations that are supporting vulnerable groups like Digital Freedom Fund`s29
    4. Collaborative Projects: Engage participants in group projects that require researching and presenting on specific intersectional issues in digital rights. This approach promotes collaborative learning and a deeper understanding of the complexities involved. 

    Chapter 5: Digital Advocacy 

    This chapter is critically important as it equips learners with the knowledge and skills necessary for effective advocacy, a key component for civil activists and human rights defenders. This part of the curriculum references publicly available toolkits that could be used to create effective advocacy strategies.

    5.1 Concepts and best practices in digital advocacy

    Introducing the foundational concepts of digital advocacy, exploring best practices, and identifying key tools and skills essential for impactful online campaigns.  

    Advocacy on the one hand involves the promotion, recommendation, or encouragement of decision-makers to support a cause, policy, product, idea, or way of doing things. It is about persuading those in positions of influence, such as politicians, religious leaders, bureaucrats, or even the general public depending on the specific goals of the advocacy efforts. The essence of advocacy is to effect change or sustain certain policies, practices, or laws that benefit a group or community. 

    Digital advocacy on the other hand refers to the use of digital technologies to galvanize people towards a common goal or objective by influencing public perception or policymaking. This form of advocacy utilizes platforms such as social media, blogs, newsletters, and instant messaging to engage audiences and disseminate information quickly and broadly. Digital tools not only allow for an extensive reach but also provide opportunities for engaging more effectively and at a lower cost compared to traditional methods. Digital advocacy can be directed towards various ends, including changing behavior, influencing policy, fundraising, raising awareness, changing perceptions, or inspiring action. 

    And using digital advocacy for digital rights involves using online tools and technologies to protect and promote Internet freedoms and user rights. Advocates employ social media campaigns, blogs, and interactive web platforms to educate the public about critical issues such as digital privacy, net neutrality, and the dangers of censorship and surveillance. These efforts help in building an informed user base that understands and values their online rights. 

    Advocacy efforts often extend to influencing public policy by mobilizing support through online petitions, email campaigns, and coordinated social media movements aimed at pressuring lawmakers to adopt favorable digital rights legislation. These activities are pivotal in shaping laws that govern data protection, cybersecurity, and digital platforms. 

    Furthermore, digital tools empower advocates to quickly assemble online communities around shared concerns. Creating hashtags, hosting webinars, and forming online coalitions enable the construction of a strong collective voice, showcasing the public’s demand for robust digital rights protections. 

    Monitoring and reporting violations of digital rights are also crucial components of digital advocacy. Using crowdsourcing tools, users worldwide can report incidents like Internet censorship and data privacy breaches. This real-time data can be a powerful tool in challenging and addressing these infringements. 

    Additionally, digital advocacy provides educational resources, online training, and toolkits that transcend borders, empowering individuals, and organizations globally with the knowledge and skills to advocate for their digital rights effectively. These resources ensure that more people are equipped to engage in and lead advocacy efforts within their communities. Some of the available resources online are part of this chapter, so make sure you check and use them for the purpose of conducting training or preparing an advocacy strategy to improve the protection of digital rights.  

    Lastly, digital platforms can facilitate access to legal support and resources, providing vital assistance for those facing digital rights violations. This support includes connecting individuals with legal experts and offering guidance on navigating legal challenges, ensuring that rights are defended both online and offline. 

    a. Resources of successful digital advocacy toolkits 

    Resources of successful digital advocacy toolkits that could be used by the trainers: 

    b. Examples of successful advocacy campaigns for Internet freedoms 

    – Save the Internet – Net Neutrality Advocacy: Save the Internet is a coalition advocating for the preservation of Net Neutrality, which involves treating all Internet traffic equally. Founded in April 2006, the campaign asserts the need for a “First Amendment” of the Internet, similar to the First Amendment in the U.S. Constitution, which protects freedoms of speech and the press30.  

    – #KeepItOn – Against Internet Shutdowns: The #KeepItOn campaign, led by Access Now since 2016, involves more than 300 organizations from 105 countries. It fights against Internet shutdowns through advocacy, policymaker engagement, technical support, and legal intervention31.  

    – DPR Advocacy – Data Protection and Privacy: Privacy International contributed significantly to the revision process of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) from its inception. The campaign involved developing policy objectives, collaborating with other NGOs, and participating in various advocacy activities, including meetings with Members of the European Parliament, and developing educational resources32.  

    – Alliance for Affordable Internet – Digital Inclusion: The Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI) is a global coalition that aims to reduce the cost of Internet access in low- and middle-income countries through policy and regulatory reform. Their focus is on making the Internet more affordable and accessible33.  

    c. Hands-on Workshop: Provide practical sessions on utilizing digital tools listed above for advocacy. These workshops will guide participants through the process of creating and launching effective digital campaigns, integrating strategies for maximizing reach and engagement. 

    d. Ready-made example for the trainer: 

    5.3 Peer Review

    Organize sessions where groups can present their campaign ideas or prototypes for evaluation and feedback from their peers. This peer review process encourages collaborative learning and constructive critique, enhancing the quality and impact of digital advocacy initiatives. 

    5.4 Case Studies and Success Stories

    Analyze real-world examples of successful digital advocacy campaigns, particularly those led by youth or grassroots movements. This analysis can provide valuable insights into effective strategies and tactics. Consider some successful campaign worldwide like: #NeverAgain – youth led movements promoting gun control legislation, #MeToo – women movement against sexual harassment, #KeepItOn – movement against Internet shutdowns through advocacy, policymaker engagement, technical support, and legal intervention, etc.  

    5.5 Expert Q&A Sessions

    Arrange sessions with experienced digital advocates or campaigners who can offer insights, answer questions, and share their journey, providing inspiration and practical advice. The expertise could be provided by several CSOs or coalitions working on promoting digital rights such as: 

    1. Access Now 
    2. Article 19 
    3. Amnesty International 
    4. Freedom House 
    5. Internews 

    Chapter 6: Advance topics and Case Studies 

    This chapter is designed to get deeper into complex issues and real-world applications in the realm of digital rights. It focuses on advanced topics and regional case studies, providing learners with an opportunity to analyze, discuss, and propose solutions to contemporary challenges in the digital world.

    6.1 Advance topics on Internet freedom and digital rights 

    In this section, we provide information on advanced topics related to Internet freedom and digital rights, preparing the trainers to develop their comprehensive training programs. You will explore cutting edge issues such as Artificial Intelligence, the Internet of Things and cybersecurity, examining their implications for digital rights. We will also address the role of blockchain technology in safeguarding digital rights and understand the broader impact of emerging technologies on the digital landscape.  

    a. Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, and Cybersecurity

    Exploration of AI and IoT technologies, focusing on their applications and the associated digital rights concerns, including surveillance, data collection, and automated decision-making. AI and IoT are increasingly integrated into various sectors including healthcare, transportation, and smart cities, enhancing efficiencies and capabilities. For instance, AI algorithms can predict traffic flows or medical outcomes, while IoT devices like smart meters and wearable health monitors continuously collect vast amounts of data.  

    Analysis of the cybersecurity challenges posed by these technologies and their implications for individual and collective digital security. The cybersecurity challenges posed by AI and IoT impact both individual and collective security. On an individual level, breaches can lead to identity theft or unauthorized surveillance. Collectively, compromised IoT devices can be harnessed to launch large-scale DDoS attacks, and flawed AI can lead to widespread misinformation or faulty automated decisions affecting many people. 

    Some useful links that the trainer may use for further information on the topic34a 34b

    b. Blockchain and Digital Rights

    Examination of blockchain technology and its potential in areas like digital identity, data integrity, and decentralization. Blockchain technology has the potential to significantly impact digital rights, particularly in the areas of digital identity, data integrity, and decentralization. For instance, blockchain can enhance transparency and accountability in digital transactions and provide a secure environment for digital voting and smart contracts, safeguarding against tampering and unauthorized access. However, it also presents challenges, such as the potential for increased surveillance and the difficulty of rectifying incorrect information once it is part of the blockchain. The technology’s decentralized nature can both protect and challenge digital rights, making its governance and implementation critical areas for policy development and ethical consideration. 

    Discussion on how blockchain can both safeguard and challenge digital rights, considering its use in scenarios like digital voting or smart contracts. 

    A useful link that trainer may use for more information about the impact of the blockchain for human rights35

    c. Impact of Emerging Technologies on Digital Rights

    Emerging technologies are significantly transforming the landscape of digital rights, offering both opportunities and challenges. These technologies that we covered in this chapter, can enhance digital rights by providing new ways to protect privacy and improve data security. However, they also pose potential threats, including surveillance, data breaches, and erosion of freedom of expression. In this regard, these implications need to be critically examined. Trainers should explore these dynamics to understand the dual-edged nature of technological advancements and prepare for their impacts on digital rights. Below this section we provide tools and means to address these issues in your training, but keep in mind that these technologies are rapidly evolving so make sure your information are updated on your training curriculum. For further information please consider these resources36

    6.2 Regional Case Studies 

    The following regional case studies could be potentially used by the trainer for the preparation of the training depending on the region, state and the current issue that will be delivered. These are just some of the cases that are addressed by the Internews program but as a trainer feel free to use other cases as well. 


    1. Zimbabwe: Strategic Litigation and Internet shutdowns 
    2. Zambia: Digital Economy for Africa (DE4A) Initiative 
    3. Promoting a Multilingual Internet: The Digital Inclusion of African Languages 

    South and Southeast Asia/Central Asia 

    1. Myanmar: Democracy and Digital Authoritarianism 
    2. Philippines: Independent Digital Media (Rappler) versus the State (Philippines) 
    3. Kazakhstan: Monitoring and Surveillance relying on Pegasus Spyware 

    Europe/ The Balkans 

    1. Bosnia, Herzegovina and North Macedonia (Digital Rights Violations): Sarajevo and Skopje Pride Parade,  
    2. Serbia: Surveillance and Facial Recognition Software 
    3. EU (Regulation of Online Platforms and Content): The European Parliament’s Digital Services Act and the Digital Markets Act (DMA) 

    6.3 Discussion on Emerging Technologies

    Groups will discuss the impact of emerging technologies on data protection and privacy. This discussion should cover how technologies like AI, blockchain, and IoT are reshaping the landscape of digital rights and the challenges they pose. 

    6.4 Presentation

    Each group will present their findings, strategies, and potential solutions to their assigned case studies. This activity allows participants to synthesize their research and analysis into coherent presentations, fostering a deeper understanding of the topics. 

    6.5 Interactive Q&A

    Following the presentations, an interactive Q&A session will be held. This will enable participants to engage directly with the presenters, asking questions and exploring further the nuances of each case. The questions may vary depending on the presentation but just for illustration the following question may be raised: 

    1. For the Zimbabwe case study on Internet shutdowns: How do you assess the long-term impact of strategic litigation on government policies regarding Internet access? 
    2. Regarding the DE4A Initiative in Zambia: What specific challenges did the initiative face in promoting digital economy, and how were these overcome? 
    3. On promoting a multilingual Internet in Africa: Can you elaborate on the main barriers to digital inclusion for African languages and the strategies used to address these? 
    4. Concerning Myanmar’s digital authoritarianism: How has the political landscape influenced the implementation of digital rights and what measures can be taken to protect them in such an environment? 
    5. For the EU’s Digital Services Act and DMA: What are the anticipated effects of these regulations on smaller tech companies and how might they impact innovation in the digital sector? 

    6.6 Group Activity

    Assign different regional case studies to groups for in-depth exploration 

    6.7 Digital Rights School Agendas (See Annex 2)

    Chapter 7: Curriculum Adaptation Workshop 

    This chapter is dedicated to empowering civil society activists, human rights defenders and practitioners to tailor this curriculum to their specific context and needs. Bearing in mind that digital rights issues vary greatly across different regions and communities, this workshop is designated to facilitate a dynamic and collaborative adaptation process.

    7.1 Interactive Session

    In this session, participants from CSOs, HRDs and other practitioners will actively engage in brainstorming how to adapt and apply the curriculum effectively to their unique environments. This could involve: 

    7.2 Identifying Local Needs

    Discussing the specific digital rights challenges and opportunities in their regions/countries. 

    7.3 Cultural and Contextual Adaptation

    Modifying the curriculum content to resonate with local cultural, social, and political nuances. 

    7.4 Resource Identification

    Pinpointing local resources, case studies, and examples that can be integrated into the curriculum to make it more relevant and impactful. 

    7.5 Feedback Loop

    Establishing a structured mechanism for participants to provide constructive feedback on the curriculum is essential for its continuous improvement. This could include: 

    • Post-Workshop Surveys: To gather immediate feedback on the workshop experience and suggestions for curriculum improvement. 
    • Ongoing Communication Channels: Setting up forums, email lists, or social media groups where participants can continuously share their experiences, challenges, and insights as they implement the curriculum. 

    7.6 Example Activities for the Workshop

    • Case Study Adaptation Exercises: Group work on adapting provided global case studies to their local contexts, discussing how the issues and solutions may differ. 
    • Utilizing existing agendas: utilize existing agendas from chapter 6 (6.7) where appropriate. 
    • Role-Playing Scenarios: Participants engage in role-playing exercises to explore how they would teach various modules of the curriculum in their specific cultural and political contexts. 
    • Curriculum Mapping: Participants create a “map” of the curriculum, identifying areas where local content and examples could be integrated. 
    • Facilitator Sharing Session: Experienced facilitators share insights and tips on effectively teaching and adapting the curriculum. 
    Icon representing design, layers, graphic design, web design, teamwork, team, design team, discuss

    Chapter 8: Evaluation & Feedback 

    The final chapter of this curriculum is designed to ensure the effectiveness of the training and to support the ongoing application of the learned material. It focuses on gathering feedback and providing follow-up mechanisms to help participants integrate and apply their new knowledge and skills in their respective contexts.

    8.1 Interactive Surveys

    After completing the training, participants should be invited to complete interactive surveys. The survey is essential for:  

    • Assessing Training Effectiveness: Gathering participant opinions on the content, delivery, and applicability of the training. We suggest using pre/post evaluation to measure the improvement of the participants pre and post the training.  
    • Identifying Areas for Improvement: Helping to pinpoint aspects of the curriculum that could be enhanced or require additional resources. 
    • Measuring Impact: Evaluating how the training has impacted the participants’ understanding, skills, and confidence in digital rights advocacy. 
    • Gathering Suggestions: Collecting ideas and suggestions from participants for future training or additional resources. 

    8.2 Follow-up Mechanism

    To ensure the training has a lasting impact and to support the practical application of the curriculum, a follow-up mechanism should be established. This might include: 

    • Periodic Check-Ins: Scheduled post-training check-ins via email or virtual meetings to discuss how participants are applying their learning and to offer further support or guidance. 
    • Success Stories and Challenges Sharing: Encouraging participants to share their success stories and challenges in applying the curriculum, either through the online portal or during follow-up meetings. 
    • Refresher Courses: Offering short refresher courses or updates on the curriculum to keep participants engaged and up to date with the latest developments in the field of digital rights. 

    Chapter 9 – Additional Training and Workshop Resources 

    To further support trainers and facilitators in delivering effective and engaging workshops, this chapter provides additional resources and guidance. These resources are tailored to enhance the delivery of the curriculum and ensure that it resonates with various audiences. The components of this chapter include: 

    Workshop facilitation techniques: This chapter offers a comprehensive guide to effective workshop facilitation. It includes:  

    Best Practices: Guidelines on how to engage participants, manage group dynamics, and create an inclusive learning environment. 

    Facilitation Skills Development: Tips and techniques for enhancing presentation skills, fostering interactive discussions, and handling questions or challenges during workshops. 

    Adaptation Strategies: Strategies to tailor workshops to different audiences, contexts, and learning styles. 

    Sample workshop agendas for different audiences (see Annex 2): As indicated in the Annex 2, this resource provides templates and examples of workshop agendas that can be customized for various audiences, such as: 

    Educational Institutions: Agendas tailored for students, educators, or academic researchers. 

    Civil Society Organizations: Workshops designed for activists, NGO workers, or community leaders. 

    Best Practices for training facilitation techniques: 

    1. Preparation and planning 

    • Understand your audience: Tailor your training content to the participants` background, needs and learning styles through needs assessment. The trainer should prepare and deliver needs assessment for the participants prior to the training. 
    • Clear Objective and agenda: Define clear goals and create detailed agenda that respects time constraints, include breaks and allows different interaction types. 

    2. Create an inclusive environment 

    • Encourage participation: use open-ended questions, group discussion and activities to foster engagement. We have provided several templates throughout the Curriculum as a baseline to create your own training. 

    3. Varied Instructional Methods 

    • Interactive Activities: incorporate role-playing, ice breakers, case studies and simulations to make the learning experience practical and interactive. You may leverage on the templates and examples shared within this curriculum. 
    • Multimedia tools: Use videos, infographics, memes, and digital tools to cater different learning styles. 

    4. Facilitate, don`t lecture 

    • Guide discussions: Act as a facilitator rather than a lecturer, guiding participants through activities and discussions. 
    • Improvisations skills: Be prepared to adapt the session on the fly to meet the group needs. 

    5. Real world implications 

    • Relate to practical scenarios:  Use real life examples, and case studies that participants can relate to their own experience. 
    • Hands on practice:  allow participants to practice new skills in a safe environment.  

    6. Feedback mechanisms: 

    • Immediate feedback: provide constructive feedback during activities to reinforce learning. 
    • Post-training survey: use detailed survey to gather feedback on the training`s effectiveness and areas for improvement. 

    7. Maintain energy and engagement 

    • Breaks and energizers: Incorporate short breaks and energizer to keep participants refreshed and focused. 

    8. Follow up and reinforcement: 

    • Post-training support: provide resources, follow up session and access to a community of practice, if appropriate. 

    9. Leveraging technology: 

    • Online facilitation tools: use tools like Mentimeter, Miro and Google Docs for collaboration and engagement in virtual settings.  

    By providing these additional resources, trainers and facilitators are equipped with content and methods and tools to deliver it effectively. This comprehensive approach ensures that the workshops are informative, engaging, and adaptable to the needs of diverse audiences.  

    Chapter 10: Final Remarks

    As part of this initiative, our goal is to educate new digital human rights and Internet freedoms advocates, capable of holding governments accountable for digital rights violations, and to build the capacity of new actors and traditional human rights advocates so that they include the digital aspect of human rights in their work. 

    The Internet is a powerful tool for communication, innovation, and the exercise of human rights. However, its full potential can only be realized in an environment that respects digital rights and fosters Internet freedoms.