Privacy & Security

The Five Steps Of Cyber Policymaking For Human Rights Defenders

Global Partners Digital Cyber Policymaking
A screenshot of the new interactive tool by Global Partners Digital
Cathleen Berger
Written by Cathleen Berger

This is a guest post by Cathleen Berger from Global Partners Digital.


Cyber policymaking can be difficult territory.

The number of forums, stakeholders and bodies involved can seem endless, their relationships to each other mysterious. Technical and legal jargon is common. In short, it’s not always the most welcoming or open environment, and this can discourage human rights defenders from getting involved.

This is a real problem. In the absence of these voices, cyber issues are being narrowly defined in terms of security, with serious implications for a range of human rights. No-one, of course, would deny that real threats exist in cyberspace – from financial fraud to identity theft. But in many instances state actors are overplaying these threats to justify increased surveillance and control over the web. Contesting this will require the active participation of a diverse range of voice at every stage of the cycle.

In response to this challenge, Global Partners Digital have just launched a new framework to help human rights defenders engage more effectively with cyber policymaking. The framework was developed as part of the cyber capacity building programme I lead. It’s an interactive tool which guides users through the five different stages required for the adoption of legislation, policies, strategies and other national positions, with questions, prompts and advice at each step. Take a look here.

Multistakeholder framework for national cyber policymaking processes

  1. Issue identification and and agenda-setting
  2. Problem-solving and deliberation
  3. Drafting and policymaking
  4. Validation and implementation
  5. Evaluation

We hope that this tool will make engagement in policymaking easier for human rights defenders. At the same time, it’s by no means a final or definitive product. It’s a living resource, and over the coming months we’ll be highlighting case studies from our partners in Chile, Kenya and Indonesia, sharing their insights, experiences and lessons learned from trialling it in their local contexts.

But we want your feedback too. Help us refine and improve the framework by commenting on it here; or drop me an email at cathleen{@}gp-digital.org. We’d love to know what you think.

About the author

Cathleen Berger

Cathleen Berger

Cathleen Berger is currently shaping and implementing a programme at
Global Partners Digital aimed at empowering underrepresented voices in
national, regional, and international cyber policy debates and
decision-making processes. As programme lead, she is responsible for
research, analysis and the development of effective strategies for
engagement, working alongside partner civil society actors, policy and
regional experts. She can be reached at cathleen(at)gp-digital.org as
well as via Twitter, @_cberger_.

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