Christchurch Call - Next steps

4 July 2019

Blog by Dr. Ellen Strickland, Chief Advisor, International

It’s been nearly two months since the Christchurch Call was made from Paris, led by Prime Minister Ardern, committing tech companies and governments to address terrorism and violent extremism online. From and since those meetings, companies and governments made a range of collective and individual commitments to action. An example of these commitments is available here

As a result of the Call process and these commitments, New Zealand has a new role and international leadership on the Internet issue of terrorism and violent extremism online.  Various parts of the New Zealand Government are working on the task of taking the impetus of the Christchurch Call and seeing it deliver the commitments and intentions of the Call. The workstreams now underway must deliver meaningful change, and must also collaborate and engage with the community in doing so if these solutions are to be sound. 

This work is focusing on a few areas to start with, including crisis response protocol development, research, algorithms, and importantly the mechanism, or mechanisms, for delivering all this work. One possible element in this work is a refounding of the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism to support this work. There are a lot of things that can be done and a lot of ways to do them, so figuring out the best way forward is complex, especially when dealing with the complex issues of terrorism and violent extremism online. It is hoped that by the end of September this year, the workstreams will have made some initial progress and have plans for how the work will progress.

As we did around the processes leading up to the 15 May Christchurch Call itself, InternetNZ have been working to support government and civil society, both domestically and internationally, to engage in putting these commitments into an action plan that addresses the issues at hand, while preserving Internet openness - in architecture, technology and governance. That requires technical experts, researchers and civil society to be involved as well as governments and companies. InternetNZ is working to support others to be a part of the work now underway, as well as engaging with the expertise and experience we can bring to the table to help this work. 

An open online space at https://christchurchcallcoord.internetnz.nz/ continues to serve as a coordination point for the broad Internet community, including international civil society, to discuss and collaborate around engagement.

We will also convene other meetings and spaces for stakeholders around this process, as useful, to enable the New Zealand Internet community to meet and discuss actions taken to meet these commitments. InternetNZ continues to work and engage with the New Zealand Government directly on these challenging Internet issues and how to best address them.

As part of informing our work as InternetNZ, we had a series of meetings across New Zealand with members of InternetNZ in May to discuss how New Zealand might best respond to the issues of terrorism and violent extremism online. The Policy team will share the key takeouts from those meetings next week.

Our next step will be to provide a detailed analysis of the issues. Our new Policy Director, Kim Connolly-Stone, will be leading the team on this work. We are delighted to have Kim join InternetNZ last week and I’ve moved into the role of Chief Advisor, International, so will be working with Kim and the whole InternetNZ team in that capacity now.

 As part of our work, we will be engaging with InternetNZ members and the wider Internet community, including through NetHui in October in Wellington this year. The Policy team are also keeping across developments on any domestic steps that are being looked at, around these issues. InternetNZ is committed to working with government agencies on any proposed changes to New Zealand policies or laws. 

The Christchurch attacks were terrible, and none of us relishes the need for these commitments and actions. However, we at InternetNZ fundamentally believe that these commitments and actions will be most appropriate if informed and tested by the diversity of perspectives in the Internet community. We will address these challenges best together, and it is our commitment to work with all of you to do that.