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Catalonia wants to be a pioneer in cybersecurity. The Catalan foreign minister, Victòria Alsina, has travelled to Switzerland to present the Geneva Declaration on Targeted Surveillance and Human Rights, a commitment promoted by the Catalan executive and the digital rights NGO Access Now, which addresses the international regulation of targeted surveillance technologies. As the minister explained in a joint presentation, the Catalan executive wants to declare Catalonia as the second territory in the world free of cyberespionage software, after Costa Rica. It was intended that Alsina would be accompanied this Thursday by Jordi Puigneró, as minister for digital policies, but his dismissal last night by president Pere Aragonès prevented the trip. "We have the task of putting this country on the cutting edge, to help overcome economic and social difficulties and make it free," he wrote. The foreign minister thanked Puigneró for his work and stated her hope that the "the spirit of unity" of the 1st October would be recovered.

Regulating surveillance

Alsina participated this Thursday in the presentation of the so-called Geneva Declaration on Targeted Surveillance and Human Rights, a collective commitment to defend human rights in the digital age and promote the international regulation of targeted surveillance technologies, promoted jointly by the government of Catalonia and the NGO Access Now. The initiative marks a new contribution to the global debate on the protection of privacy in the digital age. The Geneva Declaration was presented as part of the event "Spyware: a threat to Human Rights and Democracy" organized by Access Now, a recognized non-governmental organization leading the defence of digital rights. The Declaration has already won the support of thirty prominent institutions and personalities, the Catalan internal affairs department reported in a press release.

Catalonia, pioneer and surveillance-free

The Catalan government commits itself to this Declaration and makes an international call to establish a global moratorium on the export, sale, transfer, service and use of targeted digital technologies until rigorous human rights safeguards are established to regulate these practices. In this regard, the executive vows to work to assume a commitment to declare Catalonia as a territory free of targeted surveillance software, a milestone that would make it the second territory in the world to position itself in this way, after Costa Rica. When starting work on the Declaration a few months ago, vice president Puigneró pointed out that "Catalonia is and wants to remain a leading country in the defence of digital rights as one of the human rights of the 21st century". The Geneva Declaration is open for signing and the organizers call on institutions, the academic community and associations defending human rights to join the initiative by signing here.

Without Puigneró

The minister Alsina was supposed to be partnering Jordi Puigneró in Geneva this Thursday, but, in the context of the Catalan coalition government's grave crisis, he was sacked from the cabinet by president Aragonès last night over a confidence question. His fellow Junts colleague Alsina defended her presence at the event, pointing out that her commitment to the country is "total" and that it was "important to show that the Government's action continues". "I have come to assert the Catalan government's role in the defence of digital rights and to ensure that CatalanGate is not repeated elsewhere," she pointed out. In line with the message she published this morning on social media, Alsina also recognized once again the work of Puigneró and regretted that the political situation in Catalonia is going through "a complicated period". She regretted the "noise" that prevents the executive "from being able to concentrate on governing the country at a complex time" and emphasized that "this is not what should happen".