The CYRILLA Collaborative is a global initiative established in 2019 with the goal to map and analyse the evolution and impacts of legal frameworks in digital environments. CYRILLA is an open, federated online database that facilitates and accelerates the sharing, comparison, visualisation, and interoperability of legal information on digital rights. The Collaborative consists of five organisations: The Centre for Intellectual Property and Information Technology Law (CIPIT), Social Media Exchange (SMEX), Association for Progressive Communications (APC), Derechos Digitales (DD), and Columbia Global Freedom of Expression (CGFoE). At its core, CYRILLA organises and makes accessible legislation and case law that affects human rights in digital environments so that a wide range of actors can readily assess legal trends and their impacts in digitally networked spaces.

The digital civic space remains under threat: governments continue to enact repressive policies to control and censor the activities of civil society, and weaponize mass surveillance capabilities to persecute those who oppose them, while technology companies exploit legal gaps and loopholes disregarding basic rights all over the world. The online abuse of state power online translates to the undermining of basic human rights offline, and civil society often operates in environments without strong legal protections or accessible avenues for political participation. CYRILLA  addresses the increasingly urgent need to promote internet freedom, human rights, and the free flow of information by enabling users to leverage its database of legislation, case law, and analyses to strengthen policy advocacy efforts.

CYRILLA also tries to fill the gap resulted from the lack of accessible, reliable resources that catalogue national-level legislation and case law affecting Internet freedom, which is making it difficult for digital rights advocates and other stakeholders to conceptualise these frameworks, identify their weaknesses, analyse emerging trends, qualify their impact and, most important, push for reform. This absence of information not only affects activists but also human rights lawyers, judges and tribunals, legislators - and policy-makers, and researchers and journalists, all of whom are tasked albeit with making sense of the digital age in different ways.

CYRILLA is hosted on Uwazi, an open-source web-based database, developed by Human Rights Information and Documentation Systems (HURIDOCS), and dedicated to helping human rights defenders manage the collection and documentation processes of information. It offers an interactive interface empowered by machine learning features to allow smoother accessibility. CYRILLA is also supported by visualisations created by Data4Change that help connect and contextualise the data in accessible and meaningful ways.

Partner profiles


SMEX is a non-profit that advocates for and advances human rights in digital spaces across West Asia and North Africa since 2008 through research, campaigns, and advocacy. SMEX encourages users to engage with digital technology, media, and social networks responsibly and critically.


CIPIT is a research centre and think tank based at Strathmore University in Nairobi, Kenya. Its mission is to study, create, and share knowledge on the development of intellectual property (IP) and information technology (IT), especially as they contribute to African Law, Policy, and Human Rights.

Derechos Digitales

Derechos Digitales is an independent non-profit organisation based in Chile, established in 2005, working across Latin America to defend and promote the exercise of human rights in the digital environment, in particular related to freedom of expression, privacy, and access to knowledge and information.


The Association for Progressive Communications (APC) is a membership-based network of organisations and activists, founded in 1990, to empower individuals, organisations and social movements to use information and communications technologies (ICTs) to build strategic communities to contribute to equitable human development, social justice, participatory political processes and environmental sustainability.


Global Freedom of Expression, established in 2014, is an Initiative of Columbia University Housed at the Office of the President. It brings together international experts and activists to undertake research and policy projects, organize events and conferences, and contributes to global debates on protecting freedom of expression and information. The Global Case Law Database, our flagship project, is an open access resource for a broad audience of stakeholders working on freedom of expression to survey jurisprudence around the world, critically review exemplary cases, engage in comparative analysis, and identify national, regional and global trends.


Human Rights Information and Documentation Systems (HURIDOCS) is an NGO that helps human rights groups gather, organise and use information to create positive change in the world. Since 1982, HURIDOCS has developed methodologies and tools that make it easier not only to manage collections of evidence, law and research, but also to analyse them for insights.


Data4Change is a non-profit with a global network of creative talent collaborating with people and organisations at the intersection of data, design, technology and journalism on projects that forge real change and have lasting impact by helping them transform data into accessible and engaging content.