Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Human Rights Guide for Internet Users

Human Rights Guide for Internet Users

Tarlach McGonagle
Institute for Information Law (IViR), University of Amsterdam

On 16 April 2014, the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers (CM) adopted Recommendation CM/Rec(2014)6 to member States as a Guide to human rights for Internet users (hereafter, “the Guide”). Among the starting premises of the Recommendation are: (i) human rights standards, as elaborated by the Council of Europe, must be upheld on the Internet, and (ii) in safeguarding human rights, states’ obligations include “the oversight of private bodies”. The Recommendation stresses that “human rights, which are universal and indivisible, and related standards, prevail over the general terms and conditions imposed on Internet users by any private sector actor”.

....Unusually, the Guide directly addresses “you, the Internet user”, in keeping with its intention to serve as a tool for you “to learn about your human rights online, their possible limitations, and available remedies for such limitations”. It sets out to synthesize and explain existing (Council of Europe) standards - not to create new ones.

The Guide addresses and is organised around the following themes: access and non-discrimination; freedom of expression and information; assembly, association and participation; privacy and data protection; education and literacy; children and young people, and effective remedies. The specific implications of each theme in an online context are teased out. There is recurrent attention given to the roles of public authorities and private actors in respecting human rights and providing redress for breaches of human rights.

 Extract from: the IRIS Newsletter.