Strasbourg, 17.04.2014 – The Council of Europe today launched a guide for internet users to help them better understand their human rights online and what they can do when these rights are challenged.
The creation of the Guide was triggered by the need to empower users to exercise their human rights online. Generally, their rights are set out in the terms of service of Internet companies, which are mostly lengthy legal contractual conditions which are seldom read and even more seldom fully understood.
The Guide focuses on the human rights on which the internet has most impact: access and non-discrimination, freedom of expression and information, freedom of assembly, association and participation, privacy and data protection, education and literacy, protection of children and young people, and the right to effective remedies for violations of human rights.
Adopted by the Committee of Ministers representing the 47 member states of the Council of Europe, it is based on the rights and freedoms contained in the European Convention on Human Rights, as interpreted by the European Court of Human Rights, and on other Council of Europe conventions and legal texts.
Welcoming the Guide’s adoption, Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland said: “Governments, private companies and other actors have a duty to respect human rights offline and online. We will work with them to apply the guide, and to ensure that internet users have access to effective remedies when they believe their rights have been restricted or violated.”
The Guide was developed with broad multi-stakeholder consultation with governments, private companies, in particular telecommunication and online service providers, civil society organisations, and representatives of the technical community and academia.