The aim of Recommendation CM/Rec(2014)6 of the Committee of Ministers to member States on a Guide to human rights for Internet users is to foster the exercise and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms on the Internet in all Council of Europe member States. Individuals' and communities' access to the Internet and best use of it necessitate efforts to inform and empower them to exercise their rights and freedoms in online environments. This approach had been affirmed by the Committee of Ministers in its Declaration on Internet Governance Principles, of 2011, in which it underlined its vision of a people-centred and human rights based approach to the Internet which empowered Internet users to exercise their rights and freedoms on the Internet as a principle of Internet governance.
The Guide, which is annexed to this recommendation, offers some basic information on selected human rights in the European Convention on Human Rights and from other relevant Council of Europe standards. It focuses on particular rights and freedoms and related international law standards, in particular regarding the right to freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and association, the right to privacy and protection of personal data, children's rights, and the right to an effective remedy. It has been drafted in a language that is easy for users to understand. To keep the text as simple as possible, the Committee of Experts on Rights of Internet Users decided not to refer to the strict legal wording of member States' obligations in international law, including the case law of the Court.
Human rights and fundamental freedoms are guaranteed in various Council of Europe instruments which are applicable both to offline and online environments, thus not exclusively to the Internet. Notably, human rights and fundamental freedoms are enshrined in the ECHR which is interpreted by the Court in its case law. A number of Council of Europe conventions and other non-binding instruments offer additional explanation and orientation for Internet users. The Committee of Experts on Rights of Internet Users considered that in order for Internet users to understand their rights and freedoms there was a need to explain in simple wording relevant international law standards of the Council of Europe and the United Nations.