To ensure that existing human rights and fundamental freedoms apply equally offline and online, the Committee of Ministers recommends:

Action 1 - Actively promote the Guide to human rights for Internet users, as set out in the Appendix, among citizens, public authorities and private sector actors and take specific action regarding its application in order to enable users to fully exercise their human rights and fundamental freedoms online.

Action 2 - Assess, regularly review and, as appropriate, remove restrictions regarding the exercise of rights and freedoms on the Internet, especially when they are not in conformity with the Convention in the light of the relevant case law of the European Court of Human Rights. Any restriction must be prescribed by law, necessary in a democratic society to pursue a legitimate aim and proportionate to the legitimate aim pursued.

Action 3 - Ensure that Internet users have access to effective remedies when their rights and freedoms have been restricted or when they believe that their rights have been violated. This requires enhancing co-ordination and co-operation among relevant institutions, entities and communities. It also necessitates the engagement of and effective co-operation with private sector actors and civil society organisations. Depending on the national context, this may include redress mechanisms such as those provided by data protection authorities, national human rights institutions (such as ombudspersons), court procedures and hotlines.

Action 4 - Promote co-ordination with other State and non-State actors, within and beyond the Council of Europe, with regard to the standards and procedures which have an impact on the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms on the Internet.

Action 5 - Encourage the private sector to engage in genuine dialogue with relevant State authorities and civil society in the exercise of their corporate social responsibility, in particular their transparency and accountability, in line with the "Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights: implementing the United Nations ‘Protect, Respect and Remedy' Framework". The private sector should also be encouraged to contribute to the dissemination of the guide.

Action 6 - Encourage civil society to support the dissemination and application of the guide so that it provides an effective tool for Internet users.

See the full text of Recommendation.

Explanatory Memo >>

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Internet Users Rights

In Brief
Council of Europe member States are recommended to actively promote the guide to human rights for Internet users; assess, review, remove restrictions regarding the exercise of rights on the Internet; ensure that Internet users have access to effective remedies when their rights have been challenged; promote co-ordination with other State and non-State actors; encourage the private sector to engage in multi-stakeholder dialogue in the exercise of their corporate social responsibility;  encourage civil society to support the dissemination and application of the guide. 

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