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  Steering Committee (CDMSI)
  Bureau of the Committee (CDMSI-BU)
  Former Steering Committee (CDMC)
  Former Bureau of the Committee (CDMC-BU)
  Committee of experts on Media Pluralism and Transparency of Media Ownership (MSI-MED)
  Committee of experts on Internet Intermediaries (MSI-NET)  
  Transfrontier Television
  Conditional Access
  Protection of Journalism and Safety of Journalists
  Cross-border flow of Internet traffic and Internet freedom
  Rights of Internet Users
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  Protection Neighbouring Rights of Broadcasting Organisations
  Media Diversity
  Public service Media
  Conference Freedom of Expression and Democracy in the Digital Age - Opportunities, Rights, Responsibilities, Belgrade, 7-8/11/2013
  Conference "The Hate factor in political speech - Where do responsibilities lie?", Warsaw18-19 September 2013
  Conference of Ministers, Reykjavik - Iceland, 28-29 May 2009
  European Dialogue on Internet Governance (EuroDIG)
  Committee of Ministers texts
  Parliamentary Assembly texts
  Ministerial Conferences
Useful links


Elements for a draft Resolution

Safeguards for human rights and fundamental freedoms with regard to responses to the use of the Internet for acts of urban violence1

Draft as of 12 May

The Internet and information and communication technologies (ICTs) are essential for content creation and sharing, collaboration, blogging, social, professional, commercial or other types of networking. They have become an important means to achieve positive real-life political and social change.
The Internet and ICTs are inextricably linked to everyone’s right to freedom of expression and access to information. They also enable other rights such as the right to education, the right to association and assembly, and the right to free elections.
On the one hand, the protection of freedom of expression and access to information necessitates the protection of media freedom, including the protection of new media actors2. On the other hand, the Internet and ICTs can be used as vehicles to carry out illegal activities such as child abuse, terrorism, incitement of violence and hate speech. Ensuring safety and the protection of rights and freedoms at the same time are essential.
Measures to tackle civil unrest and urban violence facilitated by the use of mobile technologies, social media and the Internet should not have overall precedence and priority over the protection of rights and freedoms. Any interference with them must be prescribed by law and be a proportionate response to a pressing social need related to the limited exceptions as set out in Articles 8, 10 and 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights, as interpreted by the European Court of Human Rights.

There are a number of CoE instruments and guidelines which, taken together, can help judicial and law enforcement authorities to manage situations of violence and unrest. The Budapest Convention on Cybercrime and the Convention for the protection of individuals with regard to automatic processing of personal data are central in this regard.

Also, the intrusion into people’s privacy, in particular their online communications’ by means of monitoring and surveillance, should be carried out with human rights safeguards in mind. At these times, special attention should be paid to Article 15 of the Budapest Convention, Convention 108 and the Committee of Ministers Recommendation No. R (87) 15 on the use of personal data in the police sector3.

Against this background, the CDMSI draws the attention of the CDPC to the following proposals and considerations:

    - need for necessary safeguards for the protection and promotion of the right to private life, the right to freedom of expression and the right to freedom of assembly and association as enshrined in Articles 8, 10 and 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights and the relevant case law of the European Court of Human Rights;

    - value of carrying out human rights and fundamental freedoms impact assessments of new national legislation and/or other measures which relate to the use of the Internet and ICTs by citizens in order to ensure their consistency with Council of Europe standards;

    - value of human rights training for judicial and law enforcement authorities involved in situations of unrest and violence;

    - value of multi-stakeholder dialogue involving the ICT sector and civil society as a means of contributing to identify and operationalise new balanced measures and responses to the use of Internet for urban violence and other criminal activities, which in turn permits competent authorities to keep abreast of technological developments, assess risks with the necessary degree of proportionality and identify suitable preventive and remedial action.

    - value of regulating access, in accordance with the safeguards provided by law and the relevant case law of the European Court of Human Rights, for law enforcement authorities to personal and other relevant data stored by Internet Service Providers for the purpose of preventing urban violence, gathering evidence and of bringing to justice instigators of urban violence.

1 NB the title indicated in Ministerial conference preparatory documents drafted by the CDPC Secretariat was ‘On the role of social media in the planning and execution of acts of urban violence’.

2 See Recommendation CM/Rec(2011)7 on a new notion of media.

3 Works is envisaged / under way to update this Recommendation.