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CDMSI(2012)Misc7

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:

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.