Council of Europe: Internet intermediaries: shared commitments and corporate responsibility

18 December 2017 - A Open Forum on Other in Geneva, Switzerland


The open forum will focus on dialogue with internet intermediaries concerning protection of human rights of internet users.

The scope of topics:

• fairness of the terms of service agreements and internal policies to be applied consistently and in conformity with due process safeguards,
• accountability and transparency of internet intermediaries,
• safeguards for privacy,
• addressing human rights' concerns of dataveillance and profiling, 
• safeguards for freedom of expression and right to information, 
• legality and effectiveness of monitoring and filtering mechanisms to detect unlawful content and content prohibited by international law.

Specific issues:

- Online moderation by intermediaries: in what cases must they restrict content? In what cases are they encouraged to act and according to what principles?

-  Intermediaries´ policies addressing hate speech and misinformation, including political propaganda: different policy models. Should intermediaries be more pro-active in addressing these problems? If so, where is the boundary for the service providers to restrict access to content?

-  Who decides what is fake and what is not?

- Tracking of users and profiling: what rules govern the policies of intermediaries? What rights do data subjects have? Do they know enough about them?

-  How intermediaries should inform users about their policies concerning the processing of personal data (such as collection, storing, aggregation and sharing) in order to ensure effective transparency? Are terms of service provisions clear enough for average users? Do they enable informed decision by the users?

-  What could be done to address the risks of dataveillance, invisible profiling and re-use of personal data - affecting informational self-determination? The roles of States, business stakeholders, technical community and civil society.

Tag 1: Human Rights Online
Tag 2: Freedom of Expression Online
Tag 3: Internet Technology

Names of Speakers:

Corina Călugăru, Ambassador, Committee of Ministers Thematic Co-ordinator on Information Policy, Council of Europe

Wolfgang Schulz, Hans-Bredow-Institut, University of Hamburg – Moderator


Luca Belli, Center for Technology & Society, FGV Rio de Janeiro

Andy O’Connell, Facebook

Marco Pancini, Google

Karmen Turk, Triniti Law Firm, University of Tartu

Name of Online Moderator:
Peter Kimpian, Council of Europe

Name of Session Organiser:
Małgorzata Pęk, Council of Europe 

Background Papers:

- Draft Recommendation of the Committee of Ministers to Member States on the roles and responsibilities of internet intermediaries:

- Study on the human rights dimensions of automated data processing techniques (in particular algorithms) and possible regulatory implications:

- Recommendation CM/Rec(2014)6 of the Committee of Ministers to member states on a Guide to human rights for Internet users. User-friendly tool:

- Guidelines on the Protection of Individuals with regard to the Processing of Personal Data in a World of Big Data adopted by  Consultative Committee of the Convention 108: