GNI Submission for SR Report on Content Regulation

Today the Global Network Initiative submitted input to the UN Special Rapporteur for freedom of opinion and expression, David Kaye, for his report on content regulation in the digital age. The report will be presented to the UN Human Rights Council in June 2018.

The report will include “recommendations about appropriate private company standards and processes” to respond to problematic speech online — from allegedly extremist content, to speech inciting violence or harassment, to misinformation and propaganda — while ensuring respect for freedom of expression.

GNI’s submission to this report champions the GNI Principles and Implementation Guidelines as a framework that helps guide company development of rights-respecting policies and procedures in response to government requests for data and/or content removal. GNI’s input provides insights into effective actions that can counter government restrictions and emphasizes the need for both companies and governments to be transparent with users and the public.

The Special Rapporteur’s study will also outline the role of states in promoting and protecting free expression amidst growing pressures for content removal worldwide. GNI’s submission calls on states to be specific, transparent and proportionate in their requests of companies to remove content, using established legal procedures rather than using user-facing reporting tools anonymously.

GNI previously provided input to the Special Rapporteur’s 2016 report mapping free expression challenges for the information and communications technology (ICT) sector, as well as his 2017 report exploring threats to free expression emerging from the digital access sector (GNI submission).

At the 2017 Internet Governance Forum, GNI explored these issues with the Special Rapporteur during a session titled “Content Regulation in the Digital Age.”