Intermediary liabilityIntermediary Liability and Content Regulation

“Intermediary liability” describes the allocation of legal responsibility to content providers of all kinds for regulated categories of content. The presumption against governments imposing intermediary liability on online platforms for user-generated content encourages user free expression, as well as platform innovation, and is often credited with facilitating the tremendous expansion of internet and mobile communications networks across the world. More recently, conversations around the regulation of platform “content moderation” practices has emerged as a related area of governmental focus.

GNI seeks to preserve and expand free-expression protections for individuals throughout the ICT value-chain. Since 2009, GNI has issued numerous statements highlighting the importance of intermediary protections, engaged in open government consultations, and called attention to and expressed concern about problematic laws, policies, and actions in a number of countries and contexts.  For instance, GNI has promoted good practices for companies and governments in addressing alleged terrorist or extremist content online while respecting human rights, informed by extensive multistakeholder consultation on this challenging topic.

In 2020, GNI released Content Regulation and Human Rights: Analysis and Recommendations,” a policy brief that analyzes more than 20 recent governmental initiatives that claim to address various forms of digital harm. The brief offers practical guidance for governments and other stakeholders on how to formulate and implement content regulations that are effective, fit-for-purpose, and enhance and protect the rights to freedom of expression and privacy.

Human Rights Due Diligence and the Digital Services Act — GNI and CDT Roundtable and Public Event

September 15, 2021|feature, intermediary liability, Issues, issues highlight, media releases, Multimedia, Publication|

CDT Europe and GNI are pleased to share two reports from a recent closed-door expert roundtable and a public event looking at human rights due diligence in the tech policy sector and the DSA. Watch the public discussion or read the reports from both events.

GNI Letter and Analysis: Draft “Childhood Protection Law” in Colombia

August 30, 2021|feature, intermediary liability, Issues, issues highlight, Letter, media releases|

The protection of the rights of children and adolescents are important and admirable aims, which GNI fully supports. However, as drafted, the proposed "childhood protection law" poses significant risks for freedom of expression and privacy, reflecting a rushed process, and including vague definitions, broad enforcement authorities for the executive, and significant obligations for intermediaries, including content filters.

Concerning Draft Decree in Brazil Threatens the Civil Rights Framework for the Internet

August 2, 2021|feature, intermediary liability, Issues, issues highlight, media releases|

Given the significant constitutional, due process, human rights, and jurisdictional concerns that the draft presidential decree on freedom of expression and the Internet has generated, the undersigned organizations collectively call for it to be formally withdrawn.

GNI Expresses Concerns About and Calls on Indonesia to Reconsider the ‘MR5’ Regulation

June 11, 2021|feature, intermediary liability, Issues, issues highlight, media releases, surveillance|

"MR5" regulation in Indonesia, for which implementation is currently postponed, features problematic elements similar to those we have highlighted in other recent digital regulations: broad, vague definitions of companies and content in scope, significant threats of penalties for noncompliance, including to required local company contacts, and exceptional powers to access company data — both metadata and content of communications — including a potential direct access arrangement.

Privacy and Artificial Intelligence: GNI Input to UN Human Rights Thematic Report

May 28, 2021|intermediary liability, Issues, issues highlight, media releases, surveillance|

GNI welcomes this opportunity to provide input to UN Human Rights on the preparation of the thematic report on artificial intelligence and the right to privacy. In our submission, we outline risks and opportunities for human rights, recommended safeguards, and legal and regulatory considerations to ensure the increasing adoption of AI technologies contributes to the promotion and protection of the right to privacy.

Online Safety Bill in Australia: GNI Letter to the Minister for Communications

May 11, 2021|feature, intermediary liability, Issues, issues highlight, media releases|

The Senate of Australia is currently considering the 2021 Online Safety Bill. In our letter to the Minister of Communications and subsequent analysis, we call for a set of amendments that could allow Australia to model strong, participatory governance to successfully address legitimate concerns around online harms while protecting human rights.

GNI Submission to New Zealand’s Film, Videos, and Publications Classifications Amendment (FVPCA)

April 1, 2021|intermediary liability, Issues, issues highlight, media releases|

GNI share concerns from the government of New Zealand about how best to act on and deter illegal content online. However, GNI urges the government to reconsider requirements for content filtering in the FCPVA, and ensure any new authorities for mandating removal of content include robust safeguards, mechanisms for appeal and redress, and appropriate oversight.

GNI Analysis: Information Technology Rules Put Rights at Risk in India

March 30, 2021|feature, intermediary liability, Issues, issues highlight, media releases, Publication, surveillance|

Recently notified IT Rules in India, which follow a previous draft GNI commented on in early 2019, continue to pose significant risks for freedom of expression and privacy. Read GNI's letter to the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology and corresponding analysis of the Rules.

GNI Statement of Concern on Proposed Cybersecurity Law in Myanmar

February 12, 2021|feature, intermediary liability, Issues, issues highlight, media releases, network disruptions, surveillance|

Given the severe social, economic, and human rights consequences that the draft cybersecurity law is likely to have on both users and companies inside the country, GNI calls on the Myanmar military to withdraw and reconsider the law.