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.

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Addressing Digital Harms AND Protecting Human Rights — GNI Shares Recommendations for Policymakers

October 13, 2020|feature, intermediary liability, Issues, issues highlight, Jurisdictional Assertions & Limits, Publication, reports|

"Content Regulation and Human Rights: Analysis and Recommendations" uses human rights to analyze more than 20 recent, governmental initiatives that claim to address various forms of digital harm. The brief is the result of months of multistakeholder analysis by GNI’s diverse, expert membership, as well as six virtual consultations with government actors and other key stakeholders in Africa, the EU, India, Pakistan, and the UK.

GNI’s Submission to the Open Consultation on the EU Digital Services Act

September 29, 2020|feature, intermediary liability, Issues, issues highlight, media releases, Publication|

The DSA is expected to transform the regulatory environment for tech companies and have wide-reaching impacts beyond the EU. In our response to a European Commission consultation, GNI shares important considerations for protecting digital rights in three areas: 1) Safety and Responsibility; 2) Liability Regime; and 3) Governance and Enforcement.
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Event Report: Multistakeholder Roundtable on Content Regulation in the U.K.

September 23, 2020|feature, intermediary liability, Issues, issues highlight, Publication, reports|

GNI convened representatives from civil society, academia, the ICT industry, and the U.K. government to consider the Online Harms White Paper in the context of the human rights framework, with four discussion topics: codes of conduct, duty of care, remedy, and privacy. GNI previewed the content regulation policy brief to be launched in the coming weeks.
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Event Report: Multistakeholder Roundtable on Digital Content Regulation in Pakistan

August 19, 2020|feature, intermediary liability, Issues, issues highlight|

On 16 July 2020, GNI hosted a multistakeholder roundtable discussion with local experts and policymakers on digital content regulation in Pakistan. The discussion was informed by a forthcoming policy brief from GNI examining content regulation efforts worldwide with a human rights lens.
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Event Report: Multistakeholder Roundtable on India’s Draft Intermediaries Guidelines Amendments

August 13, 2020|feature, intermediary liability, Issues, issues highlight, Publication, reports|

Representatives from civil society, academia, the legal community, ICT companies, and policymakers in India joined a roundtable discussion to examine the Draft Intermediaries Guidelines through the lens of international human rights law, framed by a forthcoming GNI policy brief on content regulation and human rights.

“The Rights Foundation,” Launching the GNI Blog Series on Content Regulation and Human Rights

July 13, 2020|feature, intermediary liability, Issues, issues highlight, op-eds, Publication|

An introduction to the GNI blog series examining government efforts to address online harms around the world. Written by members and close collaborators, the series will provide practical guidance to those seeking to regulate content while upholding human rights.

GNI Expresses Concern About Proposed ‘Fake News’ Law in Brazil

June 29, 2020|feature, intermediary liability, Issues, issues highlight, surveillance|

Several provisions of the proposed "Law of Freedom, Responsibility, and Transparency on the Internet” in Brazil would be counterproductive to the stated intent of the bill and pose risks for freedom of expression and privacy. Brazil’s legislature should heed calls from international experts and civil society and take care to respect the rights enshrined in Marco Civil by rejecting the bill and engaging in meaningful and transparent multi-stakeholder consultation to find a truly rights-respecting way forward.

Content Regulation and Human Rights: Report on a GNI Multistakeholder Roundtable on the Digital Services Act

June 25, 2020|feature, intermediary liability, Issues, issues highlight, media releases, Publication|

On June 4, 2020, GNI hosted a multistakeholder roundtable discussion to examine key provisions of the anticipated European Union Digital Services Act through the lens of international human rights law. Held under Chatham House Rule, the online event was attended by nearly 70 guests, including EU policymakers and experts from academia, civil society, and ICT companies. Read more in the event report.   

Event Summary and Video Recording: “The Rights Foundation: Building Human Rights into the DSA”

June 11, 2020|events, feature, intermediary liability, issues highlight, Jurisdictional Assertions & Limits, Multimedia|

On 28 May, GNI brought together UN Special Rapporteur David Kaye, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Dunja Mijatović, and a set of experts from GNI’s multistakeholder membership to explore a human rights-based approach to content regulation in the context of EU Digital Services Act (DSA). Read the event recap or watch the video recording.