Fiatalok tudósítanak önkéntesen a magyar EU-elnökség óta – Youngsters report voluntary since the Hungarian EU Presidency

2018. augusztus. 15., szerda

Openness of Internet vs. legislation – human rights online

2012. november 25.
ROVAT: English, Internet

The question how, if even necessary to regulate Internet, dangerous content or draw the limit of freedom of expression such as hate speech is not an easy task. However young people from all around Europe participating at 3 days long workshop of the Council of Europe Action and Campaigning against Hate Speech made their recommendations in Budapest. In particular in the working group on enforcing/developing policy and legislation regarding hate speech end of November 2012.

At the end of the day even lawyers, who are usually focusing on legislation changed their view, leaving the attitude of concentrating too much on Code of Conduct and legislation to bottom-up dimensions, such as education and awareness-raising and discussions on the efficiency of regulations and technicalities.

After a short warm-up the group started to work together on mapping Internet in order to identify how many different actors and layers are involved, before thinking about regulations, legislation as follows.

user – device – connection – software – domains – online tools, frames – expression

Balázs Dénes from the Hungarian Civil Liberties continued with a sophisticated input on what they organisation is dealing with (request on government information, freedom of expression issues). We have to keep in mind that even the extremists have their human rights to express themselves, taking into consediration the limit of freedom of expression for sure. Social problems and other issues are laying in the background. Showcasing Hungarian legislation and the actual law enforcement it is clear that a single law or any law is not solving the problem, and details such as attitude of law enforcement agencies (court, lawyers, prosecutors, police, civil cervants etc.) is very important, and can bring the the actual change through implementation. The captured audience is also a term to be taken on board in investigation of harassment, incitement also online. Therefore the limit of freedom of expression should be different depending on the environment (tv, radio, online etc.). If by posting any kind of expression there is a chance to cause danger of violence than it can be a crime, however the interpretation of law can still challange the situation.

According to Balázs in Hungary for example no further law is needed, hate crimes are in criminal code, the only way is to improve situation is to challenge the addressed topics through public debates, education, collecting examples and trainings included police and law enforcement staff, to change their attitude. Train also the vulnerable group how to react, how to prove what happening to them and show ways to justice, and representing themselves. Train people, raise awareness is better to send a message than just through legislation, law adoption.

This presentation ended up with a group discussion also about how efficient and proportional it is to ban terms, block certain websites online. Google´s transparency report was also mentioned as their have to deal with content removal requests concerning copyright and governments (authorities). The Hungarian way of reporting dangerous material online was also introduced linked to a hate speech case, against organisers of the LGBT games, EuroGames Budapest 2012. This case showed also paradox of global Internet and geographical jurisdiction (domain registered on an island in Pacific Ocean with dot tv). The one person, who is committing harm is in one jurisdiction (through domain registration abroad etc.) and the other, who is targeted in an another jurisdiction.

In this Hungarian case the police stopped investigation as they do not think that this offense was not fulfilling the conditions for incitement to violence, by calling to hunt these organisers, posting their facebook pictures and profil links and comment them. Now the prosecutor ordered the police to investigate further, for example on who was the author of this article. In the meantime the portal made this content inaccessible by itself. The case with muslim videos on Youtube and self-censorship of Google in some of the countries (this way not having the danger of blocking the whole access to youtube). Over all the aspects of efficiency of the national driven blocking has to be taken on board as thanks to applications they are nowdays easy to walk around.

Google´s Vice President and Chief Internet Evangelist, Vinton G. Cerf was giving a special recorded input from the Google´s freedom of expression big tent event on day 0 of the Internet  Governance Forum – IGF 2012, which was held this November (worldwide multi-stakeholder forum) in Baku.  Vice President Cerf is the father of the design and architecture, how Internet is built up since the beginning, the late 1970s (TCP/IP protocol) organically. With his colleagues he invented the basics for that, they maybe might not even consider to have been created the most important tool of a modern society, not just in business terms but also the way to express ourselves. Basically the free Internet is a place, where we all can also practice our human rights online, not just freedom of expression but right to information, assembly and so on.

Cerf also gave an insight to the World Conference on International Telecommunications, WCIT 2012 in Dubai coming this December. Here the International Telecommunication Regulation (ITR) from the late 1980s about broadcasting of content will investigate the updating of the legislation according to Internet times and also concerning the regulation of it through the ITR of International Telecommunication Union. To show its importance Google started just 2 days before this seminar its action for open Internet heading WCIT, and also 1 day before this seminar the European Parliament came up with a Joint Recommendation for a Motion on openness of Internet and net neutrality towards WCIT.

This aspects and topics helped the group to summarise all the burdens and challanges in thinking about legislation and regulation of an open Internet. Introducing the European Dialogue on Internet Governance – EuroDIG and the Internet Governance Forum – IGF as a multi-stakeholder approach to discuss all kind of Internet related topics.

It is always helpful to have a look on different numbers concerning Internet access and proportions worldwide with the help of Gapminder. Summarising the issues mentioned before openness vs. legislation deeply helped to raise questions again and find some answers with participants.


Final recommendations:
in bullet points and referring to linked content, aspects, which should taken into consideration if thinking about legislation regarding hate speech

Openness of Internet (freedom of expression, net neutrality) vs. Legislation (hate speech, dangerous content)

To take on board in all steps:
PROS – CONTs, Framework, Efficiency

  • Appropriate allocation of resources for

-Prevention mechanisms –  education, public awareness, civil society, users, hate speech watchdog
-Adoption of legislation
-Enforcement of law – training of staff, access to justice, online reporting

  • Transparency in decision making – private sector (SNS)
  • Framework for international cooperation – code of conduct, sharing, ongoing research-development-monitoring

Outcomes of working in groups:

Freedom of expression vs. hate speech

  • National law vs. international law /extraterritorial/
  • China vs. Google
  • Democracy is user rules
  • National security issue
  • Business interest

Openness vs. Regulation


  • dictatorship of majority
  • people can choose whether to read content or not
  • allows us to know the hate speech arguments, we can research it and deconstruct the argumenst
  • hate speech is allowed to be voiced frequently and to flood the space
  •  Internet is a space where no government, political view can impose a view


  • we should know what is legal and illegal (cyberbullying)
  • other people can read the same hateful content about you
  • link it with other types of crimes, misdemeanors that also happen offline (defamation)
  • protection of vulnerable groups (teenagers, children)
  • consequences
  • more focus on the author of hate speech rather the servers, Internet providers
  • it has to adopt to the new realities of hate speech, cyberbullying
  • not everyone knows about the consequences of their hateful posts
  • distribution of material
  • education of citizenship (code of conduct)

Summarising important aspects helped the group to visualise the topics, aspects, which were discussed from the morning on and also led to these outcomes, recommendations.

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