How to regulate the internet while respecting human rights?

The online world poses many possibilities, but it is also a place where human rights are constantly neglected. One of the unwelcomed attributes of the online world is disinformation. It is a matter of high concern as disinformation manipulates people strategically for ideological, political or commercial motives (see this UN report). At worst, it can result in hate speech and violence. Many states reacted in issuing broad restrictions on online speech. Unfortunately, they have had the opposite effect: Instead of protecting human rights, these restrictions confine fundamental rights such as freedom of opinion and expression.

The UN Special Rapporteur on these rights Irene Khan (she is also the first woman in this position) recommends states to overthink their approaches in limiting disinformation. She also recommends businesses to reconsider their business model declaring: “The large platforms are focused on improving content moderation while ignoring human rights concerns about their business models, lack of transparency and the inadequate due process rights of users”.

One approach to this problem will be presented on 10 May 2022 by the social purpose company Global Partners International. In this event, the tool for human rights defenders “LEXOTA” will be introduced. It analyses existing laws and policies in Sub-Saharan Africa which pose a threat to freedom of opinion and expression in the internet. The event will be held online via Zoom. If you are as excited as I am about their approach, you can register here to learn more!

The photograph was taken in Warsaw, Poland. The slogans are written in Polish. It says the following:

Microsoft: shapes your children

Facebook: chooses what you read

Apple: knows where your girlfriend is

Google: filtrates your thoughts

Amazon: knows which present you get

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