On 7th March, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg spoke out with a recommendation on the role and responsibility of Internet providers. With this recommendation, the Council of Europe emphasizes that its 47 Member States should pledge themselves to the pursuit of freedom of expression and information, and warns legislators and providers against the risks of automated filter regimes.
Access to the Internet is a necessary precondition for the exercise of freedom of expression, and the State must not foist responsibility for general content monitoring onto Internet providers. In the case of co-regulatory approaches in which responsibility is transferred to companies, general monitoring and potential over-blocking brought about by the imposition of disproportionate penalties should be avoided. With this recommendation, the Council of Europe confirms the rule of law and upholds the established liability privilege for providers.
From the Internet industry’s perspective, the recommendations of the Council of Europe are to be welcomed. eco Honorary President Michael Rotert was involved as an observer in the guidelines’ formulation.