Ministers' Deputies
    Notes on the Agenda

    CM/Notes/909/1.6 10 December 2004
    ———————————————

    909 Meeting, 15 December 2004
    1 General questions


    1.6 Integrated Project I: Making democratic institutions work -

    Draft specific terms of reference for a Multidisciplinary Ad-Hoc Committee of Experts on the Information Society (CAHSI)

    Reference documents
    CM/Del/Dec(2004)907/1.5

    ———————————————

    Action

    To approve the specific terms of reference of the Multidisciplinary Ad-Hoc Committee of Experts on the Information Society (CAHSI).

    1. The Integrated Project “Making Democratic Institutions Work” (IP1) helped to focus attention on how New Information and Communication Technologies affect the practice of democracy in Council of Europe member states.

    2. An example of this is Committee of Ministers' Recommendation Rec(2004)11, on legal, operational and technical standards for electronic voting, which was adopted at the 898th meeting of the Deputies on 30 September 2004. The draft Recommendation on e-governance, also prepared in the framework of IP1, has been submitted for adoption at the Deputies' 909th meeting on 15 December 2004.

    3. The proposal to review how human rights and their protection as well as the rule of law can be affected by the use of Information and Communication Technologies, in particular the Internet and other means of electronic communication, goes back to an initiative from the Dutch Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers at the end of 2003.

    4. The underlying principles of the proposed activity on human rights and the rule of law in the information society were stated in the Political message from the Committee of Ministers to the Geneva phase of the World Summit on the Information Society in 2003.

    5. In her communication on 21 April 2004, the Deputy Secretary General informed the Deputies of the Secretary General's decision to entrust IP 1 with the task of organising and co-ordinating some exploratory work on this subject, in close co-operation with other Directorates General.

    6. In the meantime, two exploratory meetings have been organised by IP1, with generous financial support by the Dutch authorities. The first exploratory meeting took place on 28 June 2004, bringing together some academic experts, and the second one on 14-15 September 2004, with representatives from several Council of Europe steering committees (CDCJ, CDDH, CD-ED, CDMM), a representative of UNESCO, and the above-mentioned academic experts. Both meetings were also attended by members of several Secretariat departments. The purpose of these meetings was to identify relevant issues for and define the scope of an intergovernmental activity on human rights and the rule of law in the information society.

    7. The exploratory work has resulted in the appended document, the draft specific terms of reference for an Ad-hoc Multidisciplinary Committee of Experts on the Information Society (CAHSI), and some studies, which could provide useful background information to the CAHSI.

    8. The Multidisciplinary Ad-Hoc Committee of Experts will prepare, and submit to the Committee of Ministers for approval, a draft political statement on the principles and guidelines for ensuring respect for human rights and the rule of law in the Information Society, with a view to its use as a Committee of Ministers' contribution to the third Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Council of Europe
    (16-17 May 2005) and the 2005 Tunis phase of the World Summit on the Information Society
    (16-18 November 2005).

    9. The activity will be part of Project 2005/DGAP/538 “Good Governance in the Information Society” (cf. Draft Intergovernmental Programme of Activities for 2005, document CM(2004)155 Vol.II, pp.131-132), which will, subject to adoption by the Deputies, follow through and consolidate the recent achievements in this field.

    10. In order to enable the Committee of Ministers to adopt the political statement in advance of the third Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Council of Europe, it is planned for the Multidisciplinary Ad-Hoc Committee of Experts to meet twice in early 2005. Delegations will be approached by the Secretariat of IP1 in December 2004 with a view to nominating the governmental representatives for CAHSI.

    11. In the light of the above, the Committee of Ministers is invited to consider and approve the draft terms of reference for a Multidisciplinary Ad-Hoc Committee of Experts on the Information Society (CAHSI). The Committee will be serviced by the Secretariat of the Project “Good Governance in the Information Society”.

    12. The Deputies examined this item at their 907th meeting (24 November 2004, item 1.5). On that occasion the Swedish delegation made a few proposals for modification of the draft terms of reference. These proposals are indicated in bold in the draft terms of reference appended to these Notes. Several delegations expressed their support for the setting up of the Ad-Hoc Committee of Experts. However, as a couple of delegations had hesitations, the Deputies agreed to resume consideration of this item at their 908th meeting (7 December 2004).

    13. At that meeting, the Deputies decided to postpone the item to the 909th meeting (15 December 2004). The Belgian delegation submitted some comments on the draft terms of reference on 6 December 2004. These comments are also reflected in the Appendix to these Notes.

    Financing assured: Yes, subject to approval of Project 2005/DGAP/538 “Good Governance in the Information Society”.

    DRAFT DECISION

    909th meeting – 15 December 2004

    Item 1.6

    Integrated Project I: Making democratic institutions work –
    Draft Specific Terms of Reference for a Multidisciplinary Ad-Hoc Committee of Experts on the Information Society (CAHSI)
    (CM/Del/Dec(2004)907/1.5)

    Decision

    The Deputies approved the specific terms of reference of the Multidisciplinary Ad-Hoc Committee of Experts on the Information Society (CAHSI), as they appear at Appendix .. to the present volume of Decisions (see Appendix to the present Notes).

    Appendix
    (Item 1.6)

    Draft Specific terms of reference of the Multidisciplinary Ad-Hoc Committee of Experts on the Information Society (CAHSI)

    1. Name of Committee:

    Multidisciplinary Ad-Hoc Committee of Experts on the Information Society (CAHSI)

    2. Type of Committee:

    Multidisciplinary Ad-Hoc Committee of Experts

    3. Source of terms of reference:

    Committee of Ministers

    4. Terms of reference:

    Having regard to the European Convention on Human Rights, as well as to the legal and policy instruments developed so far within the framework of the Council of Europe in the area of the Information Society - including the Political Message and Action Plan of the Comittee of Ministers to the 2003 Geneva World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) - and taking into account other international human rights instruments and the work already under way in this area both within the Council of Europe and other international fora, as well as making efforts to foster constructive cooperation with other European and international bodies in order to make use of experiences already made in this field, the Multidisciplinary Ad-Hoc Committee of Experts will:

    - review how human rights and their protection as well as the rule of law can be affected by the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT)1, in particular the Internet and other means of electronic communication, such as: the use of Information and Communication Technologies, in particular the Internet and other electronic means of communication, can affect, positively or negatively, human rights and their protection, especially in the following fields: 2

    · the right to freedom of expression and information, for example with regard to hate speech and to access to ICT and information in the public domain;3

    · the right to respect for private life and correspondence, for example with regard to the protection of 'traffic data' and to the problem of 'spamming';

    · the prohibition of racist and xenophobe speech, including on the Internet ;4

    · the right to education, for example e-learning;

    · the prohibition of slavery and forced labour;

    · the prohibition of trafficking in human beings;

    · the right to a fair trial, for example with respect to reporting on criminal proceedings by electronic media;

    · the principle of no punishment without law, for example with regard to new forms of cybercrime and the question of jurisdiction;

    · the prohibition of discrimination, for example with regard to the digital divide;5 [the importance of encouraging access to and the use by all of new information technologies without discrimination ;]6

    · the protection of property, for example intellectual property in cyberspace;

    · the right to free elections, for example with regard to “e-voting”;

    · the freedom of assembly and association as developing in cyberspace;

    - in the light of the above, identify the principles and guidelines which might be necessary for States and other stakeholders at the national, European and/or global level to draw up,7 to ensure respect for human rights and the rule of law in the Information Society, taking account of the rights and responsibilities of all relevant actors.

    The Multidisciplinary Ad-Hoc Committee of Experts will report its findings to the Committee of Ministers and submit to it, for approval, a draft political statement on the principles and guidelines for ensuring respect for freedom of expression and opinion8, for human rights and for the rule of law in the Information Society, with a view to its use as a Committee of Ministers' contribution to the Third Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Council of Europe (16-17 May 2005) and the 2005 Tunis phase of the World Summit on the Information Society (16-18 November 2005).

    The Committee will also make proposals as to how the Committee of Ministers might keep under review the progress made in the framework of the Council of Europe's intergovernmental work in following up the issues raised in the Committee of Ministers' political statement.

    5. Membership of the Committee:

    a. All member states of the Council of Europe may send a representative to meetings of the Committee. The Council of Europe's budget will bear the travel and subsistence expenses of these representatives.

    b. Qualifications of persons serving on the Committee: persons with an extensive knowledge or expertise in questions relating to human rights and the rule of law in the Information Society, covering such issues as computer law, cybercrime, data protection, media law and policy, cultural and educational aspects of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), etc.

    c. The Steering Committee for Culture (CDCULT), the Steering Committee for Cultural Heritage (CDPAT), the Steering Committee for Education (CD-ED), the Steering Committee on Human Rights (CDDH), the Steering Committee for Equality between Women and Men (CDEG), the Steering Committee on the Mass Media (CDMM), the European Committee on Criminal Problems (CDPC), the European Committee on Legal Cooperation (CDCJ), the Consultative Committee of the Convention for the Protection of Individuals with regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data (CETS 108) (T-PD), and ECRI, may send each a representative to the Committee with defrayal of travel and subsistence expenses at the charge of their respective Head of the Ordinary Budget.

    d. Observers with the Council of Europe may send a representative to meetings of the Committee, without the right to vote or defrayal of expenses.

    e. The Parliamentary Assembly and the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe may send one representative to meetings of the Committee, without the right to vote but with defrayal of expenses at the charge of their respective Votes of the Ordinary Budget.

    f. The European Commission and the General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union may send representatives to meetings of the Committee, without the right to vote or defrayal of expenses.

    g. The following international organisations and bodies may send a representative, without the right to vote or defrayal of expenses, to meetings of the Committee: United Nations, UNESCO, ITU, Secretariat WSIS and Secretariat WGIG; OSCE; OECD; Interpol; Europol.

    h. The following organisations may send a representative, without the right to vote or defrayal of expenses, to meetings of the Committee: the European Internet Service Providers Association (Euro-ISPA), the Global Business Dialogue on Electronic Commerce (GBDe), the Council of Security Officers (CSO), the European Internet Co-regulation Network, the International Chamber of Commerce, International Federation of Human Rights Leagues (FIDH), International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights, International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), Amnesty International.

    6. Working structures and methods:

    The Committee may organise hearings with other interested parties in addition to those mentioned above and have recourse, where appropriate, to the services of external consultants.

    7. Duration:

    These terms of reference shall expire at the end of 2005.

Note 1 Proposal made by Sweden.
Note 2 Proposal made by Belgium.
Note 3 Proposal made by Belgium to start with this example and to delete part of the text. The text in bold proposed by Sweden.
Note 4 Proposal made by Belgium.
Note 5 Deletion proposed by Sweden.
Note 6 Alternative wording proposed by Belgium.
Note 7 Proposal made by Belgium.
Note 8 Proposal made by Belgium.


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