Ministers' Deputies
Notes on the Agenda

CM/Notes/926/1.6 10 May 20051
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926 Meeting, 11 May 2005
1 General questions


1.6 Project Good Governance in the Information Society -Multidisciplinary Ad-Hoc Committee of Experts on the Information Society (CAHSI) –

Draft Declaration of the Committee of Ministers on Human Rights and the Rule of Law in the Information Society

Reference documents
CM(2005)56 revised and CM/Del/Dec(2005)925.1.6

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Action

To resume consideration of this item with a view to approving the draft Declaration of the Committee of Ministers on Human Rights and the Rule of Law in the Information Society, prepared by the Multidisciplinary Ad Hoc Committee of Experts on the Information Society (CAHSI), and to including the declaration among the documents to be distributed at the Third Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Council of Europe.

1. 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, originated under the Dutch Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers at the end of 2003.

2. The underlying principles of the 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 UN World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in 2003.

3. At its 909th meeting (15 December 2004), the Committee of Ministers adopted the terms of reference for the Multidisciplinary Ad Hoc Committee of Experts on the Information Society (CAHSI) (see Appendix I to these Notes), instructing it “to review how 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”, and “to 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, 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”.

4. Moreover, CAHSI was asked to prepare “a draft political statement on the principles and guidelines for ensuring respect for freedom of expression and opinion, 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 3rd Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Council of Europe (16-17 May 2005) and the 2005 Tunis Phase of the UN World Summit on the Information Society (16-18 November 2005)”.

5. To enable the Committee of Ministers to adopt the political statement in time for the Summit, the committee was scheduled to meet twice in early 2005. Delegations were approached by the Secretariat of the integrated project “Making democratic institutions work” (IP1) in December 2004 with a view to nominating governmental representatives for CAHSI. As from January 2005, the committee has been serviced by the Secretariat of the project “Good governance in the information society”, which is part of the Directorate General of Political Affairs.

6. The CAHSI held two meetings:

- 1st meeting: Strasbourg, 3-4 February 2005;
- 2nd and final meeting: Strasbourg, 6-7 April 2005.

Detailed reports of the two meetings are available at: http//www.coe.int/democracy.
7. CAHSI was chaired by Mr George Papadatos (Greece) and Ms Elena Sava Stefoi (Romania) acted as Vice-Chair.

8. Representatives of 31 member states attended the meetings of CAHSI and representatives of the following Council of Europe committees were involved in its work: the Steering Committee on Human Rights (CDDH), the Steering Committee on the Mass Media (CDMM), the European Committee on Legal Co-operation (CDCJ), the Steering Committee for Culture (CD-Cult), and the Steering Committee for Education (CD-ED). The multidisciplinary composition of CAHSI ensured that the practical expertise gained from work completed or in progress in several Council of Europe sectors was taken into account.The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe was also represented and a representative of the European Commission attended both meetings. In addition, the first meeting was attended by representatives of Unesco and Interpol, and the second by a representative of the NGO European Digital Rights. At the second meeting, Mr Charles Geiger, Executive Director of WSIS, informed the committee on the state of preparation of the Tunis Phase of WSIS.

9. At its second and final meeting, CAHSI approved the draft Declaration of the Committee of Ministers on Human Rights and the Rule of Law in the Information Society and decided to transmit it to the Committee of Ministers for adoption (CM(2005)56) and to request the Committee of Ministers to include the Declaration in the documents to be distributed at Warsaw. In a letter to the Chair of the Committee of Ministers (cf. Appendix II to these Notes), the Chair of CAHSI suggests that the Informal, Open-ended Drafting Group on the 3rd Summit (DRAFTSUM) consider making a reference to the declaration in the Summit's proposed Action Plan.

10. The draft declaration is structured in two main parts, preceded by an introductory section. The first part is entitled “Human rights in the information society” and considers, in eight sub-sections, the impact of the information society on specific human rights guaranteed by the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ECHR). Each sub-section begins with a brief analysis of the situation, proceeds with a statement of principles and closes with proposals for action. The second part, entitled “A multi-stakeholder governance approach for building the information society: the roles and responsibilities of stakeholders”, considers the respective roles and responsibilities of Council of Europe member states, civil society, the private sector and the Council of Europe itself. Finally, there is an appendix with a list of Council of Europe reference texts.

11. Once adopted, the declaration will be transmitted to the Chair of the WSIS Preparatory Committee as a Committee of Ministers' contribution to the Tunis Phase of the World Summit on the Information Society. As far as the Organisation's future work on issues relating to the information society is concerned, an intra-secretariat task force under the leadership of the project “Good governance in the information society”, will ensure that the principles and guidelines contained in the declaration are taken into account in relevant activities.

12. It is recalled that proposals for amendments to the draft Declaration have been circulated by Sweden and Germany (documents DD(2005)345 and 351). At their 925th meeting (4 May 2005, item 1.6), the Deputies considered this item for the first time. As the German delegation stated that it had just received further instructions on the text and asked for postponement, they agreed to resume consideration of the item at their 926th meeting (11 May 2005). A revised version of the draft declaration has been prepared, containing the German and Swedish proposals (document CM(2005)56 revised).

13. The Deputies are invited to resume consideration of the draft declaration with a view to its adoption and inclusion among the documents to be distributed at the Third Summit.

Financing assured: YES

DRAFT DECISIONS

926th meeting – 11 May 2005

Item 1.6

Project “Good governance in the information society” -
Multidisciplinary Ad Hoc Committee of Experts on the Information Society (CAHSI) –
Draft Declaration of the Committee of Ministers on Human Rights and the Rule of Law in the Information Society
(CM(2005)56 revised and CM/Del/Dec(2005)925/1.6)

Decisions

The Deputies

1. adopted the Declaration of the Committee of Ministers on Human Rights and the Rule of Law in the Information Society, as it appears at Appendix … to the present volume of Decisions <CM(2005)56 revised>;

2. decided to include the Declaration among the documents distributed at the Third Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Council of Europe.

Appendix I

909th meeting – 15 December 2004

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 Committee 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 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:

      · the right to freedom of expression and information;

      · 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 xenophobic speech, including on the Internet;

      · 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 importance of encouraging access to and the use by all of new information technologies without discrimination;

      · 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, 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 opinion, 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 European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice (CEPEJ), the Consultative Committee of the Convention for the Protection of Individuals with regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data (CETS No. 108) (T-PD), and the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (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;
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:

European Internet Service Providers Association (Euro-ISPA);
Global Business Dialogue on Electronic Commerce (GBDe);
Council of Security Officers (CSO);
European Internet Co-regulation Network;
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.

Appendix II

Directorate General of Political Affairs
Direction Générale des Affaires Politiques

    Project “Good Governance in the Information Society”
    Projet « Bonne Gouvernance dans la Societe de l'Information »

Athens, 18 April 2005

Dear Chairman,

As chairman of the Multidisciplinary Ad hoc Committee of Experts on the Information Society (CAHSI) I am writing to inform you of the committee's work, which I consider relevant to the preparation of the Action Plan of the 3rd Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Council of Europe (16-17 May 2005).

In the Terms of Reference approved at the 909th meeting of the Deputies on 15 December 2004, this expert committee was instructed to submit to the Committee of Ministers for approval “a draft political statement on the principles and guidelines for ensuring respect for freedom of expression and opinion, 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 3rd Summit and to the 2005 Tunis Phase of the UN World Summit on the Information Society (16-18 November 2005)”.

I am pleased to announce that the CAHSI, at its second and final meeting (6 and 7 April 2005), approved by consensus the draft Declaration of the Committee of Ministers on Human Rights and the Rule of Law in the Information Society, thus completing, in a very short time, the mandate conferred upon it by the Deputies. The CAHSI intends to submit this draft declaration to the Deputies on 4 May 2005, with the expectation that it will be adopted prior to the forthcoming Summit in Warsaw.

In this context, I refer you to the following extract from Section II. 5 of the proposed Action Plan of the 3rd Summit:

    5. Combating cybercrime and strengthening human rights in the information society

    We confirm the importance of respect for human rights in the information society, in particular freedom of expression and information and the right to respect for private life.

    The Council of Europe shall further elaborate the principles and guidelines to ensure respect for human rights and the rule of law in the use of information and communication technologies. It will address the challenges posed by the internet and establish a framework for the protection of human rights against violations stemming from the use of the information and communication technologies (ICT). (document DRAFTSUM (2005)4, 8 April 2005)

With regard to the Summit Action Plan, the CAHSI asks the DRAFTSUM to consider making a reference to the Declaration of the Committee of Ministers on Human Rights and the Rule of Law in the Information Society, and to include it in the documents that will be distributed in Warsaw. This is, of course, subject to the adoption of the Declaration by the Deputies before the Summit takes place.

I thank you for taking this important, ground-breaking political text into account in the work of DRAFTSUM. We believe that it reflects the crucial need to apply the core principles of the Council of Europe to the rapidly and irrevocably emerging information society.

Yours faithfully,

Dr George Papadatos
Chairman of the Multidisciplinary Ad-hoc Committee of
Experts on the Information Society

To
Mr. Krzysztof KOCEL
Chairman of the Committee of Ministers

Permanent Representative of Poland
to the Council of Europe

Note 1 This document has been classified restricted at the date of issue. Unless the Committee of Ministers decides otherwise, it will be declassified according to the rules set up in Resolution Res(2001)6 on access to Council of Europe documents.


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