Freedom of expression and respect for private life in the context of the development of new information technologies: judicial practice of the ECHR and national courts

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Author: Iliya Shablinsky

DOI: 10.21128/2226-2059-2021-3-141-156

Keywords: blocking of Internet resources, control over electronic correspondence, hyperlinks, information rights, information technologies

Abstract

This article examines and summarises judicial practice in cases related to the use of new information technologies. The study primarily focuses upon the decisions of Russian courts (general jurisdiction and arbitration) and the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). Employing ECHR practice, the author also refers to numerous decisions by courts in Hungary and the United Kingdom. Cases related to the use of new information technologies can be distinguished between, and this article examines the judicial practice of three categories of cases: 1) blocking of internet resources; 2) employers’ control over employees’ electronic correspondence; 3) journalists’ use of hyperlinks in author’s texts and their responsibility of such placements. Within each category of cases, the rights of citizens can be seriously violated. The article highlights that in an era of rapid development of new information technologies, states, represented by special services and authorised state bodies, are making unprecedented efforts to ensure that they maintain at least partial control over the activities of new actors (bloggers, Internet media, Internet platforms, etc.). Similarly, courts often compromise with authorities when resolving such issues. Notably, national Russian courts did not consider parties’ interests, nor did they assess the need to block all sites with a particular IP address. They did not even follow the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation’s decision to apply the requirements of the European Convention on Human Rights within the framework of the ECHR. The courts limited themselves to pointing out that Roskomnadzor acted within its power. Thus, the decisions of the national courts did not offer a mechanism for protecting rights. Within the norms regulating the new sphere of relations, there are often norms of a restrictive and prohibitive nature, and these norms are dominant in the Russian Federation. In this regard, there remains grounds for concern among lawyers involved in the protection of rights related to new information technologies.

About the author: Ilya Shablinsky – Doctor of Sciences in Law, Professor of Constitutional and Administrative Law, Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia

Citation: Shablinsky I. (2021) Svoboda vyrazheniya mneniy i uvazhenie chastnoy zhizni v kontekste razvitiya novykh informatsionnykh tekhnologiy: sudebnaya praktika ESPCH i natsional'nykh sudov [Freedom of expression and respect for private life in the context of the development of new information technologies: judicial practice of the ECHR and national courts]. Mezhdunarodnoe pravosudie, vol.11, no.3, pp.141–156. (In Russian).

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