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aims and issues

  Digital Rights believe that the digital era challenges a number of fundamental rights.

Internet empowers the right to freedom of expression by providing individuals with new means of imparting and seeking information worldwide. However, freedom of expression is also endangered since the free flow of information has led to legal and self-regulatory attempts to restrict online expressions, not least to protect children. Regarding the right to privacy, new means for monitoring online communication has led to attempts to increase the general level of state surveillance and to new debates on workplace surveillance. This strengthens the need for policies and tools to protect online privacy.

The aim of Digital Rights is to protect human rights on Internet by securing that individuals receive the level of protection, which is ensured in the physical world. Digital Rights believe that the current policy development potentially undermines human rights, especially in the field of freedom of expression and privacy.

Freedom of expression
The right to freedom of expression includes the right to impart, receive and seek online information without arbitrary restrictions. Digital Rights is critical towards the current tendency towards self-regulation, for instance by mandatory use of filters at common access points or by Internet Service Providers restrictions on legal expressions. Mandatory use of filters at common access-points violates the right of adults to freely choose which information to encounter. Self-regulation implies that private parties regulate freedom of expression according to commercial and/or moral codex rather than the principles inherent in the rights of expressions, such as the right of every minority to voice her opinion. Freedom of expression cannot be left to private parties to regulate, and Digital Rights call for states to take on their responsibility and strengthen the protection of freedom of expression on Internet.

The right to privacy includes the individual freedom from arbitrary and unlawful interference when communicating online. Digital Rights is critical towards the current tendency towards giving police and intelligence services new or extended communication interception powers or increased access to information; for instance by implementing legislation that would force Internet service providers to retain traffic data for use by law enforcement. Retention of traffic data will transform the communications infrastructure into a surveillance system that records intimate details of the personal life of all citizens. Digital Rights urge states to encounter the principle of proportionality when balancing citizens right to privacy against law enforcements need for interception. Furthermore encryption should be promoted as a way to guarantee privacy of electronic communication.

Regarding workplace surveillance, Digital Rights believe that employers should only be allowed access to registered data in such cases where there is a concrete suspicion of misuse by the employee. Guidelines concerning employees' use of electronic communication should be formulated as part of the general workplace policy, including a principle of advance notification in case of surveillance.