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The role and responsibilities of internet intermediaries / October 13, 2017, Hofburg

Austrian Chairmanship of the OSCE and the Czech Chairmanship of the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers organizes the conference

The role and responsibilities of internet intermediaries

Hofburg, Vienna

October 13, 2017

8:30 Registration of Participants
9:15 Opening session
Florian Raunig, Head of Taskforce, Austrian OSCE Chairmanship
Richard Kadlcak, Special Envoy for Cyber Space, MFA of the Czech Republic
Jan Kleijssen, Director, Information Society and Action against Crime Directorate, CoE
Harlem Désir, OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media
10:00 Introduction
Matthias C. Kettemann, University of Frankfurt/Main
10:15 Session I. Taking stock of Internet freedom: the performance of states and intermediaries
This session will take stock of the state of Internet freedom across the OSCE and Council of Europe states. Drawing on the reports of civil society organisations on the matter, it will discuss the role of transparent assessment of states’ performance with respect to the promotion of Internet freedom. Attention will also be paid to the question how far intermediaries are currently through their policies meeting human rights standards, on freedom of expression and privacy in particular
Thomas Schneider, Ambassador and Director of International Affairs, Swiss Federal Office of Communication (OFCOM), Federal Department of the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications (DETEC)
Yaman Akdeniz, Professor, Istanbul Bilgi University
Walter Berka, Professor, University of Salzburg Karmen Turk, Media law attorney Xianhong Hu, Division for Freedom of Expression and Media Development, UNESCO
11:45 Coffee Break
12:00 Session II. Social media and search engines – global scale editors?
Social media and search engines are increasingly becoming the main distributors of news and information. Their role in shaping the public sphere is ever more pervasive, powerful and concentrated. How do they exercise this role? Should they subscribe to the same ethical principles as the media? What is the role of algorithms in determining the access to news and information and what are the associated challenges from the perspective of a free and informed debate, the flow of information and democratic values more generally?
Tarlach McGonagle, Institute for Information Law, University of Amsterdam
Alexandria Walden, Google
Elena Sherstoboeva, Associate Professor of the Higher School of Economics, Moscow
Ingrid Brodnig, Digital Ambassador of Austria to the EU
Maximillian Schubert, EUROISPA
13:00 Lunch break
14:30 Session III. Determining the unlawful nature of third-party content – what does it mean in practice?
Under a number of regulatory and self-regulatory initiatives intermediaries are asked to take measures to prohibit or restrict “hate speech”, terrorism-related content, content harmful to minors, and copyright infringing content. This essentially involves determination of/judgment over the unlawful nature of the contested content. How are intermediaries making their determinations? Are these being made by humans or through automated processes? Are they equipped to balance fundamental human rights and freedoms and relevant societal interests at stake? What does it mean for the separation of powers? With such an extensive power over various areas of content regulation, what are the consequences for internet freedom and in the governance of the Internet?
Ben Wagner, Assistant Professor, Vienna University of Economics and Business
Niels Lestrade, Project Manager National Police Intelligence Unit Netherlands
Dan Shefet, Attorney Arzu Geybullayeva, freelance journalist Andy O’Connell, Facebook (tbc)
16:00 Session IV. An adequate legal and policy framework for securing Internet freedom
What is the legal and policy framework within which intermediaries can best secure human rights online, particularly the rights to freedom of expression and privacy? According to international standards, internet intermediaries should be exempted from liability for third-party content on the grounds of providing a robust environment for Internet freedom. Should this position be shifted today given the apparent increase in political and public pressure on intermediaries to remove illegal or harmful content posted by users, particularly forms of expression which are labelled as “hate speech” or “extremist content”?
Gabrielle Guillemin, Article 19
Joe McNamee, EDRi
Robert Spano, Judge, European Court of Human Rights
Daniel Holznagel, Federal German Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection
Irene Roche-Laguna, DG Connect, European Commission
17:30 Closing session
Matthias C. Kettemann, University of Frankfurt/Main
Closing Remarks: NN
18:00 Reception at the Federal Chancellery of Austria

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