Internet service providers are hardly known for their efforts to protect the rights of their clients. This is hardly surprising considering they low amount of money they make per client compared to the legal costs which would be entailed in attempting to defend a client. For example: A cheap web hosting service costs less per year than a lawyer costs per hour. It’s not too difficult to work it out.
At the same time the ISPs are our lifeline and basis of our ability to participate in a digital society so this lack of help is a serious flaw. So it was nice to see that the Council of Europe have published Human rights guidelines for Internet service providers
Developed by the Council of Europe in close co-operation with the European Internet Services Providers Association (EuroISPA), these guidelines provide human rights benchmarks for internet service providers (ISPs). While underlining the important role played by ISPs in delivering key services for the Internet user, such as access, e-mail or content services, they stress the importance of users’ safety and their right to privacy and freedom of expression and, in this connection, the importance for the providers to be aware of the human rights impact that their activities can have.
in addition to this document the Council of Europe have also published Human rights guidelines for online games providers
Developed by the Council of Europe in close co-operation with the Interactive Software Federation of Europe (ISFE), these guidelines provide human rights benchmarks for online games providers and developers. While underlining the primary value of games as tools for expression and communication, they stress the importance of gamers safety and their right to privacy and freedom of expression and, in this connection, the importance for the games industry to be aware of the human rights impact that games can have.
Documents such as these are the early steps at ensuring the protection of individuals online rights and as such should be applauded even if it is kind of worrying that we still see a need to attempt to define rights in online environments as something fundamentally different from human rights in the offline world.