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The Internet as a Human Right?

September 2018 - IT & telecommunications. Legal Developments by Hudson McKenzie.

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Most cases regarding the suing of social media platforms are catered for by solicitors specialising in Commercial, Corporate and Media law – however, how far are an individual’s Human Rights also affected?

Most cases regarding the suing of social media platforms are catered for by solicitors specialising in Commercial, Corporate and Media law – however, how far are an individual’s Human Rights also affected?

The most common form of  law surrounding social media cases are usually regarding the criminal prosecution of the acts of individuals or companies which have committed a recognised crime via the internet such as libel, defamation, copyright infringement and so on.

However, as many individuals are increasingly using social media platforms to build their own brand awareness and develop their own businesses, as well as their own ideas and general content – how far do these individuals also have their human rights protected, especially when their social media accounts are deactivated?

For instance, when an individual or business has their social media account deactivated by the social media platform in question – how much is this deactivation of the social media account in breach of the users Human Rights?

For example, within the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, it is stated that the individual has the right to freedom of expression, opinion and speech, as well as the recently acknowledged Human Right of the freedom to connect, also known as the Human Right to the Internet.

Therefore, by deactivating a user’s account upon the claim that the user may have breached a policy or practice of the social media platform in question, how far could this deactivation also impact upon the user’s Human Right to the access of the internet and its general use, as grounds for appeal against the deactivation?

Furthermore, as social media platforms are a part of a developing globalised digital community, rather than specific to just one specific nation state, it could also be argued that national law lacks precedence when protecting a user whose account has been deactivated, in regard to the protection of that user’s Human Rights generally.

Thus, should nation states worldwide be encouraged to cater more to the global acknowledgment of Human Rights when developing their own judicial system surrounding social media and internet law? This is particularly because both the internet and Human Rights law are based upon a globalised understanding and foundation, which could ultimately lead to them both merging together in their ongoing development.

If you would like to discuss this article further or have any general legal enquiries, please contact one of our highly qualified solicitors on 020 3318 5794 or via email at londoninfo@hudsonmckenzie.com

Author: Portia Vincent-Kirby