Contents 1 Background and context 3



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Australian Human Rights Commission

Short document title, Short description – Date


Background paper:

Human rights in cyberspace



September 2013

Contents

1 Background and context 3

2 Scope of this paper 4

3 Freedom of expression and the Internet 5

3.1Freedom of expression in human rights theory 5

3.2Freedom of expression and information in Australian law 6

3.3Right to freedom of expression and information in human rights instruments 7

4 Permissible limitations of the ICCPR right to freedom of expression 7

Provided by law 8

Permissible purposes 8

Respect for the rights or reputations of others 8

Public morals 11

Public order 11

Restrictions must be ‘necessary’ for a permitted purpose 12

5 Current issues of ‘Internet censorship’: bullying, discrimination, harassment and freedom of expression 12

Cyber-bullying 13

Cyber-racism 13

Cyber-sexism/sexual harassment 14

Cyber-homophobia 14

6 Some regulatory challenges 14

Balancing of rights 14

Permanency 15

Ubiquity 16

Anonymity 16

Issues with law enforcement 18

7 Are current regulatory responses sufficient and appropriate? 19

Federal anti-discrimination laws 19

Regulation of ‘offensive’ behaviour 20

Overview 20

Regulation of workplace (cyber)bullying 20

Regulation of Internet providers and content hosts 21

Regulation of producers of content and upload of/access to content 22

International (cross-jurisdictional) regulatory initiatives 23

Non-legislative initiatives 24

Other proposals for responding to discrimination, harassment and hate speech online 25

Legislative reform 25

Other measures 26

8 A right to access the Internet 27

8.1At the international level 27

8.2At the domestic level 29

9 Conclusion 30

10 Questions for discussion 30

Addressing discrimination in terms of access to (and use of) the Internet 31

Balancing rights online 31

11 Further information 32



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