PL 3: The rules of the digital world – economy versus human rights

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Please use your own words to describe this session. You may use external references, websites or publications as a source of information or inspiration, if you decide to quote them, please clearly specify the source.

To follow the current discussion on this topic, see the discussion tab on the upper left side of this page

Session teaser

Are human rights, including right to privacy, being redefined by the economics of the Internet?

Session description

Internet intermediaries have created new services which challenge traditional industries leading them to call for regulatory intervention. The European Union and many European countries are considering legal changes which many civil society groups fear could hurt core human rights and fundamental values, including non-discrimination, right to freedom of opinion and expression and right to privacy.  

How do liability protections for Internet companies, implemented by EU and Council of Europe member states, safeguard the rights and freedoms of European Internet users? What efforts are governments making, and how do they dialogue with industry and civil society, to address challenges to online rights and freedoms of their citizens?


digital economy, intermediary liability, protections and safeguards for users/consumers, right to freedom of opinion and expression, right to privacy, the Council of Europe, the European Union, the EU e-Commerce Directive


The session involves the representatives from all stakeholder groups in order to emphasize the importance to respect the multi-stakeholder model in internet related issues. Panelists will have the opportunity to give comments to the previous VIP panel discussion. The big part of this plenary session will be guided through interactive engagement with the audience.

Further reading


  • Focal Point: Ms Piret Urb, Political Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of ESTONIA
  • Key participants
  • Ms Kaja Kallas, Member of the European Parliament (ALDE), co-rapporteur for the report "Towards a Digital Single Market Act" (see note 1)
  • Mr Dirk Van Eeckhout, Belgian Ambassador to the Council of Europe, the Thematic Coordinator for the Information Policy (TC-INF) at the Council of Europe (see note 2)
  • Dr Christina Angelopoulos, Information Law and Policy Centre, Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, School of Advanced Study, University of London (see note 3)
  • Mr Joe McNamee, Executive Director of EDRi (European Digital Rights) (see note 4)
  • Mr Stefan Krawczyk, Associate General Counsel & Head Government Relations International, eBay Inc. (see note 5)
  • Moderator: Ms Emily Taylor, Profile Page
  • Remote moderator: Mr Lee Hibbard, DG1, Human Rights and Rule of Law, the Council of Europe
  • Org team
  • Ms Piret Urb, Political Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of ESTONIA
  • Mr Christian Borggreen, Director, International Policy, Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA Europe)
  • Ms Louise Bennett, The Chartered Institute for IT
  • Mr Charles Bradley, Head of Strategy and Operations, Global Partners Digital
  • Mr Lee Hibbard, DG1, Human Rights and Rule of Law, the Council of Europe
  • Reporter: Mr Luukas Kristjan Ilves, Counsellor for Digital Affairs at the Estonian Permanent Representation to the EU (see note 6)

Current discussion

See the discussion tab on the upper left side of this page.

Conference call. Schedules and minutes

  • dates for virtual meetings or coordination calls
  • short summary of calls or email exchange
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Video record

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Transcript: The rules of the digital world – economy versus human rights


  • It's not private companies' job to solve public policy problems, especially the small startup that needs room to innovate. Hold big vs small companies to different standards? We expect responsible behavior from companies.
  • Regulation also provides predictability and legal clarity. Courts in Europe making more waves than legislator.
  • CoE study on intermediary liability, filtering. Useful to companies. Could put in a database and update continuously. Benchmarking, standards, capacity building?
  • We need to get security services in the room talking with us. Government responsibility is not to violate trust we have in them, which is what US did w PRISM. U.S. citizens want privacy too.

Session twitter hashtag

Hashtag: #eurodig16


note 1: Ms Kaja Kallas. Bio

Kaja Kallas is an Estonian politician. She is currently a Member of the European Parliament elected from Estonia and belongs to the Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE). She has previously worked as an attorney-at-law and been a Member of the Parliament of Estonia (Riigikogu), where she chaired the Economic Affairs Committee. She is also Vice-Chairman of the Estonian Reform Party. As an attorney, she specialised in European and Estonian competition law.
In the European Parliament Kaja Kallas serves on the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) and is Vice-Chair of the Delegation to the EU-Ukraine Parliamentary Cooperation Committee. She is also a substitute for the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) and the Delegation for Relations with the United States. The European Parliament recently voted on her jointly drafted strategic report "Towards a Digital Single Market Act" that calls for ambitious action to remove barriers in the digital world as well as to avoid hindering the technological revolution by overregulating the sector.

note 2: Mr Dirk Van Eeckhout. Bio

Having two masters in philosophy and management, the ambassador’s interests vary as much as his impressive hat collection. Mr Van Eeckhout has represented Belgium in Japan, Nigeria and Chile. Recently, he chaired the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe from November 2014 until May 2015. More specifically to the topic of the debate, he is the Thematic Coordinator for the Information Policy (TC-INF) at the Council of Europe, promoting the institution’s standards and instruments on Internet Governance and the Information Society. In 2015 he participated in the Internet Governance Forum 2015 in João Pessao, Brazil, 10-13 November; the World Forum for Democracy in Strasbourg, 18-20 November; and took part in the Kyev closure event of the EU/CoE joint programm "Strenghtening information society in Ukraine".
You can catch a bigger glimpse into his life and interests (i.e. social media and digital diplomacy) by following him on twitter and LinkedIn.

note 3: Dr Christina Angelopoulos. Bio

Christina Angelopoulos is a researcher at the Institute for Advanced Legal Studies (IALS) of the University of London. Before joining IALS, Christina was based at the Institute for Information Law (IViR) of the University of Amsterdam. There, she worked on a variety of projects in information law, focusing especially on copyright and media law. In 2011, she began her PhD. This examines the European harmonisation of the liability of online intermediaries for the copyright infringements of third parties.

note 4: Mr Joe McNamee. Bio

Joe McNamee is Executive Director of European Digital Rights, an association of over 30 digital civil rights organisations from across Europe, where he has worked for the past seven years. He as worked in internet-related roles almost continually since 1995, when he worked in technical support for a dial-up internet access provider in the UK
Joe has a particular interest in issues surrounding the rule of law, privacy and freedom of expression in the online environment.

note 5: Mr Stefan Krawczyk. Bio

Stefan Krawczyk, a French national born in the Netherlands, is a civil, media and copyright law graduate from Leiden and Amsterdam Universities and former research fellow of the Munich Max-Planck-Institute for foreign and international industrial and intellectual property law. In June 2009, Stefan Krawczyk, a seasoned government relations specialist, joined Internet marketplace eBay. He heads eBay Inc’s International Government Relations team, covering all of the company’s interests in areas such as e-commerce, mobile commerce, distribution and sales, intellectual property, competition, consumer rights as well as parcel delivery and postal services in EMEA and APAC. Stefan currently also serves as President of Europe's digital media association EDiMA and Vice Chair of the Committee on Digital Economy Policy (CDEP) of the Business and Industry Advisory Committee to the OECD. Before joining eBay, Stefan worked for over five years as intellectual property litigator and for almost 15 years as senior lobbyist for the international recording industry with a focus on IPR enforcement, licensing of recorded music and organization of industry representations in the EU, Eastern Europe and the Middle East.

note 6: Mr Luukas Kristjan Ilves. Bio

Luukas is Counsellor for Digital Affairs at Estonia’s Permanent Representation to the EU, where he makes Europe a more connected and innovative continent by bringing Estonia's outcome-oriented experience in digital markets and government to bear on Brussels. He is responsible for preparing Estonia’s ICT agenda for its EU Presidency in 2018.
Luukas has previously served as Head of International relations for RIA (Estonia’s central agency for e-government and cybersecurity), where he lead Estonia’s push to integrate its e-government systems with neighbouring countries and the EU. He has also worked as a policy planner in the Estonian Ministry of Defence, and as a national expert at the European Commission (in the Cabinet of VP Neelie Kroes). Luukas is a graduate of Stanford University and a reserve officer in the Estonian Defence Forces.