[Breaking News] The Digital Scholarship Institute is launching its activities

The Digital Scholarship Institute is launching its activities by the publication of “The Aequitas Principles on Online Due Process”, which can be accessed on the new website of the Institute, here. The Digital Scholarship Institute is focused on facilitating norm-setting processes in the context of balancing online rights such as free speech, privacy, and intellectual property. The goal is to facilitate a broader discussion of these issues in both the private and public spheres and to help frame the appropriate framework within which these processes should take place.

The Aequitas Principles on Online Due Process” is comprised of four sections:

1. Scope of Principles.
2. General Principles of Platform Decision-Making Concerning User-Generated Content.
3. Platform Decision-Making Concerning Online Criminal Content—Measure to Address Under-blocking.
4. Platform Decision-Making Concerning User-Generated Content—Measures to Address Over-blocking.

The introductory paragraphs of the Scope of Principles provide a useful window into the vision of the Institute:

Human rights and fundamental freedoms must be upheld everywhere; they are no less important in the online environment than they are offline. Generally, governments are responsible for the safeguarding of human rights and fundamental freedoms; however, not only activities of governments impact human rights. On the internet, content platforms (“platforms”) create spaces, structures, and processes for interaction, education, work, and commerce, and they therefore play a crucial role in shaping the online environment and an individual’s ability to enjoy their rights and freedoms. The role is even more important when a platform enjoys a dominant position in a given market. Notwithstanding the modern public square role of platforms, national and international laws and national and international courts have not extended the responsibility for the maintenance of human rights to platforms. Some supreme courts have, however, highlighted the public square or freedom of expression functions of platforms.

Accordingly, platforms should take an active role in preserving human rights and fundamental freedoms in the online world. The responsibility for the safeguarding of human rights and fundamental freedoms on the internet may be extended to platforms through laws, including international laws. However, even when such laws do not exist, platforms should take active steps to preserve human rights – whether as a part of corporate social responsibility or as a matter of business ethics. Some platforms have already recognized the effects of their activity on human rights and fundamental freedoms, and all platforms should convert the recognition into actual steps in furtherance of the rights and freedoms on the internet.

Processes that are consistent with due process principles are crucially important for the maintaining of procedural fairness and substantive justice, and due process principles should permeate all activities of platforms. Some activities of platforms are regulated by law or by the courts and agency decisions, which should incorporate due process principles. Other activities of platforms might not be regulated by law or by the courts and agency decisions, and in such cases, it is up to the platforms to implement processes that safeguard due process principles.

The Digital Scholarship Institute is currently comprised of 21 academics and other scholars from around the world and is divided into four working groups: platform liability; free speech issues and Internet regulation; IP issues in AI and blockchain; and gender equality online, search engine and algorithmic bias. A list of the members of the Institute can be found, here.

[Breaking News] The Digital Scholarship Institute is launching its activities [Breaking News] The Digital Scholarship Institute is  launching  its activities Reviewed by Merpel McKitten on Monday, May 17, 2021 Rating: 5

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