The report will outline the problems that modern Russians face on the Internet. After that, the HRC wants to start creating a “digital code” to protect citizens online.
The Human Rights Council (H
RC) intends to create a “digital code” – a set of legislative acts that will ensure the protection of citizens in the digital environment. To do this, the HRC plans to first submit a report to President Vladimir Putin, which will involve hackers as well. This was stated by the head of the council Valery Fadeev, Kommersant reports.
Now the HRC is creating a working group “to protect the rights of citizens in the digital environment.” According to Fadeev, it will include members of the council and hackers who “are well versed in hacking and manipulating the Web.” The result of their work should be a report for the head of state on the problems citizens are currently facing on the Internet: harassment, fraud, surveillance.
As examples of such problems, the head of the Human Rights Council cited the case of journalist Ivan Golunov, after whose arrest photos of a drug laboratory allegedly found at the journalist’s home appeared on the Web. Subsequently, it turned out that the pictures were false. Fadeev also recalled the “harassment in social networks” of the head of the National Medical Chamber, Leonid Roshal, who proposed creating a joint group of doctors from Russia and Germany to clarify the circumstances of what happened to politician Alexei Navalny. He also mentioned problems with the Social Monitoring app, which patients with COVID-19 had to install to track their location during self-isolation.
Fadeev said that Russian legislation in its current form “does not cope with the protection of citizens in the digital environment.” At the same time, he noted that the HRC, when creating a “digital code”, should “avoid protecting rights at the expense of undermining freedoms.”
According to Andrey Sabinin, the lawyer of the Agora international group, if the HRC initiative is based on articles “pulled out” of the Criminal Code and the Code of Administrative Offenses, then it will begin to contradict the spirit of law. The defender believes that the law in Russia is applied selectively, so the new code will not help protect citizens online.
Ekaterina Tyagay, a partner at the Pen & Paper Bar Association, reacted positively to the idea of the HRC, but did not agree that there is no regulation in the digital sphere in Russia. “Specific norms for this area are contained in the law on the media, and general norms on the protection of honor, dignity, business reputation and image are in the first part of the Civil Code,” she recalled, adding that the federal laws “On Information”, “On Personal data”, “On the protection of children from information” also regulate the protection of digital data and behavior on the Internet.
In 2019, Roskachestvo reported that 70% of Russian teenagers became the object of bullying on the Internet or were direct participants in it. To avoid the unpleasant psychological consequences of cyberbullying, experts advised parents to establish a trusting relationship with their child, try not to respond to the offender’s threats, and, in extreme cases, contact law enforcement agencies.
In the spring, on behalf of the government, a contact tracing system for citizens was developed to combat the spread of coronavirus infection, as well as a social monitoring mobile application that monitored the movements of patients with COVID-19. The press secretary of the Russian president, Dmitry Peskov, said that tracking the movements of subscribers by cellular operators is not a violation of the rights of Russians.