Over the past decades, the development of digital technologies brought both benefits and challenges that are to be prioritized to have a balanced approach both in state policy and legal regulations. Armenian reality is not an exception and the Policy Agenda mentioned below based on expert opinion and comparative analysis of International practice are to address those challenges.
Armenia Internet Freedom Policy Agenda
Strengthening the protection of citizens’ personal data processed by private entities and public authorities.
Privacy and personal data are fundamental rights of human rights that especially vulnerable in the digital age. Personal data is used by both private entities and public authorities for profiling people, tracking and spying on citizens. It used to manipulate public behavior and is actually interference in a person’s will and freedom of decision making.
Adoption of adequate legal measures preventing the bulk collection of citizens’ personal data by private entities is strongly necessary to prevent misuse of personal data in marketing and sales purposes. The collection and processing of personal data by public authorities must be transparent and accountable. Relevant rules must be adopted and controlled.
Strengthening the protection of freedom of expression and opinion on the Internet.
The emergence of the Internet and its rapid spread over the countries and continents made the freedom of expression a universal opportunity for everyone. Negative sides of global communication such as illegal content and scam have triggered numerous regulatory restrictions in many countries around the globe.
When addressing the problem of illegal and harmful content blocking and filtering without due legal procedure defined under the relevant legislation shall not be a case. Such procedures can include judicial review when necessary using definite procedures.
The regulatory network shall protect users’ interest from the discrimination of content provision by Internet service suppliers. Net Neutrality must be one of the key principles of telecommunications regulations and governance.
Enforcement of transparency in the use of Artificial Intelligence in public administration and business.
In spite of the tremendous benefits of the use of AI in public administration and business, it also contains significant risks for human rights endangering individuals’ privacy and the use of hidden discriminatory practices. When using AI both public and private authorities must be extremely careful and consider human rights violations risks.
The use of AI must be responsible, transparent and accountable. Algorithms and processing models must be open for public review and audited by an independent expert prior to their implication.
Reform government surveillance to respect human rights.
The use of information technologies for spying on citizens and guest foreigners is another controversy of nowadays policy. While the use of information technologies for the protection of national security from external adversaries is legitimate and adequate measures, similar methods must not be acceptable in internal investigatory practices.
Bulk collection of citizens data for possible use in particular criminal cases when it might be helpful should not be the general rule. When surveillance is used for public safety and order it must be done in a transparent manner clearly articulated to the public and available for civil society control.
Foster universal connectivity and ensure privacy and anonymity of the use of the Internet.
Internet access in the 21st century is not just a service, it is an indispensable part of the fundamental rights of people to search, obtain, use and disseminate information. Thus, it is the government’s obligation to ensure that every citizen has affordable Internet access to services either at home or a public site, such as community centers or libraries. The legislator and government must find appropriate legal and regulatory solutions and implement them.
The Internet is public cyberspace and people must have a right to enter it anonymously, without control from public authorities. Anonymity is an important element of individuals’ trust in the use of Internet-based services. In the meanwhile, individuals must be protected from cybercrime, scam and fraud without affecting their privacy rights. Reaching a balance between protecting people from cybercrimes and ensuring their privacy is one of the important parts of Internet policy.