- 3 -- The new social media offer vast opportunities for members of parliament to communicatewith the public and to exchange information that is essential to them in their daily work.The use of these media, however, also presents significant risks to parliamentarians thattheir privacy will be invaded and their parliamentary work impaired;- For members of parliament, it is essential that any private communication they receiveis accorded the same level of protection regardless of the technology, platform andbusiness model used to create, communicate and store it. This does not appear to bethe case today,
, that Ms. Jónsdóttir is concerned that the United States authorities areseeking disclosure of information from other US-based service providers without her knowledge;there are fears that those providers may meanwhile already have turned over to the Courtinformation on her accounts; moreover, according to information provided in October 2011,Ms. Jónsdóttir may have become the subject in the United States of America of a preliminary criminalinvestigation before a grand jury in relation to three files which seem to concern information retrievedfrom her accounts with other social media and Internet search engines,1.
that freedom of expression goes to the heart of democracy and is essential tomembers of parliament; without the ability to express their opinions freely, members ofparliament cannot represent the people who have elected them; if they cannotreceive and exchange information freely without fear of interference they cannotlegislate and hold the government to account;2.
that Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights upholds the right ofeveryone to freedom of opinion and expression; it stipulates that this right includesfreedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impartinformation and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers;3.
that, under standard human rights conventions and their jurisprudence,restrictions on the freedom of expression are subject to a threefold test: they should beprescribed by law, they must be necessary in a democratic society, and they must beproportionate to these necessary purposes;4.
Fails to see
how the restrictions on freedom of expression that would result fromcompliance with the Twitter court order can be justified on such grounds, and
that, on the contrary, such compliance would jeopardize a member of parliament'sright to freedom of expression and hence his/her ability to seek, receive and impartinformation freely, which is absolutely necessary in a democratic society;5.
that the national and international legal framework concerning the useof electronic media, including social media, does not appear to provide sufficientguarantees to ensure respect for freedom of expression, access to information and theright to privacy; the guarantees protecting freedom of expression and privacy in the“offline world” seem not to operate in the “online world”;6.
Notes also with concern
that the parliamentary immunity Ms. Jónsdóttir would haveenjoyed under Icelandic law in exercising the political activity which is apparently atstake, is not operational in this case; given that the use of social networks byparliamentarians with their constituents and others is today commonplace in manycountries, disclosure orders such as the one in question would undermine and evenrender void the ability of States to protect their members of parliament fromunwarranted interference with their mandates;7.
Expresses deep concern
, therefore, at the efforts made by a State to obtaininformation about the communications of a member of parliament of another Stateand the likely consequences of this for members of parliament the world over on theirability to discharge their popular mandate freely;