Today Portugal took another important step in the regulation of digital aspects with the publication of the Portuguese Charter of Human Rights in the Digital Era (Lei n.º 27/2021, de 17 de maio). This document will come into force in 60 days.

This Charter deals with current and different topics such as:

• Right of access to the digital environment

Every citizen has the right to free access to the Internet. The State is responsible for promoting, for example:

a) The autonomous and responsible use of the Internet and free access to information and communication technologies;

b) The reduction and elimination of regional and local asymmetries in terms of connectivity, ensuring its existence in low density territories and guaranteeing quality connectivity throughout the national territory, at broadband and at an affordable price;

c) The existence of free access points in public spaces, such as libraries, parish councils, community centers, public gardens, hospitals, health centers, schools and other public services;

d) The creation of a social tariff for access to Internet services applicable to economically vulnerable end customers.

• Freedom of expression and creation in a digital environment

Right to express and disseminate your thoughts, as well as to create, search, obtain and share or disseminate information and opinions in a digital environment, freely, without any type or form of censorship.

• Guaranteed access and use

Prohibition of intentional interruption of Internet access, whether partial or total, or limiting the dissemination of information or other content.

• Right to protection against disinformation (called fake news)

Compliance in Portugal with the European Action Plan against Disinformation, in order to protect society from the dissemination of narratives considered disinformation. The Charter clarifies that all the proven false or misleading narrative created, presented and disseminated to obtain economic advantages or to deliberately deceive the public is considered to be disinformation and that is likely to cause public damage, namely a threat to democratic political processes, to processes of elaboration of public policies and public goods.

• Rights of assembly, demonstration, association and participation in a digital environment

Right to peaceful assembly, demonstration, association and participation in and through the digital environment, namely for political, social and cultural purposes, as well as to use digital media for the organization and dissemination of civic actions or their realization in cyberspace .

• Right to privacy in a digital environment

Right to use forms of identity protection or to avoid the collection of personal data.

• Right to be forgotten

Right to obtain support from the State in the exercise of the right to erase personal data concerning them (postmortem may be exercised).

• Right to cybersecurity

Right to security in cyberspace, the State is responsible for defining public policies that guarantee the protection of citizens and of information networks and systems, and that create mechanisms that increase security in the use of the Internet, especially by children and young people.

• Right to digital testament

Everyone has the right to express in advance their will with regard to the provision of content and personal data, namely those contained in profiles and personal accounts on digital platforms, under the terms of the contractual conditions for the provision of the service and applicable legislation, including regarding the capacity testamentary. The law clarifies that the postmortem elimination of personal profiles on social networks or similar by heirs cannot take place if the holder of the right has left an indication to the contrary by those responsible for the service.

For further details, please contact us: gabinete.juridico@aip.pt.