In 2016 IMMI will carry on focusing on Intermediary Limited Liability.

Intermediary Limited Liability

A key component of the Safe Haven vision, laid out in the IMMI resolution, is Intermediary Protection or Intermediary Limited Liability.

Defining intermediaries and their role is critical in providing the best possible legal protections for intermediaries. Intermediaries are:

  • Internet Service Providers
  • Online Search Engines
  • DNS Providers
  • Web Hosts
  • Interactive Websites (social media sites, blogging platforms, auction sites and payment gateways)
  • Cyber Cafes
  • Data Centers
  • Telecommunications Carriers

Legislation that safeguards intermediaries and provides them with limited liability, denotes that intermediaries are not liable for content or communications, with the liability remaining with the uploader of content or end user. Thereby, an intermediary cannot be required to monitor its users, conduct surveillance into use or communications, nor censor content, which would impact on privacy, freedom of expression and freedom of information.

IMMI intends to conduct further research into best practice law, and, where needed, draft new legislation in order to create an environment where intermediaries are not made liable for content and communications. For these purposes, IMMI will gauge the opinions of and seek collaboration with stakeholders, legal experts and policy makers. The objective is to draft a bill for parliament in 2015 on Intermediary Limited Liability.

The byproducts of a Safe Haven for Information and Expression

The IMMI resolution was a response to a lack of media and information freedom, inspired by John Perry Barlow’s idea that Iceland could become the Switzerland of Bits, whilst also being a transparency haven. The team behind the IMMI resolution went about identifying various legislative changes and a new set of laws that, as a legislative package, would establish Iceland as such a Safe Haven. The obvious benefits, not just to Iceland but the global community, will be the media and information freedom, the legal protection afforded to journalistic sources and whistleblowers and the legal protections afforded to companies within the ICT sector.

The byproducts of establishing such a Safe Haven are various but enormously significant. Currently, no nation offers such a legally protected environment, despite the high demand. Turning this vision into reality would affect major investment, with many companies relocating at least parts of their operations to Iceland, strengthen the business environment in Iceland, increase employment, offer more specialized jobs, support higher education and further technological advancement.

A parliamentary resolution adopted this autumn (2014) on the Utilization of the Internet and the Protection of User Rights, awaits implementation, which will be underway in the next few weeks once a work team has been established (in which IMMI will have a representative), under the leadership of the Ministry of Industry and Innovation.


Feature photo by Bob Mical (CC BY 2.0)