Digital Era and protection against disinformation

Articles 12/09/2022

Law no. 15/2022 simplifies the protection regime against disinformation, ensuring its articulation with the European Action Plan against Disinformation. Thus, it amends, for the first time, Law no. 27/2021, of May 17, which approves the Portuguese Charter of Human Rights in the Digital Era.

The amendment, now approved, was discussed in recent months in Parliament, and all parties with parliamentary seats concluded that Article 6, which reflects the protection issue against disinformation, would be subject to change. By the way, there were several attempts to repeal the referred article, which did not achieve. Thus, the theme was subject to a successive review of constitutionality at the Constitutional Court in July 2021.

Law 15/2022 – what does it guarantee?

In this sense, Law no. 15/2022 of August 11 amended article 6 of the Portuguese Charter of Human Rights in the Digital Age, thus guaranteeing broader protection against disinformation for the present and the future.

All paragraphs of the referred article were revoked, thus remaining in its new wording, in point 1, which states that “the State ensures the fulfilment in Portugal of the European Action Plan against Disinformation, to protect society against natural or legal persons, de jure or de facto, that produce, reproduce or disseminate narrative considered disinformation”.

What is the Portuguese Charter on Human Rights in the Digital Era?

This Charter was approved by Law no. 27/2021, of May 17, and guarantees everyone’s free access to the Internet and the application of citizens’ rights, freedoms and guarantees in cyberspace provided for in Portuguese Law. Furthermore, it determines that the Portuguese State shall ensure its compliance.

The document, which includes 23 articles, deals with various topics. For example

– the right to privacy in a digital environment

– the right to the neutrality of the Internet

– right to forgetfulness;

– the right to special protection of children in cyberspace.

On these assumptions, the Charter was approved to ensure the right to privacy in digital meetings and to forget personal data in the digital environment. As well as special protection against misinformation and abusive geolocalization – the process of identifying geographic information captured using devices connected to the Internet or satellite or radio frequency.

It also protects freedom of expression and creation and the rights of demonstration, association and participation in the digital and cyberspace context.

One of the Charter’s issues is that it prohibits the intentional interruption of internet access and stipulates that certain decisions taken using algorithms must be communicated to those concerned.

In cases of disinformation, any citizen may file a complaint with ERC – Entidade Reguladora para a Comunicação Social.

The content of this information does not constitute any specific legal advice; the latter can only be given when faced with a specific case. Please contact us for any further clarification or information deemed necessary in what concerns the application of the law.


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