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Näthat, det (straff)fria ordet? - En studie om det straffrättsliga skyddet för den personliga integriteten i förhållande till yttrandefriheten i ett förändrat medielandskap

Bengtsson, Cecilia LU (2014) JURM02 20141
Department of Law
Abstract (Swedish)
Den tekniska utvecklingen har under den senaste tiden tagit stora kliv framåt, vilka inneburit positiva förändringar för yttrandefriheten. Men parallellt med de nya möjligheterna har det även tillkommit nya problem. Internet, och främst sociala medier, har blivit en kommunikationsplattform där också hat, hot och kränkningar frodas. Känslan av anonymitet och den fysiska distans som internet skapar provocerar fram allt grövre övergreppsbeteenden. Samtidigt som internet avskärmar människor från de naturliga normer som styr oss i den fysiska miljön, är vi idag allt mer öppna med vårt privatliv utan att reflektera över vem som kommer att använda informationen och i vilket syfte.

I takt med den tekniska utvecklingen har yttrandefriheten utan... (More)
Den tekniska utvecklingen har under den senaste tiden tagit stora kliv framåt, vilka inneburit positiva förändringar för yttrandefriheten. Men parallellt med de nya möjligheterna har det även tillkommit nya problem. Internet, och främst sociala medier, har blivit en kommunikationsplattform där också hat, hot och kränkningar frodas. Känslan av anonymitet och den fysiska distans som internet skapar provocerar fram allt grövre övergreppsbeteenden. Samtidigt som internet avskärmar människor från de naturliga normer som styr oss i den fysiska miljön, är vi idag allt mer öppna med vårt privatliv utan att reflektera över vem som kommer att använda informationen och i vilket syfte.

I takt med den tekniska utvecklingen har yttrandefriheten utan tvekan fått kraftfullare verktyg och det offentliga samtalets förflyttning till den digitala miljön har inte bara förändrat innebörden av vad som är privat utan även förutsättningarna för att skapa personlig integritet. Det förändrade medielandskap som skapats innebär bland annat att lagstiftaren måste markera att brott som förekommer på internet är lika allvarliga som brott som begås i det fysiska rummet. Skyddet för den personliga integriteten måste även utvärderas och anpassas efter det nya medielandskap som skapats. Allt för att rättssamhället på ett tillfredställande sätt ska kunna ingripa mot oönskade beteenden.

Samtidigt som det nya medielandskapet dramatiskt förändrat det traditionella förhållandet mellan yttrandefrihet och ansvar, har skyddet för den personliga integriteten inte funnits på agendan på det sätt som görs aktuellt idag. Det huvudsakliga syftet med framställningen är därför att undersöka om den nuvarande svenska regleringen avseende skyddet för den personliga integriteten i förhållande till yttrandefriheten är anpassat efter det förändrade medielandskap vi lever i idag.

Synen på förhållandet mellan yttrandefriheten och skyddet för den personliga integriteten avspeglas tydligt i svensk rätt. Den svenska lagstiftaren har tagit utgångspunkt i yttrandefriheten och därefter skapat modeller för att utkräva ansvar för handlingar, som efter en intresseavvägning inte ansetts godtagbara i ett demokratiskt samhälle. Det något snedvridna förhållandet har gjort att lagstiftaren i många fall eftersatt skyddet för den enskildes personliga integritet till förmån för en långtgående yttrandefrihet.

Under den senaste tiden hörs emellertid allt oftare uppfattningen att skyddet för den personliga integriteten behöver förstärkas, även om det sker på bekostnad av en något inskränkt yttrandefrihet. Rättstillämparen har också uttalat sitt missnöje över det bristfälliga integritetsskyddet vid grova integritetskränkningar i svensk rätt. Trots det har den straffrättsliga lagstiftningen till skydd för den personliga integriteten i princip inte reviderats sedan dess tillkomst. Den lagstiftning som finns att tillgå för att hantera hat, hot och kränkningar på internet är i allt väsentligt tillkommen i en tid då internet och sociala medier ännu inte existerade. Det innebär att kränkningar på internet måste tolkas i termer av bland annat ärekränkningsbrott.

Att nya företeelser tolkas via redan existerande lagstiftning är i sig inte uppseendeväckande. Problematiken när det gäller hot och kränkningar på internet ligger snarare i att få till en ändamålsenlig tillämpning utan att ”göra våld” på den befintliga lagstiftningen. Det finns dock mycket som tyder på att rättsväsendet, utifrån dagens lagstiftnings tillkortakommanden, inte kan fånga upp de hot och kränkningar som förekommer på internet. Med hänsyn till att lagstiftaren i stor utsträckning förlitat sig på den ”ålderdomliga” lagstiftningen till skydd för den personliga integriteten har massmedia rapporterat om ett rättssamhälle som kapitulerat i yttrandefrihetens namn och lämnat ordet (straff)fritt på internet.

Det är dock fel att hävda att svensk lagstiftning står helt handfallen när hotfulla och kränkande kommentarer framförs via internet. Många av de oönskade beteenden vi ser på internet idag är redan kriminaliserade. De straffrättsliga detaljregleringar som finns till skydd för den personliga integriteten är dock begränsade till att omfatta specifika situationer, medan Personuppgiftslagen (1998:204), PuL, mycket sällan används för ansvarutkrävande i praktiken. Detta medför att grova integritetskränkningar riskerar att falla utanför de befintliga bestämmelsernas tillämpningsområde, vilket i sin tur måste uppfattas som en brist i det svenska integritetsskyddet.

Något måste göras och en toleransutveckling i linje med svensk rättstradition är inte acceptabel. Skyddet för den personliga integriteten behöver förstärkas. Frågan är dock oerhört komplex med många komplikationer som följd, främst för yttrandefriheten. Situationen löser sig dock inte själv, utan här har lagstiftaren ett stort ansvar för att bana väg för förändrade normer i samhället. Regeringen har uppmärksammat att näthatet är ett stort demokratiproblem och inlett kampen mot näthatet, främst genom att inhämta kunskap om omfattningen av hoten och kränkningarna. De rättsliga signalerna från regeringen måste emellertid kompletteras med andra samhälleliga insatser. Varje enskild individ har ett ansvar för vårt samhällsbygge och attityden oss medmänniskor emellan måste förändras. Att stoppa näthatet är vårt gemensamma ansvar. (Less)
Abstract
The development of the Internet, and also user devices such as smart phones, has recently made significant strides, which have had a great positive impact on freedom of speech. However, in parallel with the new opportunities, new problems have developed. The Internet, and foremost social media, has become a communication platform where hatred, threats and violations of privacy thrive. The feeling of anonymity and the physical distance, which the Internet creates, tend to provoke all the rougher behaviour. Accordingly, the Internet isolates people from the natural norms that guide them in the physical environment. At the same time people are becoming more open with their personal lives without thinking about whom is going to use the... (More)
The development of the Internet, and also user devices such as smart phones, has recently made significant strides, which have had a great positive impact on freedom of speech. However, in parallel with the new opportunities, new problems have developed. The Internet, and foremost social media, has become a communication platform where hatred, threats and violations of privacy thrive. The feeling of anonymity and the physical distance, which the Internet creates, tend to provoke all the rougher behaviour. Accordingly, the Internet isolates people from the natural norms that guide them in the physical environment. At the same time people are becoming more open with their personal lives without thinking about whom is going to use the information and for what purpose.

Freedom of speech has certainly been given more powerful tools. However, the positive change has not only changed the meaning of privacy, but also the capability of creating privacy. This implies that the legislature needs to take action to clarify that hatred, threats and violations of privacy appearing on the Internet are as serious as crimes committed in the “real world”. The protection of privacy also has to be evaluated and adapted to the new media landscape to ensure a satisfying way to intervene against unwanted behaviour.

Whilst the Internet, and foremost social media, dramatically has changed the traditional relationship between freedom of speech and liability, the importance of protection of privacy has not been relevant in this way before. The main purpose of this presentation is therefore to examine whether the current Swedish regulation concerning the protection of privacy in relation to freedom of speech is adapted to the new media landscape in which we live today.

The relationship between freedom of speech and the protection privacy is evidently reflected in Swedish law. Freedom of speech has been the fundamental legal interest and based on that interest the legislator has created models of liability, which after a balancing of interests is not considered acceptable in a democratic society. Due to the slightly distorted relationship the protection of privacy has in many cases been neglected in favour of a far-reaching freedom of speech.

The increasingly expressed view is that the protection of privacy needs to be strengthened, even if it is at the expense of a slightly more limited freedom of speech. The Supreme Court has also expressed its dissatisfaction regarding the lack of protection in cases of serious privacy violations in Swedish law. Despite this, the criminal law regarding the protection of privacy has not been revised since its entry into force in the early 1960th century. The legislation available in cases of hatred, threats and violations of privacy on the Internet essentially originated at a time when the Internet and social media did not exist. This means that the violations of privacy on the Internet have to be interpreted in terms of, among others, defamation crimes.

This is not itself remarkable. The problem lies in the hands of the ability to generate an efficient usage without "doing violence" on the existing legislation. However, based on today's legislative shortcomings, the legal system is not able to create a satisfactory protection of privacy. Given the fact that the legislature to a great extent relied on the "old-fashioned" laws to protect privacy media has reported about a society governed by law, which capitulated in the name of freedom of speech and left the word (penalty)free on the Internet.

However, it is wrong to claim that the Swedish legislation is completely ineffective when threatening and privacy-violating comments are made on the Internet. Many of the undesirable behaviours on the Internet are already criminalized. However, the criminal protection of privacy is limited to specific situations, while Personuppgiftslagen (1998:204), PuL, rarely is used to hold someone accountable in practice. Due to the fact that the protection of privacy is relatively limited and serious violations tend to not be covered by the existing laws, the insufficiency is a lack of protection of privacy in Swedish law.

Something must be done to ensure that the protection of privacy is upheld and progress in line with the tradition where freedom of speech is presumed is not acceptable. The protection of privacy needs to be adapted to the new media landscape. However, the relationship between privacy and freedom of speech is extremely complex. In this situation has the legislature a great responsibility to pave the way for changing norms in society. Cyber hate is recognized as an increasing problem and a threat to democracy. The government has taken measures, mainly by gathering knowledge about the extent of the threats and abuses. The regulatory signals from the government, however, must be accompanied with other community efforts. Every individual has a responsibility to the society we live in. The attitude between us has to change. To prevent cyber hate is our common responsibility. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Bengtsson, Cecilia LU
supervisor
organization
alternative title
Cyber hate, the (penalty)free word? A study on the criminal protection of privacy in relation to freedom of speech in a changing media landscape
course
JURM02 20141
year
type
H3 - Professional qualifications (4 Years - )
subject
keywords
Straffrätt, näthat
language
Swedish
id
4451158
date added to LUP
2014-06-12 08:33:38
date last changed
2014-06-12 08:33:38
@misc{4451158,
  abstract     = {The development of the Internet, and also user devices such as smart phones, has recently made significant strides, which have had a great positive impact on freedom of speech. However, in parallel with the new opportunities, new problems have developed. The Internet, and foremost social media, has become a communication platform where hatred, threats and violations of privacy thrive. The feeling of anonymity and the physical distance, which the Internet creates, tend to provoke all the rougher behaviour. Accordingly, the Internet isolates people from the natural norms that guide them in the physical environment. At the same time people are becoming more open with their personal lives without thinking about whom is going to use the information and for what purpose.

Freedom of speech has certainly been given more powerful tools. However, the positive change has not only changed the meaning of privacy, but also the capability of creating privacy. This implies that the legislature needs to take action to clarify that hatred, threats and violations of privacy appearing on the Internet are as serious as crimes committed in the “real world”. The protection of privacy also has to be evaluated and adapted to the new media landscape to ensure a satisfying way to intervene against unwanted behaviour.

Whilst the Internet, and foremost social media, dramatically has changed the traditional relationship between freedom of speech and liability, the importance of protection of privacy has not been relevant in this way before. The main purpose of this presentation is therefore to examine whether the current Swedish regulation concerning the protection of privacy in relation to freedom of speech is adapted to the new media landscape in which we live today. 

The relationship between freedom of speech and the protection privacy is evidently reflected in Swedish law. Freedom of speech has been the fundamental legal interest and based on that interest the legislator has created models of liability, which after a balancing of interests is not considered acceptable in a democratic society. Due to the slightly distorted relationship the protection of privacy has in many cases been neglected in favour of a far-reaching freedom of speech. 

The increasingly expressed view is that the protection of privacy needs to be strengthened, even if it is at the expense of a slightly more limited freedom of speech. The Supreme Court has also expressed its dissatisfaction regarding the lack of protection in cases of serious privacy violations in Swedish law. Despite this, the criminal law regarding the protection of privacy has not been revised since its entry into force in the early 1960th century. The legislation available in cases of hatred, threats and violations of privacy on the Internet essentially originated at a time when the Internet and social media did not exist. This means that the violations of privacy on the Internet have to be interpreted in terms of, among others, defamation crimes. 

This is not itself remarkable. The problem lies in the hands of the ability to generate an efficient usage without "doing violence" on the existing legislation. However, based on today's legislative shortcomings, the legal system is not able to create a satisfactory protection of privacy. Given the fact that the legislature to a great extent relied on the "old-fashioned" laws to protect privacy media has reported about a society governed by law, which capitulated in the name of freedom of speech and left the word (penalty)free on the Internet.

However, it is wrong to claim that the Swedish legislation is completely ineffective when threatening and privacy-violating comments are made on the Internet. Many of the undesirable behaviours on the Internet are already criminalized. However, the criminal protection of privacy is limited to specific situations, while Personuppgiftslagen (1998:204), PuL, rarely is used to hold someone accountable in practice. Due to the fact that the protection of privacy is relatively limited and serious violations tend to not be covered by the existing laws, the insufficiency is a lack of protection of privacy in Swedish law.

Something must be done to ensure that the protection of privacy is upheld and progress in line with the tradition where freedom of speech is presumed is not acceptable. The protection of privacy needs to be adapted to the new media landscape. However, the relationship between privacy and freedom of speech is extremely complex. In this situation has the legislature a great responsibility to pave the way for changing norms in society. Cyber hate is recognized as an increasing problem and a threat to democracy. The government has taken measures, mainly by gathering knowledge about the extent of the threats and abuses. The regulatory signals from the government, however, must be accompanied with other community efforts. Every individual has a responsibility to the society we live in. The attitude between us has to change. To prevent cyber hate is our common responsibility.},
  author       = {Bengtsson, Cecilia},
  keyword      = {Straffrätt,näthat},
  language     = {swe},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Näthat, det (straff)fria ordet? - En studie om det straffrättsliga skyddet för den personliga integriteten i förhållande till yttrandefriheten i ett förändrat medielandskap},
  year         = {2014},
}