IRIS info - débats / Communiqués

Say NO to attempts to kill ALTERNB and to stifle non-commercial sites that allow independent, free expression on the Internet!

IRIS Press Release - February 15, 1999

List of signatories

Following the judgement passed by the Paris Appeal Court [1] comdemning the French Internet Service Provider (ISP) AlternB, IRIS recalls its position in relation to rights and responsibilities with regards to Internet content [2].

Making an ISP liable for Internet content created by a third party (whether the ISP has been aware or not of this content), puts this technical intermediary in the position of a judge and a censor. However, it should be noted that the role of the ISPs is limited to automatic transport and hosting of information written and published by third parties, who should remain the only responsible for the information they provide. Such an assimilation of responsibilities would hurt the Rule of Law.

While current laws are naturally, and without restriction, applicable to the content provider, the legislator should explicitly recognise that the ISPs are incapable of estimating the illegal or harmful character of an information, especially when it is published by a third party. However, the justice should have means to identify the authors of publicly available Internet content.

To be able to do that, there is absolutely no necessity to require each content provider to put his personal details on his web site (except in the case of sites offering commercial transactions). Preserving this form of anonymity with regards to the public access is in many cases legitimate and necessary for protecting the content provider and also for ensuring personal data protection. IRIS recalls its position with regards to anonymity of publicly available content: the ISPs have the technical means to identify the author of a content hosted by them, and can provide these means to the law authorities if needed. This applies to AlternB.

The signatories urge all the commentators not to be mislead : this case, and this debate, is not the only one involving total anonymity. The signatories call to a large mobilization in support to the French ISP AlternB, and more generally for the defence of the founding principles of our society, with respect to the protection of human rights and the public liberties.

Suggested actions :

[1] Text of the judgement :
[2] Iris text : "Internet contents : rights and responsibilities" :

Text of this press release on the web : (French version : http://www.iris

Contact Iris : Meryem Marzouki ( - Tél : +33(0)144749239

(dernière mise à jour le 16/06/2019) -