CITIZENS’ ACTIVITY ON THE INTERNET: ANALYSIS OF RIGHTS AND BORDERS
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This article discusses aspects of the influence of information and communication technologies on political and social activity of citizens, analyzes the legal framework for regulating the activities of citizens and their social activity in cyberspace, and considers the consequences of illegal activity of users on the Internet.
Key words: cyberspace, Internet, civil activity, legal regulation,
Over the past few decades, the role of information and communication technologies (ICT) in forming the social activity of citizens has sharply increased. The widespread introduction of ICT, especially the Internet, has opened up new opportunities for citizens to access many public services, their participation in various discussion forums, the formation of an online petition system to defend certain social views and interests.
Along with the introduction of ICT, the interest of the society in the consequences of using these technologies is growing: in online campaigns, websites of individual organizational structures, e-government services, e-voting, a wide range of e-services, etc. There is a tendency of ICT trend to support, control, structure and develop relations between the state and citizens. Citizens’ behavior in specific contexts is often envisaged and the implications of ICTs for broader theories and practices of citizenship are ignored .
Studies of the relationship between Internet use and social activity of citizens have revealed numerous effects resulting from various activities on the network. According to S. Valenzuela’s study, specific uses of the Internet influence political participation, contributing to the development of obedient or actualizing norms of citizenship, i.e. people who participate in duty-based Internet use are more likely to participate in duty-based voting than those who participate in up-to-date use of the Internet. These results suggest that online activities that reflect specific norms of citizenship often predict the corresponding forms of political participation of citizens .
Legal restrictions on the activities of citizens in the Internet space. With the advent of cyberspace as a kind of new society, the ways of communication and human activity have changed significantly. Consequently, changes in social communications led to changes in world law. Information technology has brought human rights to the web and now e-government is considering the rights and responsibilities of individuals in cyberspace. This is another vital element of the electronic or cybernetic society.
As noted in the Decree of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan No. PP-4366, “an analysis of the current state of the sphere indicates a lack of prompt and proper response to emerging challenges in the media space, society’s requests for the timely provision of comprehensive information on large-scale reforms in the country, which necessitates a significant strengthening of work in information sphere, bringing to a qualitatively new level the activities of the press services of state bodies and organizations, the media . In this regard, Uzbekistan, along with the world community, continues to develop the legal and regulatory framework in cyberspace. Examples of this are the following changes over the past few years:
̶ media workers (media) are given strong protection in accordance with the Law of the Republic of Uzbekistan “On the protection of the professional activities of a journalist” ;
̶ in March 2020, amendments to Article 244.5 of the Criminal Code  were adopted, providing for punishment for the dissemination of “false information” about the spread of infectious diseases or quarantine through the media or the Internet up to three years in prison ;
̶ in April 2021, amendments were made to the Personal Data Law, which now require website owners to store their data in Uzbekistan and ensure that their servers are registered with the State Inspectorate for Control in the Sphere of Informatization and Telecommunications (“Uzkomnazorat”) ; and others.
The activity of users of the global network in Uzbekistan. The Internet influences the ability of communication systems, referring to the semantic component to a greater extent. The absence of the Internet would not allow us to observe the rapid development of information and networking as a driving force for gradual social and structural changes in many areas of life. A lot of research is aimed at understanding the logic of society’s interaction in the space of the global network, taking into account technologies, social norms and culture.
Currently, the total number of Internet users in Uzbekistan is increasing daily. In 2021, the number of Internet users exceeded 27 million users, in 2020 this figure was 22 million users. Among the most popular social networks are Telegram and YouTube. According to a sociological survey conducted by the Headhunter research center, out of 195 respondents, 185 people were identified as active users of social networks. Almost half of the respondents (79 people) reported that they spend on social networks from 1 to 3 hours a day . This indicates the growing indicators of user activity of the inhabitants of Uzbekistan in the global network.
Illegal behavior of citizens in social networks. Any destructive impact that affects the minds of people and society must be controlled within the framework of the law. Currently, numerous cases of misbehavior of users and the dissemination of deliberately false information on the Internet are covered by the media in order to inform and warn citizens about the subsequent responsibility for their illegal actions in cyberspace. Illegal activity of citizens bears subsequent liability under the laws of the country in which it was committed.
With the global growth in the number of social networks on the Internet, digital infrastructures offer citizens new channels for joint expression and action, thereby increasing the involvement of citizens in collective action, ultimately civic social activity. Information and communication technologies, the Internet in particular, have a significant impact on the attitude and perception of people to each other and management structures. The essence of human identity remains the same, regardless of the scope of its implementation, in the real world or in the virtual world. The Internet influences the functioning of identity so strongly that it entails the need to define the legal framework and methods of protection that are specific only to the digital identity of users. The legal boundaries of user protection and liability will be most visible in the issue of countering objectionable content.
Due to the special specifics of the object of regulation, the legislation in the field of information needs to be constantly updated and improved, which leads to the dynamism and high frequency of amendments to regulatory legal acts. When defining legal boundaries, it is necessary to determine each time what is the purpose of a certain category of information related to the subject. One of the criteria for defining these boundaries is the status of an individual or social subject, as well as the criterion of information, both individual and professional.