Internet rights are human rights
In a crisis such as the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important that people are able to obtain information that will help them stay safe and aware of an evolving situation, and initiatives like these are crucial for reducing the traditional barriers to information that prevent global access.
The context of how artificial intelligence affects our rights as digital natives is worth unpacking, especially during political and public health crises, where online communication is a lifeline for many, and citizens are possibly being subjected to government surveillance and manipulation.
Many nations are considering proposals to use digital technologies to confront the COVID-19 pandemic. This joint statement calls on the OECD to ensure the protection of privacy and other fundamental human rights in the use of these technologies.
Over 100 organisations from around the world signed a joint statement stressing that digital surveillance to fight COVID-19 can only be justified if it respects human rights, and setting out conditions that must be met before the use of surveillance technology to fight the pandemic.
COVID-19 is revealing the extent of the digital divide in Pakistan, and it has resulted in Pakistanis mobilizing on Twitter to demand affordable and accessible Internet services.
APC welcomes the invitation of the Special Rapporteur to reflect on the mandate and to provide its inputs regarding growing challenges for the exercise of these rights offline and online.
We at EngageMedia have been busy ensuring the safety of our staff and affiliates in the countries we work in: Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, and Australia. This has included closing our offices and shifting to a fully remote setup, which fortunately has mostly been our default since we began in 2005.
While emergency measures like these are adopted with the aim of slowing the spread of the virus in order to protect public health, it is crucial to ensure that any use of surveillance technology for these purposes strictly adheres to the criteria of necessity and proportionality.
The undersigned organisations express their concern over the announcement of the use of satellite monitoring and georeferencing systems to track individuals as part of the disease containment measures established in Ecuador to confront the COVID-19 epidemic.
In the face of a rising number of attacks on journalists in Bangladesh, Voices for Interactive Choice and Empowerment (VOICE), an APC member organisation, hosted a day-long media training workshop to discuss the challenges faced by journalists and explore solutions for this growing problem.