IGF 2014 shares messages on right to privacy in the digital age at Human Rights Council

Publication date: 
September 2014
Author: 
APC
Publisher: 
APC
Author: 

Message to the United Nations Human Rights Council from the roundtable for organisers of workshops on enhancing digital trust and the internet and human rights

Participants at the United Nations Internet Governance Forum (IGF) 2014 met on Friday 5 September to reflect on IGF workshops related to the issues of enhancing digital trust and the internet and human rights. We were aware of the United Nations Human Rights Council 27th Session and the panel which will consider the report of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on the Right to Privacy in the Digital Age.

At IGF 2014, approximately 47 out of 87 workshops focused directly or indirectly on human rights, with privacy, surveillance, freedom of expression, freedom of association, and economic, cultural and social rights emerging as main themes. In this context, IGF 2014 participants (including people from governments, civil society, the private sector, academic and technical communities) formulated an input to bring to the Human Rights Council on the right to privacy in the digital age.

We agreed on the following key messages:

  • The right to privacy was a significant thematic issue at IGF 2014, including concerns about widespread privacy violations, the need for transparency, clear privacy standards and procedures for protection, and emerging issues such as mobile internet access.
  • We believe that for internet to fulfil its potential, human rights need to be respected on the internet. We note the contribution that the Internet Governance Forum has made to the discussion of human rights and the impact of the Human Rights Council resolution 20/8 2012, which affirmed the same human rights we have offline also apply online.
  • We agree with the High Commissioner that the right to privacy is linked to other rights such as the right to freedom of expression, freedom of association, amongst others. We agree with the High Commissioner that: “Effectively addressing the challenges related to the right to privacy in the context of modern communications technology will require an ongoing, concerted multi-stakeholder engagement.”
  • We not only agree, we also embody such multi-stakeholder engagement through our participation at the IGF, a United Nations mandated multi-stakeholder forum.
    We therefore agree that the Human Rights Council’s response to current challenges “should include a dialogue involving all interested stakeholders, including member states, civil society, scientific and technical communities, the business sector, academics and human rights experts.”
  • We urge the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Human Rights Council members, member states, regional human rights bodies and national human rights institutions to engage with the Internet Governance Forum as a space for dialogue involving all stakeholders and as a means to assist and inform the Office of the High Commissioner.
  • We urge the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Human Rights Council members, member states, regional human rights mechanisms and national human rights institutions to participate in IGF 2015, which will take place in Brazil.

For more information, contact: Joy Liddicoat, Association for Progressive Communications: joy@apc.org

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