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.
A virtual dialogue on collective safety, co-convened by Just Associates (JASS), IM-Defensoras and APC, coincided with the launch of a new JASS tookit featuring resources for women human rights defenders.
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.
Technology has become a crucial part of the COVID-19 response, and this has raised some serious questions: Can privacy and public health security go hand in hand? Is it enough to use safeguards such as transparency and the use of intrusive technology only when absolutely necessary?
Many countries today are turning to digital technologies to provide information as well as for monitoring and controlling people infected with the virus, which alerts us to the potential impact of these technologies on people’s fundamental rights.
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.
As governments around the world attempt to flatten the curve of coronavirus cases, authorities appear to be looking towards technology for support. Chatbots, online dashboards, and mobile caller tunes are some of the digital strategies put on display by officials to raise awareness around Covid-19.
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.
APC’s priorities at this HRC session include gender and privacy online, freedom of religion or belief, and the criminalisation of human rights defenders, journalists and digital security and tech expertise, as well as highlighting violations of internet rights in countries like India and Myanmar.