Digital rights are those that allow people to access, utilize, create, and publish digital media as well as access and use computers, other electronic devices, and communications networks. They are strongly related to freedom of expression and privacy as enshrined in Article 19 and Article 21 of our constitution. Laws must be updated to preserve and uphold fundamental rights in the digital age.
The right to internet access has become a legal requirement in several nations. Some nations are prohibited from excessively restricting their citizens’ access to the internet and are expected to work toward ensuring widespread access.
Globally, the methods by which human rights are both upheld and infringed have changed thanks to digital technology. The Internet has evolved into a crucial tool for advancing economic growth and achieving and securing a number of human rights. However, new instances of how digital technology undermine human rights emerge every day.
Because none of our institutions—political, social, or legal—have caught up with the ramifications of this change, our conception of how to uphold and uphold human rights is being seriously tested. The fight for human rights needs to catch up with the digital world we live in.
You cannot overlook the negative aspects of the digital world. The question of human rights is seriously endangered by the digital revolution. Although digitalization has brought about a number of positive changes, we cannot disregard the risks it poses. We cannot ignore the online world and the ungoverned nature of cyberspace. Online and offline have the same legal protections as humans are more openly exploring digital space. Due to the speed and scope of the digital age’s development, there shouldn’t be a sense of overwhelm, but recognizing the unique requirements of the risk it entails is crucial, and one should be highly interested in it.
Similar to how sometimes using our rights online goes far beyond mere expression. Sometimes, these online assertions of our rights result in conflict between two communities, which could end up becoming a major problem. Through online harassment campaigns that have been setting the stage for trolling, which is currently gaining traction, areas of the internet have been contaminated and continue to be so every second. In the modern world, women are disproportionately the victims of this unethical use of cybercrime. Numerous studies have revealed that information disseminated via social media sites like Facebook is fueling animosity in local communities and among people all across the world.
The main problem with the digital age is that our data can be accessed by anyone worldwide, such as through Facebook, the most popular social networking site. After concerns about this arose, some of Facebook’s security measures were enhanced to protect our pages and pictures through a feature called privacy. However, concerns about the right to privacy are still being raised today, and it is unclear whether our privacy is truly secure given that the person running our devices today.
Both online and offline are subject to human rights. Although digital technologies offer new ways to exercise human rights, they are far too frequently used to do so. The use of surveillance technology, online aggression and harassment, data security and privacy, and digital identity are of special concern.
Some ways to move forward in protecting your digital rights are:
- More instruction for applying human rights standards in the digital era.
- Advanced digital technologies create address protection gaps.
- Discourage generou blocking and filtering of services and blanket internet shutdowns .
- Domestic laws and practices based on Human Rights to protect data privacy
- Clear, Company and Government specific measures to protect human rights, including the right to privacy.
- Adopt and improve digital identity safety measures.
- Avoid unlawful or unnecessary surveillance; protect people.
- Human rights-based legislation and strategies to deal with harmful and illegal online material
- To ensure safe, transparent and accountable spaces online content governance frameworks that uphold free speech, eschew overly stringent regulations, and defend the weakest
- Due date for the UN System Wide Guidelines on Human Rights prudence and impact evaluations while using new technology
Online human rights should now be better safeguarded, not less protected. Globally, stricter legislation should be created to preserve human rights. This will enable us to protect human traits like equality, freedom, respect, and dignity. This will assist us in maintaining an impartial, healthy democracy. In order to defend human values and democracy on digital platforms, every citizen, government, private organization, and company should step up. This will aid in the process of establishing a sound digital era with solid human rights.
Author: Mr. Shrey Madaan, Research Associate, CyberPeace Foundation