The International Institute for Peace, Justice and Human Rights (IIPJHR) has been working on Internet and Human Rights since May 2014, trying to imagine future implications of the ever growing use of technology in terms of Human Rights.
Understanding that the Internet in today’s society is a tool that can’t be overlooked, the question arising is how to reconcile the use of Internet and our growing concern about human rights protection. If the Snowden revelations were a wake-up call for a lot of people around the globe on the issue of mass surveillance by governments, we still don’t fully comprehend all implications of using the Internet at every moment of our lives.
From social and political perspectives, if the Internet certainly presents great opportunities for expression, it can equally infringe human rights and freedom through threats over privacy, challenges in terms of e-reputation, protection of children online... That’s why the Institute is working on the issues and the upcoming challenges related to the human rights and the regulation of the Internet.
Interview of the Project Manager, Ms Margaux Scherrer
What are the reasons that led the Institute to work on this topic?
As an ECOSOC accredited NGO, the Institute follows and participates in the work of the Human Rights Council of the United Nations, one of its topics of interest being the right to privacy in the digital era. If one of the primary concern of the HRC is mass surveillance, the Institute decided to follow and monitor the topic with a broader view to include as well the protection of Personal Data and the protection of children online.
How do you work? What are your methods?
First, the work is based on the monitoring of news via google alerts as food for thought and to deepen our understanding of issues. After identifying main axes of reflection, the Institute uses its ECOSOC status to organize side-events during the HRC’s sessions, inviting experts and high level professionals to debate and possibly to propose solutions. Finally, the Institute issues written as well as oral statements directly to the Council to draw its attention to specific points.
What’s next for this project?
As a topic of reflection, Internet and Human Rights is probably a never ending project as technology is evolving faster than we can imagine and new possibilities for human rights violations are emerging every day. The Institute will continue to focus particularly on the definition of Personal Data and protection of children online, organizing its work between the Human Rights Council and specific actions of both