How are today’s biggest tech trends affecting our human rights?
Author: WEF, Published on: 6 January 2018
"New technology offers a range of opportunities to protect and secure human rights. For instance, satellite and other imagery sources are increasingly being used to monitor and uncover gross human rights violations. Such images can later be used as evidence in bringing perpetrators to justice. On an individual level, documentation and sharing can quickly bring widespread attention to particular issues and abuses. And technology enables the organization and mobilization of citizens and activists seeking to secure their rights.
Like all technologies, there are risks. There are the dangers posed to rights by the use of new technologies themselves. The problems of surveillance and monitoring, which are not new, are exacerbated by technological innovation. Data collection and sharing is made significantly easier, and data from disparate sources can be collated to build a comprehensive and intrusive profile of individuals. Transformation of business and work can undermine labour protections. And advances in weaponry threaten to upset existing regulation and incentive structures in armed conflict.
On the regulatory side, sectoral and subject-specific solutions are required, and demand different levels of regulation. Concerning autonomous weapons, for instance, there is currently a rich debate as to how they fit with existing principles of international law, as well as how states ought to regulate them domestically. In respect of online technology, there is a complicated mixture of international, national and self-regulation; privacy protections are developing, though perhaps without keeping up with technological change. Concerning the transformation of work, proactive measures are required to ensure the applicability of rights protections in new contexts."