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At RightsCon, UN experts urge govts. & cos. to adhere to human rights standards in design & management of digital infrastructure

"UN experts stress links between digital space and human rights at RightsCon, Tunis", 13 Jun 2019

As the conference on human rights in the digital age got underway, David Kaye, Michel Forst and Clément Voule, UN Special Rapporteurs on freedom of opinion and expression, the situation of human rights defenders, and freedom of peaceful assembly and association, said States must ensure that human rights are respected and protected in the digital arena...In recent years, the experts have presented reports, sent numerous communications to various States across the globe and issued press releases addressing Internet shutdowns in times of elections or transition, targeted spyware being used against human rights defenders and civil society leaders and online smear campaigns against those promoting and protecting human rights. “Digital space is not neutral space. At the levels of its physical architecture, regulation and use, different groups exert their interests over it. The principles of international human rights law, however, should be at the centre of its development. Human rights law provides standards which governments, companies and others engaged in the design and management of the infrastructure of our digital spaces should respect in their work.” The experts reaffirm that human rights can contribute to ensuring that digital space allows people to express themselves, engage with one another..., without fear of reprisals.