Digital rights are increasingly important for civil society activists, who rely on digital technologies and the internet to communicate, organize, and advocate for their causes. These rights, which include the right to freedom of expression, privacy, and access to information, are protected by international human rights law.
As a civil society activist, it is essential to understand and advocate for your digital rights, as well as the digital rights of others. Here are some key issues to be aware of:
- Freedom of expression: The right to freedom of expression, as protected by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), includes the right to seek, receive, and impart information and ideas through any media, including online. This right is crucial for activists, who use the internet and social media to share information and mobilize support for their causes.
- Privacy: The right to privacy, as protected by the ICCPR, includes the right to be free from interference with one’s personal and family life, home, and correspondence, including online. This right is increasingly at risk as personal data is collected, tracked, and used for various purposes, often without individuals’ knowledge or consent.
- Access to information: The internet provides an unprecedented level of access to information, but not everyone has equal access. The right to access to information, as protected by the ICCPR, includes the right to seek, receive, and impart information, as well as the right to the protection of the confidentiality of personal data.
- The role of states and private companies: States have a responsibility to respect, protect, and fulfill digital rights, and to ensure that private companies do not infringe upon these rights. However, states and private companies can also be sources of digital rights violations, through measures such as censorship, surveillance, or the misuse of personal data.
As a civil society activist, it is important to be aware of these issues and to advocate for the protection and promotion of digital rights. This can involve speaking out against censorship and surveillance, supporting organizations that work on digital rights issues, and educating others about the importance of these rights. By standing up for digital rights, activists can ensure that they are able to use digital technologies and the internet to further their causes without fear of reprisal or interference.