The COVID-19 pandemic: Five urgent principles for leaving no one behind through technology

by Lorna McGregor and Dr. Ahmed Shaheed, UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief Blog, Blog, By invitation, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

The UN Secretary General has characterised the pandemic as a ‘public health emergency … an economic crisis. A social crisis. And a human crisis that is fast becoming a human rights crisis’. Other UN agencies predict global mass unemployment and severe food insecurity . If urgent action is not taken, existing structural inequalities will expand and entrench and threaten the protection of human rights and the …

Contact Tracing and challenges to privacy

by Dr. Jonathan Andrew, Research Fellow, Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights Beyond the Council, Blog, Blog, By invitation, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

The RightOn webinar earlier this week brought together experts to discuss the use of technologies to facilitate contact tracing in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and asked whether such approaches represented a risk to the right to privacy. A diverse range of perspectives on human rights law – including those of civil society, computer science, academia and the telecommunications industry – informed …

New technologies and democracy

Technology can either be a force for good or a force for ill in a democracy, including in the context of elections. On the negative side, fake news (especially via online political ads) is increasingly used to confuse or manipulate voters; stolen personal data (e.g. Facebook and Cambridge Analytica) can be used to launch micro-targeted campaigns that stoke grievance and …

Do digital technologies hurt or support human rights?

by the URG team Blog, Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

On 14 May this year, the San Francisco city council voted to ban the use of facial recognition technology by local authorities and agencies, including the police. Several other US cities, and even some States, are now considering following suit. These important developments come in the wake of the release of a recent study by Georgetown University, which found that the use …

Human rights and elections: a call for coordination and action

by Avery Davis-Roberts, Associate Director of the Democracy Program at the Carter Center Blog, Blog, By invitation, Universal Rights Group NYC

In 2018 alone, more than 100 electoral events took place around the globe, including in the United States where an estimated 113 million registered US voters turned out to cast ballots in a highly contested mid-term election. This year, elections will take place in every region of the world, including in two of the most populous nations, India and Indonesia. …