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Thematic reports

A/HRC/40/63: Privacy and technology from a gender perspective: report


27 February 2019

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Gender mainstreaming

The Human Rights Council and the General Assembly have called on States "to further develop or maintain, in this regard, preventive measures and remedies for violations and abuses regarding the right to privacy in the digital age that may affect all individuals, including where there are particular adverse effects on women, as well as children and persons in vulnerable situations or marginalized groups."

In his report, prepared pursuant to Human Rights Council resolutions 28/16 and 37/2, the Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy focuses on issues in intelligence oversight; and provides the first report of the ‘Privacy and Gender’ work of the ‘Privacy and Personality’ Taskforce, and that of the Health Data Taskforce.

Following three successful 'Privacy, Personality & Information Flows' regional consultations, an online consultation Gender issues arising in the digital era and their impacts on women, men and individuals of diverse sexual orientations, gender identities, gender expressions and sex characteristics was undertaken. Submissions to these consultations are available in Annex 2.


This report presents the first results of the mandate’s ongoing work on Privacy and Gender. The Special Rapporteur concludes that gender-based breaches of privacy are a systemic form of denial of human rights; discriminatory in nature and frequently perpetuating unequal social, economic, cultural and political structures.

Addressing gender-based incursions into privacy requires frameworks at international, regional and domestic levels. States, in preventing gender based privacy invasions, need to actively protect privacy in policy development, legislative reform, service provision, regulatory action, support to civil society organizations, and educational and employment frameworks, and using the experiences of females, males, transgender women and men, and intersex people, and others who identify as outside the gender binary and cis-normativity.

Within the Taskforce on 'Privacy and Personality', work will continue on the link between privacy and equality of genders regardless of form or expression. In addition to consultation on the report in Annex 2, the Special Rapporteur plans to dedicate more attention over the next three years to this area, including the links between privacy, autonomy and the male guardianship system present to varying degrees in a number of countries.

Issued By:

Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy

Delivered To:

HRC at its 40th session