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Digital technologies provide new means to advocate for, defend, and exercise human rights and affect all types of rights - civil and political, as well as cultural, economic and social rights. They shape how people access and share information, form their opinions, debate, and mobilise – they have deeply transformed the “public square”. But they are equally used to suppress, limit and violate rights, for instance through surveillance, censorship, online harassment, algorithmic bias and automated decision-making systems. The misuse of digital technologies also disproportionately affects marginalized individuals and groups, leading to inequality and discrimination - both online and offline.

Our work

As our world unfolds increasingly in the digital space, the need for our rights to be respected both online and offline becomes even greater. UN Human Rights organizes expert consultations and publishes reports to explore current trends and challenges that our digital environment brings to the right to privacy and other human rights.

In our reports, we frequently recommend additional oversight, transparency, accountability and emphasize the importance of raising public awareness and of multi-stakeholder engagement – in particular ensuring the engagement of those most affected by digital transformation.

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Who else is involved

Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy

The Special Rapporteur is mandated to promote and protect the right to privacy. The mandate examines policies and practices on digital communications and the collection of personal data, and identifies those that intrude on privacy. More proactively, the Special Rapporteur helps governments develop best practices to bring global surveillance under the rule of law, and articulates private sector responsibilities to respect human rights.

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