Luxembourg’s Diplomacy & Communications Insititute is committed to raising awareness, deepening, and strengthening the existence of a Human Rights Data Space Ecosystem.
Such a data space ecosystem refers to the type of data relationship between trusted partners, initiatives, organizations, fully committed to adhering to the same high-level standards and guidelines in relation to data storage and sharing of human rights information within the ecosystem in order to accelerate the prosecution of criminals globally, both through a physical and online set-up.
In 2016, the United Nations Human Rights Council declared access to the Internet as a human right, requiring countries to provide an accessible and affordable service for all, fully guaranteeing access to new technologies as a priority for all citizens.
The resolution highlighted that “the same rights people have offline must also be protected online.” The right to data protection, privacy, and identity are integral Human Rights that should apply to all. Hence, the importance of establishing a Human Rights Data Space Ecosystem and a relevant working group is more important than ever before.
In 2020, Europe began pushing for a new data ecosystem that would allow for interoperable data exchange between companies within the ecosystem. As such human rights need to be recognized on the Internet and fully adopted in the digital age revolution.
In this context, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned that many of the new technologies can be used to extort and violate the privacy of individuals. During the 43rd UN Human Rights Council session, “his call for action” addresses all the risks that the inappropriate use of technology by citizens. He pointed out that “Advances, such as facial recognition programs, digital identification, and biotechnology must not be used to erode human rights, increase inequalities or exacerbate existing discrimination”.
Guterres, in a tweet, discussed the importance to advocate for the protection of all rights online and offline and pushing this through the UN Human Rights Call to Action. He says “New technologies are too often used to violate rights and privacy through surveillance, repression, and online harassment and hate”.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet discusses the possibility of regulating cyberspace and artificial intelligence to prevent them from becoming “a black hole in terms of human rights”. Among the risks that Bachellet listed include the misuse of big data, both to undermine privacy and intervene in elections; problems related to freedom of expression, and incitement to hatred and violence.
Such concerns are some of the elements of our working group discussions to strengthen a global consensus that the Human Rights Data Space has to be decentralized, more open, and transparent and give way to smaller associations, SMEs, startups, and initiatives to work together with big players or hyperscalers to equally secure the necessary funding to support their work.