Policy and lawmakers have a central role to play in guaranteeing that citizens have access to information technologies and that they can do so effectively, safely and ethically.
Policy-makers, regulators and legislators considering technology in any domain or sector need to take into account the human rights implications of these technologies, through conducting credible Human Rights Impact Assessments.
All human rights stakeholders need to provide better information and analysis as well as actionable advocacy to help them do this better. Local judiciaries and legal communities need support to develop and strengthen their analysis of how technology and human rights interact and intersect, both on the local level and internationally. Intergovernmental, regional and national legislative and policy-making bodies need to take more inter- sectoral approaches to their analysis, particularly in incorporating human rights assessments. Encouragingly, some within the U.S. technology sector are calling for trade talks to incorporate free expression, while some are advocating that foreign aid should be dependent on recipient countries meeting good governance indicators such as a free press or an open internet.
The recommendations below are an initial subset primarily centered on the U.S. and EU.
1. Review existing legislation for consistency.
- Conduct a comprehensive review of European legislation.
- Ensure human rights-compatible policies are consistent applied across key areas of EU legislation and policy-making, notably business, trade, arms, counter-terrorism, cyber warfare and other relevant sectors.
2. Review legislation in relation to visual privacy issues.
- EU Data Protection Directive and Safe Harbor Principles
- Review the directive in respect to the rise of visual privacy issues.
- Initiate a mechanism to update the directive in line with relevant findings and recommendations.
- Other regional or international groupings of governments having similar legislations must consider similar reviews.
- Focus on human rights dimensions of privacy, and particularly visual privacy in meetings of Privacy Commissioners
3. Review export controls on technologies at the national level as well as the international Wassenaar Arrangement.
- Scrutinize monitoring practices for dual-use technologies.
- Review and update mechanisms of scrutiny for so-called dual-use technologies in line with recent developments in the interaction between technology and human rights.
- Include more clearly the technology hardware and software products produced by Western companies — particularly those used by repressive regimes and other governments for purposes contrary to human rights principles.
- Engage other governments — notably China and Israel — that foster innovation in these kinds of technologies, with a view to encouraging them to adopt similar or shared oversight of this kind.