In our connected century, information and communication technology (ICT) is deeply integrated into our working and personal lives. Digital communication is more global, affordable and accessible than ever before, enabling billions of people to share ideas, acquire knowledge, improve their quality of life, and boost livelihoods. Many studies show a strong correlation between ICT and GDP growth. ICT also promotes greater transparency and enhances many fundamental human rights – such as the right to health, education, freedom of assembly, and freedom of expression.
This paper is intended as a springboard for constructive multi-stakeholder dialogue about ICT and human rights – with particular focus on identifying emerging challenges such as in the areas of freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, data privacy and security and the relationship with law enforcement agencies. It is not intended to address the full range of human rights impacts for the ICT industry, such as conflict minerals, labor rights, and access to health or education.
This paper intends to present a way forward in the discussion; to suggest the next steps for the industry and other actors in the ICT ecosystem, and to gain more clarity and direction in addressing these complex issues. The responsibility that all actors bear is to ensure that billions of people around the world continue to enjoy the opportunities afforded by ICT with the full support of human rights.