Submission to the UN: the right to privacy in the digital age

As the digital ecosystem grows all around us, consuming cities, workplaces, and our places of leisure and even governance, the protection of privacy has been an active frontier between human rights advocates and the reckless adoption of systems and technologies.

Our right to privacy, and the ways in which we continue to interpret and demand it at the local and global level, will shape our future. Moreover, the extent of our privacy will shape our ability to pursue self-determination in an age where everything is optimised and specifically tailored to every individual; we need privacy protections to ensure that our future selves will have a right to choose and make decisions instead of being the subjects of systems and complex algorithms.

We welcome the inquiry of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights into the “right to privacy in the digital age” — we firmly believe that the right to privacy remains one of the most critical parts of the international human rights framework. You can read our submission below, where we used Australia’s experience with robodebt, government programs and surveillance to highlight the dire need for a strong, harmonized, international understanding for a right to privacy in the digital age.

You can read the Digital Rights Watch Submission in full here.