Are Human Rights related to digital developments? Of course, they are. They are related to the use of all technologies.

We Need Strategies for a Livable Future in Respect of Human Rights

More than ever we do require the development of new ideas into powerful strategies for a livable future. We need open forms of innovation, the coordination of activities, interactive strategies and planning. And we need digital technologies fit for these purposes — technologies that support the societal processes required, processes between machines and machines, machines and persons as well as persons and persons. However, at the same time these technologies at all times need to respect the very fundamental rights we all have — Human Rights (cf. Universal Declaration of Human Rights).

That is to say, Human Rights do always factor in decisions that shape technologies. It is important to think about what technologies could result in and to assess their outcome, and whether they work according to an impetus of not harming neither others nor the environment and whether they optimally support those societal dynamics we need the most.

Guidance Towards Technologies which Respect Human Rights Needed

There is no doubt that the answer to a question like How do I recognize or create code which respects Human Rights? can be manifold.

Concrete orientation is given, e.g., by the Internet Research Task Force (IRTF) with RFC8280. Inside the IRTF, the Human Rights Protocol Considerations (HRPC) is analyzing Internet and future networking protocols towards their impact and their relations to Human Rights and trying to provide awareness and guidance to protocol designers and implementers.

Such important work and the more general relations of Human Rights and ICT were also the topics of yesterday's Values of Internet Technologies (VIT) workshop. Podcasts and slides will be put online at isoc.ch and under pep.foundation/vit.