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Über dieses Buch

Analysing the convergence of law and regulation with rapidly evolving communications technologies, this interdisciplinary work navigates the intricate balancing act between human rights protection and technological innovation in a digital age, and illuminates the comprehensive potential of human rights to frame our intelligent use of technology. The authors address such pressing questions as how to protect user privacy online, whether digital pollution is a health hazard, who should have control and be responsible for data technologies and how to maintain human autonomy in a world of interconnected objects. By considering specific cases, this book provides an in-depth exploration of the many regulatory and technological choices citizens, states, civil society organizations and the private sector should consider to ensure that digital technology more fully serves human needs.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter

Chapter 1. Introduction: A Question of Balance

Abstract
This book explores the application of a human rights framework to the roll-out and use of digital technologies. The connection between two distinct disciplines—law and technology—allows us to understand more fully the dense, multidimensional nature of the digital revolution and how we are going to live with it. When we speak of digital technology, our focus is often prohibitively narrow; taking our cues from scientific research models, we examine the parts rather than the whole, inadvertently isolating hardware from software, the technological frameworks from their actual use, or the costs of the digital revolution from the benefits. The existing body of international human rights treaty law requires a balancing of fundamental rights and freedoms,1 an exercise which, when applied to technology, encourages us to evaluate and prioritize in a more ethical fashion the ways in which we use the machines that surround us. We define technology both as science and in its original sense, tekhnologia, meaning the study of art, skill and craft. We acknowledge that human rights serves both a moral and legal purpose, one in which the normative development of individual and collective rights is often contested, despite the broad, enabling language of many of the international and domestic legal texts.2 Thus, while it is somewhat risky to predict the outcome of any revolution, our application of a multidisciplinary approach allows us to highlight several of the most challenging aspects of the digital transition and to engage in thoughtful reflection on how to find balance between technological advances and citizens’ rights.
Susan Perry, Claudia Roda

Chapter 2. The Great Debate on Wireless Technology

Abstract
As the progress of mobile phone technology accelerates worldwide, the regulatory framework necessary for its safe and extended use has been slow to develop. The hardware delivery of wireless phone technology poses new challenges to our understanding of human rights. This chapter analyses the relationship between scientific knowledge and regulation concerning the health effects of increasing electromagnetic field emissions from mobile phone towers (base transceiver stations). From a conservationist perspective, no other example of industrial impact on the natural environment has achieved such extended penetration so quickly. This presents an ethical conundrum: stakeholders are faced with the difficult choice between waiting for a comprehensive, long-term assessment of health impacts from electromagnetic exposure and immediate application of the precautionary principle. By exploring examples of interaction between citizens, governments, and international bodies, we first analyse the challenges faced by regulators in the presence of uncertain scientific knowledge and standards of measurement. We then highlight the inadequacy of current parameters. Lastly, we expand the debate on how we may use a human rights framework to protect vulnerable populations from digital pollution. We conclude that, because scientific knowledge on the health effects of wireless technology delivery is incomplete, a precautionary approach is better suited to State obligations under international human rights law.
Susan Perry, Claudia Roda

Chapter 3. User Privacy in a World of Digital Surveillance

Abstract
The previous chapter explored the ways in which human rights law may be extended to the architecture and use of digital hardware, requiring states to protect vulnerable populations from the potentially harmful effects of electromagnetic radiation, as they would for any other type of pollution. The digital systems that comprise the Internet are a rapidly evolving combination of hardware and software that enables instantaneous communication, forming the cornerstone of the ‘new economy’. These systems—the entities that capture, process or further disseminate information—generate reams of personal data that may be tracked by policing systems or sold to a third party without the user’s knowledge. Moreover, governments and the private sector often cooperate to monitor or proscribe online content and user behaviour in the name of public interest or safety. Nonetheless, any action—public or private—explicitly directed at the unauthorized collection or distribution of personal data may violate an individual’s right to privacy. Digital surveillance, like pollution, is carefully circumscribed in law and is subject to the recognition of privacy as a human right. In an age of Big Data, privacy enhancing technologies and privacy-by-design are a critical component in the delivery of technology that enhances democratic dialogue and facilitates human lifestyles, while reinforcing the premise of human rights. This chapter will (1) explain the technology necessary to track citizens for policing and commercial purposes, (2) examine the legal framework that protects user privacy, while still enabling the circulation of information that underpins modern social and economic structures and permits state surveillance in an emergency, and (3) explore new ways of thinking about digital privacy that empower the user to have greater control over his or her personal data, thereby contributing to the reinforcement of democracy itself.
Susan Perry, Claudia Roda

Chapter 4. Online Censorship

Abstract
The Internet provides a virtual locale for the highly diverse carnival of human experience, offering a display of the best, and the worst of human nature. 1 As far as the latter is concerned, citizens expect their state to protect vulnerable populations, particularly minors, from online content that is hateful, violent, or pornographic in nature by eliminating proscribed material from the Web. This chapter will examine the practice of online censorship in two very different settings: the closed Internet system in China and the open Internet system in Europe. In each case, the state acts as a guarantor of content, censoring proscribed material according to the law in place. However, not all material that is censored is hateful, violent or pornographic; some, in fact, is highly political. The Chinese authorities have shown little tolerance for online activity that may threaten the monopoly of one-party rule in China, whereas European states have pursued a broad policy of hate speech censorship that has been extended to religious radicalism in recent years due to efforts to counteract online recruitment for jihadism. This chapter will compare and contrast (1) the interaction between Internet technology systems and censorship methods, (2) the legal constructs that frame government censorship policies, (3) the contested nature of information on the Internet, and (4) the impact of censorship on Internet users in both Europe and China. This chapter argues that, regardless of the governance system, digital censorship may violate or promote human rights according to the context. In the case of both China and Europe, Internet censorship has been relatively ineffective in countering real or perceived threats to the state and poses a problem for many in society who question the legitimacy of government officials more concerned with public opinion than the safeguarding of constitutional values.
Susan Perry, Claudia Roda

Chapter 5. The Internet of Things

Abstract
Contrary to the popular perception, the Internet of Things is a physical reality. Often imagined as an amorphous interconnection of machines and people, it generates, stores, transmits and analyses data through physical infrastructure that influences decision-making processes. Decision-making was once the sole purview of humans; today machines organize the bulk of our choices, in an array of activities ranging from an automatic bank withdrawal to putting on the seatbelt in a computerized automobile. This new reality of the physical interconnectivity of machines and data is one that, at first glance, appears to have no precedent in law. This chapter will argue that the legal framework necessary for maintaining our human autonomy and living in harmony with an automated world is already in place. The international human rights body of treaty and customary law provides a principled reference for determining the subordinate place of machines in a digitized environment, but the existing law must be applied to new circumstances. This chapter will present three scenarios of life in a digital world of the not-so-distant future, a future where technology provides relief and autonomy for certain individuals, while subjugating others to subtle forms of discrimination or dependence. It will then discuss the technology embedded in our scenarios and examine some of the major legal principles invoked by the Internet of Things. These scenarios demonstrate the need to engage in a rigorous, comprehensive assessment of ubiquitous technology use in order to preserve our global public goods and individual rights in a digitized world.
Susan Perry, Claudia Roda

Chapter 6. Teaching Human Rights and Digital Technology

Abstract
The preceding chapters have examined the intersection between human rights and digital technology for a variety of stakeholders. This chapter presents a comprehensive approach, one that integrates the lessons learned in the four preceding chapters and brings this knowledge into the university classroom. Educational curricula offer an ideal platform for exploring the relationship between our rights and our use of technology, encouraging a rigorous examination of their complex interstice as part of either a general education programme or a specialized degree. Of particular interest is the blended classroom: this hybrid of the physical and virtual space allows students and teachers to learn by doing, to utilize technology in creative and singular ways that privilege the tangible classroom space, while providing digitized access to materials, people and discussions that are physically out of reach. This chapter examines the potential for blended, interdisciplinary learning through (1) a discussion of the right to access education and to enjoy the benefits of scientific progress, rights that the digital divide calls into question, (2) an analysis of human attention in digital environments and the consequences for higher education, (3) the presentation of a curriculum that blends the traditional classroom and the Internet, and (4) a viewpoint on the future of blended learning in an increasingly digitized university environment.
Susan Perry, Claudia Roda

Chapter 7. Conclusions: Collective Human Rights and Low-Tech

Abstract
As we reflect on how we are going to live with new technology in the decades to come, balance is a key component in our evaluation of the costs and benefits of the digital revolution. The digital tightrope—a balancing act between breakneck technological development on the one side, countered by unforeseen consequences that may promote or violate time-honoured rights on the other—represents a conundrum for humans, both as individuals and as a collective. This book has explored a series of challenges that require thoughtful reflection, the evaluation of one set of interests with respect to another, all within the framework of binding state obligations to protect vulnerable populations. We have argued that the law necessary to regulate use of digital technology for the greater common good is already in place, situated within the architecture of international human rights law and articulated in the constitutions of most nation states.
Susan Perry, Claudia Roda

Backmatter

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