Submission to the UN report on the right to privacy in the digital age

When the right to privacy is violated, it is often the case that other human rights are also negatively impacted. In our submission, we list key areas of concerns on the way automated decision-making systems (ADMs) affect people’s basic rights.

"Privacy" by g4ll4is | CC BY-SA 2.0

The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), led by Michelle Bachelet, is preparing a thematic report on “the right to privacy in the digital age (2022)”. AlgorithmWatch has answered the call for inputs to the report – our contribution not only considers the right to privacy but also related human rights norms, as asked for in the call, focusing on the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). This input will inform the report, which will be presented to the Human Rights Council and followed by an interactive dialogue.

There is a variety of ways how ADMs can impact our human rights. For example, biometric recognition systems deployed in public spaces can enable forms of mass surveillance and therefore are inherently incompatible with human rights. Apart from violating our right to privacy they create a chilling effect that undermines the rights to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, freedom of opinion, expression and information, and freedom of assembly and association. Also, ADMs that are deployed in recruiting and at the workplace to monitor our performances can often be intrusive and besides infringing on the right to privacy, they may undermine our autonomy and dignity.

Read the full contribution here:

AlgorithmWatch is eager to see the new report and will continue to watch and contribute to the debate within the UN, fighting for multilateral governance frameworks that are comprehensive, inclusive, and substantial.

Read more on our policy & advocacy work on ADM in the public sector.

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