2019 HRC Resolution on the right to privacy in the digital age
Analysis of precedential value
This UN Human Rights Council (HRC) resolution was adopted without a vote in September 2019. This document was co-drafted by representatives of 37 Member States, 25 of which were not members of the sitting HRC.
The HRC is composed of elected representatives from 47 Member States; together, they are responsible for coordinating investigations of and responses to human rights violations.
Used as precedent
“Recognizing the need for Governments, the private sector, international organizations, civil society, the technical and academic communities and all relevant stakeholders to be cognizant of the impact, opportunities and challenges of rapid technological change on the promotion and protection of human rights, as well as of its potential to facilitate efforts, to accelerate human progress and to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms” (p. 2)
“Noting that the use of artificial intelligence can contribute to the promotion and protection of human rights, and can also have far-reaching and global implications, including with regard to the right to privacy, that are transforming Governments and societies, economic sectors and the world of work” (pp. 2–3)
“Noting that the use of artificial intelligence may, without adequate safeguards, pose the risk of reinforcing discrimination, including structural inequalities” (p. 3)
“Noting with concern that automatic processing of personal data for individual profiling, automated decision-making and machine learning technologies may, without adequate safeguards, lead to discrimination or decisions that otherwise have the potential to affect the enjoyment of human rights, including economic, social and cultural rights, and recognizing the need to apply international human rights law in the design, development, deployment, evaluation and regulation of these technologies, and to ensure they are subject to adequate safeguards and oversight” (p. 3)
“Affirms that the same rights that people have offline must also be protected online, including the right to privacy” (p. 4)
“Acknowledges that the use, deployment and further development of new and emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence, can impact the enjoyment of the right to privacy and other human rights, and that the risks to the right to privacy can and should be minimized by adopting adequate regulation or other appropriate mechanisms, including by taking into account international human rights law in the design, development and deployment of new and emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence, by ensuring a safe, secure and high-quality data infrastructure and by developing human-centred auditing mechanisms, as well as redress mechanisms” (p. 2)