Lecture on Digital Human Rights

Dinbandhu Vats delivered a lecture on Digital human rights in India and role of civil society in a webinar organized by Ram Manohar Lohiya National Law University, Lucknow on 28th February 2023. Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia National Law University, Lucknow in association with Uttar Pradesh Human Rights Commission (UPHRC) has organised an online ‘Interdisciplinary Discourse on Digital Human Rights’ from 26-28 February, 2023 under the aegis of UPHRC sponsored project titled ‘A Study of Issues & Challenges of Digital Human Rights in the State of Uttar Pradesh’.

There can be no doubt that digital technologies have thrust our world forward towards unprecedented human progress. We are in the midst of a massive digital transformation that has affected every aspect of society. In 2016, the UNHRC General Assembly articulated access to the Internet as an essential human right. The Internet is the undiscovered ocean of information and in the present the greatest supplier. Technology is an empowering agent of rights and not privilege all by itself. The Supreme Court of India in its ruling has termed the right to internet as fundamental human rights and it must be read with Article 19 and 21 of our Constitution. Human rights apply online just as they do offline. Digital rights as “the realisation of the values in the Constitution of India’s preamble— justice, equality, fraternity, and liberty—in our digital worlds today”. Digital rights must not be considered separate from basic human rights. Ardent supporters of digital rights argue not to view it as a means rather to an end. Digital technologies provide new means to exercise human rights, but they are too often also used to violate them. Freedom of Expression, Data protection and privacy issues, digital identity, the use of surveillance technologies, Infodemic, online violence and harassment, are of particular concern.