Call for inputs to a report on "the right to privacy in the digital age"
On 23 March 2017, the Human Rights Council adopted resolution 34/7 on "The right to privacy in the digital age". Paragraph 10 of the resolution requested the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights "to organize, before the thirty-seventh session of the Human Rights Council, an expert workshop with the purpose of identifying and clarifying principles, standards and best practices regarding the promotion and protection of the right to privacy in the digital age, including the responsibility of business enterprises in this regard, to prepare a report thereon and to submit it to the Council at its thirty-ninth session."
The expert workshop on the right to privacy took place on 19-20 February 2018 in Geneva. The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights now invites all relevant stakeholders to provide input on human rights challenges relating to the right to privacy in the digital age, including on
principles, standards and best practices with regard to the promotion and protection of the right to privacy.
The following list of issues, albeit not meant to be exhaustive, aims to assist stakeholders in preparing their submissions:
Please provide any relevant information on:
- Recent developments in national or regional legislation, case law, and practice concerning the right to privacy in the digital age.
- Surveillance and communications interception:
- Government surveillance, including, for example, communications interception and bulk data collection and processing, targeted intrusions in ICT systems and issues relating to cross-border surveillance and access to personal data.
- Role of business enterprises in contributing to, or facilitating government surveillance activities, including:
- Sale of surveillance technology by business enterprises and ensuing responsibilities;
- Business enterprises’ internal safeguards and remedial mechanisms.
- Encryption and anonymity as enablers for the enjoyment of human rights, including the right to freedom of expression and of opinion; challenges raised by encryption and anonymity and ways to address these challenges.
- National legislative and regulatory frameworks concerning the collection, processing, retention or use of personal data by Governments and other actors, in particular business enterprises, related human rights protection gaps and ways to bridge those gaps.
- Growing reliance on data-driven technology and biometric data:
- How can new technologies help promote and protect the right to privacy?
- What are the main challenges regarding the impact on the right to privacy and other human rights?
- What are the avenues for adequate protection of the right to privacy against threats created by those technologies? How can the international community, including the UN, address human rights challenges arising in the context of new and emerging digital technology?
- Undue interferences with the right to privacy in the digital age that may have particular effects for women, as well as children and persons in vulnerable situations or marginalized groups, and approaches to protect those individuals.
- Procedural and institutional safeguards, oversight mechanisms and remedies available to individuals exposed to domestic or extraterritorial surveillance, the interception of digital communications or other forms of processing of personal data by governments, business enterprises or private organisations.
The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights would be grateful if submissions could be limited to
2’500 words and sent to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (United Nations Office at Geneva, CH 1211 Geneva 10; Fax. +41 22 917 90 08; Email:
by 9 April 2018. Please note that, unless requested otherwise, the information provided will be made available on the OHCHR website.
N.B. Please note that the working languages of the Secretariat are English, French and Spanish. You are therefore kindly requested to provide your submissions in one of these languages.
For further information, please