Human rights are Universal rights and freedoms inherent to all human beings- they are not granted by any state- regardless of colour, sex, race, language, nationality, religion or any other status from- birth until death. Technology interacts with human rights in many ways. It enables access to information and freedom of expression but also poses privacy concerns. In short, Technology has the potential to advance and challenge human rights.
ROLES OF TECHNOLOGY IN OUR LIVES.
Technology is integral to our lives, influencing various aspects. It transforms communication through smartphones and social media, making global connections seamless. Education benefits from online learning and digital resources, expanding access. Healthcare improves with advanced diagnostics and telemedicine, enhancing patient care. Workplaces become more efficient with automation and collaboration tools, enabling remote work. Smart homes integrate technology for energy savings and security. Entertainment evolves with streaming services and immersive experiences. Transportation sees innovation with GPS, electric vehicles, and autonomy. Technology-driven industries boost the economy and job opportunities but raise concerns about privacy and job displacement.
LINKAGE OF HUMAN RIGHTS TO DATA PRIVACY.
The connection between human rights and data privacy is vital and complex relationship. Human right are closely linked to safeguarding personal data. Data privacy is essential for protecting the right to privacy. In today’s digital age, personal data is collected and used extensively, so it’s essential to keep individuals’ private information safe from unauthorized access.
Moreover, the right to freedom of expression and access to information is tied to data privacy. In a world where data is continuously collected and analysed, people might hold back from expressing themselves online due to concerns about data misuse. This self-censorship can limit the free sharing of ideas and information. Additionally, mishandling personal data can lead to discrimination in areas like employment, housing, and accessing services. In essence, the connection between human rights and data privacy is undeniable.
CHALLENGES FOR HUMAN RIGHT IN DIGITAL ERA.
As we all know, Rapid Advancement of Technology is a good news as well as bad.
Easier workload but job displacement– After introducing AI in the world, the work for all is easier but it also resulted in job displacement- it automatically affects basic human rights to work.
Information access but privacy concerns– Technology enables people to access information and news all around the world and it also allows digital devices easy access to photos and videos but its excess use can lead to invasive surveillance by the government and corporations for their successful journey.
Communication but severe misinformation– It does provides an online platform for sharing people’s stories and raising awareness about human rights violations but, it is easy to spread false information online that can harm human rights. Misinformation is one of the most severe problem we face in this digital era.
TECH COMPANY DATA COLLECTION AND UTILISE IT.
Tech companies use collected user data to personalize experiences, recommending content and products based on preferences. This data also powers targeted advertising, creating user profiles for relevant ads. It aids in product enhancement through feedback and usage data. However, data use must align with privacy regulations and respect user concerns.
DATA PROTECTION AND PRIVACY CONCERNS.
In the digital era, data collection poses privacy issues. Companies and governments often gather personal information without clear consent. This data can be misused for targeted ads, surveillance, or breaches, risking privacy, discrimination, or identity theft.
An example is Google v CNIL.
The Google vs. CNIL case involves a conflict between Google and the French data protection authority (CNIL). CNIL imposed a fine on Google for not complying with the EU’s “Right to Be Forgotten” ruling.
There are worldwide government laws and regulations to safeguard digital rights. These laws aim to protect individuals’ privacy, data security, and online freedoms. Notable examples include the Data Protection Act, GDPR and Data Retention Laws.
BALANCING ACT: PRIVACY VS. SECURITY
One of the world’s concerns is, National security vs. Individual privacy. Balancing privacy and security is tricky. Privacy protects personal rights and data, while security shields against harm. We need encryption and consent for privacy and also security measures to counter threats. Finding the right mix respects individual rights and ensures safety. It’s an evolving process that needs clear policies and transparency to make sure both privacy and security work well together.
Some notable examples are:-
- Apple vs. FBI– In 2016, the Apple vs. FBI case unfolded when the FBI sought Apple’s help to unlock an iPhone linked to a terrorist attack. Apple resisted, citing privacy concerns. The case sparked a major debate about the balance between national security and user privacy, ultimately ending when the FBI found an alternative method to unlock the device.
- European Union. United States Data Privacy Shield– The European Union vs. US Data Privacy Shield was a legal dispute in 2020. The EU Court of Justice invalidated the Privacy Shield, a data transfer agreement between the EU and the US, citing concerns about the protection of European citizens’ data due to US government surveillance practices, affecting transatlantic data flows.
HOW TO PROTECT YOUR OWN PRIVACY BY BASIC STEPS?
- One can make strong and unique password for their online accounts as tech company seek information even from user’ account.
- An extra layer of security is never harmful, is it? Consider using Two-Factor Authentication (2FA).
- Make sure to disclose limited amount of personal information on your social media account.
- Keep reviewing and customizing your privacy setting on regular basic.
- Always clear the cookies from your web browser to reduce tracking.
In summary, when it comes to the relationship between human rights and technology, finding the right balance is crucial. Technology offers numerous benefits but also poses significant challenges to our privacy. While technology provides us with unprecedented connectivity and convenience, it can also threaten our fundamental rights. Protecting privacy in the digital age is essential to safeguard our freedom, expression, and the prevention of discrimination. To achieve this balance, Tech companies must prioritize user privacy and ethical data practices. Individuals should also take steps to protect their online privacy.
Balancing technology and privacy is not just a challenge; it’s a collective necessity for a fair and just digital future.
Author(s) Name: Bhumi Singh (MKES College Of Law, Mumbai)
 Case C-507/17 Google Inc. v Commission Nationale Informatique & Libertés (CNIL) 
 Data Protection Act, 2018
 GDPR  OJ L119/188
 Data Retention Laws  OJ L105/54-63
 Apple v FBI  US District Court
 Case C-311/18 European union v us data privacy shield