Thursday, January 20, 2011

UN Must Protect Human Rights In Cyberspace

If the world believes in human rights, it must start thinking towards its new form in this technological era. There is no reason why human rights in cyberspace must be given any lesser importance than its traditional offline counterpart.

After all human rights like right to speech and expression, right to information, right to know, privacy rights, etc are similar in an electronic environment. Even governmental intrusions are similar, rather easier, in an electronic environment.

The world community on Human Rights must start thinking in this direction as issues like Cyber Warfare, Cyber Terrorism, Cyber Espionage, Cyber Crimes, E-Surveillance, Unlawful Interceptions, etc are “Transnational” in nature, suggest Praveen Dalal, a Supreme Court Lawyer and founder of exclusive Centre for Protection of Human Rights in Cyberspace in India (HRPCI). If different countries would have different laws for these issues, it would be very difficult to truly enforce protective provisions against these menaces, says Dalal.

This is the reason why we must a “Harmonised Legal Framework” in this regard, preferably under the regime of United Nation’s Human Rights Organisation, suggests Dalal. The governments all over the world are engaging in illegal and unlawful phone tapping and interceptions. This is violating various human rights that must be addressed immediately by the international community, suggests Dalal.

India has its own share of human rights violating projects and authorities. For instance projects like Aadhar project/UID project, national intelligence grid (Natgrid), crime and criminal tracking network and systems (CCTNS), etc are some such projects. Similarly, the unique identification authority of India (UIDAI) is an example of unconstitutional authority that is violating human rights of Indians.

The present UN framework for Human Rights can be “Suitably Amended” to accommodate Human Rights in Cyberspace. Almost all the countries of the world are member of UN and this would extend Human Rights Protection in Cyberspace to their Citizens automatically, suggests Praveen Dalal. The call is for UN to take and the sooner it is taken by it the better it would for citizens’ world wide.