Skip to content

OISTE.ORG to address the 40th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council on the Right to Privacy

Geneva, 01 March 2019

Foundation OISTE, whose acronym is given by its original name in French: Organisation Internationale pour la Sécurité des Transactions Electroniques, organises a panel during the 40th Session of the Human Rights Council, right after the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Privacy delivers his report to the Council on Friday the 1st March 2019. OISTE holds special consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the UN (ECOSOC) and is an accredited member of the Non-commercial Users Stakeholders Group (NCSG) of ICANN as part of the Not-for-Profit Operational Concerns (NPOC) constituency.

The panel will dwell on critical issues underlined by the Special Rapporteur: “more than a third of United Nations Member States have no privacy laws at all while most of the other 125 states have laws which cover some of the contexts where privacy may be threatened but not all. Some important threats to privacy especially those arising on the context of national security, intelligence and surveillance are inadequately regulated in most countries of the world” (A/HRC/37/62)

This comes at a moment when the general public starts to realise the reach of “Surveillance Capitalism” in our daily lives. As pointed out by the Harvard professor Shoshana Zuboff. “We are trapped in an involuntary merger of personal necessity and economic extraction, as the same channels that we rely upon for daily logistics, social interaction, work, education, healthcare, access to products and services, and much more, now double as supply chain operations for surveillance capitalism’s surplus flows. The result is that the choice mechanisms we have traditionally associated with the private realm are eroded or vitiated.” (The Guardian, 20.01.2019)

It is our free-will that is increasingly challenged by the information and communication technologies that we carry on our pockets. Our moral condition as human beings will be confronted to more and more dilemmas arising from the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and we need to be prepared for it.The raw material is our personal data, our digital identity that is not yet completely protected by the law, although the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) marks a milestone on balancing the fundamental right to privacy with economic priorities concerning the free flow of personal data considered as a “resource”. Do we need more of that?

In its “Declaration of the independence of Cyberspace”, John Perry Barlow claimed in 1996 that Cyberspace had to remain independent of State regulation. However, the panel will raise the question. are governments still unwelcome in cyberspace? To what extent is State regulation welcome, where is it dangerous, and how do we draw the line?

The OISTE Foundation signed The International Principles on the Application of Human Rights to Communications Surveillance right after they were launched at the 24th session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva in 2013.

About OISTE FOUNDATION Founded in Switzerland in 1998, OISTE was created with the objectives of promoting the use and adoption of international standards to secure electronic transactions, expand the use of digital certification and ensure the interoperability of certification authorities’ e-transaction systems. The OISTE Foundation is a not for profit organization based in Geneva, Switzerland, regulated by article 80 et seq. of the Swiss Civil Code. OISTE is an organization in special consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations (ECOSOC) and belongs to the Not-for-Profit constituency (NPOC) of the ICANN.

Mission: transfer the control and management of technologies dealing with digital identities to neutral authorities working for the public interest. Vision: an Internet where users engage in online transactions and communications under systems of digital identity management that offer robust protection against fraud and theft, while protecting the fundamental right to privacy.

Company Contact :

Dourgam Kummer Foundation Council Member