Digital Rights

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : May 9, 2022, 5:22

Digital Rights imply the right to privacy and data protection. It also addresses issues of equal distribution of Internet access regardless of economic background. Although the free flow of information has been key to the internet's revolutionary effect on modern society, data-intensive technologies may risk creating a digital environment where businesses and firms can track, analyse, predict, and even manipulate human behaviour.

Importance of Digital Rights

According to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) report in 2021, there is an urgent need for a moratorium on the sale and use of AI systems that pose a serious risk to Digital Rights until adequate safeguards are put in place. It also calls for AI applications that cannot be used in compliance with international human rights law to be banned.

Types of Digital Rights

Freedom of Expression, Information and Communication -

When governments block websites or social networks, it is considered a violation of the digital right to communication and free association or censor content, contrary to freedom of expression and information.

Privacy and Data Protection -

According to this digital right, citizens must have control over who stores their data and be able to delete them at any time.

Right to be Forgotten -

This is the digital right to have a person's private information removed from Internet searches, databases and directories. It has already been invoked in countries like Argentina, the US, South Korea and India.

Protection of Minors -

According to this digital right, governments must ensure the protection of children on the internet and ensure that companies provide the means to guarantee safe access without infringing children's rights.

Challenges of Digital Rights

Limiting Children's Digital Rights -

The policy approach to children's Digital Rights is frequently cautious and reactionary, as many governments err in favour of limiting children's rights in the name of protection. Therefore, a strategic approach to parenting and policymaking in the digital domain can be implemented, which is focused on digital literacy.

Social Media Interference -

Social media plays a major role in the digital economy as it constitutes a forum of commerce and culture. But at the same time, the extent of its interference with our Digital Rights is controversial. There is no complete and clear regulatory framework regarding the powers and operations of social media. Thus, solutions to internet governance concerning the consolidation of digital privacy and the deployment of technological tools are required.

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Digital Rights In India

The Supreme Court of India, on August 24 2017, upheld Digital Rights as a fundamental right. Nine judges signed the unanimous verdict. The primary enactments that typically deal with data protection are Information Technology Act, 2000 and the Information Technology (IT) Rules, 2011. The IT Rules imposed additional requirements on commercial and business entities to collect and disclose sensitive personal data or information.

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European Union Digital Rights

The most recent development regarding EU Digital Rights occurred on January 26 2022, when European Commission proposed a declaration on Digital Rights. It included supporting solidarity and inclusion, ensuring online freedom, fostering participation in the digital public space, increasing safety, security and empowerment of individuals, and promoting the sustainability of the digital future.

This recent declaration by the EU clearly defines the kind of Digital Rights and transformation Europe stands up for. Once endorsed, the EU will promote a similar approach throughout the world.

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FAQs on Digital Rights

Q.1. What is an example of Digital Rights?

Using appropriate language and respecting others' opinions while interacting on the internet is one example of Digital Rights.

Q.2. What is Digital Rights Management?

Digital Rights Management constitutes the management of legal access to digital content. The access is usually protected through a user ID and password.

Q.3. How effective is Digital Rights Management?

Digital Rights Management can ensure that companies control access to confidential information.

Q.4. Name a Digital Rights organisation in India.

The Digital Rights organisations in India are the Centre for Internet and Society (CIS) a non-profit organisation that undertakes interdisciplinary research on the internet and digital technologies from policy and academic perspectives.

Q.5. What to do if Digital Rights are violated?

In most countries with Digital Rights legislation, such violations can be taken to court.