There are several considerations in the ongoing dialogue to develop a better understanding of the implications of ICT’s impact on human rights and the responsibilities of each member of the ICT ecosystem to address these implications in respect of human rights:

•           protecting the internet as a place for the free exchange of views and information

•           driving global standardization and other initiatives that can reduce the economic threshold for private and business enterprise

•           supporting education over the internet for sustainable economic growth

•           countering misuse of the internet and social media through increased user insight and transparency

•           monitoring trends in the digital global community, for example big data, social media, the Internet of Things and selective information access, to identify and act on unwanted side-effects without suppressing the evolution of ICT

•           establishing robust human rights impact assessment capabilities and due diligence processes within companies.

ICT promotes greater transparency and enhances many fundamental human rights – such as the right to health, education, freedom of assembly, and freedom of expression.  For many, the mobile phone will be the only means of accessing the internet. Social media is booming: some 66 percent of online adults are connected to one or more social media platforms.
Every day, Twitter users send 175 million tweets.
Access anywhere, anytime, for anyone.

By 2017, it is estimated that 90 percent of the world’s population will have 3G coverage; 50 percent will have 4G coverage, and by 2018, smartphone subscriptions will exceed 3 billion. By the end of 2012, mobile subscriptions reached 6.6 billion, and by the end of 2018, they are expected to reach 9.3 billion, with global mobile data traffic set to grow 12 times between 2012 and 2018.
 The scale and speed of this transformation is unprecedented. Mobile broadband constitutes a social revolution of at least the same magnitude as railroads, electricity and automobiles. An average smartphone with 3G or 4G access has for all practical purposes unlimited processing power, data storage, access to human knowledge and global exchange of views. This is because increasingly these capabilities reside in “the cloud” (or the internet) rather than in the device, a simple example being, photo-sharing sites. The evolving Networked Society, in which anything that can be connected will be connected, offers tremendous potential. Examples include cars communicating with other cars, traffic surveillance systems for road safety and energy conservation through smart grids.

One of the main purposes of ICT is to foster the free exchange of views and information – which supports human rights such as freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, and the right to privacy. The same technology can also be used by governments to fight crime, assist in emergencies, but in some cases it can also be used to restrict human freedom. Today this restriction is relatively small but likely to grow as concern around cybersecurity is accelerated.
Certainly, the relationship between human rights, ICT, law enforcement and national security is complex. At one end of the spectrum, this extraordinary technology delivers connectivity, empowerment and contributes to more transparent, safer societies. At the other end, unmitigated, unintended use of ICT can result in persecution, repression and human rights violations.


One of the main purposes of ICT is to foster the free exchange of views and information – which supports human rights such
as freedom of expression,
freedom of assembly,
and the right to privacy.