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Blog Opinion

Digital human rights matter now more than ever

Dec 10, 2019 · 2 min read

Digital human rights matter now more than ever

The boundary between our physical and digital lives is fading fast. This is great – until we realize that our digital rights enjoy far fewer protections than our physical ones. On Human Rights day, we’d like to remind our readers about how corporations, governments and criminals are still largely free to take advantage of citizens on the online Wild West.

Modern data mining technologies attempt to discern our innermost thoughts, identities and behaviors. Governments track their citizens’ every move – the reins of power may change, but the unprecedented access to our private lives remains the same.

  • Surveillance: In the early eighties the internet stood proud as the golden child of liberty and freedom. By connecting continents and enabling open and free communication, it promised a bright new future. Throughout its life, however, its users have been oppressed and controlled. Governments have decided what information is deemed acceptable and others face horrific punishment for ‘crimes’ as small as using social media.
  • Profit: Every citizen is entitled to privacy and security, but few are afforded these basic human rights, and fewer still when they connect to the internet. There, corporations have inserted themselves into every aspect of our online lives to make the maximum profit off of the details of our private lives.

Human Rights Day

Human Rights Day is about bringing awareness to human rights abuses around the world, and we don’t want to pretend that the issues we’re discussing are the only ones or even the most important ones facing us today. However, we’d like to focus on what we know – cybersecurity, privacy, and access in the online world.

Connectivity must occur within a human rights framework, which is why we’re partnering with organizations that are working to make that happen.

Contract for the Web is a global plan of action that unifies companies, governments and citizens in a ploy to create a safe, secure internet that empowers rather than subdues. The contract builds on such foundational documents as the Internet Rights and Principles Coalition (IRPC) and the Council of Europe Guide to human Rights for Internet Users.

Guided by a human rights approach, The Contract for the Web holds companies and governments accountable against three major principles:

  1. The respect of people’s privacy and data rights;
  2. Keeping the internet open and affordable;
  3. Developing technologies that embrace the best of humanity.

NordVPN was one of the first to back the campaign because it aligns so well with the values we’ve fought for since the beginning. We believe in open access to the internet, digital freedom, the right to privacy and security, and removing the Faustian bargain that governs so many of our online interactions.

We’d also like to remind users about our free emergency VPN program. We provide our VPN to those in critical need of protection so they can access information and use their voice without fear.

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Daniel Markuson
Daniel Markuson successVerified author

Daniel is a digital privacy enthusiast and an internet security expert. As the blog editor at NordVPN, Daniel is generous with spreading news, stories, and tips through the power of a well-written word.


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