Historically, global trade has not had a strong value-based focus, whether on human rights or for that matter any other values in general. Trade-oriented institutions and legal mechanisms have historically been almost exclusively economically oriented. The chapter provides an overview of the increasing role of human rights and digital technology in export control regimes over the past two decades and how this has led to the expansion of export controls of surveillance technologies. It takes a particularly close look at the EU debate on export controls, human rights and digital technologies, before looking at China and India which also implement similar restrictions of digital technologies. The chapter also discusses the challenges with regard to export controls in the areas of human security, cryptography regulation, transparency, participation and governance, as well as the appropriate size and scope of the relevant regime. In conclusion, while not a panacea for all challenges related to human rights in digital technologies, export controls of surveillance technologies can provide an important element of such protection.
Ben Wagner, Matthias C. Kettemann and Kilian Vieth
In a digitally connected world, the question of how to respect, protect and implement human rights has become unavoidable. As ever more human beings, organizational systems and technical devices transition online, realizing human rights in online settings is becoming ever more pressing. When looking at basic human rights such as freedom of expression, privacy, free assembly or the right to a fair trial, all of these are heavily impacted by new information and communications technologies. While there have been many long-standing debates about the management of key Internet resources and the legitimacy of rules applicable to the Internet – from legal norms to soft law, from standards to code – it is only more recently that these debates have been explicitly framed in terms of human rights. The scholarly field that has grown in response to these debates is highly interdisciplinary and draws from law, political science, international relations, geography and even computer science and science and technology studies (STS). In order to do justice to the interdisciplinary nature of the field, this Research Handbook on Human Rights and Digital Technology: Global Politics, Law and International Relations unites carefully selected and reviewed contributions from scholars and practitioners, representing key research and practice fields relevant for understanding human rights challenges in times of digital technology.