High-Tech Violations of International Human Rights

The United Nations was born in the aftermath of the atrocities committed leading up to World War II. The United Nations Charter is plain in its support for the development of international human rights protection.

The most fundamental human right is the right not to be killed by another human being.

Indeed, Article 6.1 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, for example, provides: “Every human being has the inherent right to life. This right shall be protected by law. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life.”

At times, the concept of the right to life has been at the heart of debates on the issues of abortion, capital punishment, euthanasia, self defense, and war.

Notwithstanding the United Nations Charter, and international conventions and treaties proclaiming the fundamental human right to life, unfortunately, too often people still are wrongly killed in many places in the world. (In addition, many people are enslaved and/or tortured in certain locations).

And in some ways, information technology has provided the leverage to take violations of fundamental human rights to yet another horrible level.

The recent ISIS beheadings of innocent people bring this point home. It would be bad enough for ISIS to execute these people as ISIS had done.

But ISIS has gone further by broadcasting the beheadings on the Internet to show the world the horror of these terrible deeds. So not only do the victims lose their lives in this process, but the rest of us, including families and friends of the victims, potentially witness the vicious killings.

While there are so many things that are good about information technology, regrettably, it also provides a platform for the truly malicious — even the broadcasting of the violation of the most fundamental right to life.

Eric Sinrod (@EricSinrod on Twitter) is of counsel in the San Francisco office of Duane Morris LLP, where he focuses on litigation matters of various types, including information technology and intellectual property disputes. You can read his professional biography here. To receive a weekly email link to Mr. Sinrod’s columns, please email him at ejsinrod@duanemorris.com with Subscribe in the Subject line. This column is prepared and published for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. The views expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the author’s law firm or its individual partners.

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The opinions expressed on this blog are those of the author and are not to be construed as legal advice.

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