Right to Privacy in the Digital Age
UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY – Third Committee
Explanation of position by Ms Tanisha Hewanpola, First Secretary, Australian Mission to the United Nations
26 November 2013
Australia is pleased to join consensus on this resolution and we wish to acknowledge the efforts of Brazil and Germany as lead sponsors.
Australia believes that the Internet and other digital communication technologies provide an unparalleled opportunity for exercise of the fundamental freedoms of expression, peaceful assembly and association.
The Internet and advances in digital technology have also been instrumental in the promotion and protection of other human rights. In Australia, technological developments have fostered opportunities for enhanced communication and connectivity, improved access to health and education services for isolated communities, and enabled Australians to develop and share information in the online environment, regardless of physical distance.
At the same time, digital communication technologies provide a unique platform to raise awareness of human rights issues, enabling human rights defenders to better engage with vulnerable communities, as well as an amplified voice to carry out their work.
But with these benefits also come the risk that digital technologies can be used to undermine the protection of human rights.
Accordingly, it is essential that we ensure that the same rights and freedoms that we enjoy in our everyday lives are protected and promoted in the online environment.
Australia believes that the passage of this resolution highlights that support for, and implementation of, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) remains as relevant and vital today, in the digital age, as it ever was. We understand that this resolution is consistent with Australia’s long held views on the ICCPR, particularly articles 17 and 19, as well as article 2. We uphold these rights and reaffirm our support for the Covenant.