The right of privacy in the digital age

Human Rights Council
Fifty-first session
12 September–7 October 2022
Agenda items 2 and 3
Annual report of the United Nations
High Commissioner for Human Rights and
reports of the Office of the High Commissioner
and the Secretary-General

Promotion and protection of all human rights, civil,
political, economic, social and cultural rights,
including the right to development

The right to privacy in the digital age
Report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for
Human Rights*

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The present report, submitted pursuant to Human Rights Council resolution 48/4,
discusses recent trends and challenges concerning the right to privacy. The report focuses,
in particular, on: (a) the abuse of intrusive hacking tools; (b) the key role of encryption in
ensuring the enjoyment of the right to privacy and other rights; and (c) wide-spread
monitoring of public spaces. It highlights the risk of creating systems of pervasive
surveillance and control that may undermine the development of vibrant and rightsrespecting societies.

I. Introduction

II. Surveillance of personal devices and communications

A. Hacking

B. Restriction on encryption

III. Surveillance of the public

A. Surveillance of public places

B. Online monitoring

C. Human rights impact

D. Human rights requirements

IV. Conclusion and recommendations

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