Does digital technology impact your rights?

By November 15, 2016Debrief

rerights_impact-blogs_1True, wondering how technology affects your rights might not be your first thought when you pick up a phone or switch on a computer, but this is a question we asked you, RErights Agents, to think about in
Mission Impact… Here is what you’ve told us so far.

In Mission Impact, you had to select the rights you thought were impacted by digital technology, in either a good or a bad way. And one thing was clear: yes, you do believe that digital technology impacts on your rights. In fact, it seems to have a significant impact. In a list of 28 rights based on the 42 articles of the Convention nearly all were selected by at least one person. Most of you chose ten rights or more from the list, with some selecting over twenty.

In your own words, rights are “the fundamental normative rules about what is allowed of people or owed to people” (India, 16) and although the concept of rights can seem a bit abstract, most of you said in different ways that rights are also directly related to everyday life: rights define what we can and cannot do” (France, 13). With digital technology increasingly a part of our daily lives, it’s no surprise, then, to find that it does impact your rights.

So, which of your rights did you say were most impacted by digital technology? So far the five top-ranked rights are:

  • freedom of expression
  • the right to express your views in matters that concern you
  • the right to access information
  • the right to privacy
  • the right for your rights to be known, protected and implemented.

But that’s not all. The majority of Agents also said that digital technology impacts on awareness, protection and implementation of rights, on freedom of thought and religion, and on your rights to an identity, education, leisure, play and culture. To a slightly lesser extent, ‘protection rights’ ー such as protection from exploitation and all forms of violence, protection from kidnapping, child labour or drug abuse ー were also among the rights that you think are impacted by digital technology.

In the end, only two of the 28 rights listed in our condensed version of the Convention were not selected. None of you really felt that digital technology has an impact on your right to live with, and be raised by family, and on your right to a juvenile justice system.

So, what sort of impact are we talking about? Is it good or bad? Let’s look at the detail behind the ranking. It was clear from your responses that digital technology provides amazing opportunities to improve some rights, but could also challenge others rights. In Mission Opposites, Agents highlighted three rights they thought were positively impacted by digital technology, and three rights they thought were negatively impacted. You also explained the reasons for your choices. It was interesting to see that sometimes Agents chose the same rights but for different reasons. In fact, we can’t fit all the findings into a single post, so we’re going to report back to you in a short series of regular blogs about the themes and rights you selected.

Come back in a couple of days to read more about digital technology and your right to access information in our next post.



About RErights made it online in January 2016 after months of dedication and hard work. It is a place for young people to rethink their rights in the digital age. We would like YOU to join us, if you haven't already!