Briefing paper

As digital technology plays an ever-increasing role in our lives, the need for regulations to protect our rights to freedom of thought and opinion is becoming more apparent, especially with regard to social media platforms’ relentless mission to get inside people’s heads using their personal data. International human rights law protects our right to freedom of thought, which includes the right to keep our thoughts and opinions private, the right not to have our thoughts and opinions manipulated, and the right not to be penalised for our thoughts and opinions. This policy brief explores strategies to protect these rights in digital spaces.

Key points:

  • International human rights law prohibits states from violating our rights and puts a positive obligation on them to protect our absolute right to freedom of thought from the activities of businesses by creating adequate legal and regulatory frameworks.
  • Protecting freedom of thought requires innovation from technologists and law makers to think very carefully about the future we want and to create the incentives we need to protect freedom of thought and drive technological innovation in a new direction for the future.
Publication Details
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CIGI Policy Brief No. 165