The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights became a reality in 1948 – a time when the digital world has not yet been fully built. Over the years, technological advances have conquered the world and today it is difficult to imagine life without access to computer networks and digital products. However, the use of such makes a person a user in the digital space, and every user, both in the digital and in the real world, has rights and obligations.

Правата на човека и технологиите
Quality Standards
Quality Standards

Human rights in the context of technological innovation: What are digital rights?

Human rights apply in both offline and online environments. Digital rights are human rights in the world of the Internet and digital technologies; all human rights that enable an individual to access, use, create and disseminate information in the digital space, and to access and use computing devices, other electronic devices and telecommunication networks.

Digital rights include the right to online privacy, freedom of speech and freedom of association, the right to equality and non-discrimination in access and use of digital technologies, and the right to respect for human dignity. The right to online privacy (including the protection of identity and personal data) and freedom of expression extend the meaning of the equal and inviolable human rights set out in the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Some countries also recognize the right to access the Internet (or freedom to connect). These are Costa Rica, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, India, and Spain. The right to education and multilingualism, consumer rights and skill building in the context of the right to development are also related.

Quality Standards
Quality Standards

Why are digital rights so important today?

As of April 2022, there are more than five billion Internet users worldwide, which is 63.1% of the world’s population. Of these, 4.7 billion, or 59% of the world’s population, are social media users (

Increased usage and trends for sustained growth in usage also speak to our increasing dependence on technology. This creates the conditions for enhancing both the positive and negative impact of technology on the protection of human rights.

Every organization has a website that presents various information about activities, products, projects, documentation, etc. But every time we access a website, it requires data collection. The collection of data in the digital space takes place in the form of the so-called “cookies”. Cookies are small files used by web servers to store search information, allowing websites to remember your device, search preferences and online activity. To be more protected, it is advisable to read everything before agreeing. This, in practice, is difficult to achieve, as we want to reach a given information as quickly as possible, and therefore we often agree with what is written without double-checking it. The collection of this data is regulated by the EU through the combination of GDPR and E-privacy directives. For more information:

Data protection and online privacy


Digital technologies offer new opportunities for the exercise of human rights. The existence of social platforms, the Internet of Things, and cloud space facilitate the human right to communicate and express opinions freely, to participate in associations, as well as to protect the user’s right to online privacy.

On the other hand, the development of artificial intelligence and data analysis systems, and their increased use by companies and governments can create several challenges for the protection of human rights in the digital world, the number of which can only grow with the development of technological innovations.

Unauthorized collection of personal data and misuse of digital identity, use of surveillance technologies, online violence and aggression are all examples of human rights violations in the digital space. Social groups with a high level of vulnerability to such violations include children, women, the elderly and people with lower digital literacy.

How do tech companies affect the protection of human rights?

The way enterprises respect human rights is concerned with preventing adverse human rights impacts associated with business activities by paying particular attention to those social groups who may be most seriously affected. The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) set out a principled approach for all companies to follow. For technological companies, this includes anticipating and mitigating harm that may occur in connection with the use of their products and services.