Human Rights in the Global Information Society

Does the information society help to advance human rights or does it threaten them?
The first United Nations World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), held in December 2003, recognized the connections between information technology and human rights with a Declaration of Principles - in effect, the first "constitution" for cyberspace - that called for the development of the information society to conform to recognized standards of human rights.
The contributors examine the links between information technology and human rights from a range of disciplinary perspectives. Scholars, human rights activists, and practitioners discuss such topics as freedom of expression, access to information, privacy, discrimination, gender equality, intellectual property, political participation, and freedom of assembly in the context of the revolution in information and communication technology, exploring the ways in which the information society can either advance human rights around the world or threaten them.
Chapter 10, written by Heike Jensen, focuses on women's human rights in the information society as laid down in the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and a number of additional instruments. She uses existing articulations of women’s human rights as a lens to focus on the challenges women face in the information society. This is done using the dimensions of ICTs as tools, ICTs as careers, and ICT ideology.
An afterword reports on the November 2005 WSIS, held in Tunis, and its reaffirmation of the fundamental role of human rights in the global information society.
The introduction is available for download in PDF format (246 KB) at:
Publication date: 
Friday, October 6, 2006
Year of publication: 

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