Can You Hear Me Now?: Cell Phones and Human Rights

For our generation, the right to privacy will be one of the primary battlegrounds. With an onslaught of technological advances, privacy has become vital. Human rights of this generation will largely revolve around our rights to privacy; our opinions and views expressed online, access to cell phones, etc.

The world has come so far technologically in such a short period. As a young girl, my privacy was limited to a princess diary with a little lock and key.  Privacy was very simple. There were no passwords, links, or encryption. My information was all stored in one little book, my secrets were safe as I far as I could see.

Fast-forward to 2014, privacy encompasses numerous forms of technology and mediums. Now we have firewalls, passwords, fingerprint scanners, etc.  There are many new mediums to communicate through, and thus, many more forms of online privacy.

Privacy is a right we have no matter how far technology progresses. Information has become a valuable commodity. Human rights do not regress simply when technology progresses. The right to privacy is non-negotiable.

Unfortunately, privacy rights are lagging behind advances. Cynthia Wong, a Human Rights Watch researcher stated, “[t]he shocking revelations of mass monitoring by the US and UK show how privacy protections have not kept pace with technology.” She adds “as our lives become more digitized, unchecked surveillance can corrode everyone’s rights and the rule of law.” We must not allow fundamental human rights to fall behind technology.

Even now, the Supreme Court is ruling on whether police can check a person’s cell phone without a warrant during an arrest. Searches are not limited to the physical space on your person or in your car, but officers can access texts, emails, and other online records. The decision on this case, coming out in June will be paramount in determining the scope we have in personal privacy of our cell phones.

I do not want myself to be subjected to invasive technological surveillance in my attempts to work, study, socialize, and communicate. Join with Good of All as we advocate for our right to privacy.


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