Human technology

UN Security Council Strengthens Commitment to Countering Digital Terror |

The non-binding document, known as the Delhi Declaration on Countering the Use of New and Emerging Technologies for Terrorist Purposes, was adopted in the Indian capital on Saturday, following a series of panels attended by attended by representatives of Member States, UN officials, civil society entities, the private sector and researchers.

The statement aims to cover key concerns around drone abuse, social media platforms and crowdfunding, and create guidelines that will help address the growing problem.

Delhi declaration lays the groundwork for the way forwardsaid David Scharia of the Counterterrorism Executive Committee. “It speaks to the importance of human rights, public-private partnership, civil society engagement and how we will work together on this challenge. It also invites CTED [the Secretariat for the Committee] develop a set of guiding principles, which will result from intensive reflection with all partners.

Human rights at heart

Respect for human rights was strongly emphasized in the document and during the discussions. UN Secretary-General António Guterres stressed that there must be “concrete steps to reduce these vulnerabilities while committing to protecting all human rights in the digital sphere”.

In a video message, Mr. Guterres added that human rights could only be achieved through effective multilateralism and international cooperation, with responses rooted in the values ​​and obligations of the United Nations Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Representing the Human Rights Office, Scott Campbell, who leads the digital technology team, echoed the Secretary-General, explaining that “respecting rights in the fight against terrorism is fundamental to ensuring sustainable efforts and effective in protecting our security”.

“Approaches that cross these important lines not only violate the law, they also undermine counter-terrorism efforts by eroding the trust, networks and community that are critical to successful prevention and response,” did he declare.

Mr. Campbell argued that international law and human rights present many answers to the question, recalling that Member States have a duty to protect the safety of their people and to ensure that their conduct does not violate person’s rights.

Regulation and censorship

He also stressed that companies and states must be careful when filtering and blocking social media content, as it can “disproportionately affect minorities and journalists”.

To overcome the problem, Mr. Campbell suggested that the restrictions should be based on precise and narrowly tailored laws, and should not incentivize censorship of legitimate expression. He argued that they should have transparent processes, genuinely independent and impartial oversight bodies, and that civil society and experts should be involved in developing, evaluating and implementing regulations.

During the closing session of the meeting, the Chair of the Committee, Ambassador Ruchira Kamboj of India, said the outcome document takes note of the challenges and offers “practical, operational and tactical opportunities to address the opportunities and threats posed by the use of new and emerging technologies for terrorist purposes”.

She added that the global policymaking community “must be nimble, forward-thinking and collaborative” to meet the changing needs of states facing new challenges of digital terror.