MEP: Use of innovative technologies must strengthen human rights

Member of the European Parliament Marietje Schaake (ALDE/D66), wants the European Union to more actively use technological innovations to advance human rights. Today, the European Parliament voted on Schaake’s report in which she sets out the role that technology should play in European human rights policy. Schaake: “Technologies like encrypting information, but also the use of mobile phones by more and more people offer great opportunities to strengthen human rights. For example in the context of access to information, but also election monitoring and promoting transparency. At the same time authoritarian regimes use spying and hacking technologies very effectively to violate human rights. They use it to control populations and to censor information.”

Stop illegal trade

Technologies that are used in human rights violations too often originate from the EU. Schaake wants the European Commission to finally take action to stop the trade in these dangerous systems. “We need to make sure that Europe plays a leading role to prevent advanced systems which are used to violate human rights falling into the wrong hands. To do that we need smart export control policies which do not hinder the legitimate exchange of information and research. It is essential that the European External Action Service, the European Commission and the Member States acknowledge the impact of technology and make it a central part of European foreign policy.”


Schaake has used crowdsourcing to allow experts to give their comments to a draft version of the report. Researchers, human rights activists and journalists all contributed to the final version. Schaake: “It would be a shame not to make use of all the knowledge and expertise people have on this subject. With more input regarding the latest technological developments, we can make sure that we develop smart policy which relates to the reality on the ground. I want the EU to play a the leading role in making sure that technologies are developed to protect human rights and to make sure that they are not abused.”

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Camilla Wood

UK based Legal Aid Lawyer

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