UN resolution on the right to privacy in the digital age adopted by the Third Committee

A new UN resolution on the right to privacy in the digital age was adopted by the UN General Assembly’s Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Committee (Third Committee) on 21 November 2016. The resolution recognises the importance of respecting international commitments in relation to the right to privacy. States are invited to refrain from requiring companies to take steps that interfere with the right to privacy in an arbitrary and unlawful way, while specifically calling for informing users about company policies that may impact their right to privacy. The multistakeholder approach in addressing challenges to the right to privacy is recognised: “effectively addressing the challenges relating to the right to privacy in the context of modern communications technology requires an ongoing, concerted multi-stakeholder engagement,” pointing to the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) as an important venue for such engagement. In addition the resolution suggests the Human Rights Council (HRC) consider holding an expert workshop as a contribution to a future report of the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights on this matter. The resolution is expected to be adopted by the plenary of the UN General Assembly in December 2016.